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S2 vs S3 finder
Old 04-21-2012   #1
maitani
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S2 vs S3 finder

I m eyeballing a nice S2 at the moment, owning already an S3 i wonder if there is any difference to the finder

I read that the s2 is great for 50 where the s3 is probably the best for 35,

How about clarity of the S2 finder is the patch better than on the s3?

the patch on my SP is great, the one on the S3 slightly worse, but still very usable,
would you rate the S2 finder rather above or below the S3?

thanks for your advice
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Old 04-21-2012   #2
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IMHO, S2 finder is the best for 50mm lens. Cheers.
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Old 04-21-2012   #3
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All things being equal, the S2's usually have the bestand most-visible RF patch, but every now and then someone on this forum mentions a hard-to-see finder patch (very rarely). They do have a slight greenish tint to the finder, by design, possibly to help with contrast. Inside the finder, it's just a 50mm frameline. No notches to help with closeup framing as with the S3. The two-part shutter-speed dial on the S2 is a little slower to use. The shutter is very loud compared to an S3/SP. They over-engineered it for durability, but the brake has a definite klack-thwap sound, as loud as a 1960s SLR.
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Old 04-21-2012   #4
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What Vince said.
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Old 04-21-2012   #5
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The S2 for 50mm definitely. 1:1 uncluttered frame.
Kentucky windage for parallax, good enough.
Otherwise use an F or F2 for 100% accuracy.
Horses for courses. Make the most of both
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Old 04-21-2012   #6
Erik van Straten
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The S2 finder has a greenish tint to give contast to the rangefinder spot, wich appears to be pink, but this is an illusion.
At 1m (3ft) the frame is very accurate, but on infinity a bit more is recorded on film. As the viewfinder is very close to the lens, the fact that there is no parallax-correction doesn't matter at all.

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Old 04-21-2012   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
The S2 finder has a greenish tint to give contast to the rangefinder spot, wich appears to be pink, but this is an illusion.


Because of its design, very similar to the Contax II one (gold plated beamsplitter prism), the S2 finder has a greenish tint, yes, but the rangefinder spot is yellow/orange, definitely not pink...

Actually both the tints of resp. the VF and the RF spot are very very very close to what is seen in a good SP finder.
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Old 04-21-2012   #8
Erik van Straten
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Highway 61 View Post


Because of its design, very similar to the Contax II one (gold plated beamsplitter prism), the S2 finder has a greenish tint, yes, but the rangefinder spot is yellow/orange, definitely not pink...
What I wanted to say is that the color of the rangefinder spot is just the natural color, without any coloring. It only appears to be pink as an optical effect to the greenish color of the viewfinder, the complementary color. The same effect appears when you look trough green Ray Ban sunglasses. The world around the glass also appears to be pink.
The viewfinder of the S2 is not similar to that of a Contax II. In fact it is a kind of Leitz SBOOI wich is placed behind a beamsplitter (two cemented prisms). That's why it is life-size.

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Old 04-21-2012   #9
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Some great advice here, exactly what I was looking for, I m tempted for an S2 now the 'art deco' touch of this camera is second to none.

Another question, is it rather F/F2 loud or FM2 loud? I have a cloth shutter S3 which is almost silent always liked the smoothness.
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Old 04-22-2012   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
What I wanted to say is that the color of the rangefinder spot is just the natural color, without any coloring. It only appears to be pink as an optical effect to the greenish color of the viewfinder, the complementary color. The same effect appears when you look trough green Ray Ban sunglasses. The world around the glass also appears to be pink.
The viewfinder of the S2 is not similar to that of a Contax II. In fact it is a kind of Leitz SBOOI wich is placed behind a beamsplitter (two cemented prisms). That's why it is life-size.

Erik.
I still disagree. The rangefinder spot hasn't a neutral coloring.

When I look at a white wall (I mean, really white) through the S2 viewfinder, what I see in the finder is greenish (yes it's almost the same tint as the G15 Ray-Ban glass, which is very nice because it enhances the contrast of what you see) and what is in the rangefinder spot is yellow-orange.

Both when compared with the actual white of the wall paint, not when compared with each other, so, the yellow-orange tint of the rangefinder patch is neither a subjective perception relative to the greenish tint of the viewfinder nor an optical effect, but an actual yellow-orange tint.

I haven't written that the viewfinder of an S2 is similar to the one of a Contax II : I know that there is a mirrored optical unit with an etched frame in the S2 viewfinder, while there isn't in the Contax II viewfinder.

I was meaning the beamsplitter prism itself : same greenish tint and same yellow-orange rangefinder patch coming from the same assembly technology (gold plating of the two cemented sides of the prism).

The Nikon S3 has a silver cemented prism, and as a result the finder has a very neutral tint and the rangefinder patch has almost no coloring, thus it may be useful to add a blue filter in front of the finder window to get a slightly more usable rangefinder patch in low-contrast shooting conditions (see Jonmanjiro's thread about this).

I have two Nikon S2 bodies, both with excellent viewfinders, and both have the same tints, was it for the finder itself or the rangefinder patch.

Yours may have faded a bit, hence the "pink" you feel.

Bottom line : the S2 shutter isn't as loud as the F/F2 shutter. Once the camera is fitted in an half-leather case the shutter sound is on par with the S3/SP one.
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Old 04-22-2012   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Highway 61 View Post
Both when compared with the actual white of the wall paint, not when compared with each other, so, the yellow-orange tint of the rangefinder patch is neither a subjective perception relative to the greenish tint of the viewfinder nor an optical effect, but an actual yellow-orange tint.
Okay, I can agree with this; the way people are calling colors is highly subjective, see Ludwig Wittgenstein and Goethe.

I have three S2's: a chrome chrome dial, a chrome black dial and a black chrome dial, and the rangefinder spot of all three is the same. However, the small prisms on the left when seen from the front are a bit dirty; I see small dark spots on it; could be the beginning of fungus. Does anyone know how to clean these without removing the top plate? When I remove the front bezel I see a small hole beside the small rangefinder window. Is that for cleaning the prism?

Erik.
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S2 prism
Old 04-22-2012   #12
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S2 prism

The small rf prism is difficult to clean , it is cemented into the metal bracket and held with small screws .
The surface that reflects the light is next to the metal bracket .
I have had some luck cleaning it with cut strips of lens tissue / micro fiber cloth fead between the bracket and prism . This is almost impossible to do with the top cover in place . You have to be careful as you can loosen the prism if material is too thick , or you push too much .
The view in my s2 is green cast with magenta / golden rf spot .
The green cast to the main finder gives nice contrast to the rf spot and makes the gold rf spot appear magenta in color .
The s2 has only one reflected bright line and does not have as much flare as the s3 , this is a lot worse if you wear glasses . Your eye socket shields the reflected finder , most of the flare comes from reflected light entering the rear of the finder .
The sp has projected frames so does not have the flare problem . It's finder has two prisms one for the bright lines and the other for the rf spot so the view is a bit darker , and the rf spot after 50 years lacks the contrast of the s2 . Most sp need the finder cleaned to have a good useable rf spot . A properly serviced sp will give at nice rf image .
As one service person has told me the amount of gold spattered on the prisms varies so some cameras are better than others due to tolerances in manufacture .

The s2 is a gem of a camera , the shutter brake gives a distinctive sound . It is louder than the cloth shutter sp and s3 , however no so bad next to the same cameras with the titanium shutters .

Any old Nikon can benefit from servicing , however if it is working nicely just use it .
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Old 04-22-2012   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
Does anyone know how to clean these without removing the top plate ?
What enasniearth wrote.

In another thread Jonmanjiro reported how Shintaro could clean that small prism : some small pieces of lens tissue soaked in Eclipse and delicately pushed in there with a toothpick, then pulled back with a tweezer.

The key is to be very patient, very careful (not to have the prism move, or worse...) and to repeat the operation MANY times until it gets as clean as possible.

It works. I could do it on one of my S2's.

Black spots on this prism may not be fungus but just old hardened grime (greasy haze mixed with dirt for several decades).

Thanks for your smart comment about the perception of colours.
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Old 04-22-2012   #14
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Thank you enasniearth and Highway 61 for your valuable information.

So it is better for cleaning the small prism when the top cover is off. The biggest problem to remove the top cover is to remove the retaining ring around the release button. A special key is neccessary. Also the spring that takes care of returning the transport lever is tricky to handle. Anybody succeeded in removing the top cover of an S2?

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Old 04-22-2012   #15
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Let's just call it like it is. Fine, you want an S2. I wish you luck/happiness with your decision (de gustibus non disputandum est). I had one. I hated it. The only things that were good about it were the wide rf base length and the reasonably high quality materials/manufacturing. But everything else about it--the discolored vf/rf, the stupid Contax focusing system, the horrible ergonomics, etc. made me regret the purchase. The only camera I regret buying more is the Minox 35 GL.

Is it really that much cheaper than a Voigtlander (or dare I say it, a Leica M/CL)?
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Old 04-22-2012   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heliographer View Post
Fine, you want an S2. I hated it. The only things that were good about it were the wide rf base length and the reasonably high quality materials/manufacturing. But everything else made me regret the purchase.
Often people without any photographic skill blame their camera ...

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S2 vs Leica m
Old 04-22-2012   #17
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S2 vs Leica m

I started photographing with the s2 in 1974 , $100 with the 5 cm 1.4 lens .
It was difficult to find a Leica , and if you managed to locate one it had the 5 cm 2.8 or 3.5 Elmar . Also it was quite a bit more in cost .

In 1985 I purchased a m5 Leica with a 35 summilux for $650 it seemed like a small fortune in 1985 . Shot with this for many years .
The Leica is no longer with me .
The s2 still is .
The Nikon is a very basic camera , that does very well .
Every Leica lens I have had from the same time period has haze and cleaning marks . The Leica m2 or m3 from the same time almost always needs a$250 servicing .
Even now a good s2 with the 1.4 lens is in the $450 -$700 range while the m2 is $650 or more for the body , and Leitz 50's in the summicron range cost another $500 or quite a bit more. Forget buying the 1.4 summilux at $1200

Is the s2 perfect ? No . It matches a nice high speed lens to an accurate rangefinder . The shutter is perhaps too loud , not Leica m quiet .
The back removes for quick loading and it has a rewind crank ..
In the end it is not a Leica
It is a nikon and it is built to photograph .
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Old 04-22-2012   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heliographer View Post
The only things that were good about it were the wide rf base length and the reasonably high quality materials/manufacturing.
thanks, i guess it's important to share also negative experiences too, gives an interesting overall impression of what to expect, I'm perfectly aware that the S2 might be a little 'quirky' due to age, technology has come a long way. actually, personally I prefer the focusing direction of the nikons. funnily exactly the wide rf base and good build are important for me, if the finder is at least equal to my S3 I'm happy, if it's even slightly better, I'm in heaven.
Also my existing lenses, make the S2 a viable option for me, I'm not interested in re-buying everything in M-mount, 'not-going leica' was a decision I did some time ago, and I'm glad I did actually. After testing the latest cron against my 3.5 1.8 nikkor it was an eye opener for me. so i guess I will give the S2 a go.

I have a Bessa R3M too, really a nice machanical camera. used it occasionally with a 50 and the 15 wide, but it's in the classifieds at the moment, the nikons just have the better feel to me, without feeling as 'sticky' as the contaxes or overstatet as the leicas. sold my M6 in favour of an SP and didn't look back.
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Old 04-23-2012   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
Thank you enasniearth and Highway 61 for your valuable information.

So it is better for cleaning the small prism when the top cover is off. The biggest problem to remove the top cover is to remove the retaining ring around the release button. A special key is neccessary. Also the spring that takes care of returning the transport lever is tricky to handle. Anybody succeeded in removing the top cover of an S2?

Erik.
I successfuly removed three S2's top covers without any hassles.

To remove the flash sync. post, use a rubber glove.

To remove the A/R ring, first remove the set screw, then use a very thin pair of tweezers (the ones you buy at the pharmacy to remove spins off your skin work well) ; the key is to bend them a little so that they make an U not a V and to carefuly insert their ends in the A/R ring slots deeply before beginning to unscrew the ring.

The spring which "takes care of returning the transport lever" hasn't to be touched, it's inside the transport ratchett and all of this stays in place.
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Old 04-23-2012   #20
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Thank you, Highway 61, for this explanation. In fact I've ordered an S2 service manual to study the camera some more before I start this adventure. I like reading stuff like that.

Strange that removing the part you mention is so hard. It looks quite grippy. Removing it with only your fingers seems easy. Doubtless it is not.

Erik
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Old 04-23-2012   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
Often people without any photographic skill blame their camera ...
Pretty questionable in my book to bring skill into the picture, the other guy just didn't like the ergonomics.
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Old 04-23-2012   #22
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Pretty questionable in my book to bring skill into the picture, the other guy just didn't like the ergonomics.

You are right, but in 1954 the word "ergonomics" did not exist. One does not choose in 2012 a camera from 1954 for its ergonomics.
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Old 04-23-2012   #23
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Quote:
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... In 1954 the word "ergonomics" did not exist. One does not choose in 2012 a camera from 1954 for its ergonomics.
Wrong on both counts.
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Old 04-23-2012   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heliographer View Post
Let's just call it like it is. Fine, you want an S2. I wish you luck/happiness with your decision (de gustibus non disputandum est). I had one. I hated it. The only things that were good about it were the wide rf base length and the reasonably high quality materials/manufacturing. But everything else about it--the discolored vf/rf, the stupid Contax focusing system, the horrible ergonomics, etc. made me regret the purchase. The only camera I regret buying more is the Minox 35 GL.

Is it really that much cheaper than a Voigtlander (or dare I say it, a Leica M/CL)?
Hey - that was a long time since any Nikon RF-basher came in this sub-forum for the sake of just bashing what's this sub-forum is about.

Thanks
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Old 04-23-2012   #25
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@Erik van Straten

Sorry I got confused w/ removing the S3 / SP topcovers when I thought of the large ring securing the topcover to the chassis around the wind lever axle. This ring doesn't exist on the S2. Post edited.

Meanwhile, you can see this : http://www.nicovandijk.net/nikonS2repair.htm
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Old 04-23-2012   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Highway 61 View Post
Hey - that was a long time since any Nikon RF-basher came in this sub-forum for the sake of just bashing what's this sub-forum is about.

Thanks
I didn't mean it as bashing. I love Nikon cameras AND RFs. I started on Fs, F2s, etc. and have F3s, and I've had a dozen or so RFs, mostly LTM or M Leicas. That's why I bought the darned thing, hoping the S2 was the peanut butter cup of cameras (not to mention it mounts some of the best lenses ever made). I just learned it wasn't for me. Seriously, more power to folks who love 'em.

I still don't know why one wouldn't get the Bessa R2S/C. Then you'd get the superior VF and ergonomics (but inferior RF and build quality). Right?
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Old 04-23-2012   #27
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Wrong on both counts.
Very well possible, but I don't care in this case. I wish you could add something interesting to the discussion.

Erik.
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Old 04-23-2012   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Highway 61 View Post
@Erik van Straten

Sorry I got confused w/ removing the S3 / SP topcovers when I thought of the large ring securing the topcover to the chassis around the wind lever axle. This ring doesn't exist on the S2. Post edited.
It is OK.
Thank you for the link!
In the meantime I received the S2 repair manual. Makes fascinating reading.
It seems that the front plate and the focussing mount can be removed as one piece quite easily. In that case however the leather covering has to be removed. I don't like that, but can the small prism be reached in that way too?

Erik.
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Old 04-23-2012   #29
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Meanwhile, back to the OP's question: Does anyone else with glasses find that the 50mm framelines of the S3, though not 1:1, are pretty nice to use, too?
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Old 04-23-2012   #30
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personally I wouldn't buy an S2 if I already owned an SP and/or an S3.

not that I don't think the S2 is an excellent camera. but I wear glasses, and I find the .72 finder on my M2 suits me a lot better than the S2 one.

personally if I were in the market for a Nikon RF it would be an S2, but that's more a budget thing. The S3 and SP are PRICEY.
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Old 04-23-2012   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
It seems that the front plate and the focussing mount can be removed as one piece quite easily. In that case however the leather covering has to be removed. I don't like that, but can the small prism be reached in that way too?

Erik.
I wouldn't go that way ! The leatherette will get torn out, and you will get serious focus register calibration problems ! Plus, the screws attaching the whole front panel to the chassis won't want to budge I reckon.

The best and only way to reach the RF prism is to remove the front plate and the top cover.

Removing the focusing helical by itself is very easy and this is a great opportunity to take it apart, clean its threads with solvent and 0000 steel wool, and slightly lubricate it with white lithium grease before reassembling so that you get a butter smooth focusing action.

There is a strong debate around about whether the focusing helical should be lubricated or not. Personally I like doing it, but other skilled people don't, so just read all the threads about this to make your own opinion.
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Old 04-24-2012   #32
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The S2 is definitely an eyeglasses scratcher. The back of the eyefinder has a raised metal lip. My hands-down favorite camera is the S3 because I love the huge 1:1 wideangle finder that allows me to shoot 28mm lens without a secondary finder. However, that requires pressing the metal viewfinder up against my glasses. I no longer get paid to take pictures and it's just not worth it to me, so I stick with the SP and mini wide-angles.

I don't have the cameras out to compare, but I think the S2 sound is about as loud as a Nikon F, but a different kind of sound. Interestingly, I have found that my Titanium shutter cameras and my cloth shutter cameras (RF) are about the same noise-wise -- I have an old SP in which the shutter was replaced with Titanium, and the sound it really the same as my SP-2005.

On ergonomics, I completely understand. I had a nearly identical reaction when I picked up a Leica M-6. Almost every single aspect of the camera was just a big turnoff. The less-than-lifesize finder - hated it. Shutter button in wrong place. Lenses turn wrong. No way to hold lens still via the focus wheel. No way to shoot one-handed using the focus wheel. Really hate the automatic frameline indexing feature ... why can't I choose the lens? Why do I need to see an unrelated frameline along with the one the lens has selected? Guess I'd been using Nikon RFs too long before I checked out Leica.
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Old 04-24-2012   #33
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I wouldn't go that way !
Thank you for these wise words!

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Old 04-24-2012   #34
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Quote:
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The S2 is definitely an eyeglasses scratcher.
I have diopters on my S2 cameras. The back of these is very smooth, won't scratch your glasses. If you can find one and remove the glass, you have a perfect glasses-protector.

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Old 04-24-2012   #35
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A properly sized rubber gasket bought at the local plumbing store for 5c and glued around the eyepiece with three harmless glue spots will do it perfectly as for preserving the glasses.
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Old 04-24-2012   #36
VinceC
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Good advice on the eyeglass protection. I'd prefer a rubber gasket to a diopter. I need my eyeglasses too much so it's not at all ordinary to remove them.
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Nikon S2, S3, S3-2000, SP, SP-2005 / Kiev 2a

Biogon 21/4.5; CV 21/4; CV 25/4; CV 85/3.5; the following Nikkors: 2.8cm/3.5; 3.5cm/1.8 (1956 and 2005 versions); 5cm/1.4; 8.5cm/2; 10.5cm/2.5; 13.5cm/3.5
Soviet lenses: Orion 28/6; Jupiter-12 35/2.8; Helios-103 50/1.8; Jupiter-8 50/2
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Old 05-02-2012   #37
maitani
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after the great advice here, I orderered and finally received my S2, unexpectedly the Rangefinder patch is really much better visible than on the S3 almost on par with my SP, I guess the reflected framelines fo the S3 are the main difference, the S3 is slightly more prone to flare, because of the reflective coating on the eyepiece and the 3 lines which light up very prominently as soon as you work in mixed lightconditions. I guess my 50 will live on the S2 in the future, impressive for the age. nice uncluttered view, one simple 50 frame, the nice greenish tint helps for better contrast imo. where the S3 has a rather yellowish tint, but both are great and absolutely workable imo. the S3 is still the best choice for 35 imo.

for the sound, the S2 is louder than the S3/SP but not by much, i guess main reason is the turning dial action of the 2-phase time wheel, nowhere as lound as my F2 though. very, very nice I'm impressed
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Old 05-03-2012   #38
Erik van Straten
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maitani View Post
for the sound, the S2 is louder than the S3/SP but not by much, i guess main reason is the turning dial action of the 2-phase time wheel
The sound of the S2 is caused by a device called "pendulum" wich is a kind of counterweight to the shutter wich acts as a brake.

However, I've never seen a picture of this pendulum and I've never read an explanation of how it works.

Erik.
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Old 05-04-2012   #39
Highway 61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
I still do not understand why the shutter is noisy because of the pendulum.
It's because the pendulum brake doesn't stop immediatly, there is an oscillation movement till it stops, with several back/forth echoes.

It works +/- like a vintage bumpers automatic watch movement.
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Old 05-04-2012   #40
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Thank you, Highway 61, for this explanation. I'll think it over.

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