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Nikkormat Three Lens Test
Old 04-04-2016   #1
farlymac
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Nikkormat Three Lens Test

After many years of pining for my first Nikkormat that I sold so long ago, Iíve finally put together a kit with an FTn, non-AI Auto Nikkors 35/2.5, 50/2, and 105/2.5 with the proper hoods and caps.

Any exposure corrections were necessitated by my mistakes, not the camera meter. Other than that, it was like riding a bicycle, you never forget. Almost makes me feel like Iím forty years younger. But Iíve more wear and tear on me, although I did have to pound out a filter ring dent on the 35/2.8.

The Outfit

A Basic Kit by P F McFarland, on Flickr



At one meter closest focus with the 105/2.5

Yellow Burst by P F McFarland, on Flickr



From the 50/2 point of view

Falls by P F McFarland, on Flickr



Linearity abounds with the 35/2.8

Cross Shadows by P F McFarland, on Flickr

See all the photos, along with narrative at https://flic.kr/s/aHskuhUsDA

PF
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Old 04-04-2016   #2
Paulbe
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Phil--nice kit!! And nice photos, too. You even have the correct lens hoods and caps--good for you! I love that old Nikon "stuff."
Paul
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Old 04-04-2016   #3
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I still have mine that I bought around 1970!

Have four Nikkor lenses. A 20, 50, 85 and 135.

Bought everything over seas when serving in the military.

You have a fine collection. You'll have fun making photos with them.
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Old 04-04-2016   #4
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The Nikkormat is the camera bargain. A fraction of the cost of a Pentax K1000, and much better built. It is pro level build like my Nikon F2.
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Old 04-04-2016   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
The Nikkormat is the camera bargain. A fraction of the cost of a Pentax K1000, and much better built. It is pro level build like my Nikon F2.
Better built? Well, it is much heavier.

OTOH the K1000 has the shutter speed dial in the right place,
uses a modern battery available everywhere
and can use Pentax K and M42 lenses...

Chris
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Old 04-04-2016   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisPlatt View Post
Better built? Well, it is much heavier.

OTOH the K1000 has the shutter speed dial in the right place,
and can use Pentax K and M42 lenses...

Chris
Yes, much better built. Just like my F2s. It was aimed at the pro market, while the K1000 as a budget amateur camera. There's a reason one cost about twice as much as the other new.
And it can use F mount lenses...

Shutter speed dial in the right place? A matter of opinion.
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Old 04-04-2016   #7
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Nice set, congrats

robert
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Old 04-04-2016   #8
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i like my nikomat ftn and nikkor 50/2; good for you ...
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Old 04-04-2016   #9
Erik van Straten
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The Nikkor 24mm f/2.8 is very nice too on the Nikkormat.

Nikkormat FTn, Nikkor-N Auto 24mm f/2.8, Orwo 21 DIN.

Erik.

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Old 04-04-2016   #10
giulio stucchi
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Great image Erik.

I will now go back again to your nikkormat thread from 2013...how i would love to turn pages of a book with all those images instead of scroll down the pages on my pc...

Giulio
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Old 04-04-2016   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisPlatt View Post
Better built? Well, it is much heavier.

OTOH the K1000 has the shutter speed dial in the right place,
and can use Pentax K and M42 lenses...

Chris
IMHO yes, the Nikkormat FTn was much better built than the K1000.

Right place is relative. I rather like having the shutter speed around the mount next to the aperture ring. To me it's more natural to have the two aspects of exposure that you change most often right next to each other.

B2 (;->
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Old 04-04-2016   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillBingham2 View Post
I rather like having the shutter speed around the mount next to the aperture ring. (;->
Thank you, Giulio!

I second that. The Nikkormat displays the speed in the viewfinder, so when measuring the light you can use the f-stop or the speed ring while looking at the subject in the viewfinder.

This too is one of the advantages of the Leica M5. That camera is from the same era.

Erik.
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Old 04-04-2016   #13
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The Nikomat/Nikkormat line was created to differentiate the amateur cameras from the pro "Nikon" models.

Have you disassembled examples of these cameras and are you knowledgable enough to determine which is "better built"?

FWIW I currently own both Pentax and Nikon mechanical SLRs, and have used various models for many years.
But I won't argue further against your speculation, as I own neither a Nikkormat FTn nor a Pentax K1000.

Chris

P.S. You forgot to mention that you can "hammer nails" with your Nikkormat!
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Old 04-04-2016   #14
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I found one for $60. Smooths as new Leica M.

It is a very early one and the instruction book is for later and setting the meter seems difficult. Change lenses and there is far too much fiddling.

But all in all, it is one tough camera. Much the same build as my F2
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Old 04-04-2016   #15
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Chris,

As I recall, when I was in Japan, I believe it was 1972, the body of the Nikkormat and the Nikon F looked the same. The gent in the store said they were the same except the Nikon F had the removeable light meter in the prism and offered a few options, shutter dial location, removable back, that wasn't on the Nikkormat. Since I'm cheap and I had limited space to store stuff, I bought the Nikkormat. Both cameras use the same lenses.
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Old 04-04-2016   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald M View Post

It is a very early one and the instruction book is for later and setting the meter seems difficult. Change lenses and there is far too much fiddling.
This must be a Nikkormat FT. These did not have the fast indexing feature (turning the f-stop ring a few times) of the Nikkormat FTn.

The Nikkormat was in fact a more modern camera than the Nikon F. The Nikon F was based on the old rangefinders from Nikon, but the Nikkormat had a vertical running shutter, a synch time of 1/125 sec. and a built in TTL-meter. It's only drawback was the less precise framing of the viewfinder. The F had a 100% correct viewfinder, the Nikkormat only 92%. You got more on your film than what you saw in the viewfinder.

Erik.
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Old 04-04-2016   #17
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Talking

OMG, so you actually mean that a camera which is not a Leica can make photos !!!
I am gobsmacked !
BTW, if you chance to find the Nikkor S 58/1.4 it is very nice for portraits.
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Old 04-04-2016   #18
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Erik,

Yes, mine has the vertical shutter. It looks like it's all metal construction.

Mine travelled extensively in Asia and I made quite a few photos with it. Sitting in my camera case, I have a roll of TMax 100 that's so old I forgot what's on it. Surprise when I develop it!

Some info:

https://www.cameraquest.com/nikonf41.htm
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Old 04-04-2016   #19
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Indeed. Since the late 1970's I've owned and used nearly a dozen Nikon and Nikkormat models.

The great advantage of the aforementioned Pentax K1000 is that Eric Hendrickson (http://www.pentaxs.com/)
will make it (or any mechanical Pentax model) work and look like new for around $60.00!

Please let me know when you find a similar deal for my Nikon F2...

Chris
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Old 04-04-2016   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
Yes, much better built. Just like my F2s. It was aimed at the pro market, while the K1000 as a budget amateur camera. There's a reason one cost about twice as much as the other new.
And it can use F mount lenses...

Shutter speed dial in the right place? A matter of opinion.
I find it interesting that people are comparing the Nikkormat with the K1000 since they were only in competition with each other for a couple of years. The Nikkormat was produced from 1965 - 1978. The K1000 was not introduced until 1975. The Spotmatic was the Pentax that competed with the Nikkormat from 1964 t0 1976 when it was discontinued.
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Old 04-04-2016   #21
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Quote:
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....look like new for around $60.00!

Please let me know when you find a similar deal for my Nikon F2...

Chris
Not sure you can. For me, making a camera look like new isn't that important. Work like new is another issue, but haven't need to have to with any of the F/F2/FTn adjusted to make it work acceptably to me.

If it weren't for my oldest son doing something to my 1973 Nikkormat I like to think it would still be 100% today.

During High School I saw a lot of abuse given to a wide range of camera and the Nikkormats stood up to it a LOT better than every other manufacturer (Minolta, Mamiya, Canon, and Pentax). The Canons did better than the others, but nowhere close to the Nikkormats.

B2 (;->
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Old 04-04-2016   #22
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Getting back on track, my three lenses were the 24/2.8 and 85/1.8 Nikkors and a 200/3 Vivitar Series-1.

My father used a 35/1.4, 85/1.8 and 180/2.8 at work (the Kodakery).

B2 (;->
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Old 04-04-2016   #23
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Classic mechanical cameras used by amateurs seldom wear out.
But time, environmental conditions, use or lack of use all take their toll.
Seals dry out, lubricants gum up, surfaces and contacts oxidize etc.
After 30 years shutters that rely on spring tension no longer operate within specification.
Likewise aged exposure meter cells no longer produce their original output and become inaccurate.
No brand I know of is immune from these problems, and all of these older cameras we love require service if we want them to be accurate and reliable.

Chris
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Old 04-04-2016   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisPlatt View Post
Indeed. Since the late 1970's I've owned and used nearly a dozen Nikon and Nikkormat models.

The great advantage of the aforementioned Pentax K1000 is that Eric Hendrickson (http://www.pentaxs.com/)
will make it (or any mechanical Pentax model) work and look like new for around $60.00!

Please let me know when you find a similar deal for my Nikon F2...

Chris
Here u go


http://www.walterscamerarepairs.com

He does really nice work. I bring him all my disposable Japanese cameras for service.
(disposable meaning I can buy another for less than the price of the service)
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Old 04-04-2016   #25
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Thanks for all the nice comments, everyone. When I got my first Nikkormat, I did a lot of research ahead of the purchase. I'd had an M42 system that I got tired of the amount of effort it took to change lenses, switched to a rangefinder (Vitessa L, another one I wish I had back), then back to an SLR.

I wanted lens interchangeability, a decent range of lenses and accessories, and good build quality. The Nikon system fit the bill (the F2 had just come out a year before), but the Nikkormat was what I could afford on a Navy man's budget. I did opt for the 50/1.4, and the newer FTn instead of the FT, so that meant getting all my meals for the next month on board. It was almost a months pay, but worth it to me.

It really came in handy on the last ship I was stationed, as the temporary duty Photographers Mate was always asking for my assistance when he had to document shipboard events. I got to photograph Soviet ships anchored off Socotra Island, and our passage through the Suez Canal utilizing some of his lenses. Great experience that would come in handy down the years.

So while owning a Nikon was not my first attempt at being serious about photography, it was my first shot at understanding how primo gear can affect the outcome in more ways than one.

I can't say I'm totally infatuated with everything Nikon puts out, but what I do like, I like a lot. When I was shooting the FTn the other day, it just felt like the old days, when everything was new to me, and I was still experimenting with different styles and subjects. It's sort of like being reunited with your first good car, or that really nice girlfriend that got away for one reason or another.

I know everyone has their preference in gear, so I'm not going to tout my stuff over what someone else uses. It just works for me, and there is a lot of good gear out there. I know, there's a pile of it on the table behind me ready for sale. I'm just going back to what got me this far.

PF
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Old 04-04-2016   #26
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Thanks farlymac for the story of your relationship with gear, interesting to read. And again congrats for your set.
robert
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Old 04-05-2016   #27
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Thanks, Robert. It has been an interesting journey so far.

PF
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Old 04-05-2016   #28
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Several months back I purchased this FTn body from Roberts Camera for $18. Works great as a replacement for my well used 1968 Nikkormat.


ETA Wrong picture
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Old 04-05-2016   #29
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Bought this FT2 for $15, and it works perfectly.
Kinda crazy that you can get such a great camera for the price of one drink at an LA bar...



Posted pics taken w it here:

http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...=137684&page=4
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Old 04-05-2016   #30
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The Nikkormat a great camera.
I used a few, loved the meter reading on top!
The viewfinder "got a lot more than seen".
It was Class 101 for my M6. sigh.
Have the same lenses, all on Nikon-F's.
Some Ai for use on F3.
Mechanical cameras are really fun.
Erik's photo brilliant.
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Old 04-05-2016   #31
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Unreal deals on these great cameras and lenses.

I cannot document the following but it did in fact occur. I had and still have, my Nikkormat from SE Asia and it went through hell there. Cpl of years ago it finally started to act up and I sent it to Essex camera in NJ. They said it needed lubing but the gears etc could be confused with new after all those hard years of usage.

I have it now (along with 2 other Mats) and use it regularly. I'll never sell it as its not worth any money in this stupid market. That is a good thing and eliminates any temptation.
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Old 04-05-2016   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leicapixie View Post
.....
.. loved the meter reading on top!
...
One of the reasons I loved the Bessa L!

Getting back to the thread, same with the F/F2 Meter prisms!

B2 (;->
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Old 04-05-2016   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisPlatt View Post
Better built? Well, it is much heavier.

OTOH the K1000 has the shutter speed dial in the right place,
and can use Pentax K and M42 lenses...

Chris
I, too, love my K1000s I bought new. Mine are in Knoxville for their first CLA. Smaller and lighter than my M3, great lenses. I also love all my Nikon gear, but now it's just too bulky and heavy.
The OP sure has a great set of lenses there!
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Old 04-05-2016   #34
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Do any of the Nikkormats have split image focusing?
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Old 04-05-2016   #35
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Quote:
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The Nikkor 24mm f/2.8 is very nice too on the Nikkormat.

Nikkormat FTn, Nikkor-N Auto 24mm f/2.8, Orwo 21 DIN.

Erik.

Another of your extraordinary photos from your Spanish period, Erik. What a masterpiece... Thanks for sharing this.

There is another drawback which I can see for the Nikkormat : the focusing screen isn't interchangeable, so over time you get a lot of dirt particles behind the focusing screen, and which you cannot remove unless you completely take the camera apart (fool would be the photographer who couldn't just live with that, of course).

I have a nearmint chrome FTn with a perfectly working lightmeter. A great camera indeed. Mine came as a free rear lenscap for a mintish Nikkor-O 35/2... for a total price of $67 including shipping...

Of course I had to replace all the foams (back door, hinge, mirror) but this was easy (and this is a routine job you have to perform on any vintage SLR anyway). I use a MR-9 adapter with a 386PX silver oxyde battery so that it's powered with a 1.35V voltage but I might have read somewhere that the FTn lightmeter works as well with a modern 25PX 1.5V battery as with the original 625PX 1.35V battery it was designed for. Not too sure, though.

Quote:
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Do any of the Nikkormats have split image focusing?
Mine doesn't. Microprisms center circle and that's all.
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Old 04-05-2016   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Bireley View Post
Do any of the Nikkormats have split image focusing?
Thank you, Nicolas and leicapixie, for these compliments.

Yes, I have a black FTn, mint condition, that has the split image screen. I think that in some parts of the world the camera was sold with a split image screen and in other parts with a microprism screen. Personally I prefer the microprism screen.

Repair departments of the importers could change the focusing screens if I remember well.

I think the Nikkormats will work excellent with a MR-9 adapter and a Duracell 386/301 battery. My M5 works perfectly with this combination.

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Another Pentax advantage
Old 04-06-2016   #37
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Another Pentax advantage

The Nikkormat used the now banned 1.35V 625 mercury cell.
There are workarounds but they are costly or unsatisfactory.

OTOH the Pentax K1000 uses a readily available 44/76/357 1.5V silver cell.
Older Spotmatics can use a modern replacement battery without adjustment or adapter.

The battery issue is the major reason I opted for a Nikon F2 over another F.

But you guys are so good you prolly don't need no stinkin' meter.
And you will pay a premium price for a non-metered head 'cause it looks cooler...

Chris
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Old 04-06-2016   #38
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Do any of the Nikkormats have split image focusing?
I think older FTns had a split screen, I more sure the FT2 and FT3 had them.

B2 (;->
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Old 04-06-2016   #39
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Pentax K1000SE (brown leather, usually) came with split screen.
The far more common K1000 came with a microprism screen.

Chris
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Old 04-06-2016   #40
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The Nikkormat used the now banned 1.35V 625 mercury cell.
There are workarounds but they are costly or unsatisfactory.

OTOH the Pentax K1000 uses a readily available 44/76/357 1.5V silver cell.
Older Spotmatics can use a modern replacement battery without adjustment or adapter.

The battery issue is the major reason I opted for a Nikon F2 over another F.

But you guys are so good you prolly don't need no stinkin' meter.
And you will pay a premium price for a non-metered head 'cause it looks cooler...

Chris

Well, the early ones did. The Nikkormat FT2 and FT3 use the current and commonly available silver oxide 1.5v cells that you can buy anywhere.
The Ft2 and Ft3 also came with a focussing screen with microprism and split image.
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