Not that it necessarily matters, but it occurred to me that I’d made a few posts about the other cameras I’ve been using (here, and here) and this camera had been pretty much the middle child so I thought I’d write a post about it, as my other Nikon F2. It was in the background of this post and I’ve been shooting the camera for a lot of the 2021 season, from the time I completed the construction job and went back to Jeep tours all the way until the Fall when I sent off both my F2 cameras to be serviced by the great Sover Wong.
So here is the camera in the basic setup that I’ve been shooting it since August 2021.
I acquired a chrome DE-1 finder from a generous guy on a Facebook group and have to say that I like the look as well as the lighter weight that comes from using a non-metered finder (I already linked to the earlier post regarding the non-metered finder on my F Apollo above). Going back to a photomic finder just seems a bit clunky by and bulky by comparison and checking the meter slows me down sometimes.
I’ve even considered buying a black DE-1 to go with my black F2 though I do like having at least one camera with which to test my guesswork on exposure for difficult lighting situations or film that I don’t use too often.
But the thing is, I’m learning my light pretty well and there aren’t too many times when I miss a shot due to under/over-exposure. I’ve modified the old Sunny-16 rule and when shooting outdoors try to keep the lens at f/8 the entire time, switching from 1/1000sec in direct sunlight to 1/125 under clouds or in the shade. Indoor lighting will be f/2.8-f/1.4 at 1/60sec. I’ve been shooting this way since at least the beginning of 2019 on Tri-X (and later Ilford XP2) and it just works; anything I’ve shot since then that’s black & white is a testament to that. And it makes me want to tell everyone…you don’t need to get some latch-on meter for your unmetered camera, just try it out a couple times! Nor do you need to pull out a handheld meter every time you want to take a shot. It doesn’t matter if the built-in meter dies, your camera isn’t ruined or useless! I always used to think that someone using a Leica from the ’50s with no meter was unusually ballsy but the reality is that it’s not that hard. Learning how to properly expose ASA400 film has given me one less thing I need to worry about and allows me to work quicker and just get the shot.