Nikon FM and Film #10

Another analogue camera arrived in the mail about a month ago, but this time a Nikon FM instead of the usual Olympus OM-1! Granted, it is silly to get involved in too many systems as the lenses from one system often cannot be used on a camera from the other (and as a result you need to buy two separate sets) — but I kept reading about how much of a classic the FM is, … et voilà!

Here’s first the result of quickly running a film through the camera to see if everything worked alright before the return option expired:

I like Le Guardien for how it draws me into the frame, and the dynamics added by the central walking character. For Passing Sky it’s the silhouettes, although this was not entirely my intention. And as RooftopBalcony Overview, and Paris shows, I’m apparently not quite done with negative space and rooftops yet. For Gare du Nord it’s the dynamics of the various lines, the contrast they contribute, and the movement of the two characters at the bottom.

The camera is the black version and I thought at first that it could be used together with the 18-55mm lens from my digital Nikon D60. The lens mounted alright, but after a few shots something seemed wrong. I went back to check the fine print, and while I had already read that the lens would not cover the entire frame at the wide focal lengths, I had missed that you’re forced to always use the smallest aperture, meaning f/22 in my case! The Passing Sky photo above is a perfect example of the implications: the corners are black and rounded, and the shadows are heavily underexposed. The former is not critical, perhaps even a bit interesting, but the later made me look around for a new lens.

At first I thought about a 50mm f/1.8 standard lens. But discovering that the price-drop for Nikon lenses has nowhere-near followed that of the Olympus lenses, I gave up on also starting a set of Nikon primes and went with a 28-70mm zoom instead; at f/3.5-4.5 it is a lot darker that my Olympus primes, but at 70€ it seems to have been a bargain.

In the end I hence ended up spending around twice, but so far have been very happy with the outcome. The camera it slightly bigger than the OM-1 it was apparently made to compete with, but this is actually not a bad thing as it fits my hands better. It also feels slightly more robust, not least the film advancer and the shutter. On the other hand, the viewfinder in the OM-1 kicks arse (!!) and having the shutter dial around the lens mount so far also works better for me, even if I most of the time work only with the aperture.

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