The Nikon F2 Overview

November 05, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Canon 5D, Canon 50mm f/1.8 II, ISO 400, 1/500 @ f/4

Many thanks to Peter from Foto Art in Owen Sound, who loaned me this Nikon F2 from his personal collection!

The Nikon F2 is one on the most celebrated SLRs of all time.  Manufactured from 1971-1980, it was Nikon's professional level SLR for close to a decade.  Featuring an all-metal body, the F2 had a reputation for its ruggedness and reliability in the field.  The F2 is the replacement for Nikon's original SLR, the F.  The F3 was added to the lineup in the early 80s, but due to being the last fully mechanical F camera, the F2 has remained popular for many years after its original production run.  The F2 is a full-system camera, meaning that the bodies are all modular, with lenses, viewfinders, focusing screens, grips and motor drives being fully interchangeable.

Canon 5D, Canon 50mm f/1.8 II, ISO 400, 1/500 @ f/4

The F2 is a manual-focus camera.  The body doesn't require batteries to function, though they are required to use the built-in light meter.  The F2 has a maximum shutter speed of 1/2000, up from 1/1000 in the original F, and faster than most cameras from that time.  The F2 also added a swing-open back to allow for easier film loading.

One of the main advantage of shooting with any Nikon film SLR is that you can share lenses between film and digital bodies, which can allow you to cut down on the amount of gear that you need to carry out into the field.  On top of being able to share lenses, you can also use modern Nikon lenses with the older cameras.  ​The F2 is capable of mounting all Nikon lenses to date, including the modern AI-S lenses.  Only the modern G and DX lenses will give you problems, due to a lack of aperture control in the former, and the latter not being designed for use on full-frame cameras.  You can also use Nikon-mount lenses from Zeiss, allowing you to take advantage of some of the best modern manual focus lenses while still shooting film.​

Nikon F2, Nikkor 50mm f/2, Fujicolor 200

​I enjoyed my time with the F2, but ultimately found it to be slightly large and heavy for my main use, which was landscape photography.  The F2 weighs around 840g, compared to just over 500g for my Leica M4-P or Olympus OM-1n.  In general I prefer smaller and lighter cameras for when I'm out hiking, or if I am carrying heavier gear I would prefer to be using a medium format camera to get more out of the extra weight.

If you would like a highly versatile, all-manual and mechanical SLR, the Nikon F2 is a good option.  You get your choice of a wide range of vintage and modern lenses, as well as a very durable camera body that is capable of taking the abuse of daily professional shooting.  For me, the main downsides of the F2 are the size and weight of the camera.  If you would like to take advantage of the lens lineup in a smaller body, and don't mind losing some of the system interchangeability and build quality, I would also look at an FE2, or an F100 if you would prefer a more modern camera body.


Cape May, NJ

November 02, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 400, 1/2900 @ f/5.6

​Earlier this year, I took a weekend trip down to Cape May, New Jersey.  It was during the first week of May, and the area was busy with birders scouting out locations for the World Series of Birding, an annual birding competition and fundraising event for the NJ Audubon Society.  This was more of a birding trip than a photography trip, and we were up early everyday attempting to track down lifers and rarities.  We had a few successful mornings birding the southern end of the Cape, and I was able to add a few new species including Blue Grosbeak, Saltmarsh Sparrow and Least Tern.

​In addition to being one of the top birding locations on the east coast, Cape May is an area of historical significance.  The region was originally charted in the early 1600s, and the city was formed as the borough of Cape Island in 1846.  This makes Cape May the oldest seaside resort in the USA.  In 1878, there was a prolonged fire, which destroyed 30 blocks of the downtown area.  These buildings were rebuilt in the Victorian style, and through preservation efforts the city now has the second largest collection of Victorian style houses in America, after San Fransisco.

​We stayed in the nearby town of Wildwood, which has a more recent history compared to the historic centre of Cape May.  Wildwood was mainly built between the early 50s until the mid 70s.  The area is know for its many motels in the doo-wop style that was popular in the postwar era.  Pools, neon lights and plastic palm trees are all common sights.  In the mid 2000s, 50 motels were demolished to make space for new condo buildings.  The remaining buildings are now being protected by local preservation groups, and some of the motels are now being restored.  Wildwood is a popular summer beach destination, with the population rising to over 250,000 compared to just over 5000 in the offseason.

I was very happy to be back by the ocean for a few days.  Despite having never lived by the sea, I always find myself drawn back to it, and always feel reinvigorated when I get that first breath of salty air.

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 400, 1/680 @ f/11

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 400, 1/340 @ f/11

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 1600, 1/350 @ f/4

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 1600, 1/250 @ f/4

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 1600, 1/170 @ f/5.6

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 1600, 1/450 @ f/2

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 1600, 1/180 @ f/4

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 1600, 1/110 @ f/4

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 1600, 1/60 @ f/4

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 1600, 1/40 @ f/4

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 1600, 1/125 @ f/2

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 1600, 1/80 @ f/2

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 1600, 1/80 @ f/2

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 400, 1/1600 @ f/9

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 400, 1/1600 @ f/5.6

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 400, 1/2200 @ f/5.6

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 400, 1/1200 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 400, 1/1000 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 1600, 1/1000 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 1600, 1/1000 @ f/5.6

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 3200, 1/75 @ f/2

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 3200, 1/110 @ f/2

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 1600, 1/1000 @ f/5

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 1600, 1/1000 @ f/5

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 1600, 1/1000 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 1600, 1/1000 @ f/5

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 1600, 1/1000 @ f/5

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 400, 1/180 @ f/11

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 3200, 1/60 @ f/2

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 3200, 1/35 @ f/2


Florida Wildlife

July 29, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Canon 5D, Canon 400mm f/5.6L, ISO 400, 1/200 @ f/5.6

At the start of the year, I decided that it was time to evaluate a few of my gear choices.  I realized that the only time that I had used my Canon 7D in the previous 6 months was to scan film.  On the other hand, I was using my film Leicas on a daily basis, and was constantly wishing that I had a similarly sized digital camera.  Since I was working at a camera store at the time, I had plenty of opportunities to test the current lineup of mirrorless cameras from all of the main manufacturers.  I had always been drawn to Fuji's camera and lens lineup, and being able to try them out in person confirmed that they were what I was looking for in an everyday camera that I could also use for serious work.  After a couple of weeks of indecision, I sold my 7D and bought a Fuji X-Pro1.  Since I now almost literally shoot with the X-Pro1 everyday, I'm happy with that decision.

This did leave me with a potential problem though.  The 7D was my main camera for wildlife, and once I decided to sell it, I would need to get used to my Canon 5D for this purpose.  The 5D is a camera with a full-frame sensor, which is normally an advantage to me, but in the case of wildlife, it meant that I no longer had the 1.6x crop factor of the 7D.  On top of this, I doubt anyone would claim that the 5D's autofocus speed was anywhere near as fast as the 7D's.

My first opportunity to test the 5D out as my main wildlife camera came when I visited Florida over the winter.  The crop factor wouldn't be a major problem; due to how tame the wildlife is in Florida, being too close is usually a more frequent problem.  I was a bit worried about the AF speed, since I do usually take a lot of birds in flight images while in Florida.

In the end, neither of the expected issues proved to be a major problem.  As expected, most of my subjects were close enough that I didn't need to worry about the loss of the crop factor, and to my surprise, the 5D didn't have any problems with keeping up with flying birds.  An added bonus of having the full frame sensor was that I was able to blue the backgrounds out a bit more than I would have been able to with the 7D, so it all worked out in the end!

Canon 5D, Canon 400mm f/5.6L, ISO 400, 1/800 @ f/7.1

Canon 5D, Canon 400mm f/5.6L, ISO 400, 1/4000 @ f/7.1

Canon 5D, Canon 400mm f/5.6L, ISO 400, 1/640 @ f/7.1

Canon 5D, Canon 400mm f/5.6L, ISO 400, 1/5000 @ f/7.1

Canon 5D, Sigma 150mm f/2.8 Macro, ISO 400, 1/8000 @ f/4

Canon 5D, Canon 400mm f/5.6L, ISO 400, 1/500 @ f/7.1

Canon 5D, Canon 400mm f/5.6L, ISO 400, 1/250 @ f/8

Canon 5D, Canon 400mm f/5.6L, ISO 400, 1/250 @ f/7.1

Canon 5D, Canon 400mm f/5.6L, ISO 400, 1/400 @ f/5.6

Canon 5D, Canon 400mm f/5.6L, ISO 400, 1/400 @ f/5.6

Canon 5D, Canon 400mm f/5.6L, ISO 400, 1/500 @ f/5.6

Canon 5D, Canon 400mm f/5.6L, ISO 400, 1/3200 @ f/5.6

Canon 5D, Canon 400mm f/5.6L, ISO 400, 1/1250 @ f/5.6

Canon 5D, Canon 400mm f/5.6L, ISO 400, 1/2000 @ f/7.1

Canon 5D, Canon 400mm f/5.6L, ISO 400, 1/1600 @ f/5.6

Canon 5D, Canon 400mm f/5.6L, ISO 400, 1/1000 @ f/7.1

Canon 5D, Canon 400mm f/5.6L, ISO 400, 1/200 @ f/5.6

Canon 5D, Canon 400mm f/5.6L, ISO 400, 1/4000 @ f/7.1

Canon 5D, Canon 400mm f/5.6L, ISO 400, 1/3200 @ f/7.1

Canon 5D, Canon 400mm f/5.6L, ISO 400, 1/6400 @ f/5.6

Canon 5D, Canon 400mm f/5.6L, ISO 400, 1/3200 @ f/5.6

Canon 5D, Canon 400mm f/5.6L, ISO 400, 1/3200 @ f/7.1

Canon 5D, Canon 400mm f/5.6L, ISO 400, 1/1600 @ f/7.1

Canon 5D, Canon 400mm f/5.6L, ISO 400, 1/2500 @ f/5.6

Canon 5D, Canon 400mm f/5.6L, ISO 400, 1/1600 @ f/7.1

Canon 5D, Canon 400mm f/5.6L, ISO 400, 1/2500 @ f/7.1

Canon 5D, Canon 400mm f/5.6L, ISO 400, 1/2500 @ f/7.1

Canon 5D, Canon 400mm f/5.6L, ISO 400, 1/2500 @ f/7.1

Canon 5D, Canon 400mm f/5.6L, ISO 400, 1/1600 @ f/7.1

Canon 5D, Canon 400mm f/5.6L, ISO 400, 1/1600 @ f/7.1

Canon 5D, Canon 400mm f/5.6L, ISO 400, 1/2000 @ f/7.1

Canon 5D, Canon 400mm f/5.6L, ISO 400, 1/2000 @ f/7.1


A Foggy Day in Fort Mac

July 22, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 800, 1/250 @ f/8

​It was a cool, foggy morning out at one of my bird banding sites this morning.  It ended up being a slow morning for birds, so I set about photographing the site between checking the mist nets.  Due to limited packing space in my luggage for the flight out here, I wasn't able to bring any of my medium format film cameras with me.  Luckily for me, my X-Pro1 makes it easy to shoot in the 6x6 format, so I can continue to make square images while away from home!  

As the photos will show, we were working in a burn area today.  I am happy to report that in this location the forest is already quickly recovering, with a lot of new vegetation growth!

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 800, 1/340 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 800, 1/160 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 800, 1/75 @ f/4

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 800, 1/350 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 800, 1/400 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 800, 1/120 @ f/9

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 800, 1/240 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 800, 1/400 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 800, 1/75 @ f/9

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 800, 1/1700 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 800, 1/850 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 800, 1/3200 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 800, 1/400 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 800, 1/680 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 800, 1/240 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 800, 1/600 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 800, 1/200 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 800, 1/500 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 800, 1/400 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 800, 1/600 @ f/8


Down to Florida, Pt 3

July 21, 2016  •  2 Comments

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 800, 1/2200 @ f/5.6

It has been a long spring and summer for me this year!  As I write this, I am out in Fort McMurray, Alberta.  I am doing bird banding work with the boreal MAPS project, and have been in Alberta since early June.  I have been quite busy with the field work portion of the job, and while I have had time to take photos, I am a bit behind on my editing and writing.  I had a few days off  due to being rained out, which gave me enough time to get the photos for this post ready!

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 800, 1/750 @ f/5.6

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 800, 1/900 @ f/5.6

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 800, 1/680 @ f/5.6

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 400, 1/1250 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 800, 1/1800 @ f/5.6

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 400, 1/1500 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 400, 1/1500 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 400, 1/1800 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 400, 1/1800 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 400, 1/1900 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 400, 1/220 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 400, 1/1100 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 400, 1/1200 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 400, 1/60 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 800, 1/240 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 800, 1/500 @ f/5.6

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 800, 1/1000 @ f/5.6

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 800, 1/500 @ f/5.6

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 800, 1/1000 @ f/5.6

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 800, 1/1000 @ f/5.6

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 800, 1/1000 @ f/5.6

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 400, 1/1000 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 400, 1/400 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 400, 1/240 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 400, 1/125 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 400, 1/340 @ f/8

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji XF 35mm f/2, ISO 400, 1/180 @ f/8