Film photographers love old gear. But what about NEW gear?
As our equipment ages and continues to be used, things are simply going to deteriorate. When possible, I like to buy NEW photo equipment that’s relevant to what I do. It provides a better user experience for me than dealing with eBay returns and relentless searching for good copies at fair prices.
Additionally, I feel that I’m voting with my wallet for the return, or at least continued support from major camera-makers of film cameras and film-centric products. Fortunately, amidst most manufactures halting production of resources to film photographers, Nikon has continued to support us in many ways.
And you don’t have to lay out thousands for a NEW F6 to show your support, either!
Did you know that Nikon still sells numerous lenses and accessories for their vintage film cameras?
It’s really quite remarkable. Got a Nikon FM, FE series or FA camera with a dusty viewfinder? Clean it out and screw on a clean NEW Nikon brand eyepiece!
Sure, you can find cheaper ones used on eBay etc but there’s nothing quite like buying NEW when it comes to clean optics! The little rubber ring on these keeps my eyeglasses scratch-free and it’s not falling apart as with vintage Nikon eyepieces. Glass on these is super clear because it’s brand new. Can’t go wrong with refreshing your worn vintage Nikons with this product, I bought one for each of my FM series cameras.
Speaking of clean, NEW optics and FM/FE series, how about a NEW focusing screen?
Nikon still sells the B3, E3 and popular K3 screens for the FM3a, which are all backwards compatible with FM2, FE2 bodies but brighter than originals. WOW! You can even install these on FM/FE bodies but they may require exposure adjustment to compensate. Additionally, not all FM’s can interchange screens so be sure to do some reading on this.
But not everyone uses an FA or FM/FE series camera. So how about a NEW lens hood?
NEW Nikon lens hoods are still often made just as nicely as the old ones; screw-in, metal hoods with the same model number as vintage! The NEW Nikon HN-3 which I use on my 35/1.4, carries the modern italicized bold Nikon script which is painted on but not etched in. And paint is a matte instead of gloss finish. But fit and feel are identical.
And what could be better to put a NEW lens hood on than a NEW Nikkor lens?!
Amazingly, Nikon still sells a decent compliment of 1970’s-style manual focus AIS lenses. My Nikkor 55mm 2.8 micro doesn’t feel or appear to be built any bit differently than the old copies, right down to the same rainbow-paint-filled etched apertures and distances! Glass of course, is absolutely perfect as are the aperture ring and focus damping. Here’s a list of all the Nikor AIS lenses that are still available NEW!
Nikkor 20mm 2.8 AIS – Nikkor 24mm 2.8 AIS – Nikkor 28mm 2.8 AIS – Nikkor 35mm 1.4 AIS – Nikkor 50mm 1.4 AIS – Nikkor 50mm 1.2 AIS – Nikkor 55mm 2.8 Micro AIS – Nikkor 105mm 2.8 Micro AIS
I know, I know, the usual critics are patiently waiting in the wings to fill my comments section with the price differences between NEW and used Nikon products, armed with some indisputable logic of why buying NEW is still a bad idea with the glut of perfectly good used gear on the market.
But look, if you prefer, or must buy used Nikon products, I stand by my words.
Being that it’s practically the wild west out there, at times, you may find that some eBayers and Amazon vendors are charging almost as much, if not more, for their used, un-warrantied Nikon products that, if purchased NEW, would arrive more surely and under warranty, in the original box etc, smelling beautifully of fresh machine oil! So it’s at least wise to price-check used to NEW before purchasing and deciding what is a better value for you and your particular work.
And even if you don’t buy a 35mm 1.4 brand new from Nikon via B&H, but you pick up a NEWer copy, gently used on KEH, you are still getting a great, well-made lens that, thanks to Nikon, would have been much rarer and potentially more expensive or in lesser condition because this model is still made in exactly the same way that it always was.
And how can you find anything wrong with that?!
I hope that this has been informative and let me know what your favorite NEW film products are! Thanks for reading and happy shooting!
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