5 frames with...

7 Frames with a Nikon 28 Ti & Kodak Ektar 100 – By Matt Bigwood

March 19, 2022

Last autumn a friend sent me a message to say he was moving house and clearing out the final bits of his late father’s camera collection. He said he had a box full of ‘mostly junk’ and I would be welcome to have it.

The box contained a wide and varied range of equipment from (mostly inoperative) Canon 35mm SLRs from the early 1960s to 35mm rangefinder cameras of the same era – Kodak Retina IIIc, Braun Paxette etc – but what caught my attention, packed in a soft case, was a Nikon 28 Ti autofocus 35mm compact camera from the 1990s (released in 1994), a camera that, at the time, had attracted very favourable reviews for the quality of its fixed 28mm f2.8 lens and titanium body.

I decided I’d test the camera with a roll of Kodak Ektar 100 colour negative film on one of the least suitable days of the year – a dull, drab January Saturday. Along with my daughter we made the hours’ journey to Avebury, famous for its Neolithic-era stone circle and the village nestled within it.

I’d been a Nikon shooter from the mid-1980s, using a variety of bodies including the FM2, F2, F3 and F90X. The 28 Ti had passed me by, and I only had a vague recollection of it and the older sibling, the 35 Ti.

At first glance the camera seemed to be style over substance with four analogue dials on the top indicating aperture, frame number, focused distance and exposure compensation but only when viewed from above. The viewfinder LED displays shutter speed, exposure compensation and a flash indicator. There are parallax correction lines too.

Mid-afternoon in January in the UK wasn’t the best time to use a 100 ISO emulsion, so I opted to use a fairly heavy Manfrotto monopod – just as well as shutter speeds were around 1/60 second at f/4, later dropping to 1/30 at f/2.8 with the 100 ISO emulsion. Most of the pictures were taken at the widest aperture, a few at f/4.

I decided to photograph the variety of buildings in the village rather than the stone circle itself. There’s a wide and varied collection of architecture, some of it containing fragments of smashed standing stones from the circle many years ago.

The film was developed and scanned by Ag Photolab in Birmingham, UK and the exposures on the film seemed very accurate. The lens, in my opinion, doesn’t live up to what I was expecting from it given its reputation, but I was shooting at wide apertures on a dull day, so performance might be better when stopped down more.

It was enjoyable to use the Nikon 28TI and shoot a roll of 35mm for the first time in a long while and I’ll certainly use it again, but next time on a brighter, sunnier day.

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17 Comments

  • Reply
    Louis A. Sousa
    March 19, 2022 at 2:05 pm

    Intense colors!!!!

    • Reply
      Jens Knappe
      March 22, 2022 at 3:42 pm

      Love the 28mm focal length very much !
      ( Purchased a Vivitar 28mm f2.5 for my Konica T2 two days ago.)
      There a only a few P/S cameras with a 28mm lens, i remember the Olympus XA4 or the Konica Genba Kantoku 28 WB in the moment.
      Your shots with the 28Ti are great !

  • Reply
    Arthur Gottschalk
    March 19, 2022 at 5:05 pm

    I’m looking for a P/S camera. Surprised to see these on Ebay going for close to $1000.00. But my question: are they repairable?

    • Reply
      Matthew Bigwood
      March 19, 2022 at 6:46 pm

      I don’t know, but given their age I would be very surprised if Nikon can supply spare parts.

    • Reply
      Kodachromeguy
      March 21, 2022 at 4:30 am

      No. I am surprised that the Matt’s still works. Use it with pleasure!

    • Reply
      Eric Norris
      March 21, 2022 at 3:28 pm

      Probably not. I’ve been trying to find a replacement battery door for my Nikon 35ti for some time now–nobody seems to have spare parts.

  • Reply
    Graham Orbell
    March 19, 2022 at 9:37 pm

    Thanks Matt, I was interested not so much in the camera but in the Ektar film. I have 4 rolls sitting in my fridge waiting for a planned trip in June. I couldn’t find any more available where I live and am wary of security X-ray if importing film. Your photos seem to have very good colour and saturation and suited to that dull light apart of course from the slow shutter speed needed. But your monopod took care of that.
    I think your film had excellent processing and scanning. I especially like the second to last one through the fence where the branches take care of the grey sky. We don’t have many or any stately homes like that in New Zealand.

  • Reply
    Castelli Daniel
    March 19, 2022 at 11:18 pm

    I like the pics. The astrology device is my favorite, nicely weathered & the colors are a bit saturated.
    I’m using a pair of Leitz-Minolta CL camera bodies for my EDC. I use them partially because here in the US there are a couple of excellent technicians that bring these back to factory specs. I’d prefer the Minolta CLE, but like Arthur, I’m hesitant to buy one because I don’t know if they can be repaired. I totally understand Arthurs’ concern…a lot of money for something that could become a fine piece of static art.

  • Reply
    davesurrey
    March 20, 2022 at 3:27 pm

    I stumbled across the 28Ti’s brother the 35Ti last year and was lucky enough to get it for what now seems to be half of that they are going for currently. Such is the camera market.
    It’s an interesting camera. Not the favourite in my collection but capable nevertheless.
    All the fancy analogue dials make it stand out and it reminds me a little of my Nikon Coolpix A, a digital compact APS-C which I often carry around and can produce some stunning shots for its size.
    Given our usual January English light there are some great shots there.

  • Reply
    Lee
    March 21, 2022 at 12:22 pm

    I think you got some very decent photos from this camera, using film that wasn’t the most amenable to the conditions you found yourself in. Now, I surely hope that you didn’t just pass by that Kodak Retina IIIc you also found in the box. Unless it was totally fouled-up, that too is a very nice camera with a sharp and fast Schneider 50mm f/2 lens. That camera may be the pick of the bunch.

    • Reply
      Matthew Bigwood
      March 22, 2022 at 10:58 am

      Thanks very much.

      • Reply
        Lee
        March 22, 2022 at 12:07 pm

        No comments on the Retina IIIc?

        • Reply
          Matthew Bigwood
          March 22, 2022 at 3:32 pm

          I’ve just had a quick check and it’s actually a Retina IIc with a Retina-Heligon 50mm f/2.8.

          • Lee
            March 22, 2022 at 4:14 pm

            Still not a bad camera at all. Compared to the IIIc, the IIc has the f/2.8 lens rather than the f/2, and lacks the selenium light meter.

  • Reply
    Jens Knappe
    March 22, 2022 at 3:46 pm

    Love the 28mm focal length very much !
    ( Purchased a Vivitar 28mm f2.5 for my Konica T2 two days ago.)
    There are only a few P/S cameras with a 28mm lens, i remember the Olympus XA4 or the Konica Genba Kantoku 28 WB in the moment.
    Your shots with the 28Ti are great !

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