I was recently asked the question, “what camera would you not sell?” As the proud owner of a tiny collection, my response was immediate and succinct. “My Nikon F2 and 50mm f2.”
Thus, my premise for writing this body of thought began. I started wondering about my knee-jerk reaction and began searching in the depths of my inner man… and without a doubt, the Nikon F2 is the one camera I hold on to dearly for all-too-emotional reasons. Yet, the shots that I have gotten out of this combination have turned out to be the most reliable results I could ever want out of a 35mm camera. Having owned a variety of different SLRs, rangefinders, point & shoots; the Nikon has far surpassed them all. And it’s not necessarily about sharpness of the 50mm f2 lens, or the ergonomics of the body. Let’s just get it out of the way, it is literally a brick of a camera. A running joke I have with my fiancee is that whenever I have my F2 on my shoulder, I worry not for my camera but for the arms and sides of those who bump into it.
I predominantly shoot black and white, although I find myself shooting more colour these days (but usually medium format). The 50mm pre-ai lens has superb character. The F2 has given me hundreds of lovely exposures, and with such a reliable combination, I don’t have to worry about what I’m shooting with; only my choice of film, and my composition.
I have found my groove, and the constant that helps me work on my skills as a photographer. Although I shoot more medium format these days, I take the F2 out often, and it has helped me capture some of my favourite day to day moments.
It’s not the best, but the most reliable tool out of my arsenal, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world (well, maybe a Mamiya 7).
Long live the F2.