I got my Nikon F2 as a gift from a friend of mine who had for a long time been working in Japan – he also took photography as his hobby. Returning to Vietnam he gave up film photography to change to digital and I had the chance to get his Nikon F2 with a Nikkor – NC Auto 35mm/F 1.4 lens.
Photography is just a hobby for me too. As I worked in the travel industry, I go in and out a lot and I like to take a camera with me. I started taking photo long time ago with a Nikon FM2 that I bought from a friend when I was working in Bangkok, Thailand in 1987. Nikon FM2, is not so “professional” as the F2. It’s lighter, easy to use and one can get good images without much effort. I also take picture with digital cameras and had a Nikon D90 and a Fujifilm XT1 but I prefer film cameras much more.
As you may know, the Nikon F2 was produced from 1971 to 1980 and widely used by Western professional photographers during the Vietnam War. It’s quite heavy, made of metal with titanium shutter curtain which reportedly has a lifespan 100,000 actuation. So, it’s like a tank in the battle field. However, it was mainly used by Western photographers, not Vietnamese, because it was too expensive for them.
I often take pictures of streets, landscapes, portraits of my family and friends both inside and outside Vietnam. I shoot on both B&W and color films.
Like in other places of the world, analogue photography has been growing again for about 10 years now in Vietnam – particularly young people. We can buy film, can have it developed, scanned in labs in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with not so expensive prices.
Nowadays, there are a lot of foreigners coming to Vietnam as tourists, and some of them are also taking photos on film. Via internet, they know the labs and go there to buy and process their film. I think the quality of the film process including scanning in Vietnam is good, particularly if you compare it with the price you have to pay elsewhere. Developing and scanning a 36 exposure color negative film here can cost you less than $2; B&W $2,2
I retired some years ago, and am now living in Hanoi and often go out to take photo with my Nikon F2. The following pictures have been taken during a weekend visit to a place called Quan Son Lake, 60 km away from Hanoi, Vietnam with that Nikon and lens on Fujicolor 200. This year the lake does not have as much water as before and it does not look as beautiful as it was, but I like its charm and quietness.
The view of the lake, taken by Nikon f2, 35/F1.4 lens on Fujifilm color 200
Thank you for reading. Phong Nguyen