Nikon F-801

Sticking with the big boy cameras, here is the Nikon F-801 and some more tricky films.

The other side

Nikon F-801
Camera: £10.00
Nikon AF 28-105
Lens: £27.79
Postage: £9.49
Total: £47.28

Like Batman and Spiderman or Playstation and Xbox such it is with Nikon and Canon, the debate goes on about which is the best.  I’ve never been one for those sort of debates, why can’t I just like both?  Straight up you’ll notice that this camera cost more than twice what I paid for the Canon.  There are two obvious reasons for that, the lens is better and the camera is a slighly higher spec.  Where the Canon lens has plastic the Nikon has metal and glass and that’s partly true of the camera as well.  Both manufacturers have ranges from Entry-level to Professional with Mid-range and High-end in between.  The Canon 500N was at the top end of mid range, whereas the Nikon F801 sat at the bottom of high end.  The Nikon is older and its 1988 price of £500 would be about £1300 today.

More of the PictUre

Again we are talking full-frame with all the trimmings.  Nikon use the terms FX to indicate their full-frame lenses and DX for the APS-C lenses.  The 28-105 FX lens I got for this camera is a very nice, versatile lens which can do close-up/macro as well as a reasonable zoom.  It’s very heavy, which gives it a solid feel, but it can be a bit much to carry around and would feel unbalanced on a lighter camera, but all that lovely glass makes up for it.  Fortunately the F-801 is almost as solid and metal which does help with the balance but does increase the weight still more.

All the bells and some of the whistles

It has auto-everything with the option to manual-everything as you would expect.  As an older camera the controls are a little less familiar, usually requiring a few button combos to seleect every option but everything is there on the little LCD display and replicated when looking through the viewfinder.  It doesn’t have as many mode settings or electronic assists as the newer Canon, but I often find them a bit distracting if I’m honest.  On both cameras I would use the standard P (programme) mode to get an idea what the camera thought the exposure and shutter speed should be, then used either the A/Av (Aperture [value]) or S/Tv (Shutter/Time value) priority modes to tweak it depending if I wanted more light, a certain shutter speed or a particular depth of field.

Again I had an inkling that this camera would be something special, so I picked out a couple of films to really give it a workout.

Fuji Colour

Fuji Provia
Cost: £0.99
Postage: £4.50
Expired: new film
ISO: 100
Format/Type: Colour slide
Exposures: 36
Processing: £4.89
Full Total: £11.28
Cost per shot: £0.31
My Rating: 9

Unlike the sometimes slightly artificial-looking colour of Fuji Velvia (see the Practica VLC2 post) Fuji Provia gives a more realistic representation of colour while still retaining the vivd look Fuji have always been famous for.  It’s still a slide film and only slightly more forgiving to work with than the notoriously fussy Velvia.

I’m really pleased with the results, great colours and nice detail.  It’s fast enough that you can get good hand-held pictures on a sunny day, but not so fast as to be too grainy.  Most of the shots would have made dull black and white images, but the strong colour makes them work really well.  Slide film uses different chemicals which I don’t currently have, and the film itself costs a little more, but results like this are hard to argue with.  When you have a good camera and film combo it’s worth doing it properly.

Super Slow Motion

Heisenberg BW7
(Orwo)
Cost: £5.95
Postage: £6.07
Expired: 1996
ISO: 7
Format/Type: BW negative
Exposures: 24
Processing: £0.66
Full Total: £12.68
Cost per shot: £0.53
My Rating: 7

By far and away the slowest film I have ever used, this film was quite a challenge to shoot with, with almost every shot needing a tripod.

The results are better than I was expecting, so while I’d would like to, I’m unlikely to be able to get hold of this film again – it’s another Kaba Otto one like the BW# films in the two previous posts.  However I can still get fresh Orwo film that it was based on and it’s something I’d like to try out.  The constrast is nice and there is good detail, but the film was delicate and picked up a bit of damage just from going through the camera, apparently this is not uncommon in film originally design for movie use.  I’ll certainly try Orwo again, although the modern version is rated at much higher speeds.  It was a fun experiment to use such a slow film, but not likely to be one I’m able to repeat unless I can pick up some more specialist film.

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