Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Nikon's Promise of the Return of Pure Photography

When I think of pure photography, I can admit that I think back to my early days of photography, and my first "real" camera, the Pentax K1000 (which I still have and use). I shot Pentax instead of Nikon solely because of price. That said, my Pentax gear performed flawlessly for decades, and still does.
Anyway, the feel I get in my hands when I think back to then is one of an SLR camera, my right hand clamped onto the right side, finger on the shutter release, while my left hand cradles and sets the focus and f-stop (manually!) on the lens. Shooting an old Nikon film SLR - my FM2N, F2, or Nikomat, brings back that feeling very, very well. That's photographic home for me.
These days, "pure photography" to me means a couple of things. First, it means exactly what it used to: a great film camera and some real brass-and-class lenses. I've got no problem continuing to use the nicest old film gear. Second, if I extend it to the digital world, it means the Leica M9.
Pure Photography, by Reed A. George
Apple iPhone
Ironic, writing about pure photography and shooting what's in front of me with a telephone... Sorry for the poor quality image - I'm traveling, waking up in a coffee shop, and didn't have a mirror to shoot the M9 and iPad in.
Anyway, if you follow photography equipment news at all, you've undoubtedly already heard about Nikon's upcoming announcement of a digital SLR that promises to bring back "Pure Photography." Supposedly, we're going to be seeing a manually-controlled digital SLR that is similar to the FM2. The announcement is supposed to come early in November.
(Click Here) for a teaser video from the Nikon website.
I can say that I hope the camera lives up to the hype. A full-frame Nikon with all manual controls, which can reportedly even use pre-AI lenses (!) will be awesome. I'll want one.
I'm quite pleased with the M9, and will not give up on digital rangefinder photography. In some ways, it's more "back to the basics" than an SLR will ever be. However, it's not really my photographic history. I didn't have the opportunity to shoot a Leica until years after my Pentax K1000 days. I really love it, but it's not my roots.
So, Nikon, bring it to us. Reports, rumors, blurbs, say this will be an incredible camera, at a reasonable price. Let's see if you can pull it off. If so, I'm very pleased to buy a digital equivalent of my Nikon FM2N.