About Me

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I take pictures of things. Mostly with film. Mostly with cameras. I am an engineer by trade. What really makes me happy, though, is to find an old camera at a swap meet or antique store and bring it back into working order with a few hours at the workbench. I then like to take them out and shoot some film. This blog is in large part the result of that activity.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Rod Melancon at The Mint


This is my friend Rod Melancon, a very, very talented singer/songwriter from Cajun country, playing a set at The Mint.  I met Rod one night at a party celebrating the birthday of Albert Einstein (yes, really.  I go to some interesting parties) where he sat and quietly played a couple of acoustic tunes.   As we had mutual friends, one thing led to another and I ended with the great privilege of playing guitar for Rod for his first ever gig.  He didn't start small, we played the Whisky on Sunset.  A number of other gigs followed but it was pretty clear that Rod was destined for touring and huge success and I have a mortgage and a day job.  He is now playing backed by some really experienced country players who are getting him pointed in the right direction and introducing him to the right people.   Remember his name, you'll be hearing it more, I'm sure, and it couldn't happen to a nicer fellow.


I shot this with my Nikon F3P, my old standby Kodak BW400CN and a 50mm f1.4 Non-AI/AI converted lens.  What was all that mumbo jumbo?  The Nikon lens mount is called the 'F' mount and was introduced on the Nikon F camera in 1959.  The same mount with a few updates is currently used on all Nikon film and digital SLR (single lens reflex) cameras.  That means that lenses that were designed over fifty years ago will, for the most part, still work on a modern camera.  Those first lenses were designed with a metal prong on the aperture ring called a 'indexing fork'.  This prong mechanically communicates the aperture to the metered finder, if the camera is so equipped, as my 'F' is. (see the post "nikon porn" for a photo of that camera)


The F2, the replacement for the F, as well as a variety of Nikkormat cameras continued to have mechanically indexed meters, but by 1979 and the release of the F3, a new system was introduced, the Automatic Indexing (or AI) lenses.  These lenses have a raised rib at the back of the aperture ring which pushes a tab on the indexing ring on the body.  The idea is the same, the aperture is still mechanically communicated to the body, but by the 'indexing rib', not by the 'indexing fork' and to an internal meter, as opposed to a metering finder.  As it happens, for many years Nikon lenses included both the rib and the fork, until the 'series e' lenses, which dispensed with the fork.  I am unaware of any autofocus lenses which have the indexing fork, but I could be wrong.


A 'non AI' lens is a lens which was designed for the F, F2 or Nikkormat cameras and has a fork but no rib.  As it turns out, through clever, careful filing, a rib can be fashioned from the aluminum of the aperture ring.  Since I had a 50mm f1.4 lens which was non AI and I wanted to be able to automatically meter with it on my newer cameras, I took the chance and disassembled the lens and filed the aperture ring down.  I'm happy to say that it worked.  It is therefore a 'non AI/AI converted' lens.


Aren't you glad you asked?

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