Rolls of Film

This is my Uncle John.  Well, one of my Uncles John. 

Nikon FM2 Ilford HP5+
Every Christmas Eve for the last 20 years or more I've gone to my Uncle John's house to hang out with the extended Bellah family.  The house is full of cousins, second cousins, not cousins, wives and husbands of cousins... lots of family.

This photo was taken this past Christmas Eve.  Those of you who know us both might say there's a bit of a resemblance.  The fact is that I look a great deal like my Uncle, I walk a lot like him, our mannerisms are similar.  I happen to enjoy his company immensely, and don't spend nearly enough time visiting him, given that we live about 30 minutes drive from each other.  Yet another thing I should do something about.

This is my youngest daughter Shea. 
Nikon FM2 Ilford HP5+

She is drinking Tea at a Chinese restaurant on Christmas Day.  I did not drink tea that evening...

NIkon FM2 Ilford HP5+

So what do all these photos have in common?  They were all from the same roll of film.  Something we've lost in this digital age of instant gratification is that experience of waiting for your photos.  I took these photos in December and didn't get around to processing that roll until just a week or so ago.  By the time I did that the photos were a nice surprise.  The other thing that we've lost with digital is the idea that each frame is somehow important.  There is effort required for each of those 24 or 36 images.  There is expense.  They count.  Therefore I tend to take a little more time thinking about them before I push the shutter.

Nikon D7000 50mm f3.5 microNikkor 

I took these shots with my Nikon FM2 and 50mm f1.4 lens as pictured here.  The FM2 was made from 1982 till 1984, when it was replaced by the FM2n.  The FM2 was designed to be a professional photographer's second camera, a fully mechanical backup to their F3 or F4.  As such it eschews all the modern automated frills.  The shutter speed is selected manually with that big round knob on the top.  Manual focus, manual aperture, no automation at all.  The meter is simply a triplet of leds on the right side of the finder, over, under and just right.  It works really well and to a great extent has supplanted my F3 as my go to Nikon film body.

My particular FM2 was bought from KEH as an "as is" body.  As you can see, it has brassing on all the edges of the top.  The peak of the prism housing is dented and scratched; it looks like someone attacked it with a pair of pliers.  The self timer lever was missing.  I replaced it with one from my parts box (it is from an FM, but only a real Nikon fanatic would notice the difference).  I replaced the worn and dirty leatherette with a product called 'griptac' from a fellow who sells camera leather restoration kits.  It feels like a modern DSLR, grippy but not sticky.  My FM2 will never  be a collector's item but it sure gets used a lot, and that is the whole point.


  1. love it
    for sure u can't fake f1.4 depth of field w/ gaussian.

    1. Very true. I really do prefer the out of focus areas as the 1.4 renders it, at least for 35mm. I have some f1.8 and f2.0 50mm lenses but there is just nothing like the creamy blur of the f1.4. I prefer ever so slightly the Pentax blur to Nikon, but it is just personal preference.


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