Nikomat EL

I was making some prints in Photo Kanon  today and I found interesting camera on the shelf. They had Nikomat (Nikkormat) EL and Nikkor 50mm 1.4. It looked brand new, like it had just came from Nikon factory. So I asked how much it was, and I was surprised, only 18,000 yen. The meter works, and it even came with new battery.

I’m not very interested about cameras. Especially digital cameras. They release new ones every year and new cameras take cleaner and cleaner images and pack new features. They are like miniature computers. The whole race for convenience turns me off.

But Nikomat! This camera was made before I was made! They produced these in Japan from 1972 to 1976. There is something that genuinely attracts me with really nice objects like this. It feels like a real tool which has a story.

I shot a roll of Lomography 400 with my Nikomat this afternoon and I really love to shoot with this camera. My Bessa R3m feels like a plastic toy after I hold this brick on my hands. It’s obvious that this camera is made to last.

Metering is nicely implemented, and is really easy to get used to. I didn’t try to shoot with aperture priority mode yet since I’m really used to shoot full manual. Downside with this camera is that if battery dies, you can only shoot with 1/90 (unmarked shutter speed), since the shutter speed js controlled electronically. That would mean ND filters if shooting outside. Battery is, by the way located under the mirror! At least you won’t lose battery door..

This is SLR all right and focusing is very different than with rangefinder. There’s no autofocus. But also it feels kind of refreshing to see exactly the image I’m going to capture, through the lens. I’m so used to shoot with my rangefinder. And this can focus closer than Leica.

Shutter is kinda loud that is to be expected from SLR.

The Nikkor 50mm lens is a big question mark for me. I have never shot with Nikon lens but this is as wide as 1.4 so it should be really nice lens for indoor photos. My Nokton 1.4 lens is very contrasty one, so I do hope Nikkor would offer a bit more gentleness what comes to contrast. I will develop my first roll tomorrow, so we’ll see.

I will write a complete review of this camera after I get acquainted with her more.

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