Old School Joy!

10 years, 11 months ago 6


I made a promise to myself about two years ago.  Looking forward to retirement, I said I really want to go back to the old school way of doing things!  I’m not rejecting all the great progress we’ve made with modern cameras and lenses, but I still have a great love for the humble beginnings of my love affair with the craft of photography!  I loved the old manual lenses, how it felt to focus them, turning the aperture ring, and the heft of the bodies.





When I went to work for Nikon 11 years ago this month, I had a vast collection of classic AI-S Nikkor manual focus lenses that I had collected over my 30+ year career.  I was advised to sell everything while they still had value as digital and auto-foucs were clearly the way of the future.  So I sold two F5’s, an F100, and Nikon FM-T Titanium and about 20 lenses ranging from 16mm to 400mm.  I eventually got used to the new cameras, and lenses, but from time to time, I really missed my old little Nikkor jewels!


Since I was the Nikon rep for the South I was always finding great deals on some of the very lenses I had let go, so I started collecting them again, and now I have all the lenses I sold back then, and a few more!!!  Now you may be wondering if this means the old lenses are better than the new glass, no, but they do have a very special charm all there own!  I’ve always believed that every manufacturer makes some lenses that are extra special, what I call the “legendary glass”!  Every camera maker has a few lenses that are acknowledged as being among the best ever made in that focal length.  That was the Nikon lenses I sold, and now own again. While they may not be the best,  most highly sought after modern lenses, the “legendary” ones can certainly hold their own!




I now use a modern camera body, the Nikon D800, with some of these classic lenses, and it is not only great fun, but the combination yields drop dead gorgeous results!  I really love the classic legendary glass when shooting nature and airplane images, see the two examples below!





I recently have purchased a complete Fuji X system for when weight is an issue in the field. I love these smaller mirror less cameras and their wonderful glass as well!  They have old school controls and are built really well. The first three images in this blog post were with the Fuji X-E1 and Fujinon lenses. With these two systems, I’m having a blast, and more fun than ever being a photographer!




One thing is for sure, we certainly have some of the best gear to enjoy making photographs with, in the history of the craft!!!




the pilgrim




6 Responses

  1. Dave says:

    Hi Bill,
    I recently happened upon your blog here and really enjoy how you exhibit a joy for the Lord, family and life in general. Nice post, love the photos. I’ve been looking at Fuji and Olympus to supplement the two Nikons I currently have and your enthusiasm seems to indicate it’s a valid endeavor. Anyway, I look forward to more postings from you.

    • admin says:

      I think my Nikon’s are the core of my imaging system, but as I grow older the lower weight, combined with superb performance of the smaller system is a very valuable asset in my image capturing efforts!

  2. Hi Bill
    I haven’t written in some time but check your blog every day. Love your photography and your commitment to your faith. On your “recommendation” (the good things you said about it.) I purchased the Nikon D600. I just received it yesterday and shot about 24 images. I like what I see. I also have the D800 but the files are so huge and it doesn’t treat me very nice sometimes when it comes to focus.

    Should I be concerned with the focus issue I read about on the internet? I printed the target out and photographed it. It looked okay to me but I seem to have trouble getting tack sharp images with it on a consistent basis.

    Keep up the good work. We’re the same age but I have about 4 more years of work left before I can pull the plug. I suffer from NAS. 🙂


    • admin says:

      Thanks for the kind words, I would get my D800 back into Nikon repair, if it is not focusing properly it is likely under warranty and a good check up may cure that issue, the big files, unfortunately their is not cure for that!!!

  3. David Warren says:

    Really enjoyed this article. One of my favorite lens is a Nikkor 105 mm 1.8 manual focus. It is my favorite portrait lens. I was so glad when I got my D700 and was able to use it again. Thanks for the insight of using the old along with the new.