Going back to my roots!

After watching a documentary on the renowned war photographer Don McCullin I felt a strong urge to ‘go back to my roots’ and shoot with a classic camera and film! Some of his most famous images were shot on a Nikon F and F2, one of which saved his life during an ambush – the camera stopped a bullet!


Good quality Nikon F’s and F2’s can command quite high prices and as this was a bit of a whim I didn’t want to spend too much initially. After a bit of online research and refreshing my memory of the classic Nikons of the mid – to late 70’s I found a good condition FE2 chrome body for sale at an online retailer I use regularly. The FE2 was launched in 1983, replacing the FE adding 1/4000th shutter speed and TTL flash exposure and 1/250th flash sync. I have to say I was a bit surprised at the availability of 35mm film I thought I might have to search around a bit, but the same retailer had good supplies in stock.

Nikon FE2 + 50mm F1

I had decided to shoot only black and white, we have 2 professional labs very close by – I plan to use one for the initial developing, printing and scanning to CD, and the other for final printing of any decent images I can get! I’ve yet to decide whether I will end up printing from an edited digital scan or printing directly from the original negative. One of the benefits of owning a Nikon system for our pro work is that the basic Nikon F lens mount hasn’t changed since it was first introduced in 1959, even with the advent of digital cameras, several of the lenses I already own will work with this 30 year old camera I’m about to use!

Whilst waiting for the camera to arrive, I have been putting some thought into what I will use it for and some of the actual image making process, which will be so different to how I currently work. 

I’ve ordered just 2 rolls of 36 exposure films – yes just  72 clicks of the shutter to create a masterpiece! They are Ilford Delta 100 and 400 ISO speeds, considered ‘slow’ by today’s standards, we regularly shoot at 6400 ISO in dimly lit churches!


Whilst I will have the luxury of editing a scanned digital version of the negative, using all the software and expertise gained over the last few years, I want to try and achieve as much ‘in camera’ image making as possible at the time of actual shooting. Maybe a red filter on the lens to darken blue skies, or a green one to lighten any foliage, a ‘soft focus’ to smooth skin and a vignette matte to darken the corners! Whilst the FE2 does have an auto aperture mode, I am planning to shoot manually as much as possible using a light meter for aperture and shutter speeds. I’m expecting to look at the back of the camera after taking a shot – but, no screen to ‘chimp’ and review, I’ll even have to manually wind the film to take the next picture!

So, watch this space for my first attempts!

About Dave Jackson Photography

Lifelong photographer based in Dorset, specialising in Landscape and Wildlife Photography
This entry was posted in Film Photography, Latest News. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Going back to my roots!

  1. Pingback: Film Photography – Nikkormat EL and Nikon F | Wedding Photographer, Bournemouth, Dorset

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