The Paul Pride Project - Update I

For those following along here I wanted to give a brief update on the Paul Pride Project - the film files. Too much alliteration? Maybe I'll rename it Operation Paul Pride. Sounds even more enigmatic - I like enigmatic - it's cool and mysterious.

Anyway… I selected the actual physical camera I would send today and got it ship shape. Well as ship as it's getting. If Paul likes this stuff so much that he needs a more better camera of pristine collector quality and some mythical glass I will leave that as a future exercise for him.

So obviously these are a series of quick enigmatic and mysterious vignette's of the actual camera that will be on it's way shortly. Let's list what we have here and what I did to it. Your typical garden variety Nikon FE. Electronically timed shutter so it need two easy to find batteries that usually last years. The ones in there may only last weeks as I have no idea how long they have been in that camera - easy to deal with in any case. A nice reasonably clean viewfinder and of generally sound physical and mechanical condition.

Definitely not a shelf queen. I decided on this one because I don't use it and never have. It looked decent enough. Everything important seems to work and it's not perfect. My other FE's suffer from a plethora of minor illnesses that I would not want to inflict on Paul - most of them are a non-even but could be vexing for the non-zealot first time FE-er. Plus I am not worried that this one will deteriorate functionally or mechanically. All of the ones that I have that are perfect are just that - perfect. So perfect that I am actually scared to use them sometimes.

So here's what's wrong with this one.

  • There is a depression from a minor scuffle in the prism housing. Hard to see unless you look.
  • It looks as if there was some sort of incident involving a smack-down on some concrete that has bashed the ISO/exposure compensation dial under the rewind lever so that it's ever so slightly off kilter. Hey we've all been there with our cameras/photography right? In this case if Paul feels this way at least he'll have a camera that's used to that style of ummm handling. Unfortunately it means the exposure comp doesn't really lift and turn any longer so it's useless - the buttons and ISO setting still does though. Who care's it's so fiddly it's useless anyway. I never use it. What does work is the very subtly implemented exposure lock. Some other bodies I have this is what doesn't work. Usually dirt in the switch mechanism etc. An absolute must if you are going to work in aperture priority auto w/ center weigted metering.
  • Maybe as an added complication for the ISO dial being on the loosing end of a physical conflict this is the very first Nikon that did not absolute match exactly the exposure metering of my D600 and every other Nikon I have. Strange. It may be that the ISO setting is knocked off from the actual setting by a hair. No big deal it's dead consistent across ISO's and brightness values. Somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 stop under what it should be. Hence it tells you you can use a slightly higher shutter speed than my reference Nikon meters. Just set the ISO 1/3 to 2/3 slower speed than you normally would. If you take my suggestion and shoot color neg at 1 stop over by setting ISO to half box speed then who cares it will all be fine.

Whatever everything else seems to be great. Smooth, no issues, winding feels good. Shutter seems dead accurate, Even the eyepiece still has some rubber left on the rim. These unscrew so if Paul is a stickler for rubber he can get one himself. This will give him the experience of a real FM/FE user. The rubber around the eyepiece wears of in like a week from rubbing on your clothing while hanging off a strap anyway. Here's what I did to it in prep…

  • Switched out the focusing screen with another FE. This one has dust the other had a big giant ass scrach/smear right in the center of the split image/micro-prism ring by someone's ham-fisted noodling around in the mirror box. Heck I won't even attempt to clean the dust off - these things are crazy fragile.
  • I washed the outside and even used a Q-tip to get some of the closet rot out of the nooks and crannies. I even got a lot of the dirt out of the engravings so you could read it. As you can see there are still some deposits in tricky spots that you really need something smaller than a Q-tip to clean. I'll leave that to Paul if he needs it even prettier.
  • I loaded up some cheapo film tested the advance and rewind. took a few shots and now just have to finish up the roll on some various StupidCrap™ so I can have it processed at the nearest drug store to make sure there aren't hideous issues with focusing etc…

As mentioned it's the absolutely shittiest manual focus Nikkor ever but it works well, it's smooth, it's fast, and it's very very small. Heck check it next to my X100…

Heck, even being the crappiest manual focus Nikkor 50mm is a far sight better ergonomically, mechanically, and optically than a heck of a lot of other contemporary stuff from other manufacturers. It looks and feels like a masterpiece compared to most lenses today. Now off to shoot some StupidCrap™


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