Life after the MA

mickyatesDocumentary, Film, Mick's Photo Blog, Nikon, Photography, Projects Leave a Comment

The initial MA results are out – I’ll wait to see confirmation and comments before saying more.

Suffice to say, I have been doing some thinking about future projects. Of course I will be seeking to maximise the visibility (and sales) from my final MA work ‘Unfinished Stories‘. But I also want to set off in new directions.

I am blessed with an interesting range of project options.  And, whilst it is not the key, I am also pleased to have the majority of cameras that I have used since the 1960s to work with, today.

There has been quite a bit of talk in my Facebook circle about the price of new digital cameras, and whether the pursuit of techno gadgets is just diminishing returns for the photographer. I happen to think that it is, as we seem to get suckered into buying the latest tech just because it is there, rather than to get a job of work done. But maybe that is because the equipment I have is still all in very good shape, so I have options.

I was recently asked what my favourite film camera was. Whilst I have a Leica M6, a medium format Bronica SQ-A, and many others, it was an easy answer. The Nikon F4s, which I have owned since it was introduced in 1989.

Nikon F4 Advert. 1990. USA.

The F4 was a crossover from ‘old’ to ‘new’, being the first successful pro AF camera. It has matrix metering, autoload, and no less than 4 cpus onboard, whilst retaining Nikon’s historical F series ‘knobs and buttons’. No fiddly menus – fingertip control. The F4 is also compatible with more Nikon lenses than any other camera, working with glass going back to 1959 and with those produced today. Happily, over the decades I have amassed quite a collection. Whilst the AF is single point and fixed (which makes this possibly the world’s best focus-assist manual camera), the F4 is still a speedy beast in all of its functions. It can shoot at almost 6 frames a second in the ‘s’ version with the extra batteries, as pictured above.

It offers automation yet with total manual control.

The F4 is built like a (heavy) tank, and I recall reading somewhere that if you enjoy bar fights, then the F4 is your camera. It is however still well balanced, an ergonomic joy and a proper photographic tool. And I think its a beautiful design from Giorgetto Giugiaro.

So, whatever else I might get up to, this 30 year old jewel will be part of it all.

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