During the confinement period in France earlier this year, I have decided to get back to film photography. I found this Nikon FG in excellent condition with a Nikkor 50mm Series E f/1.8 lens and a Falcor 28mmm f/2.8 lens on a second-hand website popular in France.
The camera was going for 90 euros. The seller bought it in 1985 and all the original paperwork (invoice, notices, everything) but no longer the boxes. But COVID and quarantine stopped my plan. However, finally, I could send it at the end of June for a full CLA and got it back fully serviced and checked.
Ready with my camera, I am now looking to find the perfect B&W film for the style I am going for. I decided to test the Rollei Retro 400s and used the opportunity to shoot while at Pradelles in Auvergne in the middle of France. Pradelles is a medieval village with houses in volcanic stones and a derelict charm.
The Nikon FG is such a light and nice camera to travel with. Build quality is good, and it supports aperture priority mode. The light meter is spot on and provides excellent exposure overall. The few ones missed were mostly my fault, but it was a perfect way to know the camera and its limit.
Regarding the film itself, I am not a big fan of the contrast results. When the light is evenly distributed, I like the pictures, and the grain is not too visible overall. However, in scenes mixing light and dark areas, I am not a big fan of the contrast. Level of detail and sharpness is pretty good although I think my Nikkor 50mm is much sharper than my 28mm. At 5,50 euros a roll I think it is a good option somewhere between fine-grain films and more grainy films such as ILFORD HP5 PLUS.
I think the next ones on the list are the ILFORD Delta 400 Professional and Kodak T-MAX 400.
I hope you like the pictures and will be interested in visiting the Auvergne region in France. It is a beautiful place with great historical places to visit from the Volcanic cathedral in Clermont-Ferrand to the beast of the Gevaudan while enjoying fantastic food.
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Stéphane, that’s lovely work, and I find the tonality and range in the “staircase” image to be superb.
I laugh at your statement “I think my Nikkor 50mm is much sharper than my [offbrand] 28mm“ because that is a universal statement: your Nikkor will be sharper than any discount brand 28 you will ever find. Ever. If you can find a Nikkor 28 at a good price I think you’ll find it a good investment!! Keep shooting 🙂
I am not sure what developer you used but I would suggest PyroCat-HD. It will help you control the contrast issues you are experiencing.
Thanks Eric. I got development done by a lab but switching to home development during Xmas holidays. I am looking forward to develop. I will look into your suggestion for sure. Thanks
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Yes, the Nikon FG is very lovely, I would prefer it to my Canon AE-1 if I had to choose a second time.
Thanks Rainer. Indeed I had a Canon AE-1 and i find the FG much easier to use and getting the results I want. I hope you find one soon.
Lovely images. Thank you for sharing.