For this shoot, I chose to use the Nikon F2AS mated with my Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 and a roll of Kentmere Pan 100 black and white film. My location was the town of Ampang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia which is adjacent to the capital city of Kuala Lumpur. All five frames were shot on the same day, late morning, within the same general area inside a two-mile radius capturing different street scenes at that time.

I did not realise there would be a busker, nor that the primates would venture this far from the woods! Lockdown restrictions were being lifted, and it just shows that you need to explore your world and capture some of its moments.

The Nikon F2AS is a fantastic camera to work with. I changed the focusing screen from the Type-E to the Type-K screen but have since swapped that back. The Type-K has that split prism in the center that you need to align, and it sometimes (half or whole) goes black (for lack of light) making it actually harder to focus, fiddling around with the focusing ring. Things can get wonky, to say the least.

The built-in light meter on the Nikon DP-12 is accurate having calibrated the readings with the light meter installed on my phone, however one needs to get used to the -o, o or o+ lights, and once you have, it is straightforward from that point on.

I am still not completely familiar with the camera, I need to remember to wind the frame forward after each shot, wasted time and missed opportunities. One of the other niggles is that you cannot attach a standard cable shutter release to minimise camera shake when working with a tripod — Nikon F and F2 shutter buttons don’t have a standard threaded shutter button. Instead, an attachment screws around the button, with a cable attached to it.

The hardest part of film photography for me is composition, you need to get it right the first time, and you don’t have the instant gratification of being able to see or delete a frame and start again. This is where that fun lies, and it gives you a moment of pause, constantly thinking about the light and the other variables. All that being said, the F2AS came through without missing a beat. No wonder it is an icon, I am just not good enough for it.

Future set up?

Nikon F2AS with a 50mm or 28mm lens, 400 ISO film, and a small tripod for quick table-mounted shots, especially in the evening. The possibilities are endless.

~ Tunku

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