Sunday, 24 November 2013

Photography: Nikon FM. The tool of a generation of newspaper photographers.

The Nikon FM. A fully manual focus, non automatic 35mm camera. Thousands of these cameras wielded by grizzled newspaper photographers all over the planet have produced literally millions of images that have enthralled the population of readers.

What an amazing piece of kit. Lower in cost and features than the Nikon F3, this camera was the ideal choice as its lower price meant one could have 2 bodies in the camera bag. Able to be fitted with a motor drive for sports images .. or any action images for that matter, these things are as tough as nails.

Long before the current crop of fresh faced young digital photographers had even been born, guys and girls with a purpose and vision and only 36 exposures at a time created the images that stopped the world. If you have one memorable image from the front page of a newspaper from the 80s.. it's a good bet it was shot with a Nikon FM or it's automatic sister, the FE ! It was a different time… HP5 or Tri X were the films of choice… and the magic of watching that 8x10 image form on a piece of Ilford paper in the dev tray was something that today's digital folks will never know.

When the Russians invaded Afghanistan, confusion reigned supreme on the streets of Kabul. One enterprising young French press photographer booked a flight from Paris to Kabul.. spent a day there shooting everything and then flew back.. before the Russians shut the place down. His were the only images of the utter chaos that was unfolding.

You have probably seen the images, if not try Google.. all captured on film and probably with a Nikon FM. Imagine his joy looking at each neg as the film strip came out of the dev tank.

Now that is pure magic photography.. created with the human eye that can "see the light" and a sturdy Nikon.. and not a hi speed digital camera & bloody photoshop to fix your mistakes!

Sorry to see this go to a new home!