I started out learning how to do manual photography 20 years ago with my beloved Nikon FE2 camera. I had a small collection of old prime lenses that I bought from pawn shops. One of them is a Nikon 28mm f 2.8, which is actually a very useful focal length when attached to an APSC camera because it works out at just over 40 mm. This is a perfect length because it is very similar to what we see at (supposedly 42mm). I find 50 mm a bit tight for general street type photography and whilst I love 35mm for casual snapping it’s nice to get in a little bit tighter.
I bought an adapter which snaps on to my Fuji XT3 and allow me to screw my Nikon lenses directly into it. Because these are old lenses – they’re mostly primes from the 1970s and 80s – there is no automatic focus on them. Which is an actual joy to use. Thoughtful slow turns, and there are great focusing tools on the Fuji XT3 to assist you in focusing by zooming in.
I watched a very useful little video on YouTube which is here and shows you how to set your camera up for using these old retro lenses. The main thing you need to do is set your camera to take a picture even when it doesn’t detect the lens being there. All of the metering for light still works fine it’s just the focusing you need to do manually.
I just took the set up out for the first time on my daily 4:00 p.m. walk. London is grizzly and rainy and cold and a bit miserable at the moment. So these were not well considered pictures rather snaps I was taking at the very end of the light. The camera was wide at f2.8 and I had to push the ISO up to 32,000 by the end. But the manual focusing and wet weather make for great atmosphere.
These photos are straight from camera no editing. I can put my camera in wifi mode and send selected JPEG straight from my camera to my phone via the Fuji app, which I can then upload directly on this blog. For the sake of speed and making it EASY to keep up blogging I’m going to work in this way whilst I’m still experimenting, although long term I do hope to get better at digital editing tools and be uploading finished photos.