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Nikon F3 – Camera Review

Nikon F3 Camera Review (2 of 11)There are rare objects in this world that have the power to stop people in their tracks. Works of art so beautiful that they demand a lingering gaze; music so lovely that it pulls us into a different world. And for us photo geeks, even cameras can be so captivating!

I was on vacation, strolling through New York’s Greenwich Village and snapping away when a man stopped me on the street and enthusiastically exclaimed, “Hey, is that a Nikon F3?” We talked a bit, he lamented selling his own F3 long ago, and as we parted he mentioned his happiness (but not his surprise) to see one still in use.

A month later I was back home in Los Angeles eating at a Thai restaurant when another stranger asked me to take a photo of his family. When he noticed the camera on the table his eyes took on a distant, sentimental glow as he recognized the F3. He stared at it with something that resembled reverence, even as he distractedly handed me his comparatively gargantuan D4.

And it wasn’t much later that a stranger in a coffee shop casually remarked that the F3 slung over my shoulder was “the best camera of them all. That’ll last you forever.”

These interactions happen all the time, and they always leave me with a feeling of pride as I nod, and smile, and hold the F3 just a bit tighter. But what is it about the F3 that makes people so sentimental? What makes it so special, so beautiful, that it so often causes people to stop and appreciate it?

It’s an easy question to answer. Simply put, the Nikon F3 is one of the greatest cameras ever made.

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Five Best Medium Format Cameras for Beginners

5 best medium format film camerasIt happens to the best of us. At some point in the photographic journey, every photo geek is going to run into a wall. Things get stale; you’ve plateaued. You’ve been shooting the same subjects with the same camera for too many years, and there’s no way to avoid the truth that you’re getting bored with photography.

But it doesn’t have to stay this way. There are things we can do to stave off the inevitable onset of photographic ennui. Traveling, shooting with friends or alone, and taking a break from the camera are all useful tools in the toolbox of every happy photographer.

But if you’ve tried all this and you’re still finding yourself a bit distracted, a bit blasé about this whole photography thing, the problem may just rest with your format. Crop sensors? Full-frame? 35mm film? Get real. That stuff is so dull, and puny, and pathetic. You need a bigger format! You need something with depth and charisma! You need to shoot medium format.

But with so many cameras to choose from, how do you know which is right for you?

It’s cool. We’ve got you covered.

Here’s a list of five excellent medium format film cameras for shooters new to the vast frontier of medium format.

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Exploded Views – Nikon F3

WEB OLD POLAR Nikon F3 (1 of 1)

After an extended hiatus, our Exploded Views feature is back, and I’ve brought to bear my most ambitious effort yet! I’ve chosen a truly legendary camera, Nikon’s F3, and photographed it in a way that brings unprecedented detail to this popular feature.

But what’s different about this Exploded View?

Instead of laying out every component of the camera and taking a single photo of the lot (as in our previous efforts) I’ve gone through the excruciating process of photographing every single component with a macro lens, and compiling the hundreds of massive images into one gargantuan file. The detail is just unbelievable, and it allows me to make prints that are truly impressive.

But enough yammering. This project has taken too long to keep squawking about it. If you want to see every single part of a Nikon F3 laid out in a gorgeous display, read on.

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Contax 139 Quartz – Camera Review

Contax 139 Quartz Review (8 of 11)

I recently found myself the reluctant owner of a Contax 139 Quartz 35mm SLR, a camera about which I knew little and for which I cared even less. After all, if this rebranded, electronic Yashica were anything worthwhile I’d have heard about it from my friends at the camera shop, or spied one scrolling by in my Instagram feed. Yes, surely if the 139Q mattered I’d have known about it.

Still, it was being sold with a fairly legendary Zeiss lens attached, so I bought the whole kit and awaited its arrival. Getting hands on this beautiful glass would be a big win for anyone, no matter what substandard camera so lecherously clung to it.

Luckily, this uncharacteristic bout of arrogant self-assurance was not much more than a 24-hour bug. When the camera arrived and I pulled it from its packaging my pompous windbaggery was justifiably and firmly checked.

I held the Contax, flicked its controls, squeezed off a few shutter releases, and decided my next action should be to insert into my gaping opinion hole the proverbial sock.

Just over a month later the Contax has become a constant companion. While it’s not a perfect camera, it’s surely one of the best I’ve ever shot. With objectivity (and humility) happily renewed, here’s the great, the good, and the bad about Contax’s electric wonder.

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Five Best Cameras for Photography Students

Five best student cameras (3 of 5)

There’s a certain question that I get asked virtually every single day. People need to know what camera they should buy for their upcoming high school or college photography class. It’s a great question, and one that I’m always happy to answer, as it means that someone’s about to begin a process of discovery that often grows into a lifelong passion for the medium.

After fielding this question three times today, I’ve put together a quick article showcasing what I believe are five of the very best cameras for new students of photography. These cameras provide everything that most high school teachers and college professors insist their students’ cameras offer, while being affordable, quality machines.

Take a look, pick the one that suits you best, and get shooting!

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