Thursday, April 28, 2011

every camera I own: the nikon n90

Painting by Veronica Ebert
The Nikon N90 was produced from 1992-1994. I've sometimes struggled with its autofocus and switched to manual focus, but this camera has the best meter I own.  I bought mine used from a colleague who also sold me a Hasselblad and gave me a Miranda, both of which I'll feature soon.  It came with a few Nikon-mount lenses, and this critical mass of glass which is what led me down the Nikon DSLR path rather than the Canon - but that is a story for another time. The N90 doesn't have the classic lines of an F-series Nikon, it doesn't take dreamy fuzzy pictures whose results are left to the serendipity that I treasure. I take this camera for granted, but it sees all and clearly, with lenses sharper than anything save my Hasselblad, but more intimate. 

I've taken the N90, usually mounted with an AF 50mm f1.8 (and later, an f1.4) with me to many far-flung places. And though it often takes a backseat to my Hasselblad and even my Holga (such are the perils of too many choices), and is sure to take a back seat to my iPhone next time I travel with both, I have made some of the pictures I'm most proud of with this machine. I have taken this reliable machine from New York

m gordon nov
Fuji Sensia 100, Nikon 50mm f1.8
to Weeki Wachee

Fuji NPH 400, probably Nikon 50mm f1.8
from Miami

Fuji Neopan 100, probably Nikon 50mm f1.8

 to Buenos Aires:

Cementario de la Recoleta. Fuji Neopan 400, Nikon 50mm f1.4
from Washington, D.C.

the bus ride
Tri-X, Nikon 50mm f1.8

to Eureka Springs, Arkansas

the joy of kodachrome
Kodachrome 64, Nikon 50mm f1.4
For this project I loaded the N90 with a roll of mildly expired (2008) Tri-X. It took me maybe a month to get through 36 exposures, mostly of family, and I didn't drop off the film with the sense of mysterious anticipation with which I often drop off film that expired decades ago and which I ran through light-leaky plastic cameras, from which I feel lucky to get an image of something I recognize. No: this camera knows what it's doing - and sometimes that's a good thing:

Royal Family Bowling Center, Front Royal, Virginia

Maggie and Julien

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