Long, long ago, while dinosaurs still roamed the Earth, I nearly purchased a brand new Nikkormat. But the salesman steered me away from it toward a Ricoh XR-1 instead. Perhaps he made more commission on the Ricoh. But it was a fateful choice. The Ricoh used Pentax K mount lenses, while the Nikkormat used Nikon's F mount. As I purchased a few lenses, naturally they were all compatible with Pentax, and I've stuck with their products for nearly 30 years.
Until last week.
Regular CycleDog reader and all around nice guy George, who writes the Bike Riding Donut Guy blog, offered me a deal on a pair of Nikons that had belonged to his father. He had an EM and an N6006 with a 50mm and 35-70mm zoom. Both are autofocus lenses.
The EM is similar to the Pentax ME or MG, with a single mechanical shutter speed for flash synchronization, a B setting for long exposures, and an automatic setting for program operation. It's a remarkably small 35mm SLR, and almost jewel-like as the Olympus OM1.
But the N6006 is the most sophisticated 35mm I've ever had in my hands. It's a polycarbonate body with a multitude of exposure modes, three different metering modes, and an impressively long users manual. Believe me, that manual is an absolute necessity. Very little on this camera can be described as intuitive. While I may have blundered into finding the manual modes by myself, it's not very likely that I'd figure this out without assistance.
There's one aspect that I really like, and that's the focus speed. If you've used a digital SLR, you know just how quickly they can focus. This camera uses the same method, phase detection, if I remember right, and it focuses very rapidly. It's especially noticeable with the 50mm lens, and I like this for street photography. While I enjoy the portability of smaller point and shoot cameras, I can see using this Nikon for some fast moving subjects like bike races. It won't replace the rangefinder cameras I use regularly because they're less obtrusive than an SLR, but I can see these Nikons will be used frequently too.
One other nice thing - the N6006 doesn't use seals - so I don't have to scrape a black, sticky mess out of the camera. I couldn't resist stuffing a roll of film in it. That was on Saturday. It's nearly finished, so chances are it goes to the mini-lab tomorrow. Naturally, I'll post some photos.