#77. "RE: What made you decide on Nikon cameras?" In response to In response to 0 Wed 10-Aug-11 06:43 PM by Apalach
Great question and thread, Avigar! It was 1957 and I had just graduated from Stanford University in California with a degree in Biological Science and a commission as an Ensign in the United States Navy. Two weeks after graduation I was off to pick up my ship in Sasebo, Japan. Having been a photographer of sorts since childhood (beginning with my Mom’s Kodak Brownie), I had always been frustrated by the lack of quality cameras for non-millionaires.
Thus, I resolved during the long flight across the Pacific that the first purchase with my first Navy check was to be the best 35mm camera I could afford at the Sasebo Naval Base Ship's Store. There were but two brand choices: the Leica and the Nikon, both 35mm rangefinder models (the first Nikon SLR was but a dream in its designer's mind at that early date). I had been hearing rumors that the Nikons were coming on strong vs. the Leica, but in my youthful naivete, I had no idea what that meant. But as soon as I held the first Nikon in my grubby hands, and compared its features (and price!) versus the Leica, Nikon won hands down. I was especially impressed with the Nikon SP (certainly one of the greatest 35mm camera ever built, IMHO). The fact that one could use 6 different wide angle thru telephoto lenses without having to change out rangefinders was an especially brilliant and appealing design to me. And even at that early date, Nikon lenses had been quickly acquiring an enviable reputation among the pros around the world.
As a biologist, I was hoping Nikon would someday come out with a SLR. My main camera at that time for both surface macro and underwater work was the Exakta that my parents had acquired during a European trip. Although the East German-made Exakta was a bit on the clunky side, being somewhat heavy and bulky, I used that extensively until the late, great Nikon F came out that eventually replaced my SP for most of my scientific and personal work. I also quickly adopted the French Calypso (that soon morphed into the Nikonos) for the majority of my underwater work.
So that's my story--having been a Nikon guy for well over a half-century now, I have no desire, nor inclination, to go with any other johnny-come-lately camera brand! Cheers, Dick
P.S.: I got out of SLR photography when the digital revolution began, but greatly enjoyed my p & s digicams for family stuff. I finally decided in 2009 that it was time to bite the SLR digi-bullet. I had been waiting for Nikon to produce a SLR with a certain complement of digital features, and finally decided that the D90 was the answer to my needs. I am still enjoying (and learning) about all the features the D90 has to offer, and have no desire to move up (or out) to anything else at this point. Although the D700 has been awfully tempting, I probably have a couple of more good years with the D90. Since I rarely ever dispose of my earlier cameras, I still have my SP and inherited the Nikon S2 that I had purchased for my father in Japan, who used it extensively during his world travels as I had done with my SP on various biological oceanography expeditions across the South Pacific, across the Indian Ocean, and to the Galápagos, New Guinea, and Australia.