First and Last by John Hooton

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My Nikon F bought in 1964 with a 105mm f/2.8 lens. I could only afford one lens and the 105mm was my choice as it was great for beauty head shots. Alongside it is the D3 that I purchased in 2008. It is also sporting a 105mm focal length lens. This time a VR macro. Who would have guessed in 1964 that one day there would be no more film. We would be shooting using a bit of plastic that held hundreds of exposures in it’s own memory on a camera that had it’s own computer built in.. Take that man to the funny farm.

105mm is still my favourite focal length for head shots after 44 years, so at least some things never change.

Technical Details:

Camera: Nikon D300
Lens: Nikkor 85mm f/2.8 PC Nikkor
ISO: 200
Exposure: 1/125 sec at f/32
Flash: Nikon SB800, SB-R200×2
Flash Mode: TTL
Post Processing: Lightroom 2, Photoshop CS3

Main flash through opaque perspex sheet, and the other two either side of a Dome Studio Light Tent.

© 2008 John Hooton Photography


35mm, camera, d3, icon, legend, nikon, shootnhooton, vintage

Retired Professional Photographer, web designer, software developer, still dabbling in photography and all things technical!

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  • joanne hope
    joanne hopeover 5 years ago

    i have actually just bought a preloved lens off a nikon film camera similar to that, its a 55mm micro macro all adjustments are done on the lens and it fits my d300 amazing is it not

  • Ho Joanne, I also used the 55mm macro which came with an extension tube to give you 1:1 ratio when attached.

    – John Hooton

  • Ren Atkins
    Ren Atkinsover 5 years ago

    Nice concept, and both are great looking cameras. Do you still shoot with the Nikon F?

  • Thanks Ren. I ran a roll of B/W through it recently, but I don’t have a darkroom now and balked at the idea of buying a £1000 scanner especially when it still takes over a minute to scan and write an image. I settled for Silver Efex Pro, a Photoshop plug in than does a superb job of simulating many B/W films and darkroom techniques.

    – John Hooton

  • cinneman
    cinnemanover 5 years ago

    Very ingenious….

  • Thank you Larry, I think it comes under the category of ‘Pin-Ups’. :-))

    – John Hooton

  • Tata Tjahjadi
    Tata Tjahjadiover 5 years ago

    very nice product comparison shot!

  • Thank you Tata, I think it’s interesting to see a span of 44 years!

    – John Hooton

  • twmurph
    twmurphover 5 years ago

    I’m envious of the image and the equipment.

  • Thank you TW. Ah yes, but then I don’t run a car!

    – John Hooton

  • Erhan OZBIYIK
    Erhan OZBIYIKover 5 years ago

    AS an amateur photographer, my Nikon d60 taught me a lot about photography…I hope I can purchase one of these legends someday.. D3 is a great DSLR one and the classic Nikon F…These are great technologies… And sacrifices…
    Wonderful shot and scene John :)

  • I have used Hasselblad, Bronica, Sinar and Linoff, Rolleiflex and Nikon. To me they were just tools of the trade, but I confess I find Nikon a work of art!

    – John Hooton

  • Phillip Weyers
    Phillip Weyersabout 5 years ago

    Another true classic… the 105mm for portraiture. Quite right, technology has changed in leaps and bounds since the 60’s. It has opened photography to many including myself who lusted after Nikon gear for wildlife photography but couldn’t afford it.

  • Hi Philip, I had two other lenses (eventually.) A 55mm that I used as a ‘normal’ lens and a 35mmPC that I used as a leg stretcher in fashion, and a DOF grabber in still life.

    – John Hooton

  • thv73
    thv73over 4 years ago

    I’ll take both, thank you…

    Just been through your gallery and I really like your portrait work, I find it all very classy and particularly neat. Bravo!

  • Thank you for your very kind comments Thierry. :-))

    – John Hooton

  • Mark Elshout
    Mark Elshoutover 4 years ago

    Nice shot… do you use the D300 as backup? Is the D3 a full-sized sensor? Nice camera. My film SLR is an F70. Looks a bit more modern then yours!!

  • Thanks Mark, I use the D300 as a backup/2nd camera. One advantage is that it gives me a whole set of new perspectives with FX lenses. My 80-400mm becomes a 120-600mm, quite a powerful optic for wildlife or air shows. Also the very sharp 24-70mm (which you also have) has a useful range on the D300 DX format making a quality 36-105mm. The D3 is a full sized sensor, the same as the D700. I prefer it where noise might be a problem or where optimum skin detail in portrait/beauty shots is important.

    – John Hooton

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