Frost crystals on grass. Repro-Nikkor 85mm set at F1.4, Nikon D700.
Some years ago while I was working with forestry biologist Bob Duncan on an insect photography project, I was bitten by a bug. It wasn’t the kind of bite that made me jump, or swat at an insect, or go rushing for the calamine lotion. Instead it was the kind of bite that led me off into new directions with my photography.
I was bitten by the dreaded lens bug, and it has left its mark on me ever since. I began to search for lenses with special qualities, different from what could be achieved with the already excellent Micro-Nikkors I was using at the time.
Initially I began to look for lenses to use with the Nikon PB-4 tilt-shift bellows. I needed a bellows lens, or short-mount lens, which would allow me to use tilt-shift perspective control from infinity to close-up. After a bit of patience I found a 105mm f4 Nikkor-P short mount bellows Nikkor for sale. This soon evolved into a quest for several rare lenses especially useful for close-up photography (ie., micro and macro photography, near and beyond 1:1 reproduction). Large format and other special gear followed.
105mm f/4 Nikkor-P short mount lens. Allows close-up to infinity focus on a bellows.
55mm f/1.2 Nikkor industrial CRT lens with BR-15 adapter on Nikon D700.
At the time I had been aware of a website that was highly regarded (and still is) by Bjørn Rørslett. I took notice of some of the unusual lenses that Bjørn mentioned on his site, most notably the industrial Nikkors such as the CRT Nikkor, the Ultra-Micro-Nikkors, the Macro-Nikkors, and the Repro-Nikkor.
Soon after, I discovered another remarkable website by Michio Akiyama called “Red Book Nikkor”, which also had information about these rare lenses. These lenses had special qualities including high resolution, excellent corrections for aberrations, and in some cases very fast maximum apertures while maintaining excellent image quality.
Over the years since then I’ve acquired some of these lenses, and photographed with them extensively. Through this site, I’ll share my work with these lenses and other gear. Often this will be with the goal of showing some of their qualities, sometimes doing comparisons and writing reviews. But most of all, it will be for the real reason why I do any of this in the first place– to create and share images that might be enjoyed by some.
This blog and website will be updated frequently. In the galleries you will see photos of this gear, and photos taken with these special lenses. I’ll be adding much more, and I intend to post info about all the lenses and gear I use. You can follow me on Twitter for updates, and share my info and links if you like. I look forward to new discoveries in photography, and to sharing the knowledge with others. Thanks for visiting. Stay tuned…
Michaelmas daisy, Aster novi-belgii. Repro-Nikkor 85mm set at F1.0, Nikon D700.