Meanwhile, of course, the photo industry had gone on developing new technology after the Spotmatic which I largely ignored. The major contenders introduced sophisticated multi-point metering, aperture-priority auto-exposure and lenses with computer generated aspherical designs and many multi-coated elements to resist internal reflections. Electronics replaced mechanical linkages and actuators, leading ultimately to auto-focusing, and film technology kept pace. Thanks to some generous gifts of equipment recently I have enjoyed the opportunity to explore film camera tech developments in the latter half of the Twentieth Century before the whole industry jumped off the digital cliff.
The Nikon FE incorporates all of the tech refinements of its period allowing the photographer to stay focused on compositional issues while the camera takes care of exposure. However, the user also retains the capacity to operate the camera in full manual mode, with user-selected shutter speeds ranging from 8 seconds to 1/1000 sec. The viewfinder is very bright, with concentric circles to refine focus, and the display shows both aperture and shutter speed. The construction of the camera and the smoothness of operation inspires confidence in the system's capacity to deliver images as envisioned. The range of lenses available to the Nikon user were seemingly endless and of unsurpassed quality.
I am particularly impressed with the ergonomic design of the FE. All the controls seem to be in just the right place, and nothing important has been omitted. I especially like the lever location of the depth-of-focus feature which is right where your shutter finger can easily find it.
I'm still not inclined to leave behind my old folders and box cameras, but I do think that a sophisticated late-film-period camera like the FE can teach any photographer some new tricks. I have certainly been encouraged in using the camera to explore image possibilities that I might have overlooked with some of my simpler machines. Not every imaging experiment is a success, but I think there is no doubt that failures too are an important source of new understanding.
I liked the mid-morning light on this new Fiat during a walk through Albuquerque's downtown. I harbor a special fondness for the little Italian; I bought one new in 1963, drove it a couple years and sold it for near what I paid for it. It was great speeding down the highway at 100 -- kph, of course. Even though it was only 60mph it sounded like 100 miles per hour. Another place, another time, another life.
The Bernalillo County District Courthouse is a prominent downtown landmark. The first-floor facade does not quite fit the rest of the design, but both the morning sun and the night-time lighting create impactful architectural impressions. I snapped this shot from the grounds of the Federal Court House across the street, as well as a couple shots of some nice landscaping there. Right afterward I was approached by a blazer-clad security person who informed me that photography was not permitted on federal property. That seems like it takes in a lot of territory. I'm going to have to look into the particulars of that assertion.
On the walk back home I found this nice unclassified agave to photograph without concern for security clearances.
I should probably paying royalties to the owners of this fine old pickup given the number of pictures I have made of it on my regular morning walks. It is always parked in a different place in the vicinity, so it is nice to know it is still in daily use.
Up to now I have most always used color film in my slr cameras and most often reserved black and white for use in my rangefinders and simpler cameras. The results I have been getting recently from the Nikon and the Pentax ME have encouraged me to further explore the pairing of newer technology with black and white processing, particularly in regard to my new-found interest in pyro developers.