Week Sixteen

February 21, 2017

Week 16 - Nikon N800s

This week is a tad different in that we combined two projects. I had been approached last November-ish about contributing some pictures for the local Dartmoor Zoo, a small zoo which carries a little fame as the film ‘We Bought a Zoo' tells the owners story, but the timing was bad and I passed. Two weeks ago Coral asked again and I agreed.

The main bulk was to be digital but we agreed I would take some film stuff too. The plan was to use Russells favourite Nikon D300s and combine it with a film body but only use lenses that fitted both. The 8008 was ideal! Yes it is all electric, but the auto focus and TTL would be needed as I was getting access to places where speed might mean I would not become lunch! I picked up the camera on the Tuesday and shoot day was Thursday so I threw in an FP4 test roll and blasted through it on the way home. The weather was changeable to say the least! Everything bar snow! I tried everything to find its limitations and upon viewing the results it had performed admirably. I set about reading the instruction manual and abandoned it straight away so I won't rattle on with techy stuff as it was like War and Peace but I will say it is weighty yet well balanced with lots of features to please everyone. You can go all auto or choose shutter/aperture priority with ease. It was, in its day back in the late eighties, aimed at serious amateurs and had a reputation as a bullet proof reliable excellent camera.

Lenses we took were prime 50 & 85mm, 35-80, 18-70 and a 70-300 all Nikkor with a stonking 150-500 sigma with its 2x converter for those places no man should go. I shot Fuji Superia X-tra 400 and Kodak colour 400.

Shoot day arrived and we were escorted around by the lovely Coral. I started by shooting both but had a devious hope that Russell would get the itch and take over the D300. Russ hadn't done a shoot for exactly a year since his illness and as I hoped my fumbling with the myriad of buttons must have driven him potty and he eagerly ended up with it leaving me to play with the 8008.

We chopped and changed lenses between us and the day went really well. I soon realised I wasn't going to get everything in one day, animals are finicky things wanting to either sleep or stand in the wrong place! But we got enough to start and I found the 8008 a really nice beastie to use. The little dial on the top by my thumb easily rolled through the shutter stops displaying clearly in the large bright viewfinder, all be lenses focussed fast and precisely with only the sigma requiring manual focus. I can also confirm hand holding 1000mm of zoom at 1/15th doesn't work.

Now I could write pages about the day and the camera but I think the photos sum it up. I had one roll of film prep and dove straight in. I loved it!  I am normally an all manual slow photographer so this was really far from my comfort zone and it never missed a beat with only user error spoiling shots. Enjoy the pics, we have pruned them down as there are many. Hopefully Russell will put in a few of the digital shots he took recording the day….. A great experience all around.

Click on the camera to see lots more photos

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