Nikon F and the vietnam war

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Shootar401

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Over the weekend I watched a documentary on the Vietnam war and in a few scenes I saw some footage of a photographer carrying 2, maybe 3 Nikon F's. I couldn't make out the lenses because it was only for a brief second. I'm assuming one was a 50 f/2 or f/1.4 The other one was a but longer, maybe a 135mm or 200mm. But regardless what do you think the lens compliment would be for a photojournalist in Vietnam following the troops on patrol?
 

Paul Howell

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For the F, 105s were common, some PJs carried a 28m, 50mm and 105mm a few a 200. I have seen a number of guys that carried a F with 50 and 105 for long with a Leica or Nikon SP with a 35 or 28mm for wide. I also saw a number of Spotmatics.
 
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Shootar401

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For the F, 105s were common, some PJs carried a 28m, 50mm and 105mm a few a 200. I have seen a number of guys that carried a F with 50 and 105 for long with a Leica or Nikon SP with a 35 or 28mm for wide. I also saw a number of Spotmatics.

Thanks for the info! I've seen a bunch of PJ pics where they are carrying an M4 and an F, that makes sense now.

...and some illustrations to corroborate the above: http://miles.forumcommunity.net/?t=54366847

Great link, Thanks a bunch
 

Mainecoonmaniac

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I had a college photo professor that was a photographer in the Vietnam war. The soldiers used to call them "armpit Fs". The whole back came off when the user loaded film. In the field, you put the back under your arms when you load film.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aAfifHouFg
 

E. von Hoegh

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For the F, 105s were common, some PJs carried a 28m, 50mm and 105mm a few a 200. I have seen a number of guys that carried a F with 50 and 105 for long with a Leica or Nikon SP with a 35 or 28mm for wide. I also saw a number of Spotmatics.

The SLR for normal/long lenses and an RF for wide lenses was almost a standard combination in that era. You see it stateside too.
 

Mr Bill

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A bit off the subject, but I got a Nikonos II back when it was current, to use when diving. I knew that an 80mm lens was also available for it.

I once mentioned to a guy I worked with, how odd it seemed to have such a long lens for an underwater camera. He had done a couple tours in Vietnam as a Marine Corps photographer, and said that it had been very useful as an above-water lens in Vietnam - they could muck the Nikonos through any weather conditions with no problem. Up 'til then, military use of such gear had never occurred to me.
 

GarageBoy

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That explains the loads of 105s and the relative rarity of the wides
 

Jim Jones

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An acquaintance who did photography as a civilian in VN used his Nikon F with a Sun zoom lens. This was before even the Nikon zooms were really good, and the Sun zoom was worse. Combat photography is hard on equipment: the Sun was cheaper to replace as needed. Sometimes getting any photo is more important than missing the best possible photo.
 

Clay2

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I have a Minolta SR-T101 that my buddy bought at the PX in Subic Bay Naval Base Philippines and used in Vietnam.
It has seen a lot of history, wish it could talk.
/Clay
 

bdial

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I wish the Nikon F that I bought over there could talk and tell me where it is. It got stolen about 5 years later.
 

Alan Klein

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My Nikon F Photomic T bought in 1965 in Japan was lost by me on a NYC Subway a few years later.. Along with the 50mm F1.4 and 135mm. I still have the downgraded Nikormat FTN with 50mm f/2.0 I bought in the USA to replace it. I think I have a Vivitar 70-210 zoom too. The 50 and 135 was a great pair though.
 
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I wish the Nikon F that I bought over there could talk and tell me where it is. It got stolen about 5 years later.

I have a beat to heck 2.8E Planar Rolleiflex I found back in the late 1990's in a small alley shop down some backwater in Beijing. It was covered in dust and probably had not been touched in years. I've had it fully CLA'd and it works great now. In fact I find it's lens has a wonderfully unique moderate contrast and personality vs my cleaner Rolleiflexes. I wish it could talk and share what it's been through, who owned it, what images it's captured, and how the heck it got to where I found it.

Sorry for the slightly OT post...


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

bob01721

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I have a Minolta SR-T101 that my buddy bought at the PX in Subic Bay Naval Base Philippines and used in Vietnam.
It has seen a lot of history, wish it could talk.
/Clay

LOL! I still have the 101 I bought at China Beach. It can't talk, but it still takes good pics!
 

250swb

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Over the weekend I watched a documentary on the Vietnam war and in a few scenes I saw some footage of a photographer carrying 2, maybe 3 Nikon F's. I couldn't make out the lenses because it was only for a brief second. I'm assuming one was a 50 f/2 or f/1.4 The other one was a but longer, maybe a 135mm or 200mm. But regardless what do you think the lens compliment would be for a photojournalist in Vietnam following the troops on patrol?

Photographers will have carried a longer telephoto lens at times, but the terrain of much of the war, and the fact they were directly in the action, led to the greater significance of lenses in the 'long portrait' and wider bracket. And of course Robert Capa's words would still be ringing in photographers ears 'if your photographs aren't any good you aren't close enough'. Just look at images from the war printed in Life, the vast majority would made with be 50mm or wider lenses because they had the most impact.

There is a great book that I hesitate to recommend because I just looked up the price on Amazon, but if you can find a cheap copy it is 'Requiem-By The Photographers Who Died in Vietnam and Indochina', lots of pictures of camera's as a side bar to the serious intent of the book. If not that you can make do with Dennis Hopper as the photojournalist in the film Apocalypse Now', plenty of Nikon's on show.:smile:

Steve
 

2bits

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Note on the above post: Dennis Hoppers character was a loose portrail of Tim Page, a very famous photographer of the Vietnam war.
While I was there, I once bought a F T off of a press reporter who was hard up for cash that night out on the town. Cost me $50. I used it for several years and ended up trading it for a nice rifle.
Another good photographer of that war was Sean Flynn, son of famous actor Errrol Flynn. He and another reporter were killed in Cambodia, never to be found. They were big users of 50mm lenses.
Before acquiring the Nikon, I used a Spotmatic that I bought in a PX down in Nha Trang. It was around $100 new.
 
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2bits

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I never met a photographer out in the field who bothered to carry 100 or 200mm lenses. Not to say that some didn't. Usually the bulky stuff stayed behind. Just my experience.
 
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I used a Miranda Sensorex with 50/1.9 and a borrowed 135, don't remember the speed, when I returned to the States I had a hard time finding lenses ans eventually traded it for a Nikkormat FTN that I still have.
 

Xmas

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The classic set up was a Leica with a 35mm and a Nikon F with either a 105 or 200.
During the same era the non war photogs tended to use a Nikon F with 5cm /1.4 and motor drive the TV or cine guys sound man recorded the repeated chunk whirrs of the 36 frames of a dozen or more Fs during press attended interviews punctuation over speech on the TV news.
Most also carried a rangefinder with fast 35mm eg Canon P or 7 and /2 or Leica M for in closer.
Trix pushed as necessary
Most worked on motor cycles to be quicker to the action and faster back to a dev/print shop and wire machine.
 

2bits

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Clay2,
Great info on Flynn and Stone. Would be nice if there could be some closure on it.
In my experience, even though some photogs ran around on motorbikes locally, most hitched rides on the nearest helicopter. It was much faster to get in and out.
 

bobwysiwyg

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Clay2,
Great info on Flynn and Stone. Would be nice if there could be some closure on it.
In my experience, even though some photogs ran around on motorbikes locally, most hitched rides on the nearest helicopter. It was much faster to get in and out.

And some who wanted a different perspective rode along on APC's.
 
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