Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Mighty F4

It's easy to forget how dominant Nikon was in the professional photo segment back in the film days. In the late eighties they stood unchallenged in the 35mm arena - the standard issue for journalists, travel shooters and serious amateurs.

The "F" series was their powerhouse camera - when it was released it brought state of the art technology to the top of their line. Legendary Italian car designer Giorgetto Giugiaro was brought in to style Nikons flagship (he had previously been hired for the industrial design of the lowley EM and the F3. A heavy solid beast this was pure functional design knobs and latches everywhere a perfect fit in the hand design honed from decades of use by pros in the field. What strikes me though is are the aesthetic direction chosen by Nikon and what a departure their current lineup is.

First the graphics on the lenses - numerals, markings Logo and model designations - are now done in gold (yuk! - who's in charge over there?) Harder to see in dim light and at the same time rather garish. Compare a lens from the late 90s with a current sample - function, and the aesthetic rightness inherent because of that - has been overturned.

I picked this DRAFT

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