Never Meet Your Idols

It has been said, “Never meet your idols – you may be disappointed” (or something along those lines). Yesterday I think I may have proved that point;

After a very late night on Friday night, one of those when you get into bed closer to breakfast than supper, and then being up for a 9:30AM appointment, yesterday had the potential to be a back-to-bed day. But with our Son away on a scout camp, we had to make the most of the day and Debs agreed (to my surprise) that we should use our complimentary tickets to The Photography Show at the NEC in Birmingham.

One of the first stands I made a beeline for, with Debs trotting behind trying to keep up, was unsurprisingly Nikon to see one of their stars of the show.

Nikon have two new stars on display, the first is the new professional full-frame body the D4S. It’s very nice, but not something I’m really interested in just at the moment. It’s sensor resolution is OK, but still somewhat less than my D800. It’s very fast, but not dramatically faster than my D3. It’s main selling point is it’s cosmically high ISO values and low light performance which would be a great asset, but with a price tag of over £5000 I don’t need to get too interested in it yet.

The other jewel in Nikon’s crown is their retro styled D-SLR, the Nikon Df. This is a great looking 80’s style camera with rotating dials and an authentic 50mm prime lens, and it was that which I went to see and got my hands on yesterday for a quick play.

You may have seen the Nikon Df being featured on The Gadget Show last week, with veteran Photographer Paul Berriff putting it through its paces in Liverpool to photograph today’s live bands in The Cavern Club using similar vintage technology and film.

By moderate coincidence. the reason for Friday’s late night was part work / part pleasure, photographing and supporting some videoing of my very good friends The ROCKiTS on stage during their Friday night residency at the same Cavern Club in Liverpool.  So as well as the state of the art digital technology, I had also put a roll of black & white film through my latest purchase, an original 1969 Nikon F.


Now in Birmingham with ears still ringing from Mike Beck’s drumming, I got my hands on the Df – and I have to say was just a bit disappointed. It’s a nice enough camera, and it looks quite pretty, but it just doesn’t feel the same as the original Nikon F (the first 35mm SLR to orbit the moon, the camera that saved Don McCullin’s life when it took an AK-47 bullet for him).  The original Nikon F doesn’t have particularly ergonomic grips, but feels right and feels solid, just right. The new Df feels OK and reasonably sturdy, and it’s got a great digital sensor and electronic brain…. but it doesn’t feel right to me. On top of that, it doesn’t have some of the essential pro features like dual memory card slots and it also has a hefty price tag.  Sorry Nikon!


In other news, the Photography Show was good. It was great to catch up and chat with our favourite product suppliers and look at some exciting new products. It was great to catch up with master photographer (and another source of inspiration) Damian ‘The Big Dog’ McGillicuddy. We’re still chuckling about one of his put-downs when we met him at a previous show.

The only downside was the way part of the throng seem to think they have to walk round with every bit of kit they own in a rucksack on their back and their biggest lens round their necks. There’s only so many times you want to be clobbered when they turn round and anyway, do they really think they’re going to impress anyone?  Really?

If you’d like to see more of my live music work using both state of the art and vintage technology, or to discuss any aspect of photography which I can support you with, please don’t hesitate to contact me.