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20 February 2014

Almost before we were awake this morning, we found ourselves staring at the Wollensak enlarging lens we'd put away years ago. It had been obstructing some instructional DVD cases in the drawer we reserve for them, so we pulled it out to shuffle things around.

Perfect Landing. Nikon D300 with 18-200mm at 200mm with f8.0, 1/500 second (you could tell by the propeller, right?) and ISO 400 from the DNG conversion (and 16:9 crop) in Adobe Camera Raw 8.3.

We had retired it (and the Vivitar 135 enlarger we used it in) years ago in favor of a Durst 606 with a brand new El-Nikkor enlarging lens. So we had used the El-Nikkor case to safely store the Wollensak. But we'd used a Nikon body cap to protect the front element of the Wollensak.


As we examined the Wollensak again this morning, having forgotten all about it, we thought we could put the body cap to better use.

So we hunted down one of those small black and gray plastic 35mm film canisters and cut the inside edge off the gray top to make it fit nicely on the Wollensak. We had freed the old body cap for new duties.

And that was simply to return it to its original role: covering an FM2 (yep, that old FM2) that still had an old Nikkor mounted on it.


Last the weekend we had a last-minute urge to pop that particular old Nikkor on our dSLR. But it was still on the FM2. We didn't have a body cap for the FM2, so we'd persuaded ourselves to just use our more versatile 18-200mm instead.

Still it irked us that the lens was not easily accessible simply because it was protecting a camera body we haven't used in years.

We knew the lens, a 43-86mm Nikkor zoom of another era, featured a range covered by our 18-200mm so it didn't get much use. But it has its virtues. We have a polarizer for it and it can be reversed to shoot macro. And it's smaller than the 18-200mm with its motorized autofocus and image stabilization.

Macro. Right after we finished this piece, we couldn't resist reversing the 43-86mm and shooting a few macro shots. Here's one.

So we wanted to be able to use it now and then. But because the camera was a camera and therefore more important than any old lens, the lens was serving the camera and not us.

We had our priorities mixed up.


We put the body cap on the FM2 and stored it in a roller case with some other old gear, making a little more room in the drawer to lay out our lenses. Now we can easily get at any of our old Nikkor primes and zooms. And the FM2 is just as accessible as it ever was. Perfect landing.

Somehow we did all this without waking up. Exhausted, we went back to bed.

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