Sunday, May 1, 2011

Do Not Try This At Home!

After 22 years of taking exceptionally good care of my Nikkor 20mm f/2.8 ultra wide lens, babying it like it was a solid gold egg, I got very careless and swung a Nikon F2 over my shoulder, forgetting I had another camera hanging there, and the F2 smacked my 20mm lens pretty hard.

Nothing broke, but it was soon apparent something was very wrong. The focusing ring was very tight and hard to turn as it approached the infinity mark. Taking a look through the view finder the only area in focus was absolute dead center, every edge moving inward was glaringly out of focus. In the back of my mind all I could hear was that famous line delivered so well by Charlie Brown, "I'm doomed."

It was a little sad after all the years to do something so dumb and damage one of my prize pieces of equipment, one of the few pieces of camera gear I ever bought brand new. But hey, 22 years is a good run.

It turns out that the over all effect achieved when shooting with the now totally messed up lens isn't all that unpleasing. When I scanned some recent negs I realized the images look something like one would expect from shooting with a Lens Baby. One of my Flickr contacts in Paris suggested that process of bashing the lens with the F2 created an instant Holga. One of my friends here in San Francisco briefly contemplated giving his M6 and Summicron 35mm a good whack with his F4.

I have to say I find the images I'm making with the 20mm in its present condition interesting, and until I can afford to have the lens repaired I think I may explore the creative potential of this not so unfortunate mishap.

Photo: ©2011 David W. Sumner

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