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Found a vintage Nikon bokeh meter, but need manual.

Matt Laur , Apr 01, 2012; 01:07 a.m.

So, I was looking through the dusty old camera gear at a recent abandoned storage auction, and came across a taped up box labeled "Assorted Nik Stuff - M. Johnston." Feeling lucky, I bought the whole box for $10, in hopes of finding a gem or two. Sure enough, in with the old lens caps and dry-rotted leather camera straps, was one of the very sought-after early vintage Nikon bokemeters. This looks like one of the hand-made ones built in Japan for the US market - one of the ones that actually reads +/- 50 micro-B. But I can't be sure on the scale without reading the manual. So, if anyone knows where I can track one down, that would be great.

As you can see, this has been pretty well cared for, and the F-mount hardly has any corrosion.

Still in good shape!


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Matt Laur , Apr 01, 2012; 01:09 a.m.

When I mount an original Nikkor-Q 135mm prime, I'm getting a perfectly neutral reading on the meter, which is similar to my experience with that lens. Fairly nice background blur, but still some funky highlight artifacts when it's wide open.So, it makes sense that it's a wash, and meters out at zero.

A middle of the road lens measures precisely at the center of the scale. Cool!

Matt Laur , Apr 01, 2012; 01:10 a.m.

On a hunch, I tried a more recent vintage Sigma 50/1.4, which is well known for its creamy, hypnotic blur and the ability to make any pet portrait look perfect. Sure enough, the bokemeter came back with almost exactly 40 mB, which seems really accurate to me.

I'll have to try Nikon's 85/1.4 to see if it can peg the meter at 50 mB.

Matt Laur , Apr 01, 2012; 01:11 a.m.

So, you can imagine I'm excited to have this rare and powerful tool, and I'll never go lens shopping again without it. But if anyone's got some documentation, that would be great. And if you have any info on who "M. Johnston" is, be sure to thank him for passing this treasure along.

Craig Dickson , Apr 01, 2012; 01:14 a.m.

Wow. I've never heard of this device. It actually measures the smoothness of OOF areas? Interesting. I wonder how it does that?

In connection with photography, "M. Johnston" makes me think of Mike Johnston of The Online Photographer, but surely if he had something like this he wouldn't just be giving it away in a box of junk.

Michael Axel , Apr 01, 2012; 01:18 a.m.

Very cool. Was this just a Nikon tool? I wonder what the strip with yellow or gold in the middle is for. Decoration?

Eric Arnold , Apr 01, 2012; 01:18 a.m.

...and the 70-200...?

Leigh B. , Apr 01, 2012; 01:30 a.m.

How about some photos of the internal components, and a closeup through the lens mount?

How is the meter used?
... What is the light source? How far away?
... What is the focus setting?
... What is the f/stop setting?

- Leigh

Tom Mann , Apr 01, 2012; 01:39 a.m.

Think about today's date, folks!

Tom M

PS - Matt, *good one* +1

Lex Jenkins , Apr 01, 2012; 01:41 a.m.


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