Site icon Daniel Warshaw


My wife gave me the coolest gift ever when we married: her late father’s 1967 Nikon F SLR 35 mm film camera with Photomic FT viewfinder/meter. She packed it all in a new camera bag and included the three lenses she had – all Nikkor – which were 28, 50, and 135 mm prime lenses. The 135 mm was spectacular and I loved, in general, learning how to take serious pictures with this masterpiece of mechanical manufacturing.

Until I lost it.

It hurts thinking about it, and perhaps that’s why I’m writing about it now – to force myself to think about it. This camera was special to Valerie because of the connection to her father and her own love of photography, and passing it on to her new husband was about as special a way to cherish it that I can think of. I was honored to receive it, and I fawned over it. I spent days – nay, weeks! – researching classic Nikon hardware to determine the exact model I had, from the body to the meter, and poured through fact after fact.

To this day, I’m still baffled at how I ever lost it in the first place. We had three camera bags at our apartment – one each for a camcorder (fake leather), Val’s N65 (green nylon), and the Nikon F (black nylon). Our space constraints (amplified by our tenant at the time, my home slice Dave) led to piles of possessions and buried bygones, but I still believe we left nothing behind when we moved from the apartment to our house. Because I wasn’t out taking pictures every single day, however (or every month, for that matter), I think I simply didn’t notice the camera missing until quite some time after we moved.

At this point, we’ve searched our house, our parents’ homes, and inquired of many friends and family members, and the camera is still nowhere to be found. I’ve only ever traveled with it to the homes of relatives, and even that was rare. My typical use of the camera was around town. My car was never burgled (and surely a theif would’ve stolen my iPod, too?), and Valerie’s car doesn’t contain the missing device either. The fact is, it’s been over a year since I’ve last seen my precious Nikon, and though Valerie doesn’t try to make me feel guilty, I can’t help but feel like my innards curdle whenever she talks about it.

So I’ve been scouring eBay this past week in search of a replacement. The going isn’t easy, mostly because folks either don’t know exactly what they’re selling (and thus, how well it works), or people out bid me at the last second by two dollars (okay, well, in the last thirty seconds).

I keep plugging on, though. I don’t really expect a replacement to adequately substitute for my wedding present or Valerie’s memories. Maybe I just want a facsimile to stand in symbolically.

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