Rocky Situation/DX Codebreaker

This was supposed to just be a short thing to say, for my birthday at the end of February I decided to buy an decent Otto film camera but it grew some legs.

Iain Kendall's Nikon F60

I’d eyed up Iain Kendall’s Nikon SLR when we were hanging James, Iain and I’s contribution to the the Alt-Photo Festival in March as I was keen to get an ‘easy’ film camera. Iain recommended Rocky Cameras.

Note: f65 is the same camera as an N65 in North America, it’s just silly rebranding between territories.

A few days later I decided to have a look on the Rocky Cameras site and saw the perfect combination; a Nikon F65; and a Nikkor AF, 28mm – 80mm lens which turned out to be the kit lens for the F65; both were only about £14 each so I bought them for around £30.

When I opened the box I actually got the lens and an F55. The F55 was the very lowest level of camera in that range, the cheapest of the cheap.

I wouldn’t have been that bothered but the Nikkor lens Auto-Focus wouldn’t work with the F55 so I contacted them to arrange pickup of the F55 and get the F65.

The guy I spoke with was apologetic and when I asked about returning the F55 he said just keep it. I was taken aback. He said consider it a ‘backup’ as compensation.

I’m sure that wouldn’t happen with a Rolleiflex or a Leica but it’s the thought that counts and it’s secured Rocky Cameras in my mind as somewhere to go for any spare cameras or bits ‘n’ bobs. Another win for Rocky.

Nikon F65 Experience
It feels sturdy enough in the hand, the AF is fine enough though a little noisy and there’s a few exposure options I recognise like Aperture and Shutter priority etc. and it can do multiple exposures.

It’s weird to have a fully Otto camera but fun at the same time though I feel I’ve managed to adopt that weird DSLR stance I see in all these YouTube videos, it’s hard to describe.

One unfortunate thing with the F65 and F55, and maybe all of this budget F range, is you can’t manually select the ISO; it’s all done via DX codes on the canister.

In order to use my bulk loaded films I had to sculpt DX codes on my reusable canisters. I started with ISO400 and 24 exposures because I’ve been having issues with my Paterson reels for 36 exp. films.

At first I painted the codes in Tipex not realising it had to be bare metal for the electrical contacts inside the camera body (see below).

DX Codes are marked in 2 rows and 6 columns. The first row, which is the vertical line on the left in the above picture dictates the film speed the second row dictates the frame count and exposure tolerance.

DX Codes

Screen Grab from Wikipedia

I scratched out the codes against the metal canister but I imagine taping or gluing tinfoil would suffice. Still to test that though.

Here’s a few photos from the F65 using HP5Plus developed in Ilfosol 1+9, a combination I’m not that happy with at the moment because the film is very grainy. I might go back to ID11 or try HC110.


(that wine bottle was empty and thoroughly washed out)


That’s all for now.


One thought on “Rocky Situation/DX Codebreaker

  1. Somebody gave me an N65 last year.

    Mine came with the 28-80 too, and it was a capable performer. I didn’t like it as well as the prime lens I use with my Pentax SLRs, but hey, that f/2 SMC Pentax-M 50mm lens is hard to beat.

    What I found was that because the N65 does everything for you, I wasn’t as mindful about framing my shots carefully and ended up with more junk shots on the roll. Something about having to make at least one setting on an SLR, even if it’s just to set the aperture, slows me down enough to more carefully compose.


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