This Vintage Camera Video Ad Was Shot With the Nikon F5

Lead photo by Tahir Hashmi. Used with Creative Commons permission.

These days, it’s not uncommon to see timelapse videos shot with just still cameras; but it was very uncommon to see it back in 1997 and done with the Nikon F5. A vintage ad (yes, because the 90s are vintage), this commercial was shot in 1997 by Alastair Thain using the Nikon F5 camera! According to the YouTube description, this was the first time a stills camera had ever been used to shoot “moving images”. More than 200 rolls of 35mm film were developed for the commercial, in rolls of 36 shots each. These were spliced, graded for colour, and edited.

When you think about it: this ad is brilliant.

The ad is designed to showcase the fact that the camera is the fastest in the world and for the time it did a pretty good job. Still cameras and movie cameras didn’t really see the merging they do these days and the delineation was very clear back in the day. Though if you carefully consider it, sports photographers were probably doing something similar every day when they needed to capture those fast and furious moments. The same goes for wedding photographers and photojournalists. However, wedding photographers of the time really liked using medium format film in the 645 format. The Contax 645 was a very popular camera for a while, as was the Bronica ETRs and Mamiya system.

The Nikon F5 was popular for a while until being replaced by the Nikon F6. And to this day, the Nikon F6 is still one of the more expensive brand new 35mm film shooting cameras. It’s built like a tank, can use all of Nikon’s current lenses and works reliably. It’s got electronics in it though, it I doubt that its lifespan will be anything that a Leica M2 or M3 will be.