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Genesis of my gold F2, written by Stefan Rosén

I have been a Nikon enthusiast for a long time, and my interest in making and modifying was probably when I started working in a camera shop at Linköping in Sweden. Linkopia Expert was a wholesale company that dealt with Konica and Chinon. My first camera repairs started with the Konica C-35.

My interest in gold plating began when I started to work with Nikons. Nikon had just shown its gold FM model, and I think that was when it started in my thoughts. I had no F2 then, but an F that I wanted to gold plate. It was not so easy, as it was difficult to remove the black paint on various pieces and the result was not so very good. However my idea of a gold F2 had gained a foothold.

A few years later, I worked in a photo and camera repair shop in Stockholm called Kameradoktorn. By then I had a much larger collection of Nikon cameras and I become intrigued by their RF cameras. Ahead of a trip to Photokina in Cologne, I wanted to have the gold F2 finished, because Nikon had presented the gold FA (1984) so I thought it would be good to be there with a different (better) model in gold.

I had learned that it was virtually impossible to remove the black paint on different parts of the camera, so I used chrome parts instead. They produced a duller finish, but it was fine. I had a contact in Stockholm who worked with chrome and gold plating, mostly for industries. He did the gold plating for me, but he melted the DE-1 aluminium name plate, when he removed the chromium using electrolysis. Then he went (without my knowledge) to the Swedish Nikon wholesaler's shop and wanted to buy a new name plate. When they learnt it was MY camera he was working on, they laughed, and gave him a new name plate for free.

The next problem was to find the snake or lizard skin to dress the camera, as Sweden had long banned the sale of reptile skins. I visited many shoe/handbag stores and eventually found a small shop that had a little lizard skin left.

A good friend of mine (Glen Roll) who was a goldsmith made the small plate that covered the serial number. He did it in silver and then gold plated it.

In Photokina I went to the Nikon booth with my gold F2 on my shoulder and I spoke to various representatives there. Then came a Japanese man and he was very curious about my camera. He introduced himself and said he was responsible for the gold modifications on the Nikon FA. He was very fond of my camera. We talked for a while, about the thickness of the gold and the technology. I said then, if one is to embellish a Nikon then it should of course be an F2. I was surprised that he agreed with me. I had other meetings with various camera manufacturers, but they were always looking forward and did not want to talk much about the older stuff. I remembered that I also had a black S2 on my other shoulder, so I was probably a bit odd.

When we were in Cologne, I looked around the town and there was a large photo shop near the Cologne Doom. On their shelf was an F2 titan in titanium colour, not the black one. One of the staff wanted to exchange this F2 Titan with my gold F2. As I understood it, there were two owners of the shop and one of them wanted to exchange, but not the other. Too bad, because that was a prototype F2 Titan camera they had.

Later, back in Sweden another friend of mine wanted to see the gold F2. (His name is Robert Schönherr and has worked many years in the photo industry. It was he who bought the entire stock of Leica cameras from the Swedish army -The crown cameras.) He wanted me to make another gold F2 with motor drive and 50/1.4, in exchange for a F2H which he bought back from Japan. I agreed and made it for him.

I used the gold F2 for a while, then I sold it to an Iranian collector who was a businessman in cameras and lenses. Scharo Saikshaden I believe was his name. He later sold it to a photo shop in Stockholm, Vibergs Photo, and then Sover bought it.

That’s a little history about my cameras and life. Today I hardly collect cameras - it's just family, house, kids and dog. I spent my time on other things these days, but I still have an odd hobby - I collect scaled 1:43 Rolls-Royce models, from COGI and Dinkytys, but other manufacturers as well. Our car is a stretched Volvo. You may have seen pictures of it on my face books page.