Nikon F3

Discussion in 'Equipment & Media' started by Pete Askew, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. Pete Askew

    Pete Askew Admin

    Continuing with a series on the Nikon 'F' cameras (the Nikon F - http://www.realphotographersforum.com/film-conventional-cameras/8030-nikon-f-apollo.html , and the Nikon F2 - http://www.realphotographersforum.com/film-conventional-cameras/8097-why-f.html), 1980 saw the introduction of the F3. As with previous models it overlapped with its predecessor, the F2, for a while but, while still modular in design, it was radically different. The F3 introduced electronic control of a metal-bladed shutter and a variety of automatic exposure modes (including, later, an AF module). The metering system was now incorporated into the body and the settings were displayed on LCD screens that were 'projected' into the prism. It was viewed with some suspicion when first released but soon became arguably one of the most popular professional cameras of all time.

    This shows a F3 fitted with the MD4 motor drive (which takes over the role of supplying power to the meter and shutter from the cells housed in the body) and the Nikon frame rate adapter (which adds control of the shooting rate and rovides the bonus of re-centring the tripod socket). The lens is a Zeiss 100mm Macro Planar f1:2.0 - it was just handy.

    [​IMG]


    The rear of the camera is relatively plain with a film reminder slot on the back, some indicator lamps (for film advance, battery check - after pressing the recessed button next to them - etc), two contacts (silver 'pins' beside the lamps) to provide power to a data-back (allowing the imprinting of date / time etc onto the film) and a burst mode control (ie limiting a continuous burst to a certain number of frames). Also visible is the film rewind catch on the left of the motor drive body and the motorised rewind switch at centre right - you have to hold the small safety button in while moving the switch to the left. At top left, under the Nikon-style flash mounting shoe and manual rewind crank, is the dial / scale for setting the ISO / ASA of the film in use (lift and turn as is usual for Nikon). The little silver button beside it allows for exposure compensation to be 'dialled' in (see image of top plate).

    [​IMG]


    The ergonomics of the F3 were significantly better than the F2 with a motor drive fitted and in many ways provided the 'blueprint' of other cameras to come. On the right of the camera can be seen the connection between the frame rate adapter (which allows a range of shooting speeds to be selected), the catch to open the battery compartment of the motor drive and a cover over an external contact (for remote triggers, intervalometers etc). On the side of the prism can be seen the little red button that operates the illuminator for the LCD screen in the viewfinder / prism (see also - http://www.realphotographersforum.c...e-viewfinder-illumination-light-nikon-f3.html) as well as one of the catches which are used to release the prism from the body.

    [​IMG]


    On the front of the frame rate adapter is the dial to set the shooting rate required (but no handy table on the camera this time). Above it, on the main body, are the self timer (used in combination with the lever below the shutter speed dial) and combined depth of field preview button / mirror lock-up lever as with the F2.

    [​IMG]


    On the right of the body is the usual lens release button and, above that, a PC connector for flash. On the motor drive is another accessory socket (the larger one - without its cover) allowing external triggers etc to be used and a power-in socket allowing the unit to be powered by a mains transformer unit / battery pack. You can also see the second catch for the prism.

    [​IMG]


    On the top plate you can see the contacts and dovetail mount for a Nikon flash unit (an adapter can be fitted to either provide remote placement of a Nikon flash or a hot shoe etc. To its right is the exposure compensation scale (in 1/3 stops) and the release button mentioned above. On the other side of the prism is the shutter speed dial (note the option of Aperture priority automation). This has the usual speed and 'mode' selections. For electronic flash, 1/80s is the shortest speed for synchronisation but only 1/60s is shown as an option on this dial - marked in red. However, when X is selected, 1/80s (mechanical) is automatically set. There is also the usual Bulb setting for holding the shutter open and Timed which allows the shutter to open mechanically and remain open until it is reset by rotating the dial while depressing the button at its centre (thus conserving the batteries). In front of the shutter release is the mechanical on / off switch (over-ridden by the motor drive controls) and to its right is a lever that allows the shutter to be recocked without advancing the film (for multiple exposures to be made). On the motor drive grip can be seen another shutter release with settings for Lock, Single and Continuous shooting modes - as mentioned above, the shooting rate is controlled by the frame rate adapter. At the back right of the top plate is a frame counter.

    [​IMG]


    As with the previous models, the prism can be removed and other viewing systems mounted in its place. The viewfinder window is fitted with a shutter, operated by a small lever, to prevent the entry of light when making very long exposures or when the mirror is locked up and light might enter via this route.

    [​IMG]


    The F3 had probably the largest range of accessories and options of any 35mm film camera ever made and was a truly versatile and robust workhorse and, in general, is a delight to use.


    All images taken using a Ricoh GR Digital III. PP in LR + Nik ColorFX 4.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2012
  2. Hamish Gill

    Hamish Gill Well-Known Member

    Thats a pretty camera and lens!
    I must use my F3 more .... I loved it until i discovered how much more easy a fm2n felt to get on with!
     
  3. Pete Askew

    Pete Askew Admin

    I have now added text to the images in this thread.
     
  4. Hamish Gill

    Hamish Gill Well-Known Member

    Good work!
    What finder is that Pete?
     
  5. Russ Butner

    Russ Butner Active Member

    57979013-3BA9-4D71-86FB-E169B52CAD83.jpeg F3 with Tamron SP 17 f/3.5 glass.
     
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  6. Russ Butner

    Russ Butner Active Member

    D4E0595C-AE38-4165-B487-C347DEFBA2C4.jpeg F3 with legendary Nikon 105 f/2.5 glass.
     
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  7. Russ Butner

    Russ Butner Active Member

    28B12307-A40C-49B1-8106-0B2B92D76954.jpeg C544E21E-F20C-4945-94B0-C2BEB8516C31.jpeg F3 with superb Tamron SP 20-40 glass.
     
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  8. Rob MacKillop

    Rob MacKillop Edinburgh Correspondent

    Have you got an FE, Pete? Mine is lovely.
     
  9. Russ Butner

    Russ Butner Active Member

    I have the FE & FE-2. Love and use them both.
     
  10. Russ Butner

    Russ Butner Active Member

    27F2D3FA-C338-4A45-BB88-2DABB14C974A.jpeg
     
  11. Pete Askew

    Pete Askew Admin

    I do, Rob. Two in fact and one was my first SLR bought back in the early 80s.
     
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  12. Russ Butner

    Russ Butner Active Member

    The FE is a very nice camera. And it will also deliver very accurate, very long exposures in “A” mode.
     
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  13. Rob MacKillop

    Rob MacKillop Edinburgh Correspondent

    I've only put one film through mine so far, but have just locked and loaded a second...
     
  14. Russ Butner

    Russ Butner Active Member

    F51A68B8-9458-42B8-8653-A59FA3737CBD.jpeg
    I’m taking mine out today to burn some Delta 400.
     
  15. Russ Butner

    Russ Butner Active Member

    The FE & FE-2 handle beautifully with the MD-12 attached. And if you use lithium AA batteries, it keeps the weight down.
     
  16. Rob MacKillop

    Rob MacKillop Edinburgh Correspondent

  17. Russ Butner

    Russ Butner Active Member

    1AC3527C-368B-47D0-817A-06F33C431AD7.jpeg A bit of bling and functionality for my F3.
     
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  18. Russ Butner

    Russ Butner Active Member

    4A00A2D2-36A2-4400-AB59-0D7D4716747B.jpeg MR-3
     
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  19. Russ Butner

    Russ Butner Active Member

    74D52BA6-014A-42F0-B05A-32A7C2520421.jpeg Taking the F3 out for another spin today. And using it to shoot a couple of protests this week.
     

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