Canon F1n vs. Nikon F2? Really, is one better than the other?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by SchwinnParamount, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. SchwinnParamount

    SchwinnParamount Member

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    I have them both and love them both. Silly question, but should I love one more than the other? This question is all about personal opinion but is it possible to quantify the advantages of one vs. the other and then decide the best camera?

    Let my attempt this:

    F2: Heavier. F1n: Lighter
    F2: The exposure information in the finder is brighter and easier to read. Aperture and shutter speed are at bottom of frame and both are bright.
    F1n: Gorgeous matte black finish and lovely lines
    F2: Says "Nikon" on the front of the prism...
    F1n: Doesn't
    F1n: Pleasing font used for "Canon" on prism.
    F1n: 50mm 1.4 is great lens, focus to 1 foot.
    F2: 50mm 1.4 is a great lens, does not focus as close as 1 foot.
    F1n: Lighted exposure info in prism.
    F1n: Has Aperture priority AE mode (Should I be comparing the F1n to the Nikon F3??)
    Both: Wonderful clunk when shutter is fired.
    Both: Can be used as weapons if you are being mugged.
    Both: Exchangeable finders and focus screens
    Both: Excellent lenses available in all interesting focal lengths
    F1n: Lenses are cheaper.
    F1n: Professes a like for HP5+
    F2: Won't load HP5+ without a bit of whining.
     
  2. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    Probably better to compare the Nikon F2 to the Canon F-1 or the Canon New F-1 to the Nikon F3 since these pairs are of the same era. Are you considering whole systems or specific prisms?
     
  3. SchwinnParamount

    SchwinnParamount Member

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    So far, with specific prisms. I only have the Canon F1n AE prism and the F2 - Uh, forgot the model number, but the original F2 prism. I would consider the complete systems against each other but don't have experience to do so. If you do, your input would be valuable.
     
  4. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    Nikkor lenses are better. Nikon was established as a total system before F-1 even came along. Lot to be said for being first in the business.
     
  5. illumiquest

    illumiquest Member

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    I've used both extensively and in my opinion the Canon bodies are just awful to use. They tried to automate things away when really all I want is a reliable body with a meter that tells me what it sees and lets me choose what to do with that information. Ditch the Canon, buy a nikon.
     
  6. elcabezagrande

    elcabezagrande Member

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    Nothing is automated on the F-1.
     
  7. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    I have always found that Nikon manual focus lenses for the Nikon were on the whole better made although there is little to compare between them in use. Canon used a lot of plastic in the later FD lenses whilst Nikon was mainly metal. Yes they are considerably cheaper too.
    The Nikon F2 has always held the top of the pile as being the finest mechanical 35mm camera ever made and having owned 2, I can vouch that they are bullet proof!. I don't know of anyone who has argued that point.There was an issue with the metering on the F2 models but there is a repairer in UK that can re-manufacture the tracking used to get the meter to respond correctly.
    As for no automation on the Canon there was an auto exposure head available for the F1 although how common these are I have no idea. I do know of one UK dealer with one for sale at present and the price is around £170 for the body only.
     
  8. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Your comparsison isn't so much about Nikon vs Canon but 70's vs 80's.
     
  9. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Nikon is great, but I still love my Canon F-1.

    Jeff
     
  10. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Subscriber

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    I have used a lot of cameras, but my F1n sans motor was smother more satisfying and i think lighter than the fabled Leica M3. (Yes I've used the Nikon F2... too many quirks compared to the modern F-1 and match needle meter)


    That is all. Use what you wish. My favorite photographer from grad school did outstanding work with a Pentax K1000 and 50mm f2.
     
  11. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Subscriber

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    There was a lot of overlap. I saw many Nikon F3's go to the shop, during the same years my Canon F-1n just clicked away with buttery smoothness. I always thought work and the time I did with my Canon wides was sharper didn't suffer from as much barrel distortion as my contemporaries using the Nikon 28 or 24mm lenses. I have used both have had a Nikon Af system for 25 years now. I switched because at the time I was exposing a lot of transparency film and the Nikon flash automation in the early 1990's was simply wizardry and allowed me to photograph with such confidence. If I still had Canon lenses I'd still have a F1n to make black and white images. I liked the F1n that much. I am now too accustomed to the focus direction of the Nikons (funny I use non-af lens so much), that I don't want to think about switching back.
     
  12. snapguy

    snapguy Member

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    It is a simple choice -- which one is best FOR YOU? Every person has a different way of taking photos and which weaknesses/strengths of which camera are best for you? What we think doesn't matter. I never listen to my own advice. If I did I would not have gotten rid of my Rolleiflex and my Leica M2R or my Olympic Sonnar 180mm f2.8 lens.
     
  13. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Subscriber

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    +1 although thought I would add my hands on experience with this item which I think was very well made perhaps the best --(sans electronic automation mentioned, my need for auto-focus, that I just don't use much now that I have it)
    -- in my opinion, and the reasons I don't still have it.
     
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  15. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    There were 3 versions of the F1, If it has a matte black finish it isn't an F1n, it's an F1N which is a New F1 a completely different camera, different shutter , different metering http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canon_F1 to the F1n which was an updated version of the original F1.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 3, 2014
  16. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    Buy Leica.
     
  17. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I'll buy Leica if you buy Toyota!:whistling:


    Jeff
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 3, 2014
  18. Thomas.Goehler

    Thomas.Goehler Member

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    Right! And as log as the TO has not specified which Canon F-1 model we are talking about (old F-1 resp. F-1n [from 1971-81] or New F-1, often referred to as F-1N [from 1981-92]) all discussion is quite useless, because we are comparing apples and oranges here.
     
  19. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Note, based on my own "seat of the palm" feeling the F1 has always felt heavier. Various specs online also confirm his: F1(n): 820g (or 795g if New F1), F2: 730g. I don't personally own an F-1, but a friend does and it's always felt like a solid brick of metal to me.
     
  20. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I used to own2 F2's, I now own 3 F1N-AE's, so you know which I prefer.
     
  21. SchwinnParamount

    SchwinnParamount Member

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    My original post should have been specific. I did say that the finish is the matte black finish but did not say that it was the "new" F-1. So I'll say it now: I have the "New" F-1
     
  22. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Never owned on an f2, but I love my Canon F1n. I bought it in the 80s while I was in college. Ran over a thousand rolls with it and never had a problem. I think I might have to replace the light seals soon though. It's a hybrid camera with an electronic shutter and will work without a battery also. However, Nikon lenses focuses backwards :wink:
     
  23. zanxion72

    zanxion72 Member

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    I like my F2S, but my F-1 is my old time favorite. The only drawback could be the use of the 1.34V batteries, but this can be remedied anyway. Of course Nikon's lenses have more of a compatible thing (in terms of quality, I'd rather Canon).
     
  24. SchwinnParamount

    SchwinnParamount Member

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    My only data point on lens comparison is the 50mm 1.4 that I own for each of these cameras. I prefer the Canon lens... so far. I know that the Canon focus' closer, but I don't know that it is sharper. it appears so in the ground glass, but that could simply be an artifact of the GG itself. Another question: Does the Nikon focus screen transmit a less sharp image from the lens than the Canon focus screen? I don't know. Ultimately, I will need to set up a focus target and then expose the same film type through each camera where the subject is the focus target. The human variable in this test is my own eye. Can I focus perfectly?

    I can pick up a Canon 105 or 85mm equivalent to my Nikon lenses of the same focal length and add another point to my dataset. Has anyone else got both Canon and Nikon lenses in the same focal length? I know that Nikon has a reputation of making better glass, but is that borne out by actual APUG user experience?
     
  25. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Canon f1n battery

    Canon f1n take 4lr44 batteries which are doggie shock collar batteries. Cheap on eBay.
     
  26. SchwinnParamount

    SchwinnParamount Member

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    I can get them at my local grocery store too. Same battery is used by the A1 and the AE1