F3HP Serial Number Question.

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by snegron, Aug 19, 2006.

  1. snegron

    snegron Member

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    I recently purchased an F3HP and did some research on the serial number. The serial number on my F3HP begins with 123 but my research indicates that the F3HP series began with 140. According to this info, my F3HP was actually one of the first production regular F3 bodies, not from the F3HP series. It was sold to me as an F3HP in EX condition. The body and prism look pretty decent. Was I "taken for a ride" and sold an old F3 nice looking body with a newer HP prism? Should I contact the store I purchased it from and tell them my concern/exchange for a true F3HP? My concern is that although the body and prism look good, I fear that the electronics and LCD panels will not last as long as they would if I had been given a true F3HP with the appropriate serial number starting with 140 or above. I have purchased from this store in the past and have not had this sort of problem. This does shake my confidence in them somewhat. Any suggestions?
     
  2. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I don't think you were "taken for a ride". There is no difference between F3 and F3HP except for the prism (and the serial numbers). My opinion (since you asked) is that you got a F3HP.
     
  3. snegron

    snegron Member

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    True, there is no difference between the F3 and F3HP other than the prism. However, my understanding is that Nikon began manufacturing the HP prism about two years after the F3 was released. This means that they started attatching the HP prisms to F3 bodies produced after 1982. Acording to the serial number on my F3 I believe it was manufactured in 1980. This leads me to belive that somewhere along the line someone took an old F3 that looked good, removed the standard prism, and replaced it with an HP prism hence turning it into an F3HP. When it comes to electronics, every year counts. Knowing that Nikon was buidling the F3HP until fairly recently, I feel that for the price I paid for an EX condition, I would have liked to have gotten a true F3HP, not an F3 with an HP prism attatched to it by someone not working for Nikon. This would be the equivalent of buying a Snickers bar in its wrapper only to discover that it was actually a Milkyway bar inside. The only thing missing was the peanuts, so someone stuck peanuts into the bar and converted it into a Snickers bar. Or another example would be going to a car dealership and purchasing an "LX" model car with all the bells and whistles only to discover later that it was actually a base model purchased by the dealer who added the bells and whistles at the dealership thereby turning it into an "LX" model. It's just not the same.
     
  4. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Okay, the Snickers example really helps. If you didn't get what you were expecting, or don't like what you got... you should, by all means, take it back. Do they have a real F3HP for you to exchange? If so, resolving hte problems should be easy. If not, I suppose that means you'll have to get a refund and start shopping around. Finding anther should be no problem at all -- KEH seems to always have some.
     
  5. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Really the only difference it the prisim, in fact we were advised by Nikon in the store I worked at, that they would exchange the prisims and they were F3HP's as far as the company was concerned, but if your unhappy, by all means, I would return it, and your car analogy, is a bit incorrect, when I sold cars we were also provided kits to upgrade the cars by the factory as paperwork to that fact many years ago when I was selling Hondas,they all came in as base models and we did the upgrades in the shop, it was pretty common back then.

    But like I said, if your unhappy and it is going to make you feel bad about the camera, then take it back, I don't think you got taken for a ride, just perhaps sold a camera by a store that may have not known any difference..which in this day and age is pretty common as well

    Dave
     
  6. DBP

    DBP Member

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    An F3HP is simply an F3 with a DE-3 finder. The finders on F series cameras (I'm not sure about the F6) are interchangeable within a series and do not need to be matched to the body. The metering system in the F3 is in the body, so the finder is just optics. F3 finders include two eye level, a waist level, an action, and a 6x magnifier. It is a reasonable expectation that any camera with interchangeable accessories did not have all those accesories attached by the manufacturer. This is no more a source of concern than the lens not being the original provided. A professional SLR is not a Snickers bar.
     
  7. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Why would it matter?

    The HP is a view finder. Originally a "convenience" for those who wore glasses - it proved to be so popular that later in the production run Nikon chose to only make F3's with the HP VF - hence the F3HP camera.

    Up here in Copake, my F3HP has a body serial number that starts with 168xxxx.* I also have a F3HP back down in "the City" as well as one at our house in Tucson - cannot check on those right now.

    But the point is - the serial number is on the body - not the HP viewfinder.

    If your body SN is "low" it simply means that a prior owner "upgraded" to the HP viewfinder when it became available.

    [But beware - Lee Shively will have a very different take on this....]

    * BTW: the only nomenclature on the body is "F3".
     
  8. isaacc7

    isaacc7 Member

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    Umm, what's the problem? It sounds like your F3 might have gotten an HP finder later on, but that doesn't make the body any different. There is no difference between the f3 cameras made in 1980 vs. the ones made in 1982. Sounds like a really silly issue to worry that your camera is 2 years older than you thought...

    Isaac
     
  9. snegron

    snegron Member

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    I wouldn't say that it is a silly issue. Think about the LCD screen on the body (the one that tells you the shutter speed). There is a life expectancy of about 10 years on them before possibly having to be replaced. Granted, there are several well kept examples out there that have gone on for many years without needing a replacement. There is also the question of meter cells and overall camera use. If the camera was produced in 1980 instead of 1984, then it is logical to conclude that it has been used for 4 more years. The older the camera the more chances of something going wrong. If it were an F or an F2 I wouldn't be so concerned because they were mechanical cameras. Being that the F3 relies almost entirely on electronic circuits (except for the one mechanical speed of 80), I believe it does make a difference what year the camera was manufactured.

    I don't think that the store would take the camera back based simply on my concern about the serial number. After all, it does look like a very well preserved F3.

    P.S. Brianshaw, I got it from that store you mentioned!
     
  10. Mackinaw

    Mackinaw Member

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    Why don't you post your question on the Nikon Historical Society's website? Lot of knowledgeable people there who know every bit of minutia related to Nikon products.

    http://www.nikonhs.org/index.html

    Jim Bielecki
     
  11. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    For all you know, the LCD has already been replaced (and possibly the shutter too) and your camera will last longer than a "real" F3HP.

    The F3HP does not exist as such. The F3 is the camera. Common nomenclature is to call the F3 with this prism an F3HP, but the camera is no different no matter which prism it is sold with.

    Newer F3s were sold with the original prism. Some also bought the original prism to put on their F3s. Does that make these wrong somehow?

    If you are buying to collect and historical accuracy is important, you need to do your own research. Most camera dealers sell gear for people use to take photographs. In this case, accuracy is not important; function is. Your camera apparently functions fine, and therefore it is what they sold it as being.

    Finally, you can't rule out that the top plate was replaced at some point. That would change the serial number.

    In short, unless you buy new you have no idea what you are getting. Any camera that has any significant usage on it may have a few or many unoriginal parts. As long as the condition is as described and the camera functions as implied by the description, all is good. My F3HP was sold to me as such and I have no idea how much of it came from the factory when the camera was new; the camera works, and therefore I am happy.
     
  12. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    FWIW - now back in NYC I checked my "Nikon Compendium". It states there that the F3HP is simply a F3 with a DE-3 viewfinder attached:

    "The HP viewfinder, known as the DE-3, turns a normal F3 into an F3 HP, increasing the camera's weight from 700 to 745 grams. It is not just those with (eye)glasses who have come to appreciate the F3 HP, photographers with normal vision can benefit from the more comfortable viewing afforded by this finder so much so that in the latter years of its production the F3 was invariably delivered as the HP version."

    (Heck of a run-on sentence there - BTW)
     
  13. Ray Heath

    Ray Heath Member

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    mate, you need some real issues in your life

    your concerned whether your camera is 20 or 25 or 26 years old, because of something that might wear out after 10 years

    what

    worry about going outside and developing an eye for photography, knowing all this crap about dates and serial numbers won't make good images
     
  14. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    My F3HP which was bought new in March 1985, has been used in extreme cold, -35ºC and extreme heat +45ºC.

    For most of it's life it has travelled in a motorcycle tankbag and it does look very, very secondhand.

    For what it's worth, the LCD display works pretty much as well as when new. I know this as I looked at a friends F3HP which recently had a new shutter and LCD screen fitted, both LCD units appeared identical.

    I do know though, that in extreme heat, the LCD screen goes completely black. In extreme cold the LCD takes it's time in showing the display. Seems to have a lag, which is probably the battery working hard.

    One of the advantages of the F3 body is the composition of the metal material. In extreme cold, your skin has less of a chance of sticking to it, compared to a steel body. I believe that this was one of the things taken into acount when it was being designed.

    Be that as it may, I can tell you that in extreme cold, you need gloves so your skin doesn't either stick to anything or your fingers fall off.

    In extreme heat you also need gloves. I use light summer motorcycle gloves, these gloves serve two purposes. Firstly, your hands sweat so much, you'll drop the camera in no time without gloves. Secondly, gloves stop your hands from getting sunburn.

    If the camera works and the LCD is working well, I wouldn't worry, just run some film through it.

    Mick.