Nikon F GAS attack

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by CuS, Feb 15, 2013.

  1. CuS

    CuS Member

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    Okay, here's the issue - I found a very dirty but functioning Nikon F with a Photomic finder in a thrift shop - US$98.

    Now, I didn't get it right then, but as I had never handled one, I did some research.

    Thanks to the mir.com site, I am now having a serious bout of GAS for the Nikon F!

    This led me to trolling the bay, Keh, etc.

    Now, for background, I already have a Canon F-1N, a Bessa R3M, a Kiev IIa, a few Mamiya C-TLRs as well as a new Fuji GF670.

    I really, really liked the build quality of the Nikon F I handled.

    What I need from all of you is your advice on which version of the F to get as well as the best finder for a pairing and a general idea of how much I should pay for one in good cosmetic and functional condition.

    Thanks!
     
  2. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Subscriber

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    This has all been discussed many places on the web. $98 for a dirty one?
    They are not as valuable as you might think. I sold an almost new one (on e-bay) with lens 50mm F2 and prism for only $270.
     
  3. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    There's really only one version of the F. There were several - 3 - versions of metered prisms, the FtN is the last and best IMO. BUT - the potentiometers wear and get erratic. They all can be calibrated to use silver oxide cells instead of mercuric (unavailable) oxide cells. My favorite is the plain non-metered prism, but these alone can cost as much as a nice body and lens.
    Any F will be at least 39 years old, plan to have to pay for a CLA on anything you buy. They're great cameras, one of the all-time finest SLRs ever made.
    Don't forget to get a 105/2.5 Nikkor as well.:smile:
     
  4. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    The Nikon F with an unmetered prism finder is neat. The Photomic finder made it a beast. However, the F did have its idiosyncracies, often due to providing for a very wide range of accessories. I still keep one around for times when only 35mm film will do.
     
  5. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    My F with FtN prism and 20/3.5 Nikkor UD seems to weigh as much as my Linhof STIV.
    I primarily use the plain prism and a LunaSix, reserving the FtN finder for close up work where TTL metering is handy.
     
  6. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Aside from the finders, later ones have a plastic grip on the wind lever, which is a little nicer. Also as I recall, somewhere in the history they went to putting the manufacture year in the first two digit's of the S/N. Not sure if the switchover year is documented though.
    The meter finders are a bit ungainly, but I'm not sure the "value" of the plain ones matches the reported cost.

    If you run into a chrome one with a plain finder and a black name plate, made in circa 1970, it may have been stolen from a house in Thailand 40ish years ago:sad:
     
  7. Bill Harrison

    Bill Harrison Subscriber

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    Get the F2 with plain prism. It costs $150 to overhaul the meter prism when (not if) it goes dead, So the extra cost is worth it. The F2 is the best. The 50mm nikor f2 H is VERY sharp as is the Macro f3,5 and both are inexpensive. Add the 105 f2.5 and 28mm f2.8 both extraordinary lenses when you have the cash.... dream about the 180mm f2.8 ED in the mean time.... Bill
     
  8. Aja B

    Aja B Member

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    If dead-set on the F, I like the 'Apollo' body with either a plain or FTn prism. The plastic cover on the film advance is a nice touch for my delicate thumb. Yet I prefer the F2 for several reasons; faster shutter speed (2000th), stepless between 80 and 2000th (great for chrome), metering to 8 sec, timed exposure to 10 sec, meter-visibility in low-light (SB, AS, others?), hassle-free mirror lock and better ergonomics. I have two F's, incl one Apollo, and a weakness for F2's.
     
  9. Bill Harrison

    Bill Harrison Subscriber

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    nikon F2

    Oh by the way, Google Sover Wong to learn everything you need to know about repair and use... someone on APUG turned me on to him and I'm grateful ... you will be too if you end up with an F2.... he's the BEST.
     
  10. Peter Simpson

    Peter Simpson Member

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    +1 for Sover Wong. He brought my F2 to like-new condition. He only works on the F2
    and he knows everything there is to know about it. He also has repair parts.

    F2 > F because you can still get the meter batteries for the F2.
     
  11. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I now have one of each.

    DSCN0087.JPG DSCN0088.JPG


    Steve.
     
  12. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    I prefer to think of it as a distinctive profile. :tongue:
     
  13. Someonenameddavid

    Someonenameddavid Member

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    Both the F and F2 have their devotees: I have a beautiful black F which is so immaculate that it is doomed to be a shelf queen. It was an early model and is just a few numbers off being 6543210. Imagine the premium on that one(!) it did not have a red dot however, but was skillfully widened at the back of the viewfinder to accept the upgrade Photomic Tn meter. Probably ruined it as a collectable. So: 64 series carry a premium for being original, 65 series a premium for the old style "Nippon Kogaku" in a lens logo 65 red dot carry a premium for the dot which indicates factory built acceptance of the new Photomic. Apollo Fs have the F2 cosmetics(imagine Nikon produced the F and F2 side by side for a while... You would expect that from Leitz or Zeiss, but not the Japanese)

    I still love my F: feels like a Contax IIa with a pentaprism

    David
     
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  15. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    You can get cells that work in the F finders, too. Use #675 hearing aid cells, block off 3 of the four airholes and use a thick O-ring as a bushing to keep it centered in the compartment. Another fix is to use an F2 finder on an F, it's a simple modification.
     
  16. Someonenameddavid

    Someonenameddavid Member

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    How is putting an F2 Photomic head on an F a simple modification when the F2 battery is on the bottom plate and the on switch is the window lever, unlike the F where battery switch and meter are one unit????
     
  17. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    The unmetered finder. I should have been more clear.
     
  18. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    They are responsible for most of my acquisitions too!

    If you didn't already know, this is another excellent Nikon F site -> [B]http://www.destoutz.ch/nikon-f.htm[/B]l
     
  19. semi-ambivalent

    semi-ambivalent Subscriber

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    The ser. num./date thing is not strictly true for the F. At some later point in its production there was a rough correlation between the serial number and the date but I think it was almost circumstantial. I have a couple Fs I purchased new and as I recall the digits are a year off, but I can't right now recall in which direction.

    The F2 does indeed use the method you describe.

    Condolences for your loss in Thailand. Sometimes 40 years is not that long, is it.

    s-a
     
  20. Mark Crabtree

    Mark Crabtree Member

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    I love the F's with straight prism finder. I have the older style, plus the later with plastic wind lever tip; both are fine, but I probably slightly prefer the older metal lever. I've never really liked the Photomic heads; in addition to other issues mentioned, the Photomic makes the aperture adjustment and lens changing fussier. The straight prism camera is a lean, all business, machine.

    F's and many of the lenses are bargains now. In general I'm not as thrilled with the lenses as the bodies, but there are some that are exceptional and others that are incredible performers for their price.
     
  21. Yashinoff

    Yashinoff Member

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    I used to really want an F. Then I got a Miranda. The F2 is everything the F was but better too.
     
  22. Mark Crabtree

    Mark Crabtree Member

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    I might well have agreed at a time when the F2 was the top professional camera. It offered a couple convenience features, handier motor drive, and maybe improvements in the metering.

    For me, and apparently a lot of others, the F2 is more, but not better. It is more weight, more noise, and more rough feeling in operation. I prefer the F, but they are both fabulously made cameras. If you need or want the features of the F2, then it would obviously be the better choice.
     
  23. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    I agree about the F/F2, and I've also come to really like the Nikkormats.
     
  24. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    Everyone should own a F at least once in their lives.
    juan
     
  25. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Starting around 1989 or so I've owned in order an FE2, FM2, N70, N60, F80s, and N90. Sold all off thru the years and went Contax SLR for color work and the Zeiss glass. About a year ago got an F3 for an awesome low price and then an FM2 too. Missed the Nikon and rediscovered the wonder of 1960's F-era glass particularly for b&w work, which is 98% of my work now (the 105/2.5 and 50/2 are simply heaven in my eyes). On a whim a gorgeous black F2 showed up on APUG last year and I bit. My god I love my F2. Was not prepared for how
    awesome it is. Got two of them now (black and chrome). It's like the Leica body of the Nikon line up.

    Now reading this seems I might have to try an F!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 17, 2013
  26. LJSLATER

    LJSLATER Member

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    Uh oh, me too. My F2S has been my number one camera for a couple of years now; I got it restored by Mr. Wong and it (along with its MD1 attached and 18mm f/4 welded on) is my most prized possession. But I have yet to shoot with or even handle an F1 (I like to call it the F1 for grammar's sake).

    Just looking at photos of the F and F2 side by side, the latter looks pretty much the same, except maybe a little refined. The specifications of the two cameras tell a similar story: more or less identical, but with the F2 showing logical, linear progression. But I know how sound, reasonable changes may or may not actually improve a camera. On the F3, for example, many of the tweaks made from the F2 make perfect sense, and I can appreciate them, but I can just as easily do without them. And some of the features of the F3 were poorly implemented and are a step backwards (like the viewfinder illuminator, the non-standard hot shoe that for some ungodly reason is different from the non-standard hot shoe of the F/F2, the fact that the stupid meter won't work until you wind to frame 1).

    I know for sure the position of the shutter release button on the F1 wouldn't bother me, but I do worry about having to remove the whole back for loading film. And there's the mirror lockup procedure, but I wouldn't need to do it very often....

    I dunno, I suppose I ought to just snatch one up sooner rather than later, before all the good ones have been taken.