Which Nikon F do you feel is the most refined?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by puketronic, Jun 25, 2013.

  1. puketronic

    puketronic Member

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    I'm talking about feel. I'm interested in a MF Nikon and so I am thinking F-F3. Well I have an F with photonic head and it feels a bit clunky and so I am thinking of maybe getting a plain prism on an F2 or maybe just an F3. The "problem" with the F3 is that I don't need the meter and would prefer a mechanical shutter but for this camera, I might make an exception.

    From my distant memory I think that the F3 felt more refined but I haven't handled one in a long time and have never owned the two at the same time (I usually own one SLR at a time).
     
  2. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I would go for the F2 with the plain prism, it handles better than the F they improved the handling by moving the shutter release button further forward towards the lens mount, rounding the corners of the body, and shortening the winding lever stroke
     
  3. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Probably the F2, with it's rounded-off corners. Basically it's an F with an extra shutter speed and a few other refinements. But for me, nothing beats an F with the plain prism. I have the FTN finder for when I need TTL metering (macro), but it's the plain prism which lives on the camera.
     
  4. JimCee

    JimCee Member

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    I've owned two Nikon manual focus cameras, the original F camera with a plain pentaprism viewfinder and a Nikon F3HP. I definitely would vote for the F3HP as the most "refined" manual focus Nikon that I've owned/used. I've been pretty much into digital photography since about 2005 (also with Nikon DSLR's), but I recently loaded up my Nikon F3HP with some film and I'm looking forward to seeing the results! The camera's functions (for a camera purchased in 1983) are working properly and it appears just as efficient as ever.

    Here's an interesting review of the Nikon F3HP from a recent issue of Shutterbug magazine: http://www.shutterbug.com/content/s...tible-and-vintage-cameras-nikon-35mm-slr-saga

    Jim
     
  5. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    As a rangefinder user, I am not the best person to comment on this thread, but I do own a Nikon FM2 which is nice and chunky.
     
  6. 250swb

    250swb Member

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    Get a plain prism for you F, or an F2 with a plain prism. The problem is that the plain prisms on either are scarce compared with the Photomic head. But then I like early F's from a nostalgic point of view. The best 'F' I have ever had is, I think, the F3, which doesn't help with your question.

    Steve
     
  7. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    F2
     
  8. stevebarry

    stevebarry Member

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    I have a plain prism F and F3 and like both. My F is beat up pretty bad - shutter button position never bothered me on the F. The film advance lever on the F3 is very very nice though - nothing better from nikon if you ask me.

    I like the idea of the F being totally mechanical....but film advance feels like there is a hump about 2/3's the way through, and the lever itself feels very thin somehow. Every time I advance the film on the F it sorta feels like the lever could snap. And the F is bottom load on the film, sort of a pain if you go through film fast and are used to a film door. Another thing, the viewfinder on the F is somehow nicer than the F3 to me. Seems bigger or brighter.
     
  9. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    The Nikon F2 is the finest fit and finish camera to ever come out of Japan.
     
  10. TheToadMen

    TheToadMen Subscriber

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    Both are fine cameras. More important: which one feels & handles best in your hands?
    If it's just a matter of money, I'm guessing you'll find a cheaper F3 sooner than the F prism.
    If this all doesn't matter, I would go for the oldest camera system just becouse I can and the history of it.
     
  11. John_Nikon_F

    John_Nikon_F Subscriber

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    The F definitely feels like it has gears operating the advance mechanism, whereas the F3 series has the ball bearings, like the EM, FG, and FG-20. Yep, same winding mechanism. With respect to the finder, is your F3 an HP model? That would explain why the F's finder seems bigger. Less magnification on the DE-3 than on the eyelevel F finder. 75% compared to 80%.

    Re: the original poster's question, I'd get an F2AS. Keep the F, find a decent eyelevel prism, and put that on in place of the Photomic finder.

    -J
     
  12. Nick Merritt

    Nick Merritt Member

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    Considering that a few days ago I pulled out my F3HP, only to find it totally dead, I am not a big fan of the F3. I never really was -- don't care for the metering pattern and the on/off switch is remarkably unergonomic.

    I'd go for an F2, even with one of the meter prisms. Beautifully made camera, feels great in the hand.
     
  13. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    If you want a refined camera the F3 is most refined. The best is the F2.
     
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  15. semi-ambivalent

    semi-ambivalent Subscriber

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    My F is refined. Like a piece of spring steel sharpened on the sidewalk. Looks bad, works well.

    s-a
     
  16. puketronic

    puketronic Member

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    ahhh IC...I think I will stick with the F/F2 for robustness and add a plain prism(I don't need a meter or auto-anything).

    Quick question: the plain prism and the screens between the two are interchangeable, right? I believe so but I wanted to make sure.
     
  17. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    +1
     
  18. Vilk

    Vilk Member

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    good timing: a long-time F2 user, i had a chance to play with a motorized F3 today, while picking up a lens from a local store... i played... and played... and played... and, like, meh... so i played a bit more, just so i could say i've been there, y'know, then i put it away with other toys

    nothing says "respect" like an F2 :cool:
     
  19. Moopheus

    Moopheus Member

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    I have an F and an F2, and they're very similar in a lot of ways, obviously, but the slightly more rounded shape of the F2 for me wins out. The small improvements--the higher shutter speed, the hinged back--mean that most of the time when I want one of my Nikons, I choose the F2 over the F. Mine has the photomic head, but the meter no longer works right, so it might just as well be a plain prism. I've only shot wit an F3 once or twice. I'm sure it's fine but I like the more completely mechanical models.
     
  20. azzurri

    azzurri Member

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    I have both the plain prism F and F2 as well as the F3HP. All three are lovely cameras but the F2 has a slight edge. Small differences like the placement of the shutter release and film door gives it the edge.
     
  21. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    The F2 was a refinement of the original:
    1. Modern battery in body
    2. Improved film advance lever
    3. Shutter location
    4. Slow shutter speeds
    5. 1/2000 speed
    6. MLU
    7. Hinged back
    With the plain prism, you get the same unobstructed view of the original.

    [​IMG]
     
  22. Trask

    Trask Subscriber

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    I've got two Fs, one with a F prism and one with an F2 prism. Love 'em both, even the ritual of taking that back off to change film (just as I like the ritual of cleaning my records and stylus before spinning a disc). I would urge consideration of an F or F2 with Sportsfinder - big image, easy to focus, fabulous eye relief (great for we who wear glasses). OK, the camera doesn't look quite as sleek, but...
     
  23. chip j

    chip j Member

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    I've had 5 FTNs(most of them new, 2 F2s, and a F3. My F3 meter works, the F ( w/standard prism) is as classically beautiful as a Greek temple. I didn't like the feel of the back hinge on the right side of the F2.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 26, 2013
  24. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    The eyehooks on the side of the F always means it always flips over frontwards while hanging around your neck. Like a ball and chain. Pops you right in the gut.
     
  25. clayne

    clayne Member

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    I will use any Nikon F, F2, F3, etc. they're all flippin' great cameras. As far as most "refined" I'd go with the F3, but my current "day to day" rig is a 51 year old Nikon F + 35/1.4-N:

    [​IMG]

    I have 3 Fs, 4 F2s, and 3 F3s. They're all incredibly reliable and well made cameras. F2 has the best advance, F3 has Av, F is the most no-nonsense and pure. You seriously cannot do wrong with any of these bodies.
     

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  26. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    I would suggest that an extensive overhaul is in order for your F3 if it's film advance has deteriorated to the level of those trio! The FG is as sophisticated as any camera of that time but nobody is mistaking it's cheap feel with any of the manual F's.

    The F3's film advance is smooth but if buttery smooth film advance across the whole range is the criteria, then my vote goes to the Minolta XE-7. Try it at your own risk as it may leave you wondering if there is something wrong with your other camera's film advance . . . :whistling: