I bought my F2A new in 1979. Aside from replacing the seals two years ago, it's been an incredibly reliable piece of equipment. Electronics in the camera are limited to the metering head, which has performed without any problems over the years. I was going to say flawlessly, but I'll have to think about that.
... yes, flawlessly.
I agree that there is a huge amount of Nikon manual-focus glass available for reasonable prices.
I have an F2A, and of all my Nikons, I must admit it is my favorite. Note however that with the motor drive attatched (MD2) it weighs as much as a Volkswagon. As far as overall cost with lenses, Nikon will be less expensive in the long run. Have you thought of what lenses you wish to get? What type of pictures will you be shooting? If you plan on purchasing several lenses, you might want to factor in the added cost to your purchase. The only two Nikon lenses I have ever had a problem with were the 35mm series E which fell apart, and the 18-70 DX kit lens that came with a D70 I purchased. The cheap construction and poor optical quality of that lens was very unlike other Nikon lens I have ever seen. Nikon built its optical reputation with its manual focus lenses. All of my other Nikon glass produce outstanding results.
Thanks to eveyone for your time spent to help. And F2 and R6 are really good machinery. I have several electronic cameras, but traveling to exotic places with thinking about batteries is not very good, and it is why I wish to avoid my R8 or F6. What intrigue me is that F2 keep on price (on e-bay) nearly the same as it was introduced a long ago, nearly before I was born. Is that machine really so good? Well all says it is. Again thanks to all.
Howdy Daniel: I shoot with F2s and Leica M-6s so I can't speak to the Leica R series. But the F2s combined with Nikkor glass are wonderful cameras. They operate smoothly and pretty quietly, you can use them to pound fence posts with, can still get them repaired, and if you happen to have paws that are as big as mine, a pleasure to have in your hands. Just a sturdy, flexible, well-made piece of equipment with a ton of available accessories and lenses.
BTW, you can find some excellent deals on F2s at KEH.com in Atlanta. They have a 30 day warranty and 15 day full refund policy. Also, get the Moose Peterson "Nikon Compendium" to give you some historical aspects of these things and help you navigate the vast sea of Nikon. ;>)
Take it light.
Nikon F2as... I have touched it just yesterday that belongs to my friend.
I have Canon F-1 (old version) and was thinking about going back to Leica R6.2 but I think I was very much attracted by Nikon F2as. Very solid feeling and the light meter was much better than Canon F-1.
Only two things bother me:
- Too heavy and big (the reason why I want to move from F-1 to R6, my hands are small)
- The focusing ring and aperture ring turns opposite direction of Canon/Leica.
I have never used Nikon before. Is this opposite direction difficult to adapt?
I tend to analyze a lot before purchasing - and I was trying to compare a rangefinder to SLR's - so completed a list and fleshed it out with a R6 entry for you (I know you didn't ask, but I already had 80% of it, so what the heck! :) )
I hope this helps you - I decided to include it because you mentioned you were concerned about weight and size of the camera!
Size and weight (w/o lens)
Leica R6: 148 x 97 x 57mm : ~627g (web search)
Leica M7: 158 x 101 x 62mm: ~890g (web search)
Leica MP: 158 x 101 x 62mm: ~790g (Web search)
Ziess Ikon RF: : 138 x 78 x 32mm: ~500g (Zeiss website)
Nikon F2A: 152 x 102 x 65mm: ~840g (web search)
Nikon FM2: 142 x 90 x 60mm: ~540g (FM2/T is ~515g I think) (Nikon site)
Nikon 50mm/f1.8 AIS F-mount lens weight: ~210g (weighed mine on scale)
Leica 50mm/f2 SLR R-mount lens weight: ~290g (web search)
ZI 50mm/f2 RF M-mount lens weight: ~210g (Robert White's site)
Not counting UV filter and lens cap.
So a kit might weigh:
Nikon F2A with 50mm: 985g
Leica R6 with 50mm: 917g
Nikon FM2 with 50mm: 750g (confirmed appx right with kitchen scale)
For comparison (I did mine in reverse - I was considering the below):
Leica MP + 50mm:1000g
Leica M7 + 50mm: 1100g
ZI RF + 50mm: 710g
You can see that the F2A isn't too bad compared to Leica rangefinders, but if you want a similar experience, the FM2 is a light weight camera (and when I got the ZI package with a 35/f2 Biogon, my wife was surprised they felt about the same weight, and while the FM2 was a bit bulkier, they all handled appx the same! :o )
You probably know what you want already - so you should get that, but if you want some additional data to think about, I hope this helps! :) ;)
Also - the focussing directions won't be an issue - though there will be some new habits to be learned - but since each person is wired differently, YMMV.
Good luck and tell us if you decide anything! :) :)
I have two F2AS. Both are still running perfectly and have never had any service whatsoever (actually, one of them just stopped syncing with flash, so I guess it should go in for service....but since I bought an 8x10 I haven't shot a frame on smaller format). My experience with Leica is that the collectors drive up prices beyond their value to me as a shooter (YMMV). Granted, my experience is with Leica-rangefinder gear, and the same may not be true for Leica-reflex gear.
While the original post said "excluding lenses", to me the point is the difference in the glass. I see a real difference between Leitz and Nikkor lenses. It's subtle, but it's discernable. When I look at the pictures I've done with Leica glass they're a little smoother, maybe a little less contrasty (I was using mostly 50's and 60's glass), with a special quality that I like. I like Nikon glass, too, but it seems snappier, less romantic. This may be complete BS and totally psychological, but it's my perception. :)
If you don't need miror lockup and detatchable finders, I find the FM3A to be a great backup to my F2AS. Its all mechanical but can work with batteries to (hybrid shutter). It will likely cost you more but it is almost brand new compared to 30 year old F2AS.
That being said, I am almost always picking up my F2AS. There is something about the mirror "kerlunk" that just makes me feel like I am taking a better picture.
Lastly, another option is an Olympus OM-3Ti, a fully mechanical camera with great lenses and a nice spot metering option.