View Full Version : Anyone here collect & use Nikon F's?

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02-11-2008, 08:10 PM
Anyone here collect and use old Nikon F's? I know that there are many people out there who collect special versions of F bodies produced in the 1960's, but does anyone actually use them on a regular basis?

I have a couple of old F's, but I fell into the "collector's trap" with one of them. I purchased it to use it on a regular basis (Nikon F with standard prism) and it was advertised as being in EX condition. Turns out that it was in near mint condition. It looked so nice that I didn't want to ruin it by using it regularly. I know, it's an F and it was built for abuse, but it looks too pretty to use!

I have actually been thinking about getting a rougher looking F so I won't have any problems taking it everywhere and using it without worrying about messing up its appearance. The other F I have has the Ftn Photomic metering head. The meter still works (I'm using Wein batteries), but I was hoping to get a "lighter" F with the standard prism. I would get another prism, but apparantly the prisms are now selling for more than the F body itself!

Also, anyone using older Nikkor lenses with their old F's?

David William White
02-11-2008, 08:19 PM
I realize it's not quite in the same league, but I shoot regularly with my Nikkormat FTn with 35mm Nikkor lens. Sits on the passenger seat of my car, loaded with Double-X. Probably one roll every two weeks or so. Expect to be doing the same twenty years from now...

Uncle Bill
02-11-2008, 08:28 PM
I am a self confessed F user, I own a F Photomic Tn and an earlier "641" with eyelevel prism. They don't sit on the shelf and both get used. My Pre Ai Nikkor kit includes 24f2.8, 28/3.5, 35/2, 50/1.4, 50/2, 105/2.5.

I also have an F2 and Nikkormat FTn which round off my pre-AI bodies.

I would love to get a Black F with Photomic FTN head and a 58 f1.4 for my "641" F but that is falling into collecting mode, but since I use non T grain film I am getting that period authentic look with my shots.

02-11-2008, 08:28 PM
I realize it's not quite in the same league, but I shoot regularly with my Nikkormat FTn with 35mm Nikkor lens. Sits on the passenger seat of my car, loaded with Double-X. Probably one roll every two weeks or so. Expect to be doing the same twenty years from now...

I know it's a bit off-topic :) ... but where do you get your Double-X? I haven't had any luck finding it.

The old Nikons are a lot of fun. I've gotten rid of all of mine (I just have too many cameras), but there is definitely a je ne sais quoi about the 1960s Nikons. They are a real pleasure to use.

02-11-2008, 08:41 PM
For F lovers and collectors everywhere, I found this website to be very interesting and helpful;


I believe he is the ultimate Nikon F collector!

David William White
02-11-2008, 09:48 PM
I know it's a bit off-topic :) ... but where do you get your Double-X? I haven't had any luck finding it.

Got a couple of 400ft rolls of 5222 back about three years ago. Haven't looked lately, but probably much harder to find.

02-11-2008, 09:54 PM
As a "Nikonian", I bought a F on eBay a couple of years ago when I thought I'd build a collection of "serious" Nikon gear.

I've never used it - what a "boat of a camera" - but no reason to get rid of it.

Someday my heirs will probably toss it in the garbage - but that's no reason to get rid of it.

(Oh, I even got a couple of those "equivalent" batteries to use for the light meter.)

02-11-2008, 10:17 PM
I think I would shelve a mint F example as well. I was at one time looking at perhaps getting an F2 and while searching around I noticed the prices on the "F's" over at KEH; I was surprised. Maybe Ebay is cheaper on them (haven't looked) but why take chances and not be able to return a 40 year old camera. I wound up with a Nikkormat FT3 and love it. What a camera. Whatever you get a cla runs about a $130 on any of the bodies making them even more expensive.

02-11-2008, 10:36 PM
The second camera I ever got was an old beat up Nikon F Photomic Tn that was handed to me in a paper bag. The previous owner had broken something in the winding mechanism and he proceeded to try to repair it himself. He had gotten it to a point where he could not find any more screws to remove and it still wasn't coming apart so he put it away for a year or two when I was casually speaking with him about old Nikon camera gear. I put it back together as best as I could and I brought it to the Nikon repair facility back when they had an office in San Francisco and they did an outstanding job of getting it repaired. Not only did they fix the winding mechanism but they replaced the worn out strap lugs, pushed out a bad dent in the upper body next to the rewind lever, and aligned the lens mount to the film plane (hey, that's what the guy told me). All for $100 back in 1983. Not bad considering that I got it for free to begin with! I sold that camera in a moment of weakness a few years later. The prism on that camera was nearly flawless and it was a welcome change to my much smaller and lighter FE2 that I had bought just months before. It was built like a tank, it was quirky, it was wonderfully mechanical in operation and it was utterly reliable. At times it made me wish I hadn't bought my FE2 and at times (especially when my right arm was tired from hefting it) it made me wish I was never cursed with it.

I still have a DW-1 waist-level finder from an F2 that my cousin sold to me to use with this camera. Just remove the name plate and it snaps right into the top of the old F.

02-12-2008, 08:27 AM
Been using my two since I got them new while working as a still photographer in the Army in '69. 20 years of daily shooting, now semi retired use several times a week. One took a pretty bad fall down a mountain side but although it was jammed when I finally got it back, I forced it(it was already broken I couldn't make it any worse) and have been using it without the exposure counter ever since. Only work ever done on them was to send the FTn head to be re-calibrated for modern batteries. Moters, a dozen or so Nikkors, several heads, screens, Luna-Pro, etc. Picked up an F3 along the way too. They were all once NIB but I didn't buy them to be closet queens. I guess my estate will be selling some brassy old Nikons.

What more can one ask of a machine?

Steve Smith
02-12-2008, 09:40 AM
I believe he is the ultimate Nikon F collector!

Yes, he has a few there!


02-12-2008, 12:40 PM
I seldom use 35mm, but when I do, I pull out the old F. A great camera. I particularly like to use it when photographing bands. It attracts a lot of attention from the crowd - in much the same way that driving a nice antique car does.

02-12-2008, 02:31 PM
Yes, I routinely use my F, bought from a pawn shop in Manassas many years ago. It came with an FTn head, which I replaced with a prism finder I bought in a shop for $90 -- not a bad price. There's just something so solid about the F -- different from my FE2, FM2 and Nikkormat FT3. Put an early 50mm f/1.4 on it, and there you go -- a great shooter.

Jeffrey A. Steinberg
02-12-2008, 05:22 PM
I collect (and regularly use) the following mint condition cameras: F with F36 drive, F2AS/MD2, F3HP/MD3, F4s. My favorite in order is F2 (first), F3 (second) F4 (3rd).

There is nothing like the Nikon prime's....I have the 20/2.8 (?), 50/1.2, 85/1.4, 105/2.5 and 135/1.4 (I think its that--its really fast) and the 180F2.8. Those lenses with those cameras are great.

I probably use one each week--I sort of rotate them around.

02-12-2008, 07:09 PM
I have an F in great shape I bought used around 10 years ago. I keep it handy around the house, loaded with Plus-X. I usually keep the 50 mm f1.4 on it but also have several other Nikkor primes I use regularly on it. It still makes awesome images. And as others have already said, it's a conversation starter.

Having it in hand as I walk through sketchy parts of town lends a sense of security - it would make a great weapon if needed.

I'd like to get another, also an F2 at some point.

02-12-2008, 08:47 PM
I have an F with the 67 block. It came with the Photomic FTn that still works, but I use it with an F2 plain prism.


02-12-2008, 11:43 PM
I have 2 Nikon Fs that belonged to my Dad. It was finding the key to the trunk that his camera gear was stored in that got me taking Photography classes a little over a year ago. There's something special about using an F, especially one that belongs to my Dad, it takes me back to a time when craftsmanship was the key to a business plan not planned obsolescence. For 35mm I mainly switch back and forth between the Fs and the F3s.

02-15-2008, 07:01 PM
I dusted off my old F and changed the batteries in my FTN finder. The needle is moving much quicker now (I think the batteries it had were almost dead). I compared the meter to readings taken with my F100 set to center weight and they are metering the same! Tomorrow I will taking the old F to the zoo together with a few lenses (24mm 2.8, 50mm 1.4 and 105mm 2.5) to get some family portraits of my daughters. It will be interesting to be the "different" one for a change (no large digi-anchor with lens). :) All I need now is to defrost a few rolls of TriX and Fuji Astia 100F!

02-15-2008, 08:04 PM
I can see the "F" sub-category being started at Apug now....

Time to go count my pennies..

02-15-2008, 08:32 PM
I can see the "F" sub-category being started at Apug now....

Now there's an idea...! :D