Switch to English Language Passer en langue française Omschakelen naar Nederlandse Taal Wechseln Sie zu deutschen Sprache Passa alla lingua italiana
Members: 70,925   Posts: 1,556,796   Online: 967
      
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 17
  1. #1
    snegron's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Hot, Muggy, Florida
    Shooter
    35mm
    Posts
    805

    Nikon F Metered Prism Reliability

    I am thinking about purchasing a Nikon F body with a working meter (FTN). How reliable are these metered prisms compared to earlier models? Do the cells have a certain life span that will expire at some time?

    Not to long ago I purchased an F2A with working metered prism. I absolutely love this camera and I was hoping to add an older F model to my collection. I try to purchase older cameras in near mint condition in order to actually use them as well. I am debating whether I would be better off just getting another F2A instead of an FTN. Any suggestions? Anyone have any comments on the FTN? (Reason I am thinking about the FTN is because it was the last production F before the F2, so I am assuming the meter and mechanical parts are hopefully in better condition than older F models).

  2. #2
    Dave Swinnard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Parksville, BC Canada
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    252
    I don't know about the life time of the meter cells, but I believe there are issues with the variable resistor element in the ASA/shutter speed dial.

    IIRC the meter takes mercury cells which are essentially unavailable. (though there are a few options like zinc-air cells with their short life and DIY teeny-tiny voltage regulator chips that some folks have added to their meters using lower-voltage mercury cells)

    My FTN sits in the cupboard along side my F2AS. I use my F3.
    (my current FTN was a replacement for my first one - my very first Nikon back in 1972. It now resides on an unnamed Arctic island, inadvertantly left behind by my helicopter flying little brother...)

    I might not use the older ones much, but I did in the past and they served me well. The F3 is much-travelled and still keeps ticking along. It will be going on a road-trip again Monday as we're off to South Dakota and the Black Hills ('cause they're there)

  3. #3
    resummerfield's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Alaska
    Shooter
    Large Format
    Posts
    1,291
    There are repair shops that adjust the internals of the FTN meter to work with the Alkaline batteries. The parts for the variable resistor are no longer available, but there are a few shops that will work on them. Pete Smith at Fotocamera Repair 561-433-8434 keeps mine working. Call him for some great advice.
    —Eric

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Montgomery, Il/USA
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    5,159
    FTn's were made for about 5 years 68-72/3? the bodies were basically the same since '62. Although it's not 100% accutate the year of manufacture can be estimated by the first two digits of the serial #.
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

  5. #5
    snegron's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Hot, Muggy, Florida
    Shooter
    35mm
    Posts
    805
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Swinnard
    I don't know about the life time of the meter cells, but I believe there are issues with the variable resistor element in the ASA/shutter speed dial.

    IIRC the meter takes mercury cells which are essentially unavailable. (though there are a few options like zinc-air cells with their short life and DIY teeny-tiny voltage regulator chips that some folks have added to their meters using lower-voltage mercury cells)

    My FTN sits in the cupboard along side my F2AS. I use my F3.
    (my current FTN was a replacement for my first one - my very first Nikon back in 1972. It now resides on an unnamed Arctic island, inadvertantly left behind by my helicopter flying little brother...)

    I might not use the older ones much, but I did in the past and they served me well. The F3 is much-travelled and still keeps ticking along. It will be going on a road-trip again Monday as we're off to South Dakota and the Black Hills ('cause they're there)

    Sorry to hear about your first FTN! I have thought about getting another F3, but it just doesn't have the overall apeal as the F or F2. I have an F3 somewhere with a bad shutter and bad meter. I worked it to death back in the mid 80's. There is just something about the F and F2 that makes them great to shoot with and awe inspiring to look at!

  6. #6
    snegron's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Hot, Muggy, Florida
    Shooter
    35mm
    Posts
    805
    Quote Originally Posted by resummerfield
    There are repair shops that adjust the internals of the FTN meter to work with the Alkaline batteries. The parts for the variable resistor are no longer available, but there are a few shops that will work on them. Pete Smith at Fotocamera Repair 561-433-8434 keeps mine working. Call him for some great advice.

    Thanks for the info! It is great to know there are people out there who still enjoy fixing the old F!

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Live Free or Die
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    4,465
    Images
    90
    The Nikon F was famously rugged, and the reputation of the models that followed it has been that they weren't quite as rugged as the original. However many people would argue that the later F's don't deserve the slight. The FTn finder model would be the one to get, unless you are only interested in a collectors item. As I recall, the FTn introduced the center-weighted metering, the earlier FT meter was through-the-lens, and the earliest meter finder had an external cell (I think).
    As noted, the F body was pretty much same through that entire transition of metered prisms. The only difference I remember was the later ones had plastic on the end of the wind lever.
    By all means, it is a worthwhile camera to own and use, if you can obtain one with the meter calibrated for modern batteries, or have it done, so much the better.
    The cameras were also available with non-metered finders, which were cheaper when new, and are good bit more compact than the FTn models. Just get an equally old Weston meter, and you won't have batteries to worry about at all!

  8. #8
    Uncle Bill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Oakville and Toronto Canada
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    1,371
    Images
    311
    I have both an eyelevel prism F from the early 1960s and late '60s F with the FTN meter head. They are tanks and I have never had an issue with the FTN meter which was calibrated to use modern batteries. I purchased it off my camera tech, Gord at Commercial Camera Repair in North York, Toronto, Canada. Its funny I have had opportunities to buy a F3 but I prefer the F and F2, knowing me I will be looking for a Black F at some point.
    "Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around once and a while, you might just miss it."
    Ferris Bueller

  9. #9
    Jim Jones's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Rural NW Missouri
    Shooter
    4x5 Format
    Posts
    1,830
    I've used Nikon F and Nikkormats for 39 years, but haven't used that monster of a metering prism since mine quit working long ago. The Nikon F, despite the funky mirror lock-up and detachable back, is a fine camera with the unmetered prism. The latest unmetered F prisms, like the metered ones and Nikkormat, accept the focusing magnifier and right-angle adaptor without a little adaptor to slip on the eyepiece.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Norfolk, UK
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    250
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Jones
    I've used Nikon F and Nikkormats for 39 years, but haven't used that monster of a metering prism since mine quit working long ago.


    Same here. I bought my first F (unmetered) in 1969 and added an FTN in the mid-70s. The meter died some time in the 80s (can't remember exaxctly when as I had stopped using it some time before. Not inaccurate, but definitley clunky. If I were you I'd get an F2 and a good hand meter like a Weston or Sekonic L398 and never have to worry about batteries again!


    Richard

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast


 

APUG PARTNERS EQUALLY FUNDING OUR COMMUNITY:



Contact Us  |  Support Us!  |  Advertise  |  Site Terms  |  Archive  —   Search  |  Mobile Device Access  |  RSS  |  Facebook  |  Linkedin