Mighty strong sentiment there. I have been using my F3 on automatic for a few years now. My other Nikons are used in conjunction with either a hand-held spot meter or with my best guess exposure system. I've found that the F3 does a really good job of calculating an exposure in the automatic mode based on the comparisons of negatives from the F3 against negatives from my other cameras. Bottom line, if you are forced to go automatic with your F3, your exposure will be acceptable.
I believe that the F3's metering system was highly regarded as one of the best for its time before the advent of matrix metering systems. IMHO, I am still not convinced the matrix systems are all that much better.
Hello, I came across this forum after having the same issue with an F3 I just bought. I am new to Nikon 35mm and can't figure out what's wrong. Like you I took a few good shots then suddenly the display is all nonsense—with the "-+" signs and giving either 1050, 1060 or 0 as the shutterspeed no mater if it's in auto or manual. Did you ever resolve the issue?
I recently purchased a Nikon F3 from KEH EX rating, the meter at first worked perfectly fine. After the first exposure to the cold the meter went haywire (around 32 degrees) and the numbers came up all choppy and the plus and minus sign for over and under exposure appeared at random intervals, ever since the camera has totally warmed up and the batteries even replaced to be sure, the error has no subsided and remains fully in effect, whats wrong with my camera?
Late reply! After reviewing the way the F3 metering, autoexposure control and shutter speed setting I think what is wrong with your camera is purely with the display alone. If you would like to test it out I would suspect that it would give correct exposure in auto mode as well as correct exposure in manual mode as well. Just that the display is wrong.
I had similar problem with display - the numbers simply dissapeared or became +-2888 or something like that.... I had carefully opened the display "block" and then closed and tighten it all back together and it just started to work as it should work, so I think it is very sensitive to misalignment of contacts due to temperature changes & so on.
I think this is most likely the problem.
I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.
If it helps before you try unscrewing things I have a .pdf of the Nikon F3 repair manual. It is over 40MB in size but if you want a copy PM me your email address & I will upload it to one of the file transfer sites for you to grab.