I have the opportunity to buy a used F3 body (I have not viewed it yet) for USD 50 and need to know if there are any caveats to watch out for, given that the electronic shutter fires. I know that there is one lonely speed that is mechanical (1/60) from the lever on the front of the body. Is this a good deal? Also, if presented with either the F3 or a mechanical FM, both the same condition, which would you choose? Thank you. - David Lyga
Last edited by David Lyga; 07-21-2011 at 07:07 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Wow $50.00 for an F3, at that price you could use it as a paperweight! These things are very reliable and the only thing to check is the LCD display which apparently can go south on occasions. As for the FM versus F3, that is a hard one, but I would favour the F3 for certain, much more camera for the money.
Also, the metering, apart from offering automation, is more sophisticated. There was a little resistance to the F3 when it came out as many pro's were reluctant to trust a battery dependant camera, so stayed with their F2's.
The fears of course were unfounded and the F3 went on to be a classic (just love the film advance). For $50.00 for each camera, I would have both!
OK thank you Tony. I would rather have the FM because I love mechanics but if this model was not a "bete noir" I'm OK with it. I vaguely remember reading that this model was not as desirable as the others.
NO ONE can even begin to downgrade the F2, probably the best mechanical SLR ever made. - David Lyga.
I think I am going to start a business selling paperweights to Australians. There must be a shortage there if you would pay that much for one!
Originally Posted by tony lockerbie
I am drawn more towards the FM as I like mechanical manual things.... but an F3 would be nice and at that price, it is just asking to be bought!
For $50.00 USD, and you have to ask?
I would have the F3 because it can use any Nikkor lens made up until the camera was released and quite a few after it was released.
The FM is restricted mainly to lenses made from approximately the seventies onwards, it doesn't have the fold up prong.
With the interchangeable viewfinders, focusing screens and a plethora of other stuff, I wouldn't even think about it.
I have two F3 HP's and a lone FE2 as my main 135 cameras.
And once you have used that winder, anything else is totally inferior!
Ps:- the FE is about the last, if not the last Nikon body with a fold up prong, other than F bodies.
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Although the F3's LCD can just conk out, more common is a slow fade--visible still but less contrasty than when new. Just be advised that the tiny LCD screens are no longer available new from Nikon.
I have F3s with both the DE-2 and DE-3 HP finders and don't have a clear preference--the much-touted extra eye relief for the bespectacled is a bit oversold. The WYSIWYG 100% viewfinders are very sweet.
I like the "fat spot" 80/20 metering pattern and the ability to do absurdly long metered shots in Aperture Priority in low light.
It was a top-of-the line "F" series camera and that meant a ton of accessories that are still floating around.
For me, the only glitch with the F3 is the goofy non-standard flash shoe for TTL.
It makes a nice solid package with the MD-4 motor drive but at the cost of considerable weight.
A final bonus is the ability to use non-Ai lenses, thanks to its flip-up Ai tab.
Thanks all. I usually do not buy Nikon because I find Spotmatics and SRTs to be vastly cheaper and take just as good pictures (one F3 lasts about as long as 2 or 3 Spotmatics). Passion reigns with Nikon, however, and I wanted to see your passion 'justify' my purchase. - David Lyga
I have always used FM2n's as well as the original FM as I adore them from a mechanical point of view. They're solid and reliable. However, I recently purchased an F3HP and can say they're a joy to use. I must admit I have no need to change the prism, but bearing in mind its condition and price, I couldn't resist.
Well, I've always used FM2s and FMs. I also have picked up a FE and FE2. Due to all of the rave reviews that the F3HP and F2s receive, I thought I should at least try them out. Here are my preferences, in order, and why.
1) FM2n - fully manual, meaning few electronics to go wrong. Light meter is VERY easy to see.
2) FM - same as above but a bit lower flash sync, not really an issue for me though.
3) FE and FE2 - more dependence on electronics that can go wrong. The auto exposure is VERY useful at times, especially when it's tough to read the meter. Meter is easy and very informative in good light, a bear to read in poor light.
4) F2 - Nice camera, big, heavy, light meter easy enough to read, not as informative as FEs
5) F3 - Nice camera, big, heavy, light meter is very difficult to read. I have to specifically look for and at the meter. Illumination is basically worthless.
So, while the F3 has a loyal fan base, I do not find it particularly joyful to use. In fact, I'm considering selling mine - haven't decided yet. Will probably give it more time to grow on me, but not sure it will.
As other have said, $50, if it works, is a very good deal.
One issue I had with my F3 is that while the film advances, the frame count does not. If you test without film in it, you won't notice it. With film, it's a no-go. From what I recall, it was a bear to fix as that little mechanism is unique to the F3 and required pretty much a complete disassembly. Others may have more information, as my memory is fading faster than I would like.