I loved the camera. Still ahve one and use it. It was the first camera I used as a photojournalist and you could beat the tar out of it and it would keep on clicking away.
And the motor drive for it just rocked back in the day!
I would go for the F5 if I was to buy a Nikon. But my All-Time favourite is Canon EOS 3. Great, fast and rock solid!
A good side on Nikons is "Photography in Malaysia" lots of infos, like instructions.
I use a Nikon F3 with MD 4 motordrive combined with 85 or 135 lenses, I like the almost spot like metering with 80% centered in the 12 mm. Used in manuell mode only, the display is hard see in low light and trying to find and press the light button for the display is a pain in the ...So some nights I switched back to an F2AS with bright red LEDs inside.
If I compare the F3 to an Contax RTS III or Leica R8 it is a rather simple camera and if you work in manual mode you will like it, if you want more gadgets it is NOT the camera for you. For me it is fine, but I also work with 1957 Leica M3s with Leicameter or Gossen Variosix.
Colour? We can always use an airbrush later...
Physically, I think the original F was the top. No fuss, no frills, but everything you wanted plus interchangable finders and screens. Ergonomically, the F2, where the layout is more natural to my hands, and the back doesn't have to be removed to load film. I acquired one after my F collapsed just before a trip a few years back, and while I love the feel of the F2, like others of its breed, it's a bit of a hypochondriac. OTOH, it hasn't needed service since originally purchased (three trips to get the shutter release to reliably fire, and not just in level, horizontal, mode), so maybe it was just adjusting poorly to a new camera bag.
I don't have a comment on the F3. I hear it's a great camera. I have an F4 - now that's the BEST film camera! LOL
Originally Posted by Ara Ghajanian
For a website, check out The Nikonians website. They have forums for each of the Nikon profesional camera models.
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I learnt photography with a F3 (not HP), so I have a soft spot for it. It is a rock-solid unbreakable chunk of photographic precision.
My favourite features/thingies:
a) Metering pattern. I use it as a fat spot meter.
b) 100% viewfinder.
c) AE exposure that works flawlessly with negative EVs.
d) Mirror lockup.
e) Policemen, security guards and busybodies tend to associate it automatically with 'press'. I have gotten access to places I shouldn't have just by having it hanging from my neck. Something about a black blob of metal with 'NIKON' in white letters...
My not so favourite features:
a) +/- over/underexposure signals. You do not know how much you are over/underexposing, unlike a metering needle. If I want to place a shadow in Zone III, I must first place it in zone V with the meter, to fix exposure, and then close aperture or adjust shutter speed. A metering needle would let me fix exposure 2 stops under in one step.
b) The lcd panel is unreadable in low light, and the red button is not a high point of ergonomics/design/function.
c) The AE lock button is quite unresponsive. I am never sure if I pressed it enough, so I tend to press too hard, and this affects the natural flow of handling of the camera, making it stiff and mechanical.
d) Mirror slap/shutter. KA-CHACK! I remember shooting in a funeral that was held in our parlament. Everybody was silent, and the shutter sounded like rifle fire in the burning chapel. I finally went with mirror lockup (composing before locking the mirror!) in order to tame it a little.
e) Not true spot meter.
f) No shutter priority. It would be nice for shooting rock concerts, with changing light by the second, low overall light, and the slow speeds associated.
g) A bit too big. Takes a lot of space in my backpack; right now I use it for planned shoots, but my carrying camera right now is a Canonet QL-L.
Ops... forgot one point. It's subjective, but I find it the best looking SLR ever made.
Oops, read the "3" sideways and thought you were saying "Nikon FM is the best..." which I would have at least put in the top five. F3? Not in ROI terms.
My top 5 35mm list would be dominated by 80's cameras:
- Contax RTS (glass - who cares about the body, tho they're tanks)
- Canon A-1 and variants (light, fast, cheap, what's not to like?)
- FM and variants (likewise)
- OM-1 and variants (light, not cheap, quiet, nice 21mm lenses - the f3.5 is tiny, and the f/2 is fast)
- LeicaM/ContaxG (endless wars related to the value of individual features, both with glass that are head and shoulders above any SLR)
...which sadly leaves out some good RF compacts like the Oly RC, Canon G-III or the little Rollei 35, as well as the Great Titan of Old, the Nikon F2.
I had an EOS for a while around 1992, kept going back to my A-1 and F-1. Sold it & bought a 20mm and a 135 f/2 Now I'm back on EOS for the digi, but still prefer to focus by hand. Call me regressive, it works with what my hands and brain are used to.
Last edited by bjorke; 10-25-2004 at 08:35 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I like my Contax S2, the over-priced, esoteric, protest 35mm SLR body against the plastic, auto-focus, auto-exposure, auto-wind, multi-function, LCD Screened film exposing devices that dominate the market. Reasons beyond pure, heel-planting, luddite, pig-headedness? The Glass, the Glass and the glass and the narrow hard-edged TTL spot meter compliments my handheld incident to cover just about any subject and light.
That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
To get back on track: I have been using my two F3s since their purchase in the late l970s. I have not encountered any problems with the cameras. The 105mm Nikkor needed attention on the auto/iris which was attended to after twenty years hard use - free of charge!
I do however, get the cameras serviced by Nikon every two years or so.
I still think they are the best cameras in their class, and have justification to be just a tad biased.
'Determine on some course more than a wild exposure to each chance' The Bard.