Before I saw your comment I noticed the nice out of focus quality. I love the 50 f2, but it can be a real Jekyll and Hyde lens in that regard. They are still an amazing bargain for the optical performance and (as you mentioned) wonderful build quality. I don't think most of us realized quite how good the craftsmanship was back when these were new.
Originally Posted by philosomatographer
I usually shoot larger formats and not SLRs, but I really love this camera. I was thinking about getting a F3, but...there's something very refreshing about not seeing any info in the viewfinder. I feel more conscious of the light and exposure (and composition)
Thinking about getting a Zeiss 50mm f/1.7 T* and adapting it to Nikon mount, putting it on this camera. It is a 644x F with EP markings.
For an electronic camera, you're not going to get a cleaner viewfinder than that of the F3. If you're really distracted, put a dot of black tape over the lcd on the base of the prism.
Yeah Mark Crabtree, you should see the build quality Inside an old Nikkor 50mm f/2 H. Amazing, even more so as the 'Budget' lens of the F era. The internal construction didn't drop until the K series, but even then they were exceptionally well built, just not to the Nikkor F standard set by the previous era. Nikon had to do it though, they were feeling sales pressure from much cheaper brands and needed to increase volume and value while still keeping the optical quality. The K and the following Ai lenses construction were geared much more towards efficient assembly. The AiS versions were for the most part a further extension of cost trimming in construction, while keeping the optical quality up.
Yes, I've had many of the older Nikkors apart for cleaning. Another thing that made me appreciate the build of these was taking apart some other lenses like the 3 cam Leica R and late Pentacon Zeiss lenses. Those last two may sound like an odd couple, but they remind me of each other because of their weak auto aperture mechanism. Nikon's aperture mechanism is much more robust. I love the R and Zeiss lenses, but the Nikkors seem better designed and built to me.
Originally Posted by RidingWaves
Where do you see the build quality difference on the K and AI lenses? They seemed very similar to me to the earlier lenses, but I only had the optical modules out for cleaning.
I think the huge numbers of Nikkors produced is keeping the value low on all the common lenses. I wonder if that will change over time, or if just more and more will show up in estate sales for a while yet.
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Good to know. Thanks! If I ever do get another Nikon SLR besides the F, it will be the F3.
Originally Posted by Chris Lange
Yeah, the optical units are pretty much unchanged, that's one thing that I like: Nikon trimmed costs by refining the barrel assembly Not by compromising the optical unit unlike another large camera maker during the same time (I'm talking to you Canon).
Some of the differences include making the focussing ring one piece (and smooth under the rubber ring) rather than the separate (milled, knurled) focussing ring that was attached with 3 screws (and had 3 adjustment set screws as well). Just strip down and compare a Nikkor H and a Ai 50mm f/2 and you'll see. The AiS series has more parts that are interchangeable and made from stamped metal rather than milled, and adjustment points used more of the excellent Nikon red glue. Nearly as durable, but I've seen more AiS that wore out.
If you like the 50 mm f 2.0, try the 45 mm f 2.8 Pancake & the 55 mm Micro-Nikkor Lenses.
The 105 mm f 2.5 is in a class by itself, as we all know.
Nikon got this right the first time, because it's essentially a Sonnar lens !
I'm not sure the AF versions have the same qualities.
Add a 24 mm f 2.8 & a 180 mm f 2.8 EDIF lens to your arsenal
& you'll be ready for anything.
Finally to facilitate focusing, go to www.BrightScreen.com
or just remove an F3 E-screen from it's frame, it will drop right in.
Last edited by Vanishing Point Ent.; 04-12-2012 at 06:48 PM. Click to view previous post history.
To the O/P,
Very nicely written. I enjoyed reading that. Good ride! And some nice photos too. Thanks.
It is indeed a nice article and an inspiration! Thanks for sharing your experiences.
Fed 2, 4, 5
Zenit 11, 12XP
Olympus OM-1 MD, OM-1N, OM-2N, OM-2SP, OM10
A bunch of Nikons