Nikon F2 History
Input of Thousands
The F2 is a direct descendant of the F. The controls may have changed a bit, but the basic design was so similar that finders, screens, and of course lenses may be swapped between cameras without loss of function (except for the metered finders). Overall, the design smoothed off most of the F's hard creases; the sides of the body fit the hand a bit more nicely, plastic-tipped control levers were easier to manipulate and felt better, and the finders generally appeared slightly more modern, with the large, blocky angular Photomic prisms replaced by slightly smaller (by moving the battery compartment to the body), blocky DP-x Photomics. I think that the F2 with DE-1 looks just as good as an F with eyelevel, while the various F2 Photomics look a bit too corporate and undistinguished/unusual compared to, say, a F with FTn.
Of course, there were those who groused that the F2 wasn't as durable or reliable as the F, and who refused to adopt the new camera until the last new F's were all sold out. Of course, these were the same people who later wholeheartedly avoided the F3 when it came out in 1980. On the whole, though, the F2 was a runaway success. The improvement in mirror lock-up is nearly worth the added cost. The price was still forbiddingly steep, the camera was still heavy, but it offered the same bulletproof reliability and compatibility (to a degree yet unmatched by successive F models) demanded by loyal Nikon users.
System in Full Bloom
Even if you think you'd never need something like a Microflex, having it available was better than not having a good solution to microscope photography. Buying into the Nikon system meant that you were buying photographic insurance, of a sort -- assurance that your needs, no matter how esoteric, would be taken care of in the future.
Even today, the F2 system is unsurpassed. The 1970's saw an explosion in manual-focus technology, with amazing new lenses (e.g. 13f/5.6, internal focussing, and ED lenses), incredible triggering technology (MW-1, ML-1, and MT-1), and
Professionals' 35mm SLR
In large part, the F's popularity had quite a bit to do with it. Many professionals and amateurs had already heavily invested in Nikkors, whether for use with their F, Nikkormat, or Nikkorex cameras. Because the F2 offered the same lensmount and accepted many of the same accessories, and would continue to do so for the forseeable future, professionals could be assured that their investment was protected.
Again, it cannot be said enough that the F2 system was the most extensive in virtually all kinds of photography. Sure, there were many specialised cameras that did one thing better than the F2, but the fact that the F2 was capable of performing virtually all of the photography that you'd ever need (short of larger formats -- and with the Speed Magny system, even that was a bulky possibility) was very attractive. Besides which, many of the different Nikon accessories were quite useful in many different fields: the Modulite ML-1 could be used to remotely trigger a camera, useful for either getting yourself into the picture or out of harm's way, the MF-1 250 exposure back freed reporters from having to stop and reload and made amazing time-lapse sequences possible, with the appropriate accessories.
Extending the Legend
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