Modern Classic SLR Series
Motor Drive MD-3 for Nikon F2 Series Models - Part I

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The Nikon Motor Drive MD-3

Although primarily Nikon F2 was tailor-designed for professional photographers, but the extremely well made bodies also attracted a huge following among many serious amateurs who appreciate the design concept, ruggedness and the various professional features that were built around the F2 system. Although not all level of users need high film advance speed of 5 fps and power rewind feature provided by the high performance MD-2, there are also many people who need, or would like, a motor drive for use in everyday shooting situations merely for advancing the film. And MD-3 was introduced as a step down unit to give F2 owners an alternative in a handy, lighter weight package and more importantly, at a very reasonable price.

Although some would criticized the compromised on quality issue but performance of the drive is still more than sufficient for most applications. As with the MD-2, it can make use of multiple power source which also directly relates to its performance. With the MB-1 (check here for a new variation) Cordless Battery Pack attached, and loaded with MW-1 NiCd batteries, the MD-3's maximum firing speed is a respectable 4 fps. With the MB-2 battery pack attached, which has a smaller and lighter battery load, the MD-3's maximum firing speed is only 2.5 fps.

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Credit: A few of the images appeared here at this section courtesy of Emanuele "ebay-camera$®" <> who operates a popular Ebay Store. All images appeared herein are Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

The MD-3 is not fitted with a conventional firing speed selector. One way to control that is actually making use of the various power source as it directly affecting the firing rate of the drive. It is a easier motor drive to work with if you want to interpret positively with its reduced functions as compared to the MD-2. A more significant omission from its features list is the power film rewind which makes the drive less appealing to some who may need automatic film rewind for more responsive on location photographic assignment.

The drive was designed with a good human engineering factor with its streamlined, comfortable hand grip provides a positive, slip-free grip regardless of whether or horizontal shooting position. On top of the hand grip, where the index finger rests naturally, is a fixed type motor drive trigger button with a firing mode selector. You can choose either single-frame or the continuous shooting operation via the mode selector which can be locked for avoiding accidental shifting during operation.

The drive does has some operational restrictions. In the single-frame shooting mode, the camera's shutter speed dial can be set freely to any desired shutter speed. However, in the continuous shooting mode, only shutter speeds between 1/80 and 1/2000 second can be set.The frame counter is much easier-to-set than MD-2. It can also be used either to set the motor drive to cutoff automatically at the end of the film, or for short-burst shooting (It accepts Nikon interchangeable film backs, MF-1, MF-2 and MF-3).

The standard built-in Nikon three-pin connector in the MD-3 also enhanced its application into remote control where it makes way to share other Nikon external power supply options and vast range of Nikon system accessories for remote control operation. The MD-3 accepts virtually all the Nikon motor drive system accessories designed earlier for the F2 in MD-1 and MD-2 to form the basis of a motor drive system in itself.

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Contents Reference Map (Nomenclature) ....... Foreword .... Attaching the motor drive .... Loading the camera .... Power sources .... MB-2 ...... Installing the batteries .... Life-span of the batteries . . Checking battery power ... MB-1 ... Installing the batteries .... Life-span of the batteries . . Checking battery power . . . AC/DC converter . . . Other power sources ..... Frame counter ........... Mode control (SC) ring ..... Single-frame shooting ..... Continuous shooting . . Rewinding . . Double/Multiple exposures . . . Using "S" setting . . Using "C" setting . . Operation with a speedlight ... Simultaneous firing ........ Motor drive operation timing. . Remote control ...... Remote Cord MC-4 ... Intervalometer MT-1 ..... Radio Control Set MW-1 .... Modulite Remote Control Set ML-1 . Accessories ....... Specifications .... Optimum battery performance .......

FOREWORD The Motor Drive MD-3 is designed for use with any F2 Nikon camera. It winds the film and cocks the shutter automatically each time you press the trigger button. You can also set it for completely automatic sequence shooting at speeds of up to four frames per second. Smooth remote control operation is easy with accessories such as the Modulite Remote Control Set ML-1 or the Intervalometer MT-I. To obtain the best results, read the instructions In this manual carefully before attempting to use the unit. Keep the manual handy for reference until you have thoroughly familiarized yourself with your MD-3. A few minutes of preparation will help you avoid costly mistakes.


BEFOFE you proceed with the rest of the content baked for you in this site, it will be easier for you to click open a new window with a copy of the Main Reference Map and see if it is useful for your reference.

Attaching the Motor Drive to a Nikon F2

With the camera's back closed and locked, fold down the camera's O/C key. Check that the O/C knob on the MD-3 is in the normal position with the thumb lever, pointing to the rear of the motor drive; it should be locked in this position. Place the camera on the motor drive, inserting the key on the camera into the groove on the motor drive's O/C knob.

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Turn the mounting screw in the direction of the arrow shown in the photo until the camera and the motor drive fit together with the shutter release coupling of the camera and the shutter release pin of the motor drive properly aligned. Tighten the attachment screw firmly.

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Next, attach the cordless battery pack. Place the motor drive on top of the pack and carefully tighten the mounting screw on the bottom of the pack until the two units are seated snugly together.

Note that the cordless battery pack can be attached to the motor drive before mounting it to the camera body.

Loading the Camera Depress the O/C knob lock-release on the motor drive and turn the O/C knob to the left as far as it will go. The camera back will then spring open. Before loading the film, set the frame counter to 40 and trigger the motor drive a few times to check that it is operating correctly. If it isn't, it is probably mounted incorrectly. Remount and try again. You should load the film into the camera in the normal way. It is also advisable to refer the camera's instruction book for more operational details. Then close the camera back and turn the O/C knob to the right (toward the back of the camera) until it clicks shut. Turn the rewind knob gently in the direction of the arrow until you feel a slight tension. This will take up any slack in the film cartridge.

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Set the indicator of the frame counter at 40 by turning the frame counter preset wheel, and then press the trigger button and make two blank exposures. Lastly, set the number of the frames on the loaded film. For convenience in setting, the frame counter preset wheel will rotate in either direction.

POWER SOURCES The Motor Drive MD-3 can be used with the Cordless Battery Pack MB-1 or MB-2, or with the AC/DC converters.

MB-2 Battery Pack

Installing the batteries

Release the battery holders by pressing the grip clips on each side of the battery pack, and pull them out. Place four penlight batteries in each holder MS-, making sure that the positive and negative (+ and -) terminals are lined up correctly. Then fit the battery-loaded holders back into the MB-2 until they click into position.

Life-span of the batteries The number of rolls of film that can be shot with one set of batteries is difficult to predict accurately, since this depends on too many variable factors. In the same manner, the number of rolls of film that can be shot at the motor drive's rated speed varies with the types of batteries used. The rated firing speed can be maintained for approximately ten 36-exposure rolls of film when zinc-carbon batteries are used, and for about 20 rolls of Jim when alkaline-manganese batteries are used. These amounts can be extended to approximately 50 and 80 rolls, respectively, but with a corresponding slowdown in the firing speed.

This table shows the number of 36-exposure rolls of film which can be fired on one set of batteries.

battery power

Press the power check button on the side of the Battery Pack MB-2. If the LED's light up, the batteries have sufficient power. If not, the batteries are exhausted and must be changed. All eight batteries should be changed, since full performance will not be obtained if old and new batteries are mixed.

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HOME - Photography in Malaysia

Copyright © 2000. leofoo ®. MIR Web Development Team.

In memory of my friend Com. Augusto Staut, Brazil, 1971-2000.

Credit: Chuck Hester, US for his patience, encouragement and help to setup the various content in this site; Robert Johnson for some of his original images on the F2H-MD appeared in this site; my ex-staff, KiaSu for his superb 3-D logo appeared in this Nikon F2 site; Marc Vorgers from Holland who generously provide me with some of his images of F2AS; MCLau®, who has so much time with me to re-edit the content in this site and not to mention buying a Nikon Coolpix 990 just for this site. Keat Photo, Kuala Lumpur for providing their Nikon F2A to take some images for this site; again, Mr Edward Ngoh the great camera collector who provides us his collection of F2AS with MD-2; for their images on the Speed Magny film backs; Sean Cranor for his image on Nikon F2 25th Anniversary Model; Ted Wengelaar®, Holland for his continuous flow of input on some of the early Nikon bodies; CYLeow ® , photo editor of the Star newspaper, Malaysia for some of his images used in this site. Ms Rissa Chan, Sales manager from Shriro Malaysia who has helped to provide some of the very useful input. HiuraShinsaku®, Nikomat ML, Japan for some of his images on various F2 models; my staff, Wati, Maisa, Mai and my nephew, EEWyn®, who volunteered and helping me did so many of the film scanning works. Contributing photographers or resellers: Jen Siow, Foo KokKin, Arthur Teng, Mark Fallander, John Ishii, Ed Hassel, YoonKi Kim, Jean-Louis, M.Dugentas (Dell, Mr "Arsenall" and a few images mailed in from surfers with no appropriate reference to their origin. Dedicated to KU Yeo, just to express our mutual regrets over the outcome of a recent corporate event. Made with a PowerMac, broadcast with a Redhat Linux powered server.

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