Classic SLRs Series :
This site will be deleted soon as it has a newly revamped site: GO TO the newly revised Nikon F3 website
Nikon F | Nikon F2 | Nikon F3 | Nikon F4 | Nikon F5 | Nikon F6 -not ready | Nikkormat / Nikomat | Nikon FM | Nikon FE/ FA | Nikon EM/FG/FG20 | Nikon Digital SLRs | Nikon - Other models
Nikon Auto Focus Nikkor lenses:- Main Index Page
Nikon Manual Focus Nikkor lenses:- Fisheye-Nikkor Lenses - Circular | Full Frame | Ultrawides Lenses - 13mm15mm18mm20mm | Wideangle Lenses - 24mm28mm35mm | Standard Lenses - 45mm 50mm 58mm | Telephoto Lenses - 85mm105mm135mm180mm & 200mm | Super-Telephoto Lenses - 300mm 400mm 500mm 600mm 800mm 1200mm |
Special Application lenses:
Micro-Nikkor Lenses - 50mm~55mm -60mm 85mm -105mm 200mm Micro-Zoom 70-180mm
Perspective Control (PC) - 28mm 35mm PC-Micro 85mm
Dedicated Lenses for Nikon F3AF: AF 80mm f/2.8 | AF 200mm f/3.5 EDIF
Depth of Field Control (DC): 105mm 135mm
Medical Nikkor: 120mm 200mm
Reflex-Nikkor Lenses - 500mm 1000mm 2000mm
Others: Noct Nikkor | OP-Nikkor | UV Nikkor 55mm 105mm | Focusing Units | Bellows-Nikkor 105mm 135mm
Nikon Series E Lenses: 28mm35mm50mm100mm135mm | E-Series Zoom lenses: 36~72mm75~150mm70~210mm
MF Zoom-Nikkor Lenses: 25~50mm | 28~45mm | 28~50mm | 28~85mm | 35~70mm | 36~72mm E | 35~85mm | 35~105mm | 35~135mm | 35~200mm | 43~86mm | 50~135mm | 50~300mm | 70~210mm E | 75~150mm E | 80~200mm | 85~250mm | 100~300mm | 180~600mm | 200~400mm | 200~600mm | 360~1200mm | 1200~1700mm
Tele-Converters: TC-1 | TC-2 | TC-200 | TC-201 | TC-300 | TC-301 | TC-14 | TC-14A | TC-14B | TC-14C | TC-14E | TC-16 | TC-16A | TC-20E
Recommended links to understand more technical details related to the Nikkor F-mount and production Serial Number:
http://www.zi.ku.dk/personal/lhhansen/photo/fmount.htm by: Hansen, Lars Holst
| Message Board | for your favourite Nikon F3 Series SLR models
| Message Board | for your Nikon Optics in a shared environment
| Message Board | Specifically for Dispose or Looking for Nikon/Nikkor Photographic Equipment
| Back | to Pictorial History of Nikon SLR / rangefinders / Nikonos / digital cameras.
About this photographic site.
The Nikon F3
Officially launched in 1980. Nikon F3 fully deserves its status as a modern classic camera. Not because it is the 3rd generation flagship model of Nikon during the eighties, replacing its earlier highly successful predecessor models of the Nikon F in 1959 and Nikon F2 during the '70 - the model that has a decade long supremacy in the professional arenas. It is because of its role to make serious users to accept automation as an inevitable route to modern photography. I was most "active" in my personal photographic journal when the F3 was launched. And I saw and experiencing the reaction of photographers during that period of how defensive they were to automation in the earlier stage and on gradual note, turned to full acceptance of the F3. The role the F3 has its mark in the development of camera and photography. Its successful emergence into the world of photography has started the rapid sequences that leads to eventual total automation in camera designs regardless of brands made.
In short, it has helped to bridge the gap on acceptance between manual and automation by users of 35mm SLR.
The main Power Switch (2) You need not to turn on this when used in conjunction with the MD-4 which will power the F3 - and the self timer Switch (1)
It took a lot of courage to bring out your top notch model with a totally different approach in camera design - not to mentioned swimming against the current by incorporating certain unknown territories like automatic camera functions from the huge pool of traditional hard core mechanical-battery-free users. Its competitions from Canon (New F-1) and Pentax (LX) benefited from the earlier successful attempts by Nikon, but despite features richer in comparison, F3 status has never been shaken and after 18 long years since its birth, F3 still are much source after in new or used condition.
Major features of the Nikon F3 can be summarized as follows:
- Retained the famous Nikon bayonet type lens mount.
- New way to activate the camera operation (Winding crank opened to stand by position is being substituted by shutter release button switches meter on when depressed halfway, auto off after remains on for 16 sec.
- Electro-magnetically controlled, horizontal travel titanium focal plane shutter.
- Aperture-priority automatic exposure control with manual setting
- Metering range EV1 to EV18, film speed settings: ASA 12 to 6400
- Stepless shutter speeds from 8 sec to 1/2000 sec in auto; 16 settings in manual mode, X (1/80s for non dedicated flash); B and T settings also provided.
- Backup mechanical release lever if battery fails
- Shutter will fired at initial frames at 1/80 until reaches frame 1
- TTL center-weighted in new formulation of 80/20
- A new Silicon photo diode (SPD) that handles both ambient metering and TTL OTF during flash exposures, housed underneath the main mirror and reflect the partially (8%) penetrated light source by a secondary mirror
- LCD panels for exposure indications
- LCD illuminator for reading LCD panel in dim light
- Exposure memory lock, Exposure compensation via dial; +2EV to ÷2EV in 1/3 increments.
- Mirror lock up, Depth-of-field preview, Multiple exposure lever
- Maximum 1/80 second flash sync shutter speed
- 22 Interchangeable focusing screens, 5+3 Interchangeable viewfinders, 4 Interchangeable camera backs
- New High Speed 6 fps motor drive with full remote control operations
- User cancelable quartz-controlled self-timer
- Body dimensions: 148.5 x 96.5 x 65.5 mm; Body weight: approx. 715g
There are combination of factors attributed to its popularity.
The retained concept of modular design is of most important. Which allow users to custom attached different accessories to fit one's style or type of photography - with the aid of the huge Nikon system behind. F3 can be "stripped": First, take off its finder, the lens, ducked out the focusing screen, detached the camera back or the motor drive - mirror locked up the main reflex mirror (Or set the speed to "T" setting and fired once). You have a basic bare-bone and see-it-through camera body and you can custom attach any compatible system accessories you think best suit your kind of assignment - all these "operations" doesn't even require you to have a longer finger nail to do it !
But being a transitional models from the all mechanical F2, it would be disastrous not to convince users on its ruggedness, thus embedding beneath its cover consists of a two-piece body casting of copper silumin aluminum alloy (which has an exceptional high tensile strength.
Next perhaps they have to tackle the reliability issue.
The main "brain" - Six ICs and LSIs are protected in the battle tank-liked all metal structure (Copper Silumin Aluminum Alloy - which has a properties of very high tensile strength approx. 33.5 kg/m¤ (475.5 Ib/in¤) and further, corrosive resistant - this has been the Nikon's choice of material since the F series started, but I remember those days, it wasn't mentioned as aluminum alloy but just Copper Silumin...). Thickness of body walls is minimum 1.4 mm and portion near the lens mount is a generous 2mm thick! - as a flagship model, you have to imagine the famed but heavy long teles or tele-zooms Nikon produces. Major seals and dials have moisture resistant gaskets to prevent possible leakage in high humidity environment - the finder has an additional improved rubber sealing in the HP finder that launched later than the standard eye level finder. Further, a thin insulation epoxy material was coated on major circuits board on later models. Extensive drop/shock test driven in the lab to test its stability and resistant to such harsh treatments.
Next, they designed the new shutter. A horizontal traveled titanium shutter that has a lab-tested enduring min.150,000 exposure cycles (Divided by 36 exposures = 4000+ rolls, If you take that kind of volume, I am sure your entry cost has long been recovered in your investment in the hardware). Incidentally, the F3 is the last remaining F body that uses horizontal traveled curtain. The subsequent F4 & the latest F5 uses vertical traveled shutter curtain (Epoxy metal blades).
Significant differences are its higher usable flash sync speeds and higher range of shutter speeds (The latter models all have 1/8000 sec as opposed to F3's 1/2000 and a poor 1/80 sec flash Sync). The Canon F1n is 1/90 sec and LX is 1/100 sec for your quick reference - ALL these three models mentioned are adopting horizontal traveled shutter curtain. This can made outdoor fill flash difficult and have less options for creative depth of field controls.
Further, Nikon has built the most smooth of winding mechanism of any camera that were available that time (Strangely, only the EM, FG, FG20 have such "feel" and not even the FA and later models have incorporated such winding mechanism).
Winding torque were reduced to an impressive level which you really need to compared with the F1n & LX (And even some Nikon own models) to appreciate the difference. May be Mitsubishi's industrial arm has to do with this - which is famed with ball bearing technology (Later refer to MD4 and you will understand how was this affecting the camera operations in other areas).
During the early eighties, the biggest debate and fear for photographers when mentioned automation is battery power. It is not a very comforting experience when you realize the fact that two tiny silver oxide batteries control possible life & death photographic situations.
Somehow the earlier automatic middle of the range models like the early Nikkormat EL series and the Nikon FE has laid a good foundation for setting a path on users' confidence with the issue of power efficiency of the Nikon automatic bodies. For those who has used those models might agree a pair of those tiny button cells could last you a year on a not-heavy-duty personal photography.
F3 is not a all automated camera, it has a back up battery-free mechanical back up speed of 1/60 sec - just in case. BUT the best of Nikon F3 is when it goes along with the dedicated Motor Drive MD-4. When coupled with the F3, it will draw all the battery supply from the MD-4 for all its camera functions. MD-4 is powered by either 8 AA type alkaline or rechargeable Ni-Cd The latter combination can take the F3 downed to subzero (Officially, Nikon claimed -20 degree C). Moreover, power efficiency is most impressive when compared, one set of 8 alkalizes can turbo-charge your F3 MD-4 to handle 140 rolls of 36 exposures, how about that ? As a comparison, Canon's F1n can only perform half of that figure with its motor drive FN attached.
The "T" setting in the shutter speed dial can substitute the "B" setting during extra-lengthy exposure time - which never drains any power from the button cells residing at the base of the camera body. You can use the normal shutter button to trigger to use the "T" setting. Just in case your camera battery is totally drained out, you can use the same mechanical back up lever (In front and next to the lens mount (below the mirror Lock up lever), same position with the exposure lock (AE Lock) to activate and turn the shutter speed dial to close the shutter.
* GO TO the newly revised Nikon F3 website
| Next |
The next page could help you to pick up some knowledge how those metering works and how an image through the lens with optical path transmitting image to your viewfinder and location of the metering cell.
Preface | Exposure Control | Important Accessories | Flash | * Conclusion | Message Board/GuestBook
Specifications of Nikon F3:
Html | Pdf(44k)
This is a personal contributing article to
Michael Liu's Nikon Classics Site.
Home - Photography in Malaysia
Nikon Resources available in
this site can be start from this link.
Copyright © 1999. leofoo ®. MIR Web Development Team.