Modern Classic SLRs Series : Nikon F3 Part III

It is hard to imagine the F3 without associating it with the MD-4.

Three settings: Red 'L' for Lock, 'S' for single frame and 'C' for Continuous firing mode. MN-2 NiCds cells at 5.5 fps; 6 fps worth mirror locked-up; 8 alkaline at 3.8 fps and 4 fps with mirror locked up. Power efficiency: 140 rolls 36 exposure with 8 Alkaline Cells; 70 rolls 26 exposures with MN-2

F3 3D logo.jpgThis site will be deleted soon as it has a newly revamped site: GO TO the newly revised Nikon F3 website

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Nikon Auto Focus Nikkor lenses:- Main Index Page
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 |

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Index Page
  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: 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.

Those early days of Nikon F series models were all mechanical bodies. The F3, however, is dependent on batteries to operate all its functions (Except a single back up mechanical lever). This has much to thank for with the indispensable tool in its dedicated motor drive, MD-4 behind its wide acceptance as the ultimate Nikon. Why ? Because it boosts users' confidence with the F3 in terms of extra-reliability, broad variety of optional functions in many 'plug and shot' capabilities - from remote to bulk film loading etc.

As explained earlier, it will takes over the power supply automatically which mounting the camera on the motor drive for all its essential camera operations. Power efficiency is definitely a class above its competitions. Firing rate is 6 fps (Only achievable with Ni-Cd power source). Later stage, there are two accessories that supplement very well with the MD4, why ? Because the there is a weakness at the base plate of the MD-4 - its off center tripod coupling socket.

Nikon MD4 Image
The variable firing converter MK-1 moved the socket back to the center position (Another cheaper alternative is the tripod adapter AH-3). MK-1 allows user to define preference on few of the rapid sequential firings of the MD-4. Stepped downed firing rate of 1, 2 and 3 frames plus an additional trigger button for vertical shooting is provided at the side. Well, it also powers the tiny little red button in front (side) of the viewfinder to illuminate the LCD screen so you can read the viewfinder info in the dark. (Hardly can be claimed convenient enough - you must use your finger nail aim correctly and press in hard to make it works).

Some interesting accessories launched later like this MK-1 Firing Converter permits you to control variable firing rate (1, 2 or 3 frames per second (fps) of your MD-4 Motor Drive, with another added advantage - when mounted on the base plate, its release button can be acted as a vertical firing button on your MD 4 when shooting vertically. Along with this accessory, some superior optical products like the world's largest aperture 300mm f2 ED-IF (* Discontinued. Quick spec. Min f16, focuses down to 13 ft and weighing 13.5" long and 7" in diameter, wow..), 200-400mm ED Zoom Nikkor and a F3 AF with two AF lenses and a optical AF Converter TC16a which can turned your manual lenses into a AF fact, to supplement these new lenses, Nikon has even brought out a new focusing screen, Type U - extra bright, clear matte type with a 12mm diameter fine ground matted focusing spot that also act as a metering reference spot - it was designed for optimum use with these new lenses (100mm and above).

MD4 Back View
Another neat and considerate feature of the MD4 is: there is a tiny slot which you can locked, hide your cover for the motor drive coupling underneath the F3 body. (You have to take off the cover before you can mount the motor drive - as with any motor driven camera bodies). I thought that is considerate enough...

With Ni-Cd batteries, MD-4 rewinds at less than 4.5 sec of a 36 exposures cassette. (I gave up the Ni-Cd after two years - I hate recharging and the "sudden death" nature of Ni-Cd power cells.

Button Cells
Further, alkaline gave me more exposures per set and still allows you to trigger the shutter despite "half-dead" battery performance - which it affects only the advancing speed but not the camera operations. The orange indicator and the dial next to it can custom stop your film advance at specific frames.

You can take out these button cells from the camera body when used with the MD-4.
MD4 view Medium.jpg
Want to have a try on the Big View of this image ? sized at 29k (Jpeg).

Click on Icon,
Download a copy of
Operation/Instruction manual (Pdf of 307k file size) of MD-4.

Another thing to note is: The style and shaping of the MD-4 looked slightly tilting backward, which is intended to balance with a lens attached (Up to 135mm f2.8, that I tried) and still managed to stand upward without the whole body clinging down to the front. One area I noticed, F3 came with a very well position double exposure lever (Just next to the winder crank, top right hand corner) and it works together with the MD-4. I haven't seen any good images lately by using that feature - just press and lever and firing away (With some compensation with exposure if too excessive number of double exposures are applied to avoid overexposures).

Double Exposure
F3's double exposure is so convenient and smooth that you might even doubt whether that it works... Don't worry, it works flawlessly. Conveniently locates next to the shutter release button and you can use your pointer and the thumb to control both and do sequential multiple exposures.

There are some photographer modified the F3 with panorama - you can have the film advancing skipped the 36 x 24 to have 72mm x 24mm or more (Horizontally, of coz'). The MD-4 advertised maximum speed is 6 fps (Only achievable with speed of 1/125 sec and above and with mirror locked up position and using the MN-2 NiCd batteries (Canon's is 5.5 with same requirements).

* So far the one and ONLY variation of the MD-4 is a modified version (code named: MD-4H) for used in conjunction with the 13.5 fps F3 Pellicle Mirrored High Speed motor Drive camera, the F3H.

* User tips: To screeze additional speed in motor winding with your MD-4, try triggered the firing button with the back-up mechanical lever and hear the difference (on the C mode)... Please Don't hold me responsible for anything that might happen to your gear.

250-exposure back
The 250-exposure Data Back MF-17 (Original came without the data back - MF-4) supplement very well with the 6 fps MD-4 on some specific sport, scientific or unmanned remote photography. There is a great view of this setup on another section.

Click here for a great view of the F3 with MD-4 and the 250 bulk film back attached !

One of the front socket of the MD4 is for remote photography.
(The one at the bottom of the hand grip is the magazine back terminal, the smaller socket on the right hand side is the external power terminal and the socket below is the one for attachment of remote control input socket.

Remote devices.jpg
The left hand side is the ML-2 infrared remote unit (Can operate to around 100 meters); the right hand side are the radio remote control set, provide remote control up to 0.7 Km away. Certain cords like the MC-17s can hooked up multiple of camera bodies to fire at the same time. The ML-2 is more economical enough for an entry into remote photography. (Pix shown are not to scale).

Some views of the F3 on the MD-4 can be accessed first
from her

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