Nikon F3 w/zoom MD-4.jpg (18k)

Modern Classic SLRs Series :

Nikon F3 - widely regarded as one of the most reliable electronic camera of all time and it was also the longest serving Nikon F-Series SLR camera. This evergreen model remains a hot favorite among many working pro and serious amateurs As every individual photographer has his own personal style to express himself and that includes how one handles his own photographic tools, this section allows you to share your knowledge & mutual experience using the camera. Some of the opinion presented within the site was specifically my personal experience and I do not wish to influence any decision prior to any potential purchases or disposal. You may make use of this convenience here to present your own views. Enjoy.

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1. From : marc forrest (
Url : http://
Date : 06:56 AM Tuesday 01 January, 2002

first let me thank all who have replied to my previous camera problems... so succinct and so fast... this is a most valuable message board... my current confusion revolves around:

CORRECT EXPOSURE FOR CLOSEUP FLASH despite all my reading i remain confused about what flash power to use for correct exposure for closeup flash... my equipment is the nikon f3hp with a vivitar hot shoe adapter, nikon sc17 cord and the nikon sb-20 speedlight... i have discovered that this off-camera-flash setup works in either auto or manual (steady red light in viewfinder) but NOT, i assume, in TTL (blinking red light in viewfinder) the sb-20 is very nice and should do fine for my needs - closeup. reading john shaw's 'closeups in nature' i refer to his Extension and inverse-square exposure rules... although, iam using the nikkor micro 55mm macro lens without extension... shaw explains how to set up (he uses the macro 105mm with pk13 extension tube) a flash positioned just above the lens and aimed at the 'middletoned' test subject. without changing anything but the f-stops (f11 thru f32 and all the half stops inbetween) he suggest using slide film (i have velvia) and keeping careful records... evaluate the slides on a light box and pick out the exposure you like best...

my question concerns the flash unit itself... the sb-20 is nice with A, M, and TTL settings (to bad the TTL won't work on the f3) it also has settings for ISO and *here's the important part* it has a switch for 1/16, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2 and FULL does this mean 'Power'? in manual mode? and if so i wonder what setting i should have it on for Closeup Flash? an object of only several inches distance...

please excuse my ignorance... i've never used flash before and just assembling the aforementioned hardware was a monumental task! with unclear documentations/threads - chlorform in print...

thank you for any enlightenment... Vty, marc forrest

2. From : nicolas (
Url : http://
Date : 09:47 AM Monday 31 December, 2001

For Frank, to complete checkup for a used F3. don't buy if there is a dent on prism or close to film advance lever. check if there are micro-cracks on shutter with strong light and mirror locked up and also if titanium is polished by years.... Don't buy if the camera was used on copy stand. cordially.

3. From : Roz (
Url : http://
Date : 03:25 PM Sunday 30 December, 2001

Frank, prices are subjective when it comes to used F3s. Some considerations need to be looked at, particularly the condition of camera, prior usage etc. I would look for excellent or near mint ones as the heavily brassed bodies probably went through extended usage by professional photographers, which the F3 was designed for. Also look out for dents or other imperfections, and the clarity of the LCD readings in the viewfinder. One other thing is the exposure memory lock button of earlier bodies, which tends to fall off easily. Some F3s on auction at a popular auction site clearly shows this, with the button missing. It is the lower left hand side of the camera if viewed from the front.

If the camera looks great and working perfectly, you decide if it is worth the asking price.

4. From : frank fletcher (
Url : http://
Date : 03:58 AM Sunday 30 December, 2001

i wish to buy a nikon much should i expect to pay for used one? just looking for a price range........doesn't have to be down to the penny.....thanks

5. From : sandra hernandez (
Url : http://
Date : 01:37 PM Friday 28 December, 2001

I am intrested in knowing how to go about purchasing a F3HP NIKON CAMERA. I am buying this camera for my future husband. Please can anyone help me?

6. From : Roz (
Url : http://
Date : 02:55 PM Thursday 27 December, 2001

Ken, The F3 is designed to automatically set a shutter speed of 1/80, or slower if set manually, when a 'dedicated' speedlight is used. I don't think you can 'trick' it to trigger at speeds like 1/125, /250 etc. Even if it is able to, you may find that the resulting picture may have a 'half OK, half black (under exposed)' since the shutter closes too fast for the entire scene to be properly lit by the flash. Yes, many find the 1/80 speed too slow.

The modern cameras can go faster through new technology. Common speeds today do reach 1/250 sync, and some go even faster.

7. From : Ken (
Url : http://
Date : 03:13 AM Thursday 27 December, 2001

Using the F3hp with Sb-16 I noticed it only give the flash sync of 80 and when i switch over to manual mode it still says 80 with a little m next to it. How can I be sure the flash will shoot at say a shutter speed of 250-500


8. From : roy tan (
Url : http://
Date : 06:57 PM Monday 24 December, 2001

I have a small collection of cameras, and the best is the F3.
can anyone in HK pls help me in looking for and buy used photo
equipment? I'm in the Philippines

9. From : Roz (
Url : http://
Date : 03:24 PM Sunday 23 December, 2001

Hi Andrew, congratulations on your purchase! The F3HP can take AI and AI-S lenses, plus older non-AI lenses but by using stop-down metering. The AI-S was for the automatic features on the FA (program, shutter-priority etc), so no particular concern there in terms of functionality.

The AI-S are slightly smaller/lighter than the AI for some lenses. The 28mm F/2.8 AI-S (Serial 635001 and above) focuses closer than the AI version. Generally, the minimum aperure / largest F-number of AI-S lenses are orange in colour for the smaller characters which you can see in the viewfinder through the Aperture Direct Readout.

Today's zoom lenses are very sharp. The more expensive one are the best. Some are more concerned with the maximum aperture and distortion issues on zooms.

10. From : Andrew Huculak (
Url :
Date : 03:03 PM Sunday 23 December, 2001

Hi Folks,

Well, I've finally purchased my first Nikon, a 12 year old F3HP with a f1.4 50mm Nikkor lens, MD-4 motor drive and a speedlight (model 12?).

My old camera was a Vivitar 450 SLD (sold as Cosina, I believe, elsewhere) that I had since the early seventies, for which I have a zillion lens. I found most of them pretty cheap over the years as they screw mounted. It did sync the flash at 1/125, quite an achievment for a screw mount camera.

I'd like to get, to start, a 28mm Nikkor lens and a 135mm Nikkor lens. What do you suggest I look for? Or do people suggest others? I've never owned a zoom lens, thinking them of poorr quality than their fixed focus counterparts, but does that hold true for Nikkors?

I see lens on eBay listed as AI, or AIS. What should I look for for the F3HP?

Any and all suggestions welcomed. I shot my first roll yesterday and had it developed today... I'm already impressed!

Please reply to me directly as I don't know if I'll check this forum very often.

Best regards,
Andrew Huculak

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