Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Nikon F2 - Flash Units and/or Speedlights

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You can use either bulb or electronic flash with Nikon F2. It has two flash settings, one for electronic flash and another for flash bulbs operations. With any of the F2 bodies, class M and MF bulbs works up to 1/30 sec; M bulbs only at 1/125 sec. (Some bulbs can be used at all shutter speeds except 1/60 sec and "X" (1/80sec). The F2 has simplified bulb flash operation. With the older Nikon F, you have to switch the synchronization manually depending on the bulb type and shutter speed to be used. In the F2, FP and X-synchronisation is correctly and automatically adjusted with changes in shutter speeds. The maximum shutter speed is 1/80 sec ("X" or lower) for proper electronic flash operation.

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Prior to the early eighties, Nikon flash technologies has never been really considered at the forefront among 35mm SLR market leaders. From the early BC-B handle bulb flash units to the modern sophistication of AF speedlights, it has evolved radically with four stages over their nearly 40 years of manufacture from bulb, auto/manual units, manual focus TTL and eventually to current full fledge autofocus flash units.

The three stages in Nikon flash photography can simply be divided into bulb, non-TTL electronic and TTL-based speedlights. The non-TTL flash is simply referred to metering cells which is incorporated on flash body while the TTL flash introduced at the beginning of 1980 (First seen on the Nikon F3), metering has been integrated into camera body to enable a new method of flash exposure control system.

<<<< ---- All F2 finders (EXCEPT specialized prism such as Waist Level, High magnification finder etc. has a built-in flash ready light contact at the side of the prism to mate with F2 flash units with its dedicated flash mounting foot such as SB-2, SB-7E. Other flash units may also be use via a flash coupler such as AS-1 but may go without dedication such as flash ready light inside the viewfinder.

As for the Nikon F2 series, there are three groups of flash units which have some very bare basic integration with the F2 bodies. The BC-7 fan fold flash represents the sole model from the bulb flash group; shoe mount flash units which were more inclined towards to Nikon F2 camera design were Nikon SB-2 and SB-7E; handle mount flash section introduced during the F2's era was a very flexible professional class SB-5 and another highly specialized flash unit - the SB-6 Repeating Flash. Other flash units introduced during its era (SB-3, SB-4, SB-8E, SB-9 etc. or any other flash models introduced later that has a conventional ISO-type flash foot) have lesser degree of 'dedication' .

But those units can also be used via an accessory flash coupler AS-1. The 'dedication' always highlighted here was only restricted to the provision of a flash ready light. Although this feature was not considered as significantly importance by many. Why ? Because all Nikon F and Nikon F2 SLR models are not TTL flash capable camera.

<<<< ---- An elegantly and high tech-looked Nikon F4e shown at left was the first pro-class F series model that was reverting tradition of adopting special dedicated F-accessory shoe design back to main-steam design of standard ISO-type hot shoe. It has enabled Nikon to streamline its product line and provide users with a greater level of compatibility among flash and accessories. Generally, although a highly welcomed move but it should have done a generation earlier with the Nikon F3.

You may also be wondering WHY did Nikon produced both flash with special mounting foot and standard ISO-design. Well, that was because ALL Nikkormat series - Nikon midrange SLR camera models that were designed to supplement the professional models of Nikon F & F2, were adopting the ISO-type accessory shoe with their fixed (non-interchangeable) prism in their respective SLR body . By the way, it took Nikon almost close to 3 decades until the Nikon F4 was introduced back in 1988 that all Nikon SLRs were 'unified" with standard ISO-accessory shoe in their various classes of SLR camera.

OFF TOPIC Supplements: The AS-1 enables all non-F2 type flash units (those with conventional ISO-Type flash foot, which includes current flash) to be usable with any the F2 series SLR camera models. IF you want to share your flash units with F2 type flash shoe with other Nikon SLR that has ISO-type accessory shoe, use the AS-2 Flash coupler instead. If you have a F2 flash and want to share with a Nikon F3, no problem - just get a AS-3 Flash Coupler.

f2coupler.jpg fhotsoe.jpg couplertop.jpg isohotshoe.jpg
IF you are wondering WHY is it so confusing, that was because Nikon thought the world would follow the standard they have tried to create.

With two generations of Nikon F (
A) and Nikon F2 (B) having a similar but non-standard design hot shoe, Nikon forced the consumer to buy only their original flash products because the shoe was designed as non-market standard. When F3 has its metering shifted back from Prism design to camera body and made TTL flash possible, Nikon still retained its accessory shoe atop the film rewind crank (C) as with F/F2 design (BUT they are NOT compatible). By 1988, the Nikon F4 eventually reverted back to 'market standard' of ISO-type design (D).

f2flashfoot.jpg ISOflashfoot.jpg
Don't get confused. here are two illustrations to help ease your doubts. The left was a Nikon F2 dedicated type flash with its proprietary flash foot (Z); the right hand side is a flash with a universal type of flash mounting foot (X).

Note*: Thus, (Z) can mount directly onto (A) & (B); while (X) will mate perfectly with camera that has standard ISO type hotshoe design (D). Flash coupler is thus, required to mount flash with different foot onto camera that has different accessory shoe design. STILL confused ? beat me...

Note**: Other than the main sync contact, those extra tiny pin & contact(s) appearing on the accessory shoe and/or flash mounting foot are for dedicated function(s) such as flash ready light, TTL flash exposure control, auto sync setting etc..

The hotshoe electrical contact is switched on only by insertion of a flash unit or via a flash coupler AS-1. But you can always make use of the PC Terminal in front of the camera for flash photography too. The sync terminal is always turned on and that is why it is provided with a threaded plastic cover which should always be keep in place to avoid accidental contact.

You can make use of the PC terminal to operate two flash units physically at the same time via a sync cord and a main flash mounted onto the accessory shoe; naturally, with additional slave unit(s) mounted flash units, you can activate more flash bursts.

To use flashbulbs or a manual-only flash unit which typically provided with only a sync cord (or an electronic flash unit without a hotshoe contact), you can also make use of the camera's sync terminal to trigger the flash. Sometimes the PC terminal is also referred to as the X-Contact. The F2's sync terminal accepts all standard plug-in PC cords.

Below are a few images helping you to visualize how flash ready light works in a shoe mount dedicated flash with a Nikon F2 camera. All Nikon prism except those special finder has a ready light contact at its side (see picture at left) which will mate with the terminal at the side of a typical dedicated Nikon F2 shoe mount flash (Picture at center).

sidecontact.jpg econtact.jpg f2readylite.jpg If you are coupling the handle mount flash such as Nikon SB-5 with a Nikon F2 model that has a Photomic finder, the SB-5 uses Ready-Light Adapter SC-4 to operate the flash ready light in the Photomic viewfinder eyepiece.

Note: Nikon F and F2-series cameras use this special Nikon hot shoe that surrounds the camera rewind knob. Grooves on each side and spring-loaded rails below grooves hold the flash foot securely in place. Electrical contact at the back is used to fire flash. Small electrical contact on side of viewfinder housing (arrow) also makes contact with flash foot and is used to operate flash ready-light in viewfinder eyepiece.

Note: While not meant to duplicate too much resources on the various Nikon sites as the Nikon F3 section has quite a detailed briefing how the respective Nikon flash units look and work featuring from original flash unit (SB-1) and stretches to SB-21A/B which I thought were adequately detailed enough to supplement this Nikon F2 site. Well, since that section has too much TTL-flavor because it was originally constructed to supplement the Nikon F3's TTL flash capability and it may require a little 're-engineering' to revert back more to F2 where it relates.

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Various Options in Power Sources, Flash Accessories and more info on 200mm Medical Nikkor lens with a built-in flash.

Nikon Flash Units: BC-Series| Original Nikon Speedlight
SB-2 | SB-3 | SB-4 | SB-5 | SB-6 | SB-7E | SB-8E | SB-9 | SB-E | SB-10
| SB-12 | SB-14 | SB-140 UV-IR| SB-15 | SB16A | SB-17 | SB-18, SB-19 | SR2/SM-2 Ringlights | SB-21A (SB-29) Macro flash | Flash Accesories | SF-1 Pilot Lamp

Nikon AF-TTL Speedlights | SB-20 | SB-22 | SB-23 | SB-24 | SB-25 | SB-26 | SB-27 | SB-28 | Nikon SB-29(s) | Nikon SB-30 | Nikon SB-600 | Nikon SB-880 (updated)
Nikon AF-TTL Speedlight DX-Series:
Nikon SB-28DX | SB-50DX | SB-80DX (updated)

System Accessories: Motor Drives / Prisms / Screens / Macro / Film Backs / Flash Other Accessories: DS-1 / DS-2 / DS-12 / eyepiece / DH-1 / cases / Cable releases / Miscellaneous

| Message Board | for your favourite Nikon F2 Series SLR model(s)
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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


Nikon F
| Nikon F2 | Nikon F3 | Nikon F4 | Nikon F5 | Nikon F6 | Nikkormat / Nikomat |
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| Nikon FE/ FA | Nikon EM/FG/FG20 | Nikon Digital SLRs | Nikon - Other models

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Recommended links to understand more technical details related to the Nikkor F-mount and production Serial Number: by: my friend, Rick Oleson by: Hansen, Lars Holst

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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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