Modern Classic SLR Series
Nikon F2 Series Models
Nikon Motor Drive Units - MD-1/MD-2/MD-3/MD-100 - Index Page

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Every "high-end" SLR camera has high performance motor drive(s) to support the entire photographic system. One of the strengths of the F2 Nikons is their full adaptability to motorized photography. Nikon can comfortably claimed as the pioneer in this specific sector when as early as their rangefinder Nikon SP, they had already designed a S-36 Electric Motor Drive Unit back in 1957 !

Nikon S-36.jpg
The S-36 Motor drive designed for the NikonSP (workable with subsequent Nikon rangefinder models) delivers an impressive 3 fps at continuous mode! Just to help you visualize how good was that seemingly moderate figure - competing brands such as Original Canon F-1 35mm SLR professional camera introduced (around the same time as the Nikon F2) 14 year later in 1971 can only achieved that rate with their Canon Original Motor Drive Unit. Now you can probably understand what I am talking about ...

Drawing on with their subsequent experience with the F-36 Motor Drive Unit designed specifically for their first 35mm SLR, Nikon F in 1959, Nikon has leapfrogged further with the design of a few top rated high performance power drives for the Nikon F2.

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Nikon had designed two power drives for the Nikon F, a cordless Nikon F-36 Motor drive unit and a F250 Motor Drive Unit. Setup and operation to use the drive are tedious - much due to the operational sequence and camera handling, for example, you have to remove the film back for both loading and unloading film. It is hard to come by with a good unit.
Credit: Someone mailed me this great image of the F-36 which he claimed it was downloaded from E-Bay auction site, I have managed to re-size it for public viewing here in this site. If you are the rightful photographer for this excellent image of the F36, please mail me so as to provide an appropriate credit or I will remove it if permission is not granted to use it here.

The motor drives units for F2 covers 3 different film capacities via MD-1, MD-2, MD-3, a special production 14 fps high speed MD-100 (for standard 36-exposure cartridges), a Bulk Film MF-1 250-exposures Bulk Film Back, 250- exposures Bulk Film Databack MF-10 and a gigantical MF-2 with 750-exposures Bulk Film motor drive system. Numerous remote control accessories were offered to support unmanned photography form the nucleus of the Motor Drive system. Together with other options such as a special production Nikon F2 Data camera which can even enable handwritten notes to imprint onto films has ensured the Nikon F2 system has the largest selection and widest options in Motor Drive/Film Back/Remote combinations in any 35mm photographic system of all time !

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A rare view of a huge 750 bulk film back with a physical comparison with a standard 250-exposures Bulk Film Back equipped Nikon F2 with MD-2 Motor Drive attached. Bulk Film back is diminishing from current 35mm product list and F2's days with such a generous wide selection will probably never be possible in modern days photography. Doubting what I have said ? Have you heard of a 250 Bulk Film back for Nikon F5 or even for a top of the line Canon EOS-1v ? Err........
Credit: Image(s) appeared herein courtesy of Mr. Vincenzo Montalto from Bestdeals$$$® <> "Bestdeals$$$", who also operates a very popular Ebay Store, selling many unique camera equipment of various brands and labels and some of the images shown here was kindly granted permission by the Company. All images appeared herein are Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

You have probably had or have heard some experience with the Nikon F36 or F-250 Bulk Film; the Nikon Motor Drive system was in fact, a vast improvement in terms of functionality and operational ease over the earlier system. Firstly, the F2 drives can attach to the bottom of the camera without adaptation and you need not have to remove the unit for loading/unloading. It has many power sources (AA-cells or cordless-NiCd pack and takes direct AC/DC power. More importantly, it powers up to 5 frames per second, offers power film rewind (selective models) and have a vast manner to setup for remote photography. Overall, it has simplified in its handling but improved in its built quality, which resulted in a very reliable and dependable high performance Motor Drive system.

The base plates of Nikon F2 cameras are fitted with all the coupling controls necessary for automatic film advance (with simultaneous shutter cocking), shutter release, rewind button resetting and film rewind.

The motor drive unit is simply screwed into the base plate of the camera without adjustment of any kind*. This perfect coupling enables full inter-changeability between any F2 Nikon and the motor drive unit. * The Cover for the Motor drive Coupling has to be removed before mounting.

The ruggedness of the body design and the clever choice to use tough Titanium Shutter design contributes here to the high motorized capabilities of each of the F2 Nikons. Operation speed, with appropriate shutter speed settings, can go as high as five frames per second. The redesigned film transport mechanism maintains absolute film flatness to ensure the most precise images even at high speed film advance. Another significant improvement made was multiple exposure operation where once was Nikon F's main weakness of unassuring multiple exposures operations; with the F2; it was made more assuring and precise.

Nikon MD-2Bkview.jpg
On top of that, while operating the camera at any of the full range of motor drive speeds, keep the rewind button depressed, and you can achieve of virtually un limited, accurate and even in high-speed multiple exposures on a single frame. The camera's removable back enhances motorized photography by enabling the attachment of a special 250 exposure magazine for bulk film handling. Similarly, many other accessories that further facilitate motorized photography are also available.

Credit: Image(s) appeared herein courtesy of Mr. Vincenzo from BestBuy$$$® <> "Best Buy $$$", who also operates a very popular Ebay Store, selling many unique camera equipment of various brands and labels and some of the images shown here was kindly granted permission by the Company. All images appeared herein are Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

However, unlike the later Nikon MD-4 power drive where you have the entire motor drive/power source integrate into a single piece; the MD-1/2/3 were designed and segmented into two main components: The Motor Drive section at the top and the power supply at bottom. Perhaps, the prevailing technologies in electrical and electronic has not advanced to such stage to enable such an integrated compact design yet. So, the only complaints you can pick up from the MD-1/2/3 is probably its hefty weight and bulkiness.

MD-1/2 chart.gif

Nikon MD-1 & MD-2
Max. film advance rate: 5.0 fps *
Power film rewind rate: 7 sec.
Dimensions: 147mm (W) x
110mm (H) x 77mm (D)
Weight: 470g

** 5 fps using 2 x MN-1 NiCd units or AC/DC converter); 10 x AA penlight 4 fps; MB-2 Penlights at 2.7 fps; AC/DC Converter MA-4 at 5 fps at "H".

MD-3 chart.gif

Nikon MD-3
Max. film advance rate: 4.0 fps *
Power film rewind rate: - nil -
Dimensions: 147mm (W) x
106mm (H) x 62mm (D)
Weight: 355g

*** Using 2 x MN-1 NiCd units or AC/DC converter); 2 x 8 penlights MB-2: 2.5 fps; film rewind is NOT possible with MD-3


Nikon MD-4
Max. film advance rate: 6.0 fps *
Power film rewind rate: 4.5 sec.
Dimensions: 146.4mm (W) x
114.7mm (H) x 70.7mm (D)
Weight: 480g

* NiCd MN-2 with mirror Lock-up. Mirror down at 5.5 fps with AC/DC converter or NiCd cells MN-2. 8 x AA penlights at 4 fps; 4.5 sec with MN-2 cells and 8 sec for AA penlight in film rewind.

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About this photographic site.

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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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