Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Nikon F2AS Photomic Finder DP12 - Part II


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READY- LIGHT (Check the
SF-1 Readylight Attachment)

The DP-12 finder has a built-in ready-light for use with Nikon Speedlight Units. This unique feature provides for greater ease of operation during flash photography, as the photographer need not remove his eye from the eyepiece to check if the Speedlight Unit is ready for the next exposure; this built-in lamp lets the photographer know the condition of the flash (either "ready" when on, or "not ready" when off) at all times even while viewing. (For additional information, see the instruction manual supplied with the Speedlight.)

Nikon DP12 metered finder prism for Nikon F2AS SLR camera internal view
EXPOSURE MEASUREMENT (full-aperture method)

The exposure meter of the DP-12 features a center weighted TTL metering system coupled to the shutter speed and aperture controls. The meter reads the light over the entire focusing screen but favors the central 12mm-diameter area. This allows you to make precise readings of the selected subject area, resulting in balanced overall readings.

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The amount of light reaching the film is determined by a combination of the lens aperture and the shutter speed. Of course, since the two are interrelated, different combinations will give the same amount of exposure when carefully chosen. The best combination for your needs will depend on the results desired. Use fast shutter speeds to freeze motion, or use slow speeds to create deliberate blur. Small apertures give greater depth of field, while large apertures restrict sharp focus to the main subject. The table below shows how control settings are interrelated; all combinations shown give the same exposure.

Shutter speed (sec.)






Aperture (f/number)






More info is available at a | separate section | on the topic "Exposure" and its relation to Shutter Speed and Aperture.

Determining Exposure

The DP-12 has three LED exposure indicators visible within the finder viewfield ("+" for overexposure, 'loll for correct exposure, and "-" for underexposure); thus, the DP-12 is capable of providing easy-to-read exposure information in five steps, and even at low-light levels. Additionally, the selected shutter speed and lens aperture settings are visible for maximum ease of operation for setting the desired exposure.

To determine the correct exposure with the DP-12: Switch ON the meter by moving the film-advance lever to the standoff position; with this action, one of the LED indicators will light, indicating overexposure, correct exposure or underexposure. If the plus (+) indicator lights, increase the shutter speed or decrease the aperture until the center (0) indicator just comes on and the (+) turns off; if the minus (-) indicator is lit, decrease the shutter speed or increase the aperture until the center indicator lights.

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When two LED's light simultaneously (i.e., + and o, or - and o), the exposure setting is within 1-stop of correct exposure; thus, be sure to adjust the aperture setting slowly to get only the correct "center" (o) exposure. Values for the five settings of the LED's are described in the figure on this page.

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Metering Range

If the center "correct exposure" LED fails to illuminate, even after all possible lens-aperture/shutter-speed combinations have been tried, then the available light is too bright or too dim for the meter's range. To correct this situation, several measures may be taken, as follows: Switch to a new film (either faster or slower) that more closely matches the available light; mount a neutral density filter on the lens to decrease the light reaching the film plane; or use artificial lighting (i.e., an electronic Speedlight unit) to increase subject illumination. Remember, too, that the lens in use can greatly influence suitability for bright or dim shooting. Choose the lens carefully to match the existing lighting conditions. The DP-12's metering range extends from EV -2 (f/1.4 at 8 seconds) to EV 17 (f/8 at 1/2000 second) with a 50mm f/1.4 lens and ASA 100 film.

High-Contrast Lighting Situations

When there are substantial brightness differences between the main subject and the background, unimportant bright spots or dark spots can adversely influence the finder reading, and thus the final exposure. To prevent underor overexposure of the main subject under these shooting conditions, some corrective action must be taken to ensure proper exposure of the main subject. Fortunately, the DP-12's center-weighted TTL metering action simplifies adjustments, making for quicker camera operation and more accurate final results.

To compensate for an excessively bright or dark background, target the main subject in the center of the focusing screen while performing metering; this action ensures that the main emphasis of the meter reading will be on the chosen subject. Then, after completing aperture and shutter speed adjustments, recompose to the desired picture composition and make the exposure without readjusting the camera controls. For example, when shooting landscapes, it is often advisable to aim the camera slightly downward during exposure measurement to eliminate the effects of a bright expanse of sky; without such compensation, the landscape may appear underexposed in the final print. Also, for backlit subjects, it may be necessary to move closer to the subject to ensure a proper reading.

Extreme Low-Light Metering


The F2AS Photomic Finder DP-12 is capable of metering low-light levels requiring slow shutter speeds of up to 10 seconds. To meter at low-light levels, perform the following: Set the lens' aperture ring to the desired aperture setting, and the shutter-speed selector to "B"; then, depress and hold the shutter-speed dial lock and turn the selector until the center LED exposure indicator (O) illuminates to indicate correct exposure.

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Having set the selector, read off the number on the extra-long exposure scale and set the camera's self-timer for the indicated value (see camera instruction manual for details concerning selftimer operation). When performing low-light metering, be sure to block the entry of stray light into the viewfinder by closing the eyepiece shutter (see following section) or by continuously viewing through the finder.

Eyepiece Shutter Operation

The DP-12 is fitted with an eyepiece shutter for special unmanned shooting situations (e.g., remote control automated shooting with motor drive and automatic aperture control) requiring protection against the entry of stray light through the viewfinder eyepiece. To close the shutter, simply turn the eyepiece shutter control 60' clockwise; as the shutter closes, the internal LED's are deactivated and the external "correct exposure" indicator is switched on for metering operation from atop the finder.

To set the camera for proper exposure using the external LED indicator, simply adjust the aperture ring and/or the shutter-speed selector until the LED just glows; once the LED comes on, the camera is set for correct exposure. In addition to its use for low-light metering or for unmanned photography, the eyepiece shutter comes in handy to ensure correct exposure measurement in critical shooting situations (e.g., photomicrography) or for protection against the entry of bright light into the viewfinder during daylight shooting.
Finder Illuminator

When shooting under low-light levels, the finder's shutter speed indicator (located just below the viewfinder image) is often difficult to read. To solve this problem, the DP-1 2 is fitted with a finder illuminator. To operate, slide the illuminator switch at the top of the finder toward the rear of the camera; with this action, the shutter speed setting will glow red.

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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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