Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Nikon Interchangeable Prisms for F2 Series bodies - Index Page

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One of the main reasons for the outstanding success of the modern 35mm SLR is around its pentaprism viewfinder. Nikon pioneered the idea of interchangeable viewfinder in 35mm SLR. This innovation, by providing the photographer with an erect unreversed image, makes viewing and focusing natural and simple. But while the pentaprism viewfinder has fully proven itself for day-to-day shooting situations, it is not always the ideal answer to all viewing and focusing requirements.

The biggest challenge to be a user or collector of these fine mechanical bodies is can we still have these remaining repair technicians around to support us. Many Nikon outlets, supposedly the creator of this classic even refused to accept these bodies for general servicing... that is a pity fact.

<<< ----Camera Craftman - Mr Poon of Poon Photo Service, Ipoh. Copyright ©-free images collection 2000. leofoo ® Hosted by: Malaysian Internet Resources

The Nikon F2, introduced in 1971, Nippon Kogaku's second professional SLR that aimed to replaced the highly successful original Nikon F, also offers similar concept of a complete interchangeability of viewfinders. With the F2, other than offering the widest selection of options to fulfilled various individual photographic requirements, the finder selection also control the all important aspect of metering and exposure control. Sticking to basic designing concept of a modular body design with Nikon F back to the late '50, today's Nikon F-series professional SLR camera models remain as the sole SLR camera manufacturer that is still offering an interchangeability of viewfinders. There are a total of 10 viewfinders were designed for the F2 throughout its product cycle to suit every possible imaginable photographic situations.

Nikon F2topview.jpg
The basic bare bone camera body can takes in either a standard non-metering eye level, Waist Level, Action Finder and joined in late with a 6X Magnification Finder. These special purpose finders are meterless but it can also be used with the previous Nikon F bodies* with slight modifications by removing the name plate on either the camera side or the prism.
* Only workable with those Nikon F bodies that was designed to accept a Nikon F-metered Prism such as Nikon F Photomic onwards.

Nikon DP12 metered finder prism for Nikon F2AS SLR camera
F2 Eyelevel = F2 with DE-1 = F2
F2 Photomic = F2 with
DP-1 = F2 (Photomic)
F2 Photomic S = F2 with
DP-2 = F2S
F2 Photomic SB = F2 with
DP-3 = F2SB
F2 Photomic A = F2 with
DP-11 = F2A
F2 Photomic AS = F2 with
DP-12 = F2AS

Credit: Image(s) courtesy of some nice folks from DigifanCN®. The group also operates their own active, popular EBAY STORE, trading for many major camera brands and collectibles. Image Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

The basic standard eye level finder is called DE-1 and when mounted onto a Nikon F2 camera body, it is called Nikon F2. The bare bone eye level finder fitted onto a Nikon F2 camera body, is similar to any other SLR. This basic configuration provides the photographer with an erect unreversed image, makes viewing and focusing natural and simple. But while the pentaprism viewfinder has fully proven itself for day-to-day shooting situations, it is not always the ideal solution to all viewing and focusing requirements some situation demands. Some examples are like shooting at ground level, working on a high-powered microscope on the table or shooting underwater capsuled in a housing etc. Consequently, many all round working professional photographers expected full viewfinder interchangeabiIity a must for a serious SLR camera system.

The basic compact eye level finder can be interchangeable with four other non-metered special application finders - the Action Finder DA-1, the Waist-Level Finder DW-1 and the 6X Focusing Finder DW-2. The basic body can also use with all the various metered prisms (DP-1, DP-2, DP-3, DP-11, DP-12) that were introduced gradually along its product cycle stretched from 1971 to 1977.

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One of the huge success of the Nikon professional series models is the range of alternative viewfinders that are readily available for use when the occasion demands. For, in addition to the pentaprism viewfinders, described with their respective camera bodies, Nikon makes three more types of viewfinders, thus ensuring that ease of viewing and focusing is never compromised - regardless of the type of photography you are engaged in.

Other than these meterless finders, Nikon also introduced a series of metered prism throughout its product cycle which we generally used to distinguish them as a particular Nikon F2 models. It is not exaggerating to rate the development of the Nikon F2 as leaning towards metering based, and this was centered around the pentaprism viewfinders. For an example, a Nikon F2 basic camera body, when used with a Nikon DP-1 Finder is referred as Nikon F2 Photomic, a Nikon F2S is actually a DP-2 Finder mounted on a F2 body; while F2SB is a combination of F2 with a DP-3 Finder; a Nikon F2A comes with an AI (automatic maximum aperture indexing) enabled DP-11 Finder and F2AS is a DP-12 Finder which also offer similar AI capability and when it is used with a F2 camera body.

Finder90aSML.JPG Finder90bSML.JPG Finder90cSML.JPG Finder90dSML.JPG Finder90eSML.JPG

Credit: CLICK on respective thumbnails to see a LARGER VIEW. All images of this 90 degrees 6x magnification Finder for Nikon F2 courtesy of José Roberto Wagner® <> from Brazil. Image(s) copyright © 2004. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

The Nikon F2 (with DE-1 Finder for Nikon F2, DE-1/T for Nikon F2 Titan) (Instruction manual for DE-1 Eye-Level Finder or Nikon F2 camera body or a more detailed discussion at the Prism section).

So, the viewfinders group can be separated into either it is with a built-in metering cell or just plain eye level finder. Although most people use the year of manufacture to determine the respective models within the F2 series, but that is not entirely correct, because there were certain special application F2 models with normal eye level finder that appeared throught out the production years of the F2.

Eye level finder in satin chrome finish

Titanium eye level finder (F2T/H)

One typical example is the Nikon F2/T (Titan) (picture above finder in black) and theother being the Nikon F2H (High Speed ), and both models used an extra-touch Titanium metal for their body construction. The original standard eye level viewfinder DE-1 (Along with Titan DE-1 model) is a non-metered finder, and is the smallest and lightest pentaprism among all finders designed for the F2 (Errr.... may be with the exception of the Waist Level finder which after unfolding looks like a pancake units when mounted on a F2). It is in fact the only fully mechanical, non-TTL metering professional class 35mm SLR available on the market until arrival of Canon's New F-1 in 1981.

The DE-1 eye level finder provides a moderately brilliant, unreversed and the image magnification ratio is 0.8X with the normal 50mm lens set at infinity. It yields a right-side-up image visible from corner to corner even with eyeglass wearer due to its High-EyePoint design (0.8X magnification); the side panel has a protruding pin for direct contact with some selected Nikon dedicated electronic flash units (SB-6, SB-2 and SB-7E) without the necessity of cable connection to permit photographer to check flash charge status with a ready light in the eyepiece. The eyepiece is also threaded for Nikon screw-in attachments such as diopter-correcting lenses, right angled viewing attachment DR-3, eyepiece magnifier and eyecups etc. Operation of the Nikon F2 is entirely manual, based on the film speed of the film type you are using, where you select the appropriate aperture value match with the shutter speed you deem right for an optimum exposure. Such selection is purely based on experience or you may make use of a third party handheld meter for exposure guide.

By the way, have you seen a Nikon F2 DUMMY display camera unit before ? NO ? Click here.

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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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