Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Nikon F3 - LE (Limited Edition) Models

Over the years, Nikon has not produced too many limited edition versions of their camera models. Most of the LE (Limited Edition) models are essentially cameras that were created with specific functions rather than commemorative purposes. The more popular models that on and off appear in the used market or retailed outlets are mainly comprised of models that were produced in small controlled numbers such as the lizard-skin covered Nikon FA Gold which was introduced to commemorate a double awards winning streak as being Japan's prestigious "Camera Grand Prix " and for the first time for Nikon's original effort, voted as "European Camera of the Year, 1984 " for the innovative Multi-segment metering system that has proved to be revolutionary enough to change everyone's perception of camera controlled automated metering. With the convenience of Internet, some of the rarely seen or heard limited edition camera models have surfaced in some selective sites on the Net.

Nikon F3 with CF-22 camera case
Nikon F3/T with CF-22 camera case
Nion FM Gold.jpg (Camera's Quest)
In Steven Gandy's Cameraquest site we have seen a very rare Gold Nikon FM model to "... commemorate 60th Anniversary of Nikon and introduction of Nikon first compact camera in 1976...." mailed in by a Japanese collector. Credit: Image courtesy of Stephen Gandy / Cameraquest

UPDATE:- Here is one of the Nikon FM GOLD posted in MIR site.

There were a small number of specialized or heavily modified camera models as well (official commemorative models* still remained controlled and scarce in number), but enter the Nikon F3 era - we may have seen quite a few mark and unmarked limited edition variants of the famed robust workhorse camera.

Nikon F3 Titan.jpg (12k) Loading...
By coincidence, all these were introduced around the same period, the F3-T - a Titanium and special version of the Nikon Nikon F3 High-Eyepoint camera was introduced in 1982/3. The camera uses titanium for its right and left top covers, base plate, pentaprism cover of the viewfinder and even a Titanium camera film back !

Unlike normal chrome camera bodies, the first version of the F3/Ts finish has an exterior coating of the original titanium metal color, underneath the coating was a pure 99.6% Titanium metal which has a strong reputation in industrial applications for its extraordinary properties. (It was replaced by a black paint version later in 1984 and making the beautifully crafted Champaign finish F3T one of the most sought after Nikon F3 body now).

"... Titanium is one of the world's strongest, yet lightest materials; its specific gravity is approximately half that of brass, yet its hardness is almost the same as that of steel, while its corrosion resistance is greater than that of stainless steel. However, titanium is a very difficult material to process. Nonetheless, as early as 1957, Nikon first fashioned shutter curtains out of titanium, and now, Nikon's technical know-how is utilized in creating one of the toughest SLR's around - the Nikon F3/T. As to the other features and specifications, they are the same as those of the Nikon F3 High-Eyepoint camera, except for the weight; the F3/T is approximately 740g, including the High-Eyepoint viewfinder. Before actually taking pictures with the F3/T, please familiarize yourself with the camera, referring to the instruction manual for the F3 High-Eyepoint camera..". - An exact reproduction from the leaflet that came with the F3T -

F3-T cap.jpg (18k) Loading..
| Click to view from a new window on two front and Back images |
When the Champaign finished Nikon F3T was first introduced, Nikon produced a small batch (300 units) of the newly introduced camera with unmarked matching 50mm lens that bear the same serial number with the camera body. When I was offered one, it was quite pricey but I never hesitated as my own camera is really well worked out over the years and I would really love to find a similar replacement.

Minus me - there are another 299 sets left - Just see who will be another lucky owner for this collectible set.

Nikon F3HP Titan limited / Special edition front section Nikon F3HP Titan limited / Special edition REAR section
Another set surfaced and our friend PA Smith is the new owner.

Credit: Image(s) displayed here are courtesy of betteroffblu/Jenny® where the EBAY STORE is also one of my favorite spot to look for great images on used photographic equipment. Image(s) copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.


I paid a premium over regular price since I find it equally fascinating to see both serial number for the lens and camera body are alike. Little I realized I have bought a rare quantity of F3T LE version. Unfortunately, the seller never gave me an incomplete setup (Cursing... whoever you are, you are not as honest as I thought.) as what Steven Woft's setup has (Lucky devil..).

Update: Another set which "surfaced" recently was in the || Free Trade Zone || section in MIR site and was quickly snapped up. Fortunately, I managed to e-mail the seller (Mr Huy Lan Phan from Canada) and managed to get his permission to use some of the images in this site. Similarly, Steven Wolfe is selling his set now (see below)

* (A most recent entry was a beileved-to-be a highly collective camera in the future, the Nikon F5 50th Anniversary Model).

f3tlesml.jpg f3tle3sml.jpg f3tle2sml.jpg f3tle4sml.jpg
Click to see individual enlarged view
Credit: All four images courtesy of Mr. Steven Wolfe® <> Images Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved.

Nikon F3 High Speed.jpg
The next exciting model was a modified camera model based on the original Nikon F3HP to cater to photojournalists and newsmen hard at work in the field. It incorporates a textured titanium-finish pentaprism viewfinder and has a newer DE-5 prism which has a standard ISO-type accessory shoe with flash and ready light contacts located on the top. It was also bundled with Camera Back MF-6B as standard film back for auto rewinding stop with MD-4 and many minor amendments for improved human engineering.

<<<--- The F3 High Speed Motor Drive Camera outfit. (Comes with a fixed Pellicle Mirror and maximum speed rate of 13.5 fps with MD-4E Motor Drive)

Note: Since I have a separate site featuring F3 Press and I would like to see duplicated resources appearing in both sites, you may Click Here to find out more info residing there.

f3ltdlogo.jpg 911k) Loading..
The next Model was heavily based on the F3P and was only marketed in Japan and was never intended for the export market. It was referenced as "Nikon F3 Limited" in Stephen Gandy cameraquest's site. It came as a complete set with custom made strap, special box etc. except replacing MF-6B camera back with a standard film back that was supposed to be part of a complete F3P outfit. Another marked difference is the "Limited" marquee that was inscribed after the "F3" designation at the front of the camera body.

Credit: Images of F3 Limited courtesy of Mr. Edward Ngoh. Photo taken by: MCLau.

The Limited Edition of 100 hundred units of this special production of Nikon F3/T Classic marked the 50th year relationship with the oldest Nikon camera dealer, Ando Camera of Japan.

Credit: Images of this F3 Titanium Classic LE model courtesy of Mr. Carlos CMM.

Nikon F3 US Navy modified version

Nikon F3 US Navy. A recently surfaced Nikon F3 was a specially modified version of a standard Nikon F3/MD-4 setup for US Navy use. More info ..

Credit: Image(s) courtesy of 'Shutterblade team' (e-mail)who specialises trading of new, used collectable cameras. The Company also operates a popular Ebay Store. All image(s) appeared herein are Copyright © 2005. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Rear /back view of Nikon F3 NASA 250 SLR camera

Last but not least, if you missed the most famous Nikon F3 advertisement in the '80, will sound like a joke to many Nikon followers. N.A.S.A. had chosen Nikon to develop a new series of body to enable astronauts to shoot high volume of images from above the earth. The project was in accordance with the development of the Nikon F3 during its early stages and other than the F4 Space camera which has little visual differences from the normal production model, many of the technologies employed inside the normal version of F3 benefited directly from the high precision requirements and standards set to produce a space-environment spec camera system. Check Hiura's site for more info..


Anymore ? I don't know. I have reached my limit of knowledge, but I am still hungry for more information as well. Anyway, just to help me beef up the content in this site, you can mail me freely if you have come across any unusual units of Nikon F3 model OR if you are a proud owner of the rare item as such and willing to share with all of us. (Frankly, this is just a hobbyists site, and thus, I cannot afford to pay anyone for contribution of such resources... but appropriate credit will be given for such effort).

For an example, Mr Jonathan Bengtson <> recently highlighted to me that Kodak dis produced a DCS Digital Film Back for the Nikon F3 in 1991, where the Kodak site mentioned "....The KODAK Professional Digital Camera System (DCS) was introduced, enabling photojournalists to take electronic pictures with a Nikon F-3 camera equipped by Kodak with a 1.3 megapixel sensor... ". He also pointed me to a source at Ebay where there is a gentlement from Igor Camera Exchange was auctioning a Nikon/Kodak DCS Film Back camera system. This kind of information can be very useful as previously no one has got to know existence of such a Digital Film Back for the Nikon F3. Note: The said Nikon F3 Digital system include the Kodak DC-3 camera back and Kodak DCS camera Winder. Thanks, Jonathan.

f3dcsAsml.jpg f3DCS-3/f3dcsBsml.jpg f3dcsCsml.jpg f3dcsDsml.jpg f3dcsEsml.jpg
Credit: ALL Images courtesy from management of IGOR Camera Exchange® <Web URL:> where the Company also operates a popular Ebay Store trading new/used photo equipment. Image copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Credit: Image of this rare early version of the Kodak Digital setup courtesy of Ebay ID: "'ds-spc' (StephensPhotoCentre)" who specialises in Leica, Nikon and all collectable cameras ( Ship Worldwide). The Company also operates a popular Ebay Store. All images appeared herein are Copyright © 2005. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

MORE Information ... is available at the Kodak DCS-website in


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Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Nikon F3 - LE (Limited Edition) Models

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