Nikon F3 owners, speak up!

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by AndrewG, Jul 7, 2008.

  1. bhop

    bhop No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have an F3, but I don't use it much. It's not my favorite Nikon, although, I enjoy using it more than I used to. I just hate the viewfinder/meter readout. It ruins it IMO. Also, I hate the lock on the shutter speed dial. If I turn it too far when i'm trying to shoot fully manual and it gets stuck in 'A', I have to push the button to unlock it again... nitpick, but annoying.

    My favorite film Nikon is probably the FM2 at this point (opinion could change), but I also really like the F4 (with small grip)

    Screen Shot 2018-10-10 at 4.06.46 PM.png


     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
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  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    The F3HP, the model that has the HP or High Eyepoint viewfinder, was the easiest-to-frame-with Nikon ever for eyeglass wearers. The other models, F,F2,F2A,FE,FM,FE-2, all had viewfinders that were difficult to SEE through,at least seeing all the way to the corners, when wearing eyeglasses. The F3HP rectified that with a long eye relief optic system in the prism finder, and the eye could be as far away as 25mm from the rear eyepiece, and the shooter could still see all the way to the corners.

    I loved the F3HP for the viewfinder....the ability to see the entire field of the lens, surrounding by a black area, was invaluable for me. it was also a 100% viewfinder, and did not crop off all the edges of the negative area...none of that 96 or 97 percent viewfinder coverage: 100 percent! I did not much care for the match-diode metering display however.

    I shot the F3HP for close to twenty years, almost always,always,always with the MD-4 motor drive attached. With the motor drive attached, the camera's two button cell batteries no longer powered the light meter; instead, eight 1.5-volt AA cells powered the meter. The MD-4 offered motorized film rewind, if desired, and that was handy when speed was needed in reloading the camera.
     
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  3. Dave Colangelo

    Dave Colangelo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I've got a bunch of stuff in my collection and my F3HP is constantly my go to 35mm SLR (usually mated with the 50mm 1.2). Im not as old as some others and have not lived long enough to yet use a camera for more than a decade so its hard to make a call for me. Is it the best 35mm camera ever made? Hmmm not sure. Is it the best camera ever made? hmmm not sure. It was surely the first nikon SLR to shoot 1080p...

    Ill say this, the F3 was both the last camera of a generation and the first of another, making it sit, at least historically, in a very interesting place. The cameras that came before it were (largely) all mechanical and built to the highest of standards. They are to this day serviceable and will remain that way long into the future. The cameras that came after it were chock full-o electronics, modern convinces we know and love and while built well were not the all metal bricks of those that came before them and are not nearly as easy to fix should something go wrong. For me the F3 sits in that perfect spot of build quality along with a reliable, accurate, built in meter and basic appeture priority just enough to be a little lazy when you want to be. This means that unlike my other film cameras, I dont need to carry a meter with me, I don't need any accessories I just need my trusty F3.
     
  4. Kiron Kid

    Kiron Kid TPF Noob!

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    I just realized how much heavier my F3 with the MD-4 (lithium AA cells for weight reduction) is than my F100 (6 rechargeable AA Eneloop cells) is. However, I do tend to use older, heavier lenses on the F3...
     
  5. pendennis

    pendennis No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    My F3HP is a handful especially with the MD-4 attached. However, a number of years ago, I used one for a trip to San Francisco, and used it detached. While I had been spoiled by the MD-4, I found it a great, compact camera, and it yielded some of the best Ektachrome I'd ever shot. I only used Nikkor primes; 20mm, 24mm, 50mm, 105mm, 180mm, and 300mm lenses. Fortunately, the weather cooperated, and no fog.

    I still use one, although I like my FM2 and FE variations, also.
     
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  6. compur

    compur Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The F3 was so popular Nikon had to continue making them throughout the entire production run of its successor, the F4, and well into the production run of the F5.
     
  7. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I know that the F3 was the longest-running camera model Nikon has ever made...wasn't it nineteen years straight that he F3 was offered as part of the Nikon lineup?
     
  8. compur

    compur Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    ... unless you count the FM10.

    (Those who wish to inform me the FM10 isn't really a Nikon may now begin typing.)
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018 at 6:37 AM
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  9. cgw

    cgw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    That's a bit of a stretch. The F3 wasn't selling strongly once AF got traction in the early 90s. Cameras like the N90s, whose fast AF and TTL flash abilities, out-performed it--and the F4. Recall being told by Nikon.ca techs that F3 production had ended in the mid-90s. Remaining inventories slowly sold down. Parts were running low in the early 'oos. They were collecting dust at that time at retailers who rarely discounted them.
     
  10. MartinCrabtree

    MartinCrabtree No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Nothing you can say will diminish the impact of the Nikon F3. Not an owner however there's no denying greatness.
     
  11. compur

    compur Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    There is nothing unusual about production of a Nikon (or any major brand) model ending before that model is removed as a current offering. All models have a sales curve and production of all models normally ceases some time prior to their removal as a current product. In the case of the F3 that interval was simply longer than with nearly all of their other models.

    It's not so easy to decide when to discontinue an F-series camera because it isn't only the camera that is being discontinued but also the entire system -- finders, backs, motor drives, flash units, etc, etc. And, the transition from MF to AF pro-level cameras was a difficult period in the industry that only the strongest manufacturers survived.

    BTW, at about the same time the F3 was finally dropped, Nikon brought out another new “old technology” model, the FM3A, and continued it for yet another 5 years despite its “old fashioned” manual focus and less-than-leading-edge specs. I suspect Nikon didn't do that on a whim but rather because they recognized, due to the F3's popularity, that manual focus cameras still filled a need for serious photographers.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018 at 7:37 PM
  12. jcdeboever

    jcdeboever TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Ok, Cosina
     

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