Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Most Beautiful SLR Ever? Nikon F, Plain Prism

Image Source:,4_f%3D5,8cm.JPG
Author: Dnalor 01

I started getting serious about photography in sixth grade, back in about 1977. My camera at that time was a Pentax K1000. I still have that camera, and it's close to my heart.

Lately, I've continued to explore Nikon SLRs, which were simply outside my financial reach back in the day. I've had several Nikon film SLRs, including an N2000, which is a manual focus SLR with built-in motor drive, an FM2N, and a few others. My most recent additions have been a pair of F2s, which a just plain lovely cameras. Both of mine have the DP-1 Photomic finder.

I've always wanted to try a regular Nikon F with plain prism. I recently bought one, an early example, from KEH. The price of the BGN condition F with prism was about $15 more than a BGN prism ONLY! Well, that $15 bought me a lot. The camera body is in excellent condition. The only thing that makes the overall condition BGN (by KEH's rating) is a dent at the apex of the prism, which has absolutely no effect on the function. I fell in love immediately with this beast from 1962. I've read it being described as the SLR equivalent of a Leica M3. I think that's appropriate. The layout of the original F was borrowed from the Nikon S series rangefinders. No electronics whatsoever. 100% viewfinder coverage. It's really very nice to carry and use.

My first roll of film from the new F is on its way to The Darkroom as I write. Hopefully I'll have some results to share with you in a few days.
Is the F "better" than the F2? Almost certainly not. But, it sure is a beauty, and quite fun to use. At $144 from KEH, I decided I couldn't really go wrong. This is one of those cameras I always told myself I'd own someday.