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Monday, 09 November 2020


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I own a 1959 F bought from a local Pro in 1978? He’d had it for ages and it came with the F36 motor drive. That camera was a true hammer. Except for an N90s it is the last of many Nikon film cameras I owned. It’s on a shelf now.

I loved my big black Nikon F Photomic FTn that I owned in the '70s. What a beast it was, I had an equally big and beastly Vivitar Series 1 35-85/2.8 Vari-focal lens on it most of the time.

Kinda sad. I've owned and still have every manual focus pro-grade F, culminating in the F3hp with permanently attached MD-4.

When I went to war the first time, I stuffed an F2 with 35mm lens in my gear, with tri-X.

My next time in the sandbox I went with a non-metering F with pointy prism and 50mm. That camera still operates perfectly today.

I never liked the autofocus range because of the lenses... broke three out of four under normal use, while I never broke an AI or AIs lens even when abusing them.

I did use a N8008s as a platform for my manual focus lenses to allow the use of wider apertures because of the 1/8000th of a second versus the F3's 1/2000th. That camera still works perfectly today.

Last weekend, I took my DSLR out after not using anything but mirrorless for many months, and I was very surprised how much I hated it. I kept dialing in exposure compensation and the finder image didn't change. I kept chimping and adjusting the bracket. I got some nice images, but would have got them on mirrorless with less effort (and frames shot).

I am glad that I got to experience the classic Nikon F class in its it's time. The hardware outlived its practicality.

I'm just a 75 year old white guy who has never taken a picture of anything you would consider interesting, but I have to say, your posts no longer seem to have any relevance to photography today.

[Well, on a blog, everything comes around again. You do have to wait for it sometimes I guess. --Mike]

When I started my first job as a newspaper photographer in 1968 they handed me a Nikon F. I later bought one of my own. I still have it. It still works just fine. I used it throughout the film period. But it's the only top-of-the-line Nikon I ever bought, though I stayed with Nikon until just a few years ago when I moved to Micro 4/3. I never needed all the features Fs offered. The lesser cameras gave me everything I needed in a lighter and less expensive package. Still, the Fs were the definition of what a film camera could be. I worked with newer Fs at times over the years. They were all great cameras.

I suppose the very first Nikon F cameras came off the production line a few months before April 1959, so the F line is just as old as I am; I was born in January that year.

Sad but inevitable. I own a Nikon F, an F2, and an F3 with the HP viewinder. Wonderful cameras. Been a while since any of them were used, though...

I started out as an EOS guy, and borrowed Nikons from my dad. The F4's meter still blows me away, I can tell from contact sheets the rolls I shoot on it. I picked up an F2As when I tried photography as a major, the class didn't stick but the camera did.

When I was in high school (I graduated in 1982) our school paper had old battered Nikon F's. They seemed the grail to me but yet when the time came I bought a Canon AE-1P and never regretted it.

I've owned an F2. I want an F4. I shoot a D7100. When the time comes, I'll probably buy a Z5 and put all my old MF glass on it too.

But ultimately, they're tools. I've owned so many brands - Canon, Nikon, Voightlander, Kiev, and others that had all their own pluses and minuses - that I can't get too worried about this. In the end it's more like the transition by Canon from FD (Damn, I LOVED my T90) to EF (That A2E was a hell of a camera too) than it is the end of anything real. I can put my old pre-AI glass on a Z-5 and just go. I can keep the glass. That matters more than anything else in this biz.

Bought a new F soon after I turned pro, and then added an F2. I eventually bought an FM to add to the pair because of its higher flash synch. and then replaced that one with an FM2.

As the F and F2 grew old, I bought an F4s and hated it: the problem was the self-loading "attribute" that never worked for me first time, and resulted in frequently embarrassing moments where I became the pro who couldn't even get his camera loaded propely. I bought it because I had been led to believe that it had replaced the F3 which I'd never had to buy because the older cameras still worked well. However, after a while I discovered that the F3 actually was still being offered for sale, so I gladly stepped backwards and replaced the F4s with one.

If you can overlook the fact that the F3 required a battery in order to be worth more than a brick, then you could say that the F4 marked the beginning of the end of Nikons as purely functional tools.

I now have my pristine D700 resting on top of a cabinet that houses my turntable and collection of LPs. It froze its mirror in the up, and the factory no longer supports the bits that the Spanish distributor says it requires to fix it. So there sits what's now an £1800 turd. Fortunately, it doesn't smell and still looks cool.

Currently, I don't think I'm going to replace it with anything, though I recently almost did with a D750 or a Z5, but couldn't force myself to click the button on the purchase spot for either. I shall continue with the still-functioning D200 which, in the end, is more than good enough for Internet uses. (I have also made nice A3+ prints from it on my discontinued HP B9180, but that's another bleat I shall avoid so as not to ruin yet another sunny morning.)

Like Mark Sampson says, Nikon F is not dead yet. At least mine are still going strong, although I must admit that I started to use 4x5 and analog MF more recently. With tilt-shifts and teles I still have to go back to Nikons.
And yes, I flew with a DC-3 too. First I was scared by sparks motors produced, thought they are on fire, but the personnel calmed me by saying that it is normal with DC-3. All went well :-)

That's sad news for a long time user of F series cameras. Maybe it's time to dig them out again for some exercise. (F2A, F3HP and F5 Anniversary)

It all comes around.

I started "serious" photography with a pair of F bodies and a few Nikkor lenses. That was almost a half century ago. Since then I've used a lot of other brands but I came back to Nikon a bit over a year ago after using mirrorless bodies for several years. I was floored by how much I still enjoy them. And how familiar they feel even after not using a Nikon in 20 years. Nikons are now my primary cameras with the Fujis in a secondary roll.

I figure this is a full circle for me. I'm at an age that I probably won't be doing this for too many more years and I'll finish up with Nikons like I started out.

F, F2, F3, N90'S (which got donated to a friend's daughter about 10 years ago for a college level photography class) and F100. Still have them all for the memories but I don't miss film one bit.

D2X, D700 and D810. I loved the files from D700 but couldn't abide the shutter clank. D810 does me just fine.

Still using a Micro Nikkor 55mm on a regular basis, 1972 vintage.

They are far from dead. I grew up in the death of film as a mainstream medium. Now in my late 20’s, I have all but shunned digital and use my F and F2AS. My 1964 plain prism F is being CLA’d now, and will be worked hard as my everyday camera. I expect both cameras will outlast many of the digital cameras that are being produced today.

It can’t be avoided though, digital is the mainstream medium and it always will be that way.

I still have a fairly nice black F2 with a non metered prism, a 50 1.4, 24 2.8 and a 105 2.5 stuck away in a case in the closet. I just can't bring myself to trade it away. If it will see a roll of film again is anybody's guess.
I'm 70 and I've been in love with photography since I was 13. The end of the F series got me thinking about how I feel about photo gear in general.
I am not a camera collector but I also have a real hard time letting go of some still equipment even knowing that it will likely not be used again.
Maybe this is because I am an amateur still photographer and a professional videographer (actually a former professional videographer since retiring July 1).
I just added them up and since 1973 when I started out doing TV news I have been issued about 20 different cameras. Some I really liked (CP 16R, Sony BVP 250) and some not so much. Truth be told I was happy to shoot with whatever they gave me, even did one story on my iPhone after my trusty Sony had a stroke from high humidity. I appreciated them as tools but none pleased me the way my ancient Rollei 2.8f did and still does.
I assume Nikon hasn't actually made an F6 in years. Not to worry there will still be plenty of Nikon film gear out there in case you feel the need, it just won't be new in the box.

You're not a real Nikon enthusiast unless you
own or have owned an "F". Mine was a 1970 Nikon F w/FTN Finder and six Nikkor lenses.

Nothing good lasts forever. Even the Nikon F series 35mm cameras. I bought my Nikon Ftn in 1969 while stationed at the Iwakuni,Japan Marine Corp Air Station still very much in operation https://www.mcasiwakuni.marines.mil/ (good times!)
As is the Marine Corps Air Station my Nikon F still works just fine (though the batteries for the meter are no longer available).
Through the years I purchased many Nikkor's and a few more Nikon film bodies. I have to admit I have not put any film through them in years. The Nikkors work nicely on my Oly M4/3 cameras now.

I lusted after the F5 and the expensive data back in the mid-90's because it could imprint (c) followed by your name between frames. $5K or thereabouts for the body and back then, a decade later it was still available (pennies on the dollar for new, also had a couple of action finders.
After using this monstrosity awhile--with the AF-S 17-35mm, something like 5lbs-- it occurred to me I could be shooting a P645N or a 4x5 without additional weight penalty. So I did that, too...
Used a couple of F5 bodies longer than most because I was shooting for display in fine art galleries when people yet drew a distinction between film originals and digital capture (even if the print was "giclee").

Mark Sampson mentioned the continuing use of Douglas DC-3s and I have proof. One of our cohorts was training in the Canadian Arctic just a couple of years ago and sent us this photo taken at dawn from the waiting room. It was umpteen below zero Celsius outside!

The DC-3 is ideal for rugged terrain since it's a tail dragger - tricycle gear planes have a problem wiping out the nose gear.

My first Nikon body was an F2 I bought in 1978. I soon added a plain-prism F and after I left the F2 in a cab in Portlamd in the 80s, I shot with just the F without a meter for the next 20 years. It finally died so I bought another F2! Still chugging along!

Owned a lot of 35mm gear I never made money with (since I was all sheet film and 120 professionally), so I owned the Nikon F, FTn, F2, FM, FM2, etc. Starting back in my first studio jobs, I owned a Nikon only because all the studios had Nikon and I could borrow the lenses. Since studios were "careful users", and not "run-and-gun" photojournalists, most all just had a prism top, because, of course, you would hand meter!

Nothing felt better in the hand, than that old Nikon F with a prism top, and I owned a few more I had "restored" back in the 90's. Even the F2, with its rounded edges, for some reason didn't feel as nice. By the time the F3 camera came around (with a built in meter, thank God), the idea of having a shutter dependent on a battery seemed daft. Little did I know that is was really the beginning of cameras being "disposable", vs. adaptable for many uses and long life. You can repair a very old pocket watch, but you can't take individual electronic components out of a modern camera and solder a new one in when they break!

Rid of it all now, except for a few sweet Pentax SP's.

BTW, I'm always amazed by "non-professionals" (which I assume are the majority of people commenting on this site), saying they're glad they're done with film, and would never go back, etc. I spent last summer making sure that all my negs and transparencies from as far back as 1966 were in archival envelopes and water-proof storage boxes. I only went digital because my clients demanded it. I hated it, because early digital didn't look like film, and I went from most of my time lighting and taking pictures, to most of my time dickin' around with computers, buying computer stuff, trying to get the hang of photo shop (to spend hours making digital images look just like what came out of camera naturally with no additional work) and trying to figure out how to store and migrate files. You must all be computer engineer photo hobbyists, and not photo people: those are the only people I figure would want to spend hours in front of a computer screen instead of taking pictures.

Even today, you could buy an nice old film camera like this F, and concentrate on taking pictures, altho you may have to send it some place for processing, if you don't want to do it. I guarantee when you die, your heirs might look at your negative collection and see it as valuable to the family, or maybe the local historical society, but they're going to look at computer storage devices like yesterdays tuna cans, and no one is going to want to open them up and even look at them (provided you kept migrating them, replacing them, etc. etc.!

The F series of cameras may be dead from a production standpoint, but one only has to scan the pages of Amazon, eBay, Catawiki, or Rakuten to know that they are far from dead on the secondary market. I own at least one copy of every F ever made from the F through the F4 and then the F6. That does not include the compact models: FM; FM2; FE & FE2. I use all of them on at least a monthly basis. As long as there is film, processing, and repair shops available the Fs will continue to live long and productive lives. Honestly, nothing beats an F2 with a sweet Nikkor lens. And that's the thing, I have a light meter on my phone (a camera too), so as long as the shutter fires on the Nikons, I'd rather hand hold the meter and use a Nikkor lens than any piece of "glass" built by Apple, Google, or samsung. The King may have retired from manufacturing and production, but long live the king!

I have two camera bags permanently sitting ready to go on the sofa in my living room. One bag contains whichever of my old Leicas I am using this week with whichever lens best suits this week's plans. The other bag always contains my 1968 prism finder Nikon F and my 105/2.5 non ai Nikkor-P lens. I have a dozen or so film cameras, including an F6, but almost half of the images in my contact sheet books were shot with the F and 105/2.5.

Though the Nikon F is no longer being produced, it absolutely doesn't mean it is dead. I have the F2a, F3, F4 and F5. If I choose to get the other flagship F series, I can EASILY find them. So saying that the F is dead.....how? Unless no-one in the world can ever purchase one again....it is VERY much alive. Perhaps even more so than ever before due to lower prices. The Z's are excellent, but they both have their place.

Wow. A milestone. I remember being surprised that it came out at all since DSLRs were big by then.

I just took delivery of ten rolls of 35mm film from B&H for my F100. I don't use it as much as the Nikon DSLRs that I own, but I still use it.

I have to admit that I have been looking at FM2n's with that camera lust gleem in my eye...

A camera is a time machine. An analogue camera tells us the time.

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