View Full Version : Does anyone actually use the F3 in Manual Mode?
My new F3 just arrived. Feels great in my hands. All the controls fall nicely into place. Not to big, not to small and I think its very sexy.
However the viewfinder readout is awful! Does anyone use this in manual? Is it just the DE-2 or do all viewfinders force you to look for that tiny +/- sign next to the shutter speed. I was using an MX before the meter died. This is terrible in comparison. So I'm curious, does anyone use this in manual or do you just stay in Aperture Priority and use the AEL button?
I use it pretty much in aperture priority only.
I am a fan of aperture priority myself. However, for critical exposures I'm apt to switch to manual.
The exposure readout in the F3 is really not the way it should be done. Same goes for the FA. Exposure is really an analog, proportional phenomenon. I think it's best represented by an analog display. The meter needle in the FE2 (or the Nikkormat FTn) is a better idea. A yes/no plus/minus readout is just not the answer. another good method is the LED lights in rangefinder Leicas. The human eye is an extremely good judge of relative brightness. We can detect a change of one part in one hundred. So it's very easy to see when the two LEDs are of equal brightness; and the center LED in the M6TTL eliminates all doubt.
Yes, I think the only thing standing in the way of the F3 being a perfect camera is its exposure readout method.
... hand held meter, I never use the ttl ... but then I only use it for portraits
You should learn to operate all controls with the camera at your eye, not needing the LCD info for operation. Know which way to turn each control by finger feel-movement. Start with a "home" position, like 1/250 at F8. Know which way to turn the controls by counting the detent clicks and the direction. If you use a Leica, you must remember the differences. Most directions are reverse of most Leica models.
The meter is very good. Learn to shoot b+w without it in most situations.
One needs the LCD info for metering information, which is the whole point of this thread.
Yes but there's a difference between using an external meter/sunny-16, and using the (frankly poor) meter readout in the viewfinder. You can use both in 'manual'. Knowing where the shutter speeds are doesn't make up for the unclear readout.
There's an LCD readout on the F3? :p
Seriously though, I use the F3 in manual quite often, I meter the palm of my hand, add an extra stop and then adjust by eye depending on the subject. I don't pay attention to the +/-, I just use the LCD as a reminder on what speed it's set to.
I always use it in manual mode. I use every camera I have in manual mode :) See the light, feel the light, meter knowing what you're metering, expose with a purpose, i.e. how you want the negative/positive to turn out. That's at least how I'm photographing...
Owned and used an F3 and (later) F3/T from the late 1980s until 2002. Wonderful cameras. I used both its aperture priority and manual metering interchangeably, depending on need.
The LCD readout for manual meterings is similar in concept to the Nikon FM LED readout, which was and is still my favorite metering display (same as used today in the Leica M9). The F3's LCD is not quite as clear, but I became accustomed to using it almost immediately.
I see that you are 21 years old. The camera is 30+ years old. In the old days, we poor folks out here in the Colonies, had to learn to use a camera that wasn't AF, AE, auto-thinking. We had to figure flash exposure with Guide Numbers..
So, maybe you more "advanced" folks need more "advanced" cameras?
No, we just appreciate cameras with well-designed controls, useful features, and usable information display. That you had to make do with antiquated junk is neither here nor there.
Then don't buy them and go on about how bad they are..
I buy cameras that have features that appeal to me. This doesn't mean that I must be blind to their shortcomings.
I used the F3 in manual mode for 10+ years. I never looked at the "tiny +/- sign next to the shutter speed," I used the viewfinder.
... where the exposure in manual mode is indicated by a leading "+","+/-","-" in the time LCD. Not quite as legible in some lighting conditions as the F2AS I had before, but I only began to consider it sub-par after I got a FE2 (whose dual needle time-and-exposure display I still consider the best layout ever).
I use the manual exposure setting for situations where I'm backlit, and I'm using fill flash.
The +/- display is very discrete and fine for me. It doesn't detract from the image on the focus screen. It takes about 1/4 of an f/stop for the +- to change to + or -. That knowledge helps me fine tune the exposure for slides.
I also use the manual mode when I'm using a hand held meter for incident light readings.
If you just use it for a week, you'll get used to it.
The auto-exposure mode is much more consistently accurate than the auto mode on my M7.
But, I may just need more practice with the M7's pattern as I've only had that camera for a year. I've had the F3 for about 25 years now. The original LCD readout too - it never needed changing, and it has high contrast still.
I only use Manual Mode on the F3; never AE on any camera.
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