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SLRs - the unRF For those of you who must talk about SLRs, if only to confirm they are not RF.

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Old 10-12-2010   #81
Roger Warren
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My F3 has always been my favorite SLR
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Old 10-12-2010   #82
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Many thanks guys, especially JSU for the deep insight on the drive!
I have started, getting more interest back into Nikon gear after using exclusively the small Leicas for some months due to a lucky finding of a 58 f1.2 Ai-S lens.

I don't like focussing this lens on the digital Nikon (which is also a plasticky, heavy gum brick), nor did I get more satisfaction with my FM3a (which I thought of as a "premium" super light and small MF SLR, before getting a M6 - lol, talk about shifting views on gear).

The FM3a gave me a lot more confidence, focussing the fast lens, but is a boner, to use for me comfortably:
- awful not illuminated needle meter (I officially hate needle meter readouts after loving the Leica meters and I shoot mostly in low light, so the FM3a meter is like having no meter at all to me)
- too small viewfinder, very uncomfortable to use as a left eye shooter also (need much bigger eye point + right eye poking due to the compact build)
- very, very rough feel overall, compared to the Leicas (film advance especially)

It all seems, that a F3HP with optional DE-2 would make me a lot happier with the fast primes. Also does it look very intriguing, to get one or the other longer focal length in fast glass (105, 180, …) There is just nothing, you could have like this for the Leica.

The 105 1.8 looks so compact (and I know, it will balance fantastically with a SLR), there is nothing comparable for the Leica.
The 135 f2.8 Leica is like mounting a fridge on a matchbox car.
The modern 135 Telyt is ages nicer, but costs a fortune compared to the excellent Nikon Ai-S offerings (I wish, I had gotten the F3 fever earlier, although I love my Telyt).

The different focus screens - and man, that metal block motor drive look so intriguing!
I will receive a Motor-M for my M7 in a week or two (it is waiting in a packed bag of a friend, bringing it ;-) ), my MD-12 for the FM3a died on me last weekend :-(

I might make new friends with an MD-4 (how well does it take Eneloops?).

Oh and don't stop posting the camera porn on the F3 + drive - keeps the fever alive until I find one ;-)

I have read somewhere, the F3T has improved (even more durable) circuit boards over the standard F3HP (and F3P) - what is that about?
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Old 10-14-2010   #83
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I just cant help it! arghhhhhhh, bidding on another!!!!!
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Old 10-14-2010   #84
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won it! hahar another NIKON!
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Old 10-14-2010   #85
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If I was KEH I'd start a thread like this from time to time. I'm not much of a Nikon guy but I do have a F3, it just works, no messing about. Crazy how inexpensive they are now. Photo students... listen up, don't bother with the K-1000s, get yourself an F3 and then you really have something that can do most anything 35mm filmwise.
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Old 10-14-2010   #86
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I have been following this thread with interest, so when I saw an F3 advertised for $79.00 I couldn't help myself. Perfect working order with some lovely brassing.
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Old 10-14-2010   #87
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriscrawfordphoto View Post
The Internal Frame shattered? Damn! I dropped my F4s on a concrete sidewalk from shoulder height and it bounced a few times and still worked afterward!
Oh I hate that moment! Into slow motion... Nooooooooooooooooooooooo (bounce) ooooooooooooooo (bounce) oooooooooooooooooo (bounce) ooooooooooo!.................. (picks up camera... click-whir... click-whir... click-whir)... (sigh.)
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Old 10-15-2010   #88
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Quote:
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Looks like the 105/1.8 which is every bit as good as the 105/2.5 in actual use, if not also on test chart results.
JSU did it!
Correct! it's the Nikkor AI-s 105.1.8
Unlike the gem 105/2.5 for is smoothness, the 1.8 is so sharp that it's better to spend some time on the makeup (in case of portraits) to avoid "problems" with the model later on...
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Old 10-15-2010   #89
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Thanks I had it before and foolishly sold it If I use the F3 more now, I will consider buying one again.


Quote:
Originally Posted by nobbylon View Post
That is a fantastic kit! Add a 28 AIS and you have it all! I use the 105 Ai on my D700 and its simply one of the best there is.
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Old 10-16-2010   #90
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Question

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Originally Posted by gilpen123 View Post
Thanks I had it before and foolishly sold it If I use the F3 more now, I will consider buying one again.
How can you use it after selling it?

But anyway, buy one! You just have to!
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Old 10-16-2010   #91
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You miss the "If" mate This thread make me think about the F3 alot, though I still prefer the old styling of the F and F2
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Old 10-16-2010   #92
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the F3 is (and looks) bad ass, but if I'm not mistaken the FM2n is every bit as good internally, almost as bulletproof, and a bit smaller and lighter.

Think I'll keep my FM2n.
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Old 10-16-2010   #93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zodiac View Post
the F3 is (and looks) bad ass, but if I'm not mistaken the FM2n is every bit as good internally, almost as bulletproof, and a bit smaller and lighter.

Think I'll keep my FM2n.
It has no AE,
it has an abysmal finder, compared to any of the F3 finders (I own an FM3a and fell in love with the HP finder for the F3 on first sight),
it feels gritty, compared to the F3 (film advance).

The F3 indeed is a fantastic camera.
I bought my FM3a back then because of the things, you mention about the FM2n - small, lightweight and bulletproof.

The issue is, the FM series takes shortcuts, where the F3 is just without compromise.

I am still looking, to own one of my own.
Oh … and did I mention that gorgeous viewfinder!
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Old 10-16-2010   #94
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menos View Post
It has no AE,
it has an abysmal finder, compared to any of the F3 finders (I own an FM3a and fell in love with the HP finder for the F3 on first sight),
it feels gritty, compared to the F3 (film advance).

The F3 indeed is a fantastic camera.
I bought my FM3a back then because of the things, you mention about the FM2n - small, lightweight and bulletproof.

The issue is, the FM series takes shortcuts, where the F3 is just without compromise.

I am still looking, to own one of my own.
Oh … and did I mention that gorgeous viewfinder!
Yes, you lose the AE.

But I love the VF in my FM2n, it works well for me. I've used the F3 and feel no difference in it's advance (they both have HG bearing mounted internals and ball bearing clusters).

And it shared the same mirror mechanisms as the F2.

Shortcuts or not, the old FM2's seem to be grabbing quite a lot more money on ebay then the F3s.....

To each his own I guess. Unless I was in a real warzone (or just wanted to look like Dennis Hopper's Michael Herr's character in Apocalypse Now), I'd take the FM2n any day for typical world use.

PS - the FM3 is not the FM2.
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Old 10-16-2010   #95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zodiac View Post
…

PS - the FM3 is not the FM2.
Never written that ;-)

Nevertheless, it shares the same form factor, same crappy viewfinder, same advance.
FM3a only adds a different meter, AE, hybrid shutter for AE, exposure lock, TTL flash + fill light flash button.
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Old 10-16-2010   #96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menos View Post
...it shares the same form factor, same crappy viewfinder, same advance.
Only defect that I see in that VF is that it's 94 rather than 100% coverage. Eye relief is shorter than an F3 with the hp prism but similar relief and magnification to the standard prism. The magnification is high, the image bright, the focus snappy.

I've used all these cameras (except the FM3) and I think the difference is much, much smaller than you do.
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Old 10-16-2010   #97
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I wish Nikon came up with a digital version of it. That would be sweet.
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Old 10-17-2010   #98
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Hi,

Thank you for this thread.

I have an F3 with standard prism. It is my 'main workhorse' with a Nikon 35mm F2 on the front - lovely. Everything that has been written regarding the F3 is true; it is a marvelous piece of engineering but! ...

Recently I bought a Nikon FM2n as a backup - little did I know what was to come. I set about changing the screen for a B2 (I am not so keen on the split image of the K2). Installed a CRN1/3 battery; took note of the need to be cautious regarding the meter not being 'accurate' i.e. need to have 0 & - showing for most things and set off. Wow am I impressed! What a lovely camera and that meter readout is superb in all lighting conditions.

For me there is little or no difference between the two.

Al
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Old 10-17-2010   #99
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The F3 does several things that the FM series won't do, but there are a couple of areas where an FM/FM2(n)/FM3a might be better. The meter display in the viewfinder of an FM* is easier to see in dim lighting; it's similar to an F2AS or F2SB display, which I love. And it works at all shutter speeds without either metering or batteries. I grew up with F and then F2 cameras and I've never gotten used to smaller Nikon bodies, so I would still pick the F3 over the FM or FE series, but if I used an F3, I would carry spare batteries and something smaller (FM, FG) for a backup.
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Old 10-17-2010   #100
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I am in the same camp as others regarding the F3 vs the FM2n in that I do not find the FM2n lacking too terribly much in comparison to the F3. I think either are just as reliable for the average Joe, me, although I would say the 100% vf of the F3 is nice but I could and have lived without it. For what the FM2n gives up to the F3 if you need a smaller, lighter package to photograph with then the FM2n is a better bet.

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Old 10-17-2010   #101
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Sold 28 2.8 lens not the F3.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MRohlfing View Post
How can you use it after selling it?

But anyway, buy one! You just have to!
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Old 10-17-2010   #102
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The one thing that does sway me towards an F3 is the two Ziess ZF's I bought to use with my D700. I just haven't bonded with my FM3A unfortunately ... for some reason it doesn't have the viewfinder I was hoping for!
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Old 10-17-2010   #103
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Ok - guys - you got me down to it (thanks especially to Cal ;-) ).

This thread and the very helpful posts around pushed me to a beautiful F3 in great working condition.
It is exactly, what I wanted - a not mint, slightly brassed body - no cracks, no dents, no rattle - everything smooth.
After trying around, I got a beautifully worn, brassed HP finder along with it, which is just wonderful!

My word stands - it is even more firm now, that I saw the HP and standard finder side by side - my FM3a is nothing to look through against the F3!
I almost sold the FM3a right in the shop - only the small size and weight (+the bad shop pricing) held me back (basically, I could have switched my FM3a against the F3 with motor, which would have been a bad deal for me, as the FM3a goes quite a bit higher still).
I got the F3 without motor drive for now - this thing is just too much (I looked just for a better compact body for focussing a fast 58mm).

One more point goes to the F3, compared to the FM by the way:
You can double stroke the F3 - you can't with the FM - very important to me, as I double stroke my Leicas and hick up every time, switching to the Nikon film body.

And yes - the F3 is a lot smoother than the FM3a - when the roll is almost at the end, the FM3a's advance goes more firm and more "ratchetty", while the F3 is just suuuupersmoooooth!

With these prices - everybody ought to have an F3! Now, I have to find out, how to exposure lock with the F3 - am I correct, it has no exposure lock in AE?

Btw - in the shop has been a wonderful F2 with AE finder - what a marvellous camera it is - slightly heavier than a F3, but in almost every way built as beautiful, as a Leica M!
It was a black paint model with beautifully brassed edges and bottom plate - still everything very smooth and tightly fitting.
The best was - these are priced as low as the F3s!

I guess, I am in for some more classic Nikon bodies - my streamlining plans are toast now!

First I will hunt for some nice focus screens - and I am quite curious about the action and waist level finders ;-)

Thanks all for this great thread!
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Old 10-17-2010   #104
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Man, I am so surprised to find that anyone likes the F3. I thought that camera was a cruel joke on the heritage of the F and F2. I much prefer the FE2/FM3a to the F3.
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Old 10-17-2010   #105
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Man, I am so surprised to find that anyone likes the F3. I thought that camera was a cruel joke on the heritage of the F and F2. I much prefer the FE2/FM3a to the F3.
A LOT of photojournalists disagee with you Mister, and made the F3 one of the longest production run camera model in history.
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Old 10-17-2010   #106
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menos View Post
Never written that ;-)

You said "you own (twice) the FM3a" as your argument of comparison, and that's not the camera body we're talking about. We were talking about the FM2n.

nevertheless, seems like many here agree there's not much difference between the F3 and the FM2n, and each has advantages over the other. But for the life of me I don't get the VF complaint. Mine works sweet.
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Old 10-17-2010   #107
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zodiac View Post
You said "you own (twice) the FM3a" as your argument of comparison, and that's not the camera body we're talking about. We were talking about the FM2n.

nevertheless, seems like many here agree there's not much difference between the F3 and the FM2n, and each has advantages over the other. But for the life of me I don't get the VF complaint. Mine works sweet.

If I had never looked through the viewfinder of an OM-1 I'd probably think the Nikon viewfinder was pretty good!
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Old 10-17-2010   #108
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zodiac View Post
You said "you own (twice) the FM3a" as your argument of comparison, and that's not the camera body we're talking about. We were talking about the FM2n.

nevertheless, seems like many here agree there's not much difference between the F3 and the FM2n, and each has advantages over the other. But for the life of me I don't get the VF complaint. Mine works sweet.
The FM3a has the same crummy peephole as the FM2n, to put it mildly.

Take your sweetest F-mount lens into a shop with the FM2n, stick it on a F3 HP and experience what is written all over this thread.

Keith is spot on - before having had the princess, the cow might look pretty sweet ;-)

The FM2n is a nice camera - it is all, it was designed to be - a rugged, small, lightweight mechanical camera.
The look through a F3 finder though is pretty different. And indeed, it is really different from the F3 - weight, finder, functions, feel of film advance and of course - my favorite feature - AE.

… and I found that AE lock in the end.
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Old 10-17-2010   #109
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menos View Post
The FM3a has the same crummy peephole as the FM2n, to put it mildly.

Take your sweetest F-mount lens into a shop with the FM2n, stick it on a F3 HP and experience what is written all over this thread.

Keith is spot on - before having had the princess, the cow might look pretty sweet ;-)

The FM2n is a nice camera - it is all, it was designed to be - a rugged, small, lightweight mechanical camera.
The look through a F3 finder though is pretty different. And indeed, it is really different from the F3 - weight, finder, functions, feel of film advance and of course - my favorite feature - AE.

… and I found that AE lock in the end.
Menos, just wondering, do you wear glasses? If so, I can understand your praise for the F3HP finder. Without a doubt its a much better finder for someone who wears glasses.
Personally, I don't wear glasses, and don't find the difference between my F3/T with HP finder and my FM3A to be that great. Sure, the F3 HP is better, but IMO not that much better. The F6 finder, on the other hand, now that's a nice finder
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Old 10-17-2010   #110
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menos View Post
The FM3a has the same crummy peephole as the FM2n, to put it mildly.

Take your sweetest F-mount lens into a shop with the FM2n, stick it on a F3 HP and experience what is written all over this thread.

Keith is spot on - before having had the princess, the cow might look pretty sweet ;-)

The FM2n is a nice camera - it is all, it was designed to be - a rugged, small, lightweight mechanical camera.
The look through a F3 finder though is pretty different. And indeed, it is really different from the F3 - weight, finder, functions, feel of film advance and of course - my favorite feature - AE.

… and I found that AE lock in the end.

I hear you, but I did have use of an F3 (not the HP mind you) for 2 years, and found no difference that ever bothered me.
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Old 10-17-2010   #111
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Quote:
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...Keith is spot on - before having had the princess, the cow might look pretty sweet ;-)
That'll be a 'sheep' in Keith's case (a little UK/Auusie humour)

Al
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Old 10-17-2010   #112
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Man, I am so surprised to find that anyone likes the F3. I thought that camera was a cruel joke on the heritage of the F and F2. I much prefer the FE2/FM3a to the F3.
Couldnt agree less, the FE2 is particular feels like a toy compared the the F3. The FM3a is more worthy of a compeditor but still doesnt have the same feel of quality and durability of the F3, one feels like a good camera to use at weekends one feels like something that stands up to 12 hours a day in bad conditions.
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Old 10-17-2010   #113
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No doubt that the F series of Nikon cameras were built to a higher standard for professional use.
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Old 10-17-2010   #114
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http://cgi.ebay.com/Nikon-F3-50mm-f1...item5adce6eecc

no connection, etc.

lens is worth $100, so you get the F3 for $160
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Old 10-17-2010   #115
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I think it's absolutely hilarious that Menos and others are making a big deal out of how the F3 film advance feels. To a first approximation, I've never seen a professional photographer manually wind an F3. There is always a motor drive attached. Once you do that, it's a totally different beast than the FM's, FA's, etc. Not remotely comparable.
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Old 10-17-2010   #116
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Heh plenty do, and its a different feel to any other film advance I've used.
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Old 10-17-2010   #117
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Quote:
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No doubt that the F series of Nikon cameras were built to a higher standard for professional use.

That is no doubt true but most people using F3s today do not use them in the manner of their intended use and can be considered over built for the use they are put to today. Considering the price of F3s today why not use an over built camera so it is not a bad thing. By all means treat yourselves to pro bodies, I have, but don't think that in most cases an FM2n would not suffice.

Bob
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Old 10-17-2010   #118
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Originally Posted by Keith View Post
If I had never looked through the viewfinder of an OM-1 I'd probably think the Nikon viewfinder was pretty good!

Word, and that is from a confirmed Nikon user.

Bob
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Old 10-17-2010   #119
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If Leica had used ball bearings and ruggedized their film advance, that might have been a game changer...
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Old 10-17-2010   #120
semilog
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayGannon View Post
Heh plenty do, and its a different feel to any other film advance I've used.
Yeah, I was exaggerating. But when the F3 was actually in production it was probably 10:1 motor:manual wind in the typical PJ's bag. That was really the first Nikon made with motor drive as an integral part of the overall design, rather than as a bolt-on afterthought.
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