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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 12-11-2019   #41
madNbad
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Started with a FTn in 1972. Bought and sold more than I can remember but they either the F or a Nikkormat. Sold off the last of the Nikons earlier this year but the one lens I kept was a 55 2.8 Micro-Nikkor Ai-S. Paired it with a Sony A6000 for film scanning.
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Old 12-11-2019   #42
Erik van Straten
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Nikkormat FTn, Nikkor H Auto 50mm F2, 400-2TMY/AdoxMCC110.

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Old 12-11-2019   #43
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I love the F with motor, prism finder only!
F6 is a charm, very nice feeling

So tend to use them most, but I have a lot except the F4's.

Some of them in a line......

a few motorized Nikon's by István Pénzes, on Flickr
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Old 12-11-2019   #44
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I use a black Nikon F that I have had since 1972, I still have my original lenses 35mm f2, 50mm f1.4 and 105mm f2.5. I used this F in high school, college at Brooks Institute of Photography. Now I have seven F's, three with standard prism and the rest with different Photomics, makes a cool display. When I shoot candids at weddings or some other event I receive a lot of complements on the F. Never had the urge to upgrade. I may add a F2 one of these days.
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Old 12-11-2019   #45
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The combination of Nikon F lenses, Kodak Tri X Pan and D76 developer in the 1970's was just wonderful. This was shot in 1974 with a Nikkormat FTn and a Nikkor H Auto 50mm f/2. The print is modern: a split grade print on AdoxMCC110.

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Old 12-11-2019   #46
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I've owned a few Nikkormats, FM, FM2, FE2, F3, F90 and an F70 which I'm shooting this week.

I guess the only pro body was the F3, but I never liked the viewfinder and it froze up on me in the Wisconsin winter. This thread is making me want a plain prism F! Though they're selling for more than I expected.
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Old 12-11-2019   #47
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I have two plain prism F bodies. A chrome one my parents bought for me in 1965, and a black one I bought a few years ago. I bulk load short rolls of film, usually 12 exposures, and find the Nikon cassettes far and away easier to work with than the cheap modern ones. Nikon also made cassettes for the F2 but they are rare and expensive. They did not make cassettes for any of the later F cameras.

My main cameras are Barnack Leicas (with FILCA cassettes). The F's are much easier to load.
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Old 12-11-2019   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug A View Post
I find the Nikon cassettes far and away easier to work with than the cheap modern ones.
They also fit the rangefinders. I have a couple of them. In fact they fit the rangefinders better than the modern ready bought cassettes; I always open up the ready bought ones and put the rolls into the Nikon cassettes to use them in my S2. When I use the modern ready bought cassettes in my S2 the perforation will be damaged slightly.

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Old 12-11-2019   #49
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Nikon F with a plain prism is so pretty, but I'm spoiled by the AE in the F3 - love the size, etc as well - but then the FE2 does everything I want an F3 to do, in a more compact factor - also love the simple FE2/FE shutter lock (I cry everytime I reach into my camera bag and accidentally fire off a shot with expensive Fuji slide film in it)
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Old 12-11-2019   #50
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... also love the simple FE2/FE shutter lock (I cry everytime I reach into my camera bag and accidentally fire off a shot with expensive Fuji slide film in it)
Heh. I hate the shutter locking via flush wind lever. I suppose it's all subjective.

Starting with Pentax, Canon, and the pro Nikons, my first camera that had this feature was a new FM3a. Since my instinct is to wind and hold the lever flush, I sweated like crazy because I thought my new camera was broken.

None of the pro Nikons had this. The original FM (with knurled shutter release shroud) didn't have this, but later FM's did.

I never wasted a frame accidentally that way - - but then I operate more slowly and deliberately.
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Old 12-11-2019   #51
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I confess I have both FILCA cassettes for my Barnack Leica and cassettes for the F2 but never used them. Bulk loading short rolls of film is a great idea and use for them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug A View Post
I have two plain prism F bodies. A chrome one my parents bought for me in 1965, and a black one I bought a few years ago. I bulk load short rolls of film, usually 12 exposures, and find the Nikon cassettes far and away easier to work with than the cheap modern ones. Nikon also made cassettes for the F2 but they are rare and expensive. They did not make cassettes for any of the later F cameras.

My main cameras are Barnack Leicas (with FILCA cassettes). The F's are much easier to load.
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Old 12-11-2019   #52
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Originally Posted by Pál_K View Post
Nikkormats are totally underrated and underpriced today; they're a bargain compared to the overhyped K1000.
I always thought the K1000 was horribly overrated, and without DOF preview kind of sucked as a teaching camera. I'd rather have a student with something like a Ricoh SLX 500 with a whopping five shutter speeds. Never had a Nikkormat before, but I have one on the way from eBay right now (a black FTN with a 50/1.4).
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Old 12-11-2019   #53
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Nikkormats are absolutely professional cameras, now, more than fifty years old, they usually work like new.

Nikkormat FTn, Nikkor H Auto 50mm f/2, TriX/D76 printed on AdoxMCC110 (1974).

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Old 12-12-2019   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pál_K View Post
Heh. I hate the shutter locking via flush wind lever. I suppose it's all subjective.
I tend to agree. I've missed more shots on my FM2 from forgetting to pull out the lever than I have lost on other cameras through misfire.
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Old 12-12-2019   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drumminor2nd View Post
I always thought the K1000 was horribly overrated, and without DOF preview kind of sucked as a teaching camera. I'd rather have a student with something like a Ricoh SLX 500 with a whopping five shutter speeds. Never had a Nikkormat before, but I have one on the way from eBay right now (a black FTN with a 50/1.4).
Back in the 1970's when I got my first "real camera" the group of young photographers I was with all had either Canon TX's or Pentax K1000's. Being happy with my Canon TX, I never tried one of their K1000's but they seemed happy enough with how they functioned. Of course, at that time, none of us really knew what we were doing.

Best,
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PS: And I agree, one of the many things about the FM2N that I never came to terms with is that advance lever/shutter lock feature. Another reason I only used it with the MD-12 attached.
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Old 12-12-2019   #56
Erik van Straten
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One of my first shots with the Nikkormat FTn (1973). Modern print.

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Old 12-12-2019   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmyjoe View Post
Back in the 1970's when I got my first "real camera" the group of young photographers I was with all had either Canon TX's or Pentax K1000's. Being happy with my Canon TX, I never tried one of their K1000's but they seemed happy enough with how they functioned. Of course, at that time, none of us really knew what we were doing.
K1000 was my first camera, so I'm biased, but I still find the build quality and functionality difficult to match. Mine got its first CLA this year; it really is a smooth machine. I acknowledge it's short on extras though, so the price difference between a K1000 and a Nikkormat, etc. doesn't really make sense.

Also, Erik keep the Nikkormat images coming!
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Old 12-12-2019   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drumminor2nd View Post
I always thought the K1000 was horribly overrated....

I had one which I got in H.S., and eventually everyone else in the family had them too and even several aunts and uncles and in-laws. We were a K1000 family! Then something weird happened. The meters on almost all of them died; mine being the sole exception. Obviously the camera still works even without the meter but it really makes me wonder how many dead K1000s there are out there, in drawers or in landfills.
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Old 12-12-2019   #59
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Originally Posted by twvancamp View Post
...the price difference between a K1000 and a Nikkormat, etc. doesn't really make sense.

Someone else here pointed out that there was another model (K2 I think?) made at the same time as the K1000 but it had a self timer and DOF preview, and it sells for a fraction of the price as the K1000 because it doesn't have the word-of-mouth mystique that the K1000 has, and this is even despite being produced in numbers just a tiny fraction of those of the K1000. Strange how the camera market goes!
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Old 12-12-2019   #60
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Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
Nikkormats are absolutely professional cameras, now, more than fifty years old, they usually work like new.
Yet, Nikon designated them as consumer camera.


I can't recall any Soviet professional camera (maybe in LF format), but I beat any wedding, school photog in USSR would use Nikkormat instead of any Zeniev.
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Old 12-12-2019   #61
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Nikkormat FTn, Nikkor H Auto 50mm f/2, TriX/D76 printed on AdoxMCC110 (1974).

Erik.

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Old 12-12-2019   #62
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Remember that the K1000 was inexpensive, back in the day. My first good camera was a K1000 SE, the plastic-topped one. I think I paid $230 with the 50/2. By comparison, an FM2n was $500 or more. Nikkormats weren't available new.

I eventually upgraded to a Nikon FM, which was a better camera than the K1000. Everything was smoother, except the lens focusing.

I went to an FM2 from there; I felt the build quality of the FM was better. I guess the F2 was the pro equivalent of the FM, but I could never justify an F2, as the FM series were superior in every way except maybe ruggedness and nostalgia.
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Old 12-12-2019   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
Yet, Nikon designated them as consumer camera.


I can't recall any Soviet professional camera (maybe in LF format), but I beat any wedding, school photog in USSR would use Nikkormat instead of any Zeniev.
I think they were primarily designed to be less expensive. Sometimes, these cost-cutting measures cut features that pros wanted. Like a cap on the wind lever and shutter speeds on top instead of around the lens. I don't know, but I don't think Nikkormats had metal shutters either.
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Old 12-12-2019   #64
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Originally Posted by Smaug View Post
I think they were primarily designed to be less expensive. Sometimes, these cost-cutting measures cut features that pros wanted. Like a cap on the wind lever and shutter speeds on top instead of around the lens. I don't know, but I don't think Nikkormats had metal shutters either.

Nikkormats had vertical-travel metal shutters, made by (or patterned after?) Copal.
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Old 12-12-2019   #65
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Remember that the K1000 was inexpensive, back in the day. My first good camera was a K1000 SE, the plastic-topped one. I think I paid $230 with the 50/2.

Mine was even less; right around $100 plus or minus a few dollars in 1979. I was fifteen and taking a photography class in high school and the old Minolta SR-1 I was using jammed while on a field trip, so the next weekend my dad took me to Bass Camera in Chicago to buy the K1000. A rare gesture on his part; if there hadn't been a school grade eventually associated with it I'd have been saving my nickels for a VERY long time to replace the Minolta!
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Old 12-12-2019   #66
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I think they were primarily designed to be less expensive. Sometimes, these cost-cutting measures cut features that pros wanted. Like a cap on the wind lever and shutter speeds on top instead of around the lens. I don't know, but I don't think Nikkormats had metal shutters either.
I'm not finding shutter wheel to be very professional feature on my FT.
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Old 12-12-2019   #67
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I don't know, but I don't think Nikkormats had metal shutters either.
Heh. Um, yeah, they did.
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Old 12-12-2019   #68
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I've owned most all of them and still do. My go to for film is the Nikon FE (not the FE2). It just works.
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Old 12-12-2019   #69
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My favourite is a black F with a pentaprism....just because i used them for so long they're ultra familiar to my hands. Yes the F2 is more refined, the F3 even more racy. I never got over the bulk of the F4 & the F5 let me down when i got one....the battery power couldnt rewind a single roll of 35mm film so it was back and forth for repair, so i ditched it and pretty much stopped using 35mm if favour of 5x7. The plain F, like the M2 ....often improved; never equalled.
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Old 12-12-2019   #70
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I have owned every single-digit (professional) F except for the F4 and F6 so I can't comment on those, but of the other four I have owned I will outline below.

TL;DR: F2 is my favourite mechanical body, F5 tops the other electronic bodies for me

F - Extremely close to a perfect camera in my opinion. Well built, beautiful design and extremely capable but also limiting depending on what kind of subject matter you like to photograph. An early chrome body with the eye-level prism is in my top 3 best looking cameras of all time. Limited to 1/1000, not the most ergonomic body.

F2 - Not too different from the F but the improvements make what I believe, is the best fully mechanical SLR ever made. Nikon made the body a little more ergonomic by taking away the harsh angles of the F and added a 1/2000 shutter speed. Don't get me wrong, I love my Leica's dearly, but a F2 Photomic with a pre-ai 50mm 1.4 is easily my desert island camera.

F3 - Easily one of the best designed SLR's ever made and a pleasure to use. I wholeheartedly regret selling mine and will definitely buy another eventually, but it's reliance on batteries knocks it down a few pegs in my book. However, LR44 batteries are widely available most everywhere on this planet, so it's kind of a null point.

F5 - It's big, it's heavy, it's an absolute battery pig (8 AA's to be specific) but it's such a beautiful camera to use. I don't have the largest hands, but I find the F5 to be the most comfortable camera I have ever used. It's molded rubber and magnesium alloy body is so well balanced that it makes the size and weight a non-issue for me personally. Another plus? You get the functionality of a modern Nikon DSLR without paying F6 money - I got my body which is in near flawless condition for about $300 USD last year, which is ~$500 USD cheaper than the cheapest used F6 body and about $2K cheaper than a new F6.

As for the F4 and F6 - I do plan to grab myself an F4 in the near future but really have no interest in buying a F6 until either A) I have the other 5 bodies and need it to complete the collection or B) I have a wad of cash burning a hole in my pocket that I just need to get rid of!
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Old 12-12-2019   #71
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F5. it's rugged! And I had contaxes SLRs., but F5; you can crack walnuts with it.
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Old 12-12-2019   #72
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F5. it's rugged! And I had contaxes SLRs., but F5; you can crack walnuts with it.
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Old 12-12-2019   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smaug View Post
I don't know, but I don't think Nikkormats had metal shutters either.
Nikkormats had metal shutters, made by Copal. Indestructible. They had an X synch at 1/125 sec. The F had an X synch only at 1/60.

The F was superior to the Nikkormat only on one point: viewfinder precision. That was on the F 100%. The Nikkormats gave about 0.5mm more on film than the finder indicated.

Nikon made much more money on the Nikkormats than on the F. I don't know how many Nikkormats were made, but that must have been a lot more than F's. I think five times as much, at least. In the 1970's you could hear that typical sound of the Nikkormats everywere around you, at least here in Europe, in busy areas with many tourists.


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Old 12-12-2019   #74
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Great pics Erik
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Old 12-12-2019   #75
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Thank you, Huss.

Nikkormat FTn, Nikkor H auto 50mm f/2, TriX/D76 printed on AdoxMCC110.

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Old 12-12-2019   #76
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I'm surprised no one has mentioned a preference for the Photomic viewfinders on the F. Now THAT's what an F is supposed to look like! And it was the face of photojournalism for probably fifteen years.

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Old 12-12-2019   #77
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I've liked every F version I own (original thru 3HP), but my two favorites are the F with plain prism, and an F2AS. Haven't got the F4, 5, or 6 yet, but plan to in the future to complete the set.


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Old 12-12-2019   #78
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I like the system...the F mount. I have a 715xxx early weird block F2 with a DE1. The lenses are the real gems though. My opinion. The quality you get for the used price is about as good as it gets.
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Old 12-12-2019   #79
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I'm surprised no one has mentioned a preference for the Photomic viewfinders on the F. Now THAT's what an F is supposed to look like! And it was the face of photojournalism for probably fifteen years.

You're quite right, of course, and that's a beautiful FTN you've got there.

Indeed, in newspaper, magazine, and TV images of historical events from the 1960's to early 1970's, the one thing that is evident in those images are throngs of reporters with the distinct FTN prism. It was the symbol of the press photographer.

I believe the current trend of admiring plain-prism F's and F2's comes from numerous things: admiring simplicity, less clunkiness, and not having to deal with sometimes failing metering heads.
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Old 12-12-2019   #80
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And photojournalists covering the Vietnam War like Larry Burrows usually had a couple F's (original of course) hanging from shoulder straps for the normal and longer lenses and a Leica M2 for wider lenses.

I don't think there is an image of a photojournalist from the 1960 to 1970's that did not use a Nikon. If memory serves, the Canon F1 did not come along until much later, toward the end of the 1970's but it could have been earlier.
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