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N reasons to choose Nikon F3 for retro film camera

Nikon F3 has always been Nikons best professional camera, and many people still use it today. Nikon did not stop producing F3 after the release of F4 and F5.

handmade camera strap for nikon f3

F3 is a camera that requires manual focusing.

F3 can perfectly accommodate all the manual focusing lenses Nikon has produced since 1959. It can also use all AI-P, AF, AF-I, AF-D and AF-S automatic focusing lenses without "G".

However, for the aforementioned automatic head, focusing still requires you to operate it manually.

rope camera strap for nikon f3


You will often see a slightly new version of F3HP. HP, or High Eyepoint, has a slightly larger eyepiece with a slightly smaller magnification, so your eyes can also be slightly farther from the eyepiece.

I think HP version should be more suitable for people wearing glasses.


Exposure is a match-dot manual, or aperture-first mode. The photometric model is the central key photometric model for Nikon watchers.

Personally, I prefer the smaller Nikoon FE, but if you need to change the viewfinder and focus screen, F3 is better for you.

Nikon F3 with rope camera strap


The F3 is Nikon's excellent manual focusing camera. But for the use of manual focusing lens, F6 is the most perfect. F6 manual focusing and photometry are more accurate when using a manual lens.

Let alone optics, I personally think that Nikon F3 is no worse than Leica M7 on the fuselage. Moreover, the image level of Nikon lens can meet your daily shooting needs.

Nikon F3 with leather camera strap

Nikon's most advanced manual focusing camera is Nikon FA. FA adds matrix photometry mode, shutter priority mode and FE program exposure mode (fool mode).

Compared with F3 LCD digital photometric display, I prefer FE photometric pointer. Because when I measure contrast, it's much faster to watch the moving light pointer set the exposure parameters directly than to read the data on the digital display and calculate the exposure value.

Nikon F3 with windmup camera strap

F3 has TTL flash function, but if you use a by-factory flash you need a strange adapter. That's nothing. What's more anti-human is that F3 doesn't even have a flash boot! And if you use SB-XX flash, TTL mode only works when the shutter is pressed, not when the flash is charged.

Nikon f3 development history

1980: F3 (DE-2 Viewfinder) released

Nikon F3

F3HP (DE-3 Viewfinder) was released two years after F3 went public.

F3HP has larger eyepiece and smaller magnification.

1982:F3T (Titanium Edition)

F3T produced in 1982-1985 is champagne

Then it's black.

1983: F3AF

F3AF is Nikon's first autofocus SLR

Use two special lenses

But the system is dead.

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F3H: Thinner Reflector

F3P: military

Nikon F3P with rope camera strap

Nikon F3 series has been produced until 2001. I have heard that the Nikon F3 series was manufactured for 21 years not only because it has always been popular, but also because other Nikon equipment damaged at the same time also needed F3 parts to replace repair.

F3 has been manufactured for more than 20 years and has been on fire for more than 20 years. It can be seen that F3 is a multi-rod machine. F3 as the flagship professional model, you need exposure mode and reflector pre lift function.


Nikon F3 maneuverability

I kept my machine on and after a few months my battery was still working well. As long as you press the shutter F3, it will wake up.

rope camera strap for nikon f3


The self-timer is a lever under the shutter speed dial. When it shows a red dot, it is in the self-timer function open state. When shooting, the pole will rotate to the position of the red dot to cover the red dot, and then trigger the shutter.

nikon f3

Nikon F3 roof

Multiple exposure

Pull the small dial lever on the top right (in front of the counter, on the upper right of the shutter button). At this time, the film will not be filmed if the handle is pushed so that multiple exposures can be taken by pressing the shutter again.

weave camera  strap with nikon f3

Depth of field Preview

Press the silver button on the right side in front of the fuselage and don't loosen it. The lens aperture will shrink to the size of the actual shot, and then you can see the depth of field in the picture.

Reflector pre-elevation

When you press the depth of field preview button, move the dial rod around the button so that you can use the old fisheye lenses at will.


LCD displays data only when measuring light, and there is no backlight. This is also a reason for F3 provincial point. In a dark environment, press the red button on the prism to light the LCD and lens aperture. But the light is weak and the button is hard to press.


It's no problem that the camera is always on, and the light meter will only be waked up when the shutter is pressed.

What if there are no batteries?

F3 1/60s gear and T door are mechanical shutters, which can be used without power supply.

T door exposure

Adjust the shutter speed dial to "T" and press the shutter button to start exposing. If you want to stop the T-door, you can cover the lens or adjust the shutter speed dial to other gear.

nikon f3

Using "G" head

Otherwise, you can do auto-exposure by the following methods: auto-exposure.

nikon f3 with rope camera strap

1. Press the Depth of Field Preview button

2. Manual photometry or exposure locking in automatic mode

3. Press the shutter

This method may be a waste of time, because you can only use a smaller aperture for depth of field preview. If you don't, your photos will be underexposed.

Below is a photo taken by nikon f3. The picture is from the web.

Some friends may feel that F3 is a bit regrettable because the electronic shutter needs to use the battery, but the F3's electronic shutter is really accurate to make people afraid. As long as it is well preserved, it will not affect its accuracy even if it is put on for a long time, which is not possible with mechanical shutters.

At the same time, the F3, like the Leica M7, retains a mechanical shutter in order to prevent battery failure.

The F3 body is made of brass. It is made of solid material and has a solid workmanship. The exterior is painted black with black leather and calm. The same Leica with a black and black lacquer is enough to buy 5 F3s.

As for the longevity, rest assured, as long as you can use it properly, It can be used after you plan to replace a new camera.

Of course, I have talked so much about the topic of nikon f3. If you haven't thought about buying F3 yet, you can take a look at the manual camera strap made by windmup. They match the Nikon camera very well. please click here.

                                 (Author | Zhihu@fim5ong       Editing integration | windmup Dai)

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