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Nikon F past and present

Nikon F, which was introduced in 1959, was not the first SLR in history, but the most successful 35mm SLR. Today, when digital cameras are popular, if you only want to leave a representative film SLR camera, I recommend Nikon F. As the first step of the Nikon professional camera F series, the F in 1959 is not so convenient and fast compared to today's F6, but as long as it is handled properly, there is no difference in image quality. 60 years later, there are still a lot of second-hand market. Available Nikon F, which is inseparable from its superb quality and reliability.

handmade leather camera strap for nikon f

Nikon F can accept all Nikon lenses, but the metering conditions are different: lenses with ears (auto, K, AI, AIS) can be metered normally; lenses without ears (AF, AF-D, AF-S) , AF-I) Need to shrink the aperture metering; G lens can not measure light.
Prior to Nikon F, the 35mm SLR camera was unable to shake the market position of the Leica M3 rangefinder camera. It was Nikon F that changed this situation. "LEICA survives today only as a rich man's toy; LEICA hasn't been about photography ever since the Nikon F beat it out of the market." -Ken Rockwell.
Nikon is a manufacturer of military optical equipment in the Second World War. The Nikon F camera maintains military standards, materials and processing at all costs, it is more like a precision optical instrument. In 1959, the Nikon F with a 5cm standard lens was priced at $359.5, and the actual price was about $329. It is said that the price was able to buy a house in Japan at the time, which is an extremely expensive luxury.

handmade leather camera strap for nikon f
Some people say that it can block bullets, of course it is too exaggerated. But there is a story about Nikon F's bullets that people talk about: it was in the 1970s when war correspondent Don McCullin was ambushed by the Communist Party of Vietnam in Cambodia. Nikon F on his neck blocked him from a bullet and saved him. But then he was injured by the fragments of the shells. On the way to the battlefield hospital, he still used the Nikon F hit by the bullets. This camera later entered the museum.

Since its inception in 1959, Nikon F has been in continuous production until May 1974. The serial number of the fuselage has been ‪6400001‬ to ‪7451052‬. In 1965, a total of 862,600 units were produced. There are many different models or versions during the period. Camera viewfinder, one by one:
Nikon F (1959) plain prism: commonly known as the apex big F, the viewfinder has no metering, this is the earliest version.
handmade leather camera strap for nikon f
Although there is no light meter in the spire, Nikon introduced an external clip-on meter (F clip-on meter) that can be mounted on the top of the large F. The meter has an aperture coupling rod. The coupling rod is stuck in the middle of the rabbit ears of the lens to measure the light.
handmade leather camera strap for nikon f
Nikon F Photomic (1962): Instead of having a clip-on meter on top, Nikon simply puts the meter on the viewfinder, so with Nikon F Photomic, there is a big eye on the viewfinder, which is the light meter. .
handmade leather camera strap for nikon f
Nikon F Photomic T (1965): Topcon invented the TTL (Through The Lens) metering method in 1963, and the RE Super SLR meter is also installed in the viewfinder, but the light is coming from the lens, WYSIWYG Direct and accurate. So you saw that the big eye on the 1965 Nikon F Photomic T viewfinder disappeared because the meter was at the bottom of the viewfinder.
handmade leather camera strap for nikon f
Nikon F Photomic Tn (1967): Nikon's first central weight metering viewfinder.
handmade leather camera strap for nikon f
Nikon F Photomic FTn (1968): The best metering viewfinder for Nikon F, which can display the shutter speed; the lens can be automatically coupled to the lens and body when the lens is attached to the lens.
handmade leather camera strap for nikon f
Because the metering technology was still immature at the time, these viewfinders were not ideal, big and stupid, and there are not many accurate meterings today. So the most popular among collectors is the early Nikon without light meter. F plain prism, which is what we often call the apex big F.
Even the early spires F, because of the date of production and value, the most expensive is the earliest in 1959, the fuselage serial number is 640xxxx. At the time, the Nikon F body was equipped with a 5cm f/2 standard lens, which was called a tick mark lens because of the tick mark on the aperture and distance numbers. This is Nikon's earliest SLR lens, and it is also the most collectible lens. The serial number starts with 520101 and ends at about 525981 (1960). The subsequent lens has no tick mark.
In 1959, the original apex F was different in many details from the later spires, such as the selfie stick, the mirror bin, the "Nikon" logo, the film wrench, the film counter, the shutter speed dial, the viewfinder card slot, and the framing. Release button, flash interface plastic piece.

handmade leather camera strap for nikon f
There is also a large F with collectible value, called Red Dot F, which has a red dot before the serial number (a few F of the 65 and 66 body serial numbers), and the framing frame of these cameras. The pedestal has been machined and the raised small pieces have been removed to install the Photomic T meter.
handmade leather camera strap for nikon f
After the 1972, the big F, the self-timer and the over-roller have black plastic sleeves, similar to the Nikon F2. This large F, commonly known as the Apollo version, seems to be related to the NASA Apollo space program, but actually No contact. Some people use this as a reason to increase the price of the Apollo version. In fact, it is not so rare.

After the end of World War II, Nikon produced a number of Nikon F cameras for the US military. These cameras were engraved with the "E-P" diamond pattern, which means Export Permitted is tax-free.
Nikon F
A good horse with a good saddle, if you plan to have a Nikon F series camera, be sure to give it a retro handmade leather camera strap. Make you so special in street photography.

 (zhihu Riversky |Editing windmup Dai)

1 comment

  • Your information on the Mark engravings is somewhat incorrect. These cameras, lenses, meters, flashes and cases were sold through Army and Naval base stores in Japan from 1959 to 1973. The meaning has never been verifyed as “Export Permitted”, “Export Product” or others as of yet.


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