The Most Controversial Nikon F – The F3

Nikon F3HP

Nikon F3HP

When Nikon introduced the F3 in 1980, it set the photographic world into debate, and strident discourse. The F, and the follow-up F2 were both fully mechanical bodies, with only a light meter dependent on battery power. This was the 1st F body to feature a quartz timed electronic shutter, a surprisingly accurate and reliable LED display, originally scheduled to last about 7 years (the one on mine has lasted 27 years). Other firsts include 80/20 center weighted metering (in the body- no more Photomic heads!), a semi-automatic aperture priority mode, 4-6 FPS with the MD-4 motor drive (6 with the mirror locked up), and a 1st for Nikon, an auto focus model, with proprietary AF lenses. Despised initially by purists, the model ended up in production for an amazing 21 year run. So popular, it was available at the same time as the F4. Slated for end of production a few times, Nikon couldn’t keep up with demand towards the end of its life cycle.

Sculpted by famed Italian industrial designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, it introduced a solid hand grip, and that red racing stripe that still shows up today on Nikon digital bodies. And had the longest run out of any Nikon F.

I shoot with the F3HP model. HP for High Eyepoint, it allows for viewing with eyeglasses on, up to an inch away. 100% viewfinder coverage, of course. A solid, elegant camera, which many photographers view as the very best manual focus professional 35mm body to date.

Mounted With The Nikkor 28-50 f/3.5 Macro

Mounted With The Nikkor 28-50 f/3.5 Macro

I took this shot with the above combination, using expired 100 speed film from The Film Photography Podcast –, in Elm Park in Worcester, MA-

10 15 11 Elm Park Worcester MA

10 15 11 Elm Park Worcester MA

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