Camera Cameos: Nikon F on Full Metal Jacket


Every Monday, we’re going to present analogue eye candies to you! You may have already seen them in cinematic films, old school music videos, vintage advertisements, or other forms of visual media. Our second full feature for this series is a Nikon F camera seen on Full Metal Jacket!

Screen stills via 1) EE Ryerson, 2) Square Circle 65, 3) Magic Lantern Film, and 4) editor’s own

Camera: Nikon F
Cameo-ed on: Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket (1987)

On Stanley Kubrick’s war film, Full Metal Jacket, actors Matthew Modine and Kevyn Major Howard starred as combat photographers Private Joker and Rafterman, respectively, for ‘Stars and Stripes.’ In numerous scenes, their photography gears were shown — most of which were clearly seen as Nikon F’s.

War photography is definitely one of the hardest fields of photography. You have to go to the battlefield with two kinds of pistols: guns and cameras. In one of the film’s ‘interview’ scenes, Rafterman said, “Well, it depends on the situation. I’m here to take combat photos but if the sh*t gets too thick, I mean, I’ll go with the rifle.

Additionally, Rafterman (Howard) is also a photographer in real life. He worked with Clint Eastwood and Frank Sinatra, among many others. He was also the brainmaster of the project Fueled by the Fallen, a non-profit project inspired by 9-11 stories.

Photo via Headshot Photography

And now, a closer look at our camera on spotlight! The Nikon F was Nikon’s first single-lens reflex camera and was produced in early 1959. It was known for its use by journalists covering Vietnam, Cambodia, and the general disquiet of the ’60s and ’70s. One of its most famous users was British photojournalist Don McCullin. During an ambush, McCullin was saved from injury by his Nikon F which stopped a bullet aimed for his head. The Nikon F was, indeed, born to kill!

Photos via 1) Ken Rockwell, 2) P Base, 3) Nicovandijk, and 4) Tales on Film (McCullin’s ‘injured’ Nikon F)

If you like this article, may we suggest — Mr. Kubrick: A Master of Cameras and Best of the Best: Robert Capa.

*Camera Cameos* is one of Lomography’s editorial series which features different film cameras that appeared in different forms of visual media. Stay tuned for the next episode!

written by basterda on 2012-02-27 #lifestyle #movies #films #nikon-f #full-metal-jacket #stanley-kubrick #war-photography #camera-cameos


  1. segata
    segata ·

    I love full metal Jacket, I also love the Nikon F but sadly cant afford one right now :(

  2. ridicuul
    ridicuul ·

    Matthew Modine did use the Nikon in/from the film. From the website: "In 1985, Stanley Kubrick encouraged me to take photos and keep a journal while playing the lead role of Pvt. Joker on the set of FULL METAL JACKET. In 2005, I published a limited edition book of my photos and diary. This app is based on that book; enriched and reimagined as an interactive, audiovisual experience. I hope you enjoy it!"

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