Lomopedia: Nikon F

2013-07-31 4

Today’s featured analogue beauty for Lomopedia is a revolutionary camera manufactured by Nikon in 1959. What made this Japanese camera special? Read on to find out!

While the 35mm SLR camera dates back to 1936 with the introduction of Ihagee’s Kine Exacta, it was Japanese camera maker Nikon who was able to come up with the first SLR system that was used and adopted seriously by the general population of professional photographers. The camera was called Nikon F, the company’s first SLR camera, was introduced in April 1959.

Photo via Suleyman on Flickr

The Nikon F was an evolution of the Nikon SP rangefinder camera. It was a great success, recognized as one of the most advanced cameras of its time, having combined many of the concepts and design elements found in various cameras such as:

  • full frame 35mm (1925, Leica)
  • SLR with bayonet mount for interchangeable lenses (1936, Kine Exacta)
  • pentaprism viewfinder (1949, Contax S)
  • interchangeable viewfinders and focusing screens (1950, Exacta Varex)
  • instant-return mirror (1954, Asahiflex IIb)
  • internally activated automatic diaphragm release (Contax F)

In addition, the Nikon F had a fully removable back and can be used with interchangeable backs, and a viewfinder which shows 100% of the image.

Technical Specifications:

  • Type of camera: 35mm single-lens reflex
  • Picture format: 24mm x 36mm standard 35mm film format
  • Lens mount: Nikon bayonet type
  • Lenses: Lenses with Nikon F mount; AF lenses
  • Shutter: Mechanically governed, horizontal-travel, titanium foil focal-plane shutter
  • Shutter release button: Threaded collar accepts Nikon F and F2-type cable releases
  • Automatic exposure control: Depends on experience of photographer
  • Manual exposure control: Mechanical control for 11 shutter speeds from 1 sec to 1/1000 sec, including X (1/60 sec); B and T also provided; separate gear trains for slow (1 sec to 1/30 sec?) and fast shutter speeds
  • Exposure metering: Provided with metered prism assemblies (four available) and external clip-on meters
  • Metering range: EV 1 to 18 (i.e. f/1.4 at 1 sec to f/16 at 1/1000 with 50 mm f/1.4 lens and ISO 100 film)
    Film speed setting: ISO 6-4000 (Model III Meter), 10-1600 (Photomic?, T, and Tn), or 6-6400 (Photomic FTn)
  • Film advance lever: Single stroke type; 30 degrees stand-off angle and 150 degrees winding angle; automatic film advance possible when motor drives F36 or F250 are used.
  • Self-timer: Slow-shutter-speed gear train-controlled, approx 3 to 10 sec delayed exposure; lever-type indicator
  • Viewfinder: Nikon F; Eyelevel finder as standard; interchangeable with 7 other types including 4 metering prisms
  • Focusing screen: Split-image Type A provided as standard; interchangeable with 16 other types
  • Finder coverage: Virtually 100%
  • Finder magnification: 0.8x (with 50 mm lens set at infinity)
  • Viewfinder illuminator: Via DL-1 accessory light for metered prisms
  • Multiple exposure control: Via shutter release collar and a bit of care/technique
  • Reflex mirror: Automatic instant-return type with kludge-y lockup facility
  • Depth-of-field preview: Via lever
  • Frame counter: Additive type; frame numbers from 0 to 40; automatically resets to S when camera back is removed
  • Film rewind: By crank provided after shutter release collar is switched to R
  • Flash synchronisation: Possible at all speeds up to 1/60 sec with electronic flash; sync terminal provided for off camera or multiple-flash photography; sync terminal is switchable to work with flashbulbs at speeds of up to 1/1000 sec (type 6 flashbulbs)
  • Accessory shoe: Provided; special Nikon F-type located at base of rewind knob; adaptors available to convert to ISO or F3-type shoes
  • Power source: One PX-625 1.3V mercury battery in Photomic, T, Tn prism; Two PX-625 1.3V mercury battery in Photomic FTn prism; Model I, II, and III Meters are self-powered by selenium cell
  • Motor drive coupling: Requires modification to base-plate of camera to add firing and winding couplings; couplings provided for automatic film advance, shutter release, and back opening for motor drives F36 and F250
  • Camera back: Slip-off; opens by turning O/C key to Open position and taking back off; interchangeable with 250 exposure magazine back (and motor) F250
  • Body finish: Black or chrome available
  • Body dimensions (W x H x D): approx 146.1 × 101.6 × 95.3 mm (5.75 × 4.00 × 3.75 in) with Tn or FTn finder
  • Body weight: 1049g (2.31 lb) approx with Tn or FTn finder
Credits: hiperativa, russheath, emilios, placidcasua1 & thehouseofpapercranes

All information for this article were sourced from Nikon F on Camerapedia, Nikon F on Wikipedia, Nikon F Technical Specifications on mir.com.my, and Debut of Nikon F on Nikon's Official Website.

written by plasticpopsicle on 2013-07-31 #gear #review #nikon #lomography #nikon-f #film-camera #film-slr #lomopedia


  1. emilios
    emilios ·

    fantastic camera

  2. martadublin
    martadublin ·

    I have the same camera and I find it just amazing!

  3. roxyvonschlotterstein
    roxyvonschlotterstein ·

    One of the cameras I would love to shoot with!

  4. bsdunek
    bsdunek ·

    Should have shown one with the original prisim instead of the FTN meter prisim. That didn't come out until later. My favorite is the selenium clip-on meter that couples to the shutter speed and aperature - just looks neat. OK, I do like the FTN prisim - I have two, one chrome and the other black.

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