Lomopedia: Nikon F3


Some photographers regard the Nikon F3 extremely highly. Some (including Ken Rockwell and Casual Photophile) would even go as far as saying that it's “one of the best cameras ever made.” That's a pretty tall order especially since there are people out there who have their own ideas as to what qualities should be found in a “great camera.”

Nikon F3 © Renato Gizzi via Flickr, Image used under Creative Commons license

To have such devout followers is no easy feat. The Nikon F3 must have done something right to capture the hearts of minds of such a discerning market — people still preach about its timeless styling and undying appeal.

One of the features that no doubt made the Nikon F3 such a fan favorite was its semi-auto exposure control. This particular feature made it simpler for photographers to take well-exposed images. It took the guesswork out of photography but still afforded the photographer great creative control over the whole process. The aperture priority mode lets users focus more on the making of the image, instead of fiddling with a myriad of dials and knobs to adjust settings.

Nikon F3 © Gabor Dobrocsi via Flickr, Image used under Creative Commons license

Focusing is still done manually on the F3. Being part of Nikon's “Professional” line of cameras, the F3 accepted a wide range of lenses and accessories to adapt to any pro photographer's creative needs. The designers and engineers took all of these functional features, made necessary improvements, and combined all of them to create a fine-tuned camera in the form of the Nikon F3.

In terms of aesthetics, the F3 was simply a great looking camera. Boxy and angular, it had a commanding presence and a look that begged for closer inspection. The F3 came in a sleek black paint and finish with a matching red stripe down its body. Its industrial design and styling can be attributed to Giorgetto Giugiaro who was brought into the project. Giugiaro is also known for designing the DeLorean and the BMW M1. The Nikon F3 was proof that it was possible to achieve a good harmony between function and form.

Photos Taken by Our Community

Credits: hodachrome, clownshoes, blackbyrd, cfehse, xsara & iaianie

Technical Specifications

Lens: Nikon F mount lenses
Shutter: Stepless from 1/2,000 to 8 seconds on aperture-priority auto, quartz-timed, 1/2000 to 1/8 second on manual, X (1/80 second), M60 (mechanical 1/60 second), B (long exposure) and T (time exposure)
Focusing: manual
Exposure control: Aperture-Priority Auto [A] and Manual [M]
Exposure metering: Center-Weighted, TTL full-aperture metering; EV 1 to 18 at ISO 100 with an f/1.4 lens
Flash: hot shoe X sync at 1/80 second
Film Type: 35 mm
Dimensions: 148.5 mm × 96.5 mm × 65.5 mm
Weight: 715 g (body only without batteries)
Power: One 3V CR1/3N lithium battery, or Two 1.55V SR44 silver-oxide batteries, or Two 1.5V LR44 alkaline batteries
Other features: viewfinder with 100% picture coverage, TTL flash control with Nikon Speedlights, accepts MD-4 motor drive, complete interchangeability of five finders, 22 focusing screens, and camera backs, F3 high-eyepoint features DE-3 high-eyepoint viewfinder, depth of field preview, mirror lock-up, AE-lock, multiple exposure lever, exposure compensation

All information used in this article was sourced from Nikon, Ken Rockwell, and Casual Photophile.

written by cheeo on 2018-04-27 #gear #slr #professional #nikon-f3 #lomopedia


  1. hervinsyah
    hervinsyah ·

    Kazumi Arimura using it at "Natsumi's firefly" 👍📷

  2. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    There's a little error about the viewfinder covered area: it's not a "viewfinder with 10% picture coverage" but 100% of course... would make no sense if you have only 10% of the image ;)

  3. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    And personally, I prefer the Nikon FM3a, smaller and at least as good (if not better) performer than the F3, but the whole lineage of the F Cameras is legendary... see the latest article on casual photophile about the revolution that was achieved with the first F camera.... and the F6 and FM10 are still in production today www.casualphotophile.com/2018/04/27/nikon-f-retrospective/

  4. yago56
    yago56 ·

    The best non autofocus Nikon SLR ever.

  5. clownshoes
    clownshoes ·

    Great selection of photos ;) @CHEEO

  6. clownshoes
    clownshoes ·

    @vicuna But you can't beat the versatility of the F3 with it's optional finders. Letting you get the lens right down to the ground with out going full prone besides the many other ergonomic benefits.

  7. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    @clownshoes true, greater versatility for sure! And fantastic viewfinders available

  8. argentic-translation
    argentic-translation ·

    I've F3 and FM2, I prefer FM2 because of the 1/4000 speed =)

  9. cheeo
    cheeo ·

    Thanks for spotting that one, @vicuna! Edited! :)

  10. yago56
    yago56 ·

    Best Nikon ever

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