Home Camera Articles FOR SALE Orders I Buy / Wants Repairs Books Adapters
Nikon F2 Meters & Finders
The Nikon F appeared in 1959, followed by the Nikon F2 in 1970. They are generally considered the most reliable of all mechanical 35 SLRs. The F2 is an improved F. Together they are the ONLY professional quality Mechanical shuttered Nikon cameras. Unlike the later F3/F4/F5 and most of today's electronic wonders, the F and F2 shutters work even with dead batteries. Unlike today's F3/F4/F5, the F and F2 will still be working a hundred years from now----long after the electronic camera's electronic parts are unavailable!!
All Pro Quality Nikon F series cameras have BOTH interchangeable finders and focusing screens. This flexibility allows you to match the viewing and focusing to the job and lens at hand. Changing to the right finder or screen for a particular job and lens combination can make things a lot easier. Very few SLRs offer such versatility. For example, as excellent as Canon EOS cameras are, NONE offer the versatility of interchangeable finders.
Nikon F2 Finders The F2 was introduced in 1970 and produced until 1980. The original Photomic (DP1), Photomic S (DP2) and Photomic SB (DP3) finders are for NAI lenses. The Nikon F2A (DP11) and Nikon F2AS (DP12) finders are for the AI and later lenses introduced in 1977. The benefit of AI lenses is faster lens changing. AI lenses Automatically Index the meter to the lens, without having to manually do it by turning the lens aperture back and forth. Metering accuracy is the same. On F2's, the battery compartment was moved to the bottom plate (two P76's) and the on/off switch was moved to the lever advance (In = Off, Out = On). All F2 Photomics show both the f/stops and shutter speeds in the finder.
NOTE Backward Compatibility. The Photomic and Photomic S finders will also meter just fine with the later AI/AIS lenses since these lenses have the NAI metering prong.
Very convenient one action opening and closing with four sides to keep out stray light. It will also fit the F if you remove the F's nameplate (two screws.) Identical to the last F version, except for the front mounted nameplate. Note the F2 waist level finder has no meter capability.
Home Made 4x Finder for Nikon F or F2, the "Koblosh Custom."
Years ago when I was a struggling photographer and barely could afford anything....or was that last week?..I had the idea of adapting my view camera 4x Schneider focusing loupe to my Nikon. Dan Koblosh did the conversion for me, and came up with the little gem above. Yes, it does work great. Yes, the same idea could be adapted for most interchangeable 35mm SLRs. Of course, I have patented the idea, so you are obligated to send the paltry sum of only $19.95 to me as a licensing fee. It's a variation of the shareware idea. OK, so maybe a bad variation. I tried.
F2 Shutter Priority Automated Exposure
Although the F2 has no Automatic Exposure capability built in, it is indeed possible. All you have to do is add the handy dandy auto servo gizmos to the "S" series of F2 finders. For AE, attach the DS-1 to the DP2 (F2S), DS-2 to the DP3(F2Sb) or DS-12 to the DP-3 (F2AS). These Nicad battery operated motor attachments couple to the meters and CHANGE F-STOPS by physically turning the aperture ring! Quite ingenious actually, but very obsolete compared to the F3 and later cameras.
Alas, by today's standards they are ungainly, awkward, obsolete devices, painfully slow, large and heavy compared to the built in automation of the later F bodies. The only reasons I can think of using one today are 1) you need a mechanical rather than electronic SLR 2) you want to save $ by using the much less expensive F2 250 or 750 back with automation 3) you are on a limited budget, already have the F2, and need automation 4) you were dropped on your head as a baby. Having said that, these things are going up in price, thanks to F2 collectors. Not too long ago, dealers could barely give them away.
Stop Down Metering? How can that help me?
Well, maybe it can't, but at least it can help take pictures. The various F/F2 meters normally work at FULL APERTURE. That is, they take a reading at the lens' maximum f/stop. This is a great feature which allows the brightest viewing of the subject all the time. Yep, you got it, FULL APERTURE metering "won" and became today's standard.
The alternative is STOP DOWN metering: closing down the lens to shooting aperture to take a meter reading. This makes the finder image darker, often much darker. This was necessary in the days when without coupling between the lens and meter, like the Pentax Spotmatic. Yet, STOP DOWN has its specialized uses.
for bellows work for Close-ups or slide copiers, no Nikon bellows has full aperture meter coupling
for microscope meter readings
for lenses without meter coupling of any kind, especially lenses which are adapted
Why bother? Because all TTL F/F2 meters offer Stop Down metering. When you need it, you really need it, and then you have it. Hmm, sounds like a Trojan commercial.
Revised: November 25, 2003 . Copyright © 1998-2002 Stephen Gandy. All rights reserved. This means you may NOT copy and re-use the text or the pictures in ANY other internet or printed publication of ANY kind. Information in this document is subject to change without notice. Other products and companies referred to herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders.