Camera Speed Dating – Nikon F3

Those that know Meghan and I know that we have what appears to be an on going camera acquisition problem. To remedy this but continue to try out ALL of the cameras we have decided to start borrowing cameras from our fellow camera enthusiasts instead of trying to purchase or hoard them all to ourselves. Not all are winners though and some are just easier or more fun to use but you have to shoot with them first to find out! Thus, we decided if we run a roll through every camera we are interested in, not unlike going on a 5 minute date with a bunch of strangers at a singles night, we can quickly see which are worthy of being added to our collection (or put on our list of “must haves.”) Camera speed dating!

Here is most recent camera I had the pleasure of a quick date with…the Nikon F3 SLR.


A few quick facts about the….Nikon F3, it came out in 1980 and was the first Nikon camera to have an Italian designer, Giorgetto Giugiaro. Most notably the red stripe down the hand grip. The F3 had many variations, all of them having fully electronic shutters (except the mechanical 1/60 feature). The nicest F3 variant to be released was the F3T, titanium model. F3’s have a high shutter speed of 1/2000. I noticed the F series cameras especially the F3 tend to be larger/heavier than other Nikon series such as the FM and FE cameras.

I got my F3 off someone who had a broken one with no interest to have it fixed. Luckily this fix was one that required no parts, often F3 repairs require parts that are extremely difficult to find. Things about the F3 I don’t like are its electronic shutter and I’m not a fan of its light meter – I prefer the FM series light meter and manual shutter. However as you may already know, I am a sucker for pretty details on a camera and I must say the metallic baby blue exposure counter numbers on the F3 dazzles me! I noticed the fancy F3T just has a regular silver coloured numbers…..boring! The F3 is heavier than all of my other 35mm SLRs, with the exception of my Pentax MZS, which is about the same. The lenses I have for my Nikon are weighty as well.  I have a 50mm f1.4 and an 85mm f1.8 and both are quite heavy and I have started to feel like these days weight of a camera really deters me from using it. I mostly enjoy street shooting and long walks with a heavy camera is not ideal. However there’s no denying how great of a camera the F3 is, as well as the lenses I have, as the photos are dead sharp.


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2 replies on “Camera Speed Dating – Nikon F3

  • Simon Leung

    Just To Clarify:

    The Nikon F3T was a titanium version of the standard F3, that was available in both champagne and black models. Unlike the F3 with it’s standard DE-2 eye level prism finder, the F3T offered the High-Eye Point (HP) DE-4 also made from titanium, as standard equipment. The champagne version made it’s debut, in 1982 until 1985 which was high sought after by collectors.

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