Why Nikon F3

Got an email a few minutes ago. "Why give a Nikon F3?" - the obvious context of the question is - why do I have 5 of them and why would I give one away. Hmmm. To be blunt I want to figure out how to promote my site a little, that is the give-away part. Obviously I won't bother if I can't make it fun or nobody is really interested. Now here is the non-obvious part or maybe why not a cheapy plastic digital, or some software - I have a bunch of extra software licenses and unopened boxes and of course - why the heck do I have 5 Nikon F3's.

Well - I preach that photography is photography and some of the classic tools are not only great but are worthwhile as image making devices - above all they are really a wonder to hold, operate and use. I figure there are enough photography enthusiasts that happen across my site that really don't have a lot of up close experience with 20-30 year old tools or film and may not go out of their way to play around with trying to find one that is good and is cheap on eBay - maybe they just wouldn't want to spend the time but… If someone made it easy and fun to own one no questions asked they would enjoy it - if only occasionally. Well that's my goal.

Now moving on to the F3 - To be blunt - it is a modern classic. It's modern enough that there are no huge obstacles to using it every once in a while. When I say obstacles I am talking about indexing a lens' max aperture, or goofy way to load film, or any real waving of chicken bones to make a picture. It's exactly the right camera that bridges the way simple but professional cameras worked back in the old days and the way DSLR's work today.

For example - you wind the film, classic vs the camera does it like an F4 or F5 - they are more like the way a DSLR operates, esp an F5, but they happen to need film. No need for stop down metering and such that is too esoteric for anyone that grew up digital to ever deal with. That and a few other things.

  • The F3 is sensuous to operate. Everything feels good down to the way the film winds.
  • The viewfinder is fantastic. Really.
  • The shutter is accurate even if it has not been serviced because it is quartz timed.
  • With 80/20 metering and the well conceived AE lock button you can be precise in exposure and FAST.
  • Built like a tank - almost indestructible.
  • A functional work of design art.
  • Super simple and minimalistic - only what you need to make a picture nothing more.
  • Come on now the sound of the F3 shutter with MD-4 motor drive is THE camera sound that has been heard on every modern movie EVER, even when they are shooting digital the sound track is still a motorized F3. Need I say more?

Better yet - why not?


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