Nikon F3…professional camera…but hard to use….


NikonF3TPeople say Nikon F3 is a pure professional camera.

But tell the truth, when it first came out, lots of professionals did not like it.

First of all, it was full electronic camera although the previous F2 was full mechanical. Those days, still professionals were not really trusting electronic camera.

Still lots of people were using F2 or even older F in 1980 when F3 first came out.

Most of manufactures made electronic cameras to adapt Automatic Exposure….but F3 was different.
F2 was a good camera…but Nikon wanted to make it more reliable and cheaper because assembling F2 was costing too much to make profit. It was about same idea with watches shifted to quarts.

In that case, removing mechanical movements and replacing to electronics was a good solution. That was the main reason for F3 to be electronics.

But to me…F3 was not easy to use.

First of all, small LCD panel at the top of view finder was really hard to see. The metering in the LCD panel was tiny and could not read level of exposure easily.

Those days, LCD was a new technology for watches, but it was not really proven for professional cameras. They said LCD would not work below -10c or would last only 5 years or so…….

That was another reason I stayed away from F3.

What about AE? It had aperture priority AE……but the spot metering was quite hard to use with AE and always needed AE Lock or exposure compensation…..well….even the AE lock was really awkwardly positioned and exposure compensation dial was also hard to use.

This means It was hard to use as manual camera, and also hard to use AE. So, how did they use it?

In Japan, F3 was mainly used by Press people. Those days, 100% of newspaper photos was Black&White. So, they did not need be to severer about exposure.

Also those days, still lots of professional did not use built-in meter. That was the way, they were using F3 as “Full Manual Camera” although it was electronic.

In that case, it was a good camera,but if you use with reversal firm which was severe to exposure, Canon New F-1 was easier to use those days. Also Canon FD lens were better on color.

That was how I choose Canon at that time.

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6 thoughts on “Nikon F3…professional camera…but hard to use….

    • Yes, this is my review & opinion. That was how I felt and even those part I criticized was pointed in Japanese magazines too. But these days, all the reviews talk like good old days and telling “legend” not telling things a lot….but not me. That is all. If you don’t like, please read someone else.

      • Omg! please don’t be offended.. I am sorry if I offended you!

        There are some things you mentioned that are very true about the F3, and one of them is the ridiculous lcd display and the red illuminator button.

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