With a reputation only rivaled by a few and envied by many, the Nikon F2 is one of the best, if not the best SLR cameras ever manufactured.
Produced between 1971-1980, the Nikon F2 was the go-to camera for many professional photographers in the 1970s—most of the newspaper and magazine photos of this decade were taken using this camera.
But what makes the Nikon F2 so great?
Read on to find out.
Features of the Camera
The F2 boasts of several features that make it the greatest SLR ever created. One of these features is the fact that the F2 was the first-ever truly modular camera.
With this camera, users could interchange certain parts of the camera, including the focusing screen, metering, lens, and eyepiece.
This unique feature allowed users to upgrade their cameras without buying a new body. F2 owners could also use lenses from any other Nikon cameras.
And that’s not all:
You get a choice of 18 different easily interchangeable focusing screen—a feature not available in digital SLRs
If you’re a gear junky, this is the camera for you.
Another unique feature that made the F2 a great camera was the new mirror lock-up system, which allowed the photographer to improve the ability to reduce vibration-induced motion blur during exposure.
The camera also came with a depth of view preview, which made it possible for the photographer to see how an image would look like before taking a photo.
Another factor that made the Nikon F2 popular was the range of shutter speeds. With this camera, you had the choice of shutter speeds ranging from 1/125 sec-1/2000sec.
If you’re a photographer obsessed with precision, the F2 is the camera for you.
The ultra-fast shutter speed also made the F2 an excellent camera for sports photography. When used together with a motor drive, it was possible to shoot six frames per second, making the F2 the best camera for high-speed shots.
The Nikon F2 was also a fully mechanical camera. This meant that it was possible to use the camera without batteries—batteries were used only used for metering.
Talking of metering; what type of metering did the F2 use?
The Nikon F2 came with a center-weighted manual metering system, which is perfect for any photography. You also had the choice of changing your metering system.
As if that’s not enough…
The F2 came with a programable self-timer dial that could be set from 2 sec-12 sec.
Physical Design and Build
The Nikon F2 was designed to be nothing less than perfect.
All the controls were ergonomically placed for maximum comfort while using the camera.
On the top plate, you had the film reverse crank on the left side. The interchangeable eyepiece is located in the mid-section of the top plate.
On the right side, you have the ASA dial, shutter release button, and film advance lever.
When designing this camera, Nikon made all edges rounded, which gave it a more natural feel.
The F2 body is also built to last. Unlike other brands that often require lubrication, the F2 lubricants last forever. The fact that you can upgrade individual parts of this camera means you can use the F2 for a long time.
Shortcomings of the Camera
The F2 wasn’t entirely perfect.
One of its most significant shortcomings was its weight. The body weighs 840g (almost 2lbs). This is not a camera for people who wish to remain inconspicuous. It’s not a camera you can throw in your bag for a day trip.
Another downside with this camera was the lack of a hot-shoe. However, you got the choice of a PC sync, which made it possible to use an external flash.
There’s no doubt.
The Nikon F2 is one of the greatest SLRs ever made.
It was a camera made for all users. It’s uncomplicated and straightforward, making it perfect for film photography beginners. It’s easily customizable, which means you may never have to buy another SLR camera. It’s exemplary design and history make it an excellent camera for collectors.
I can’t think of a better camera for anyone who loves vintage classic photography.