I think that the Nikon F2 was the best SLR camera until 1996 when Nikon produced the F5* The F2 is the successor to the Nikon F, their first SLR camera, released in 1970. The F2 featured many revisions of the inner and outer workings of their SLR template. The black one above is a Photomic F2 which means it came with a light meter built into the removable viewfinder. The Nikon F system was a modular design system catering to professional photographers. You can remove or swap out the back cover, viewfinder, eye piece, focussing screen and the lens of course. Each of the removable parts had a wide range of replacements which were designed for specific applications such as high volume film backs and photometric grid focus screens. Its really weird seeing your camera stripped down to just a mirror and a shutter.
For the first four years of learning photography in earnest, I used only an F2 and a 50/1.4 lens. Entirely mechanical in construction, the camera would not run out of batteries. Only film. I photographed live music, travel, album art, everything with my F2 and it was perfect for all of these.
The F2 has all the features you would expect on a professional SLR,
1s-1/2000th and B/T modes.
Auto reset film counter,
Titanium shutter (some people claim to have clocked over a million actuations on F2 bodies. With a regular CLA every 5 years or so this is not impossible).
100% coverage viewfinder. This is a great feature and is something dearly missed on many modern DSLRs
Mirror lock up for long exposures or for use with certain extra-wide-angle lenses.
They’re heavy, about a kilo with the standard 50/1.4 attached, so when you take it out for the day you are committing to it. At the end of a day of shooting, it would not be strange for a photographer to look at their F2 and think:
Do I really need anything more than this?
I wonder why my shoulder is so sore…
If you have an old camera lying around and gathering dust, why don’t you donate it to our ever growing camera museum? Your camera may be featured on our blog and will be on display in our Crows Nest showroom. Contact us at (02) 9437-5800 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
* The F3 was pretty boring and the F4 was an apology for the F3. It took the F5 with a whole array of professional features to bring Nikon into the late 20th century so to speak.