Nikon F2A

Iconic Nikon camera, as sturdy and reliable as they come.


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The Nikon F2 is a professional, mechanical system SLR introduced in 1971 by Nikon using F mount. It is the direct successor of successful Nikon F. Instead of an upgrade of Nikon F it is a completely new body only sharing with its predecessor the lenses, some accessories and the overall design philosophy. It was produced concurrently with the (then 12-year old) Nikon F for two years, then became the only Nikon pro-grade system camera until it was replaced by the F3 in 1980. In most ways, the first three mainline models of the Nikon F series each represent the best of a decade in camera design, though they have very individual follies as well. Like most 70’s SLR’s from major manufacturers, the F2 is metal-bodied, mechanical, and built around a metered-manual paradigm rather than an autoexposure one. It does, however, have some peculiarities, some of them held over from the much older Nikon F.

Overall, the Nikon F2 is a much-lauded camera, used by a generation of professional photographers working in a wide variety of applications. The body is noted as rugged, the shutter as reliable–those who use the Nikon F2 today often note that some examples have worked perfectly since they were made without maintenance, when many pro-grade cameras such as Leicas would need cleaning, lubrication and adjustment every few decades. While this is by no means guaranteed, many, many Nikon F2’s are in service today, sometimes with their first owners. They have every possible accessory, from a shutter-speed auto-exposure unit to motor drives to macro focusing bellows, making for a camera that can be quickly adapted to perform to professional standards in a staggering variety of niche applications. For general photography, the body alone can suffice or it can be used with a metered finder head such as the DP-1.

In these regards, the Nikon F2 is not a departure from the F, which was itself versatile and well-built, but rather a refinement. Though very different internally, the F2 was made as ergonomically identical to the original F as possible. Even the weight of the body with the initial DP-1 finder was kept within an ounce of the weight of the departing F with an FTN finder. But the improvements were extensive:

  • Extended shutter speed range of 10s to 1/2000 and 1/80 flash sync
  • ASA 6 to 6400 with initial DP-1 finder
  • Larger reflex mirror to minimize viewfinder vignetting
  • Shorter wind lever stroke (120 degrees in a single-stroke–multiple stroke winding is permitted), and integrated on/off switch in film advance lever
  • Coupling for motor drive
  • Rounded contour body for better ergonomics
  • Rewind crank with a 6mm raised position for easier manual film rewinding
  • Removable hinged back
  • Automatic mode-changing flash sync, X and FP.

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