Nikon F3 HP

Officially launched in 1980, the Nikon F3 is a professional camera that sits between manual focus and cameras with full autofocus automation. As the first Nikon F to utilize electronics, it is built extremely tough (copper silumin aluminum alloy body). It was used widely by pro photographers who were adjusting to fully automated autofocus cameras. The camera specifications are impressive - titanium foil shutter with speeds from 8.0 to 1/2000 sec., extremely accurate TTL center weighted metering and compatibility with the full range of Nikon F mount lenses. The shutter has an estimated life in excess of 150,000 exposures (4000 rolls of 36 exp. film).

The F3 was produced in several versions, the most notable being the non commercial limited edition F3H high speed camera which utilized a pellicle mirror and exposure speeds for 13.5 frames per second. A pellicle mirror is a special mirror with thousands of tiny holes that let light through while still acting as a reflex mirror. This eliminates the need for the mirror to flip up out of the way during the exposure thereby increasing camera frame rates.

Other models included a titanium body F3/T and the F3AF, the first autofocus Nikon Camera. Autofocus was accomplished by use of a special viewfinder and an external focusing mechanism that worked with only 2 Nikon lenses. Shown here is the F3HP model. The HP stand for High Eyepoint, which offers the user a full frame viewing of the scene.

The removable MD4 motor drive has a 6 frame per second rating (enough speed to shoot a roll of 36 exp in 6 sec!)

The 300mm f/2.8 lens shown with the F3HP is typical of long fast telephoto lenses used by sports and nature photographers. The ED (Extra Dispersion) glass and wide aperture ensure a bright image as well as allowing the use of slower films. Since the front element of the lens is so large, smaller filters are inserted in the middle of the lens.

  • Circa 1981 - Nikon Corporation, Tokyo, Japan
  • Titanium foil horizontal travel shutter 8.0 - 1/2000 second
  • Nikkor 300mm - f/2.8 ED-IF
  • MD4 - 6 fps motordrive