Nikon F

A brief outline of the Nikon F manual focus SLR film camera

When the Nikon F was released in April 1959 it was undoubtedly the most advanced 35mm SLR ever produced. Nikon used the highly developed SP rangefinder body as a starting point (approximately 400 of the thousand or so parts in the Nikon F are identical to those in the SP camera).

The shutter of the Nikon F was fitted with Titanium curtains, a world first, it also incorporated an instant return mirror unlike most existing SLR's, most needed to be re-cocked to return the mirror and an automatic diaphragm so setting a lens to a small aperture did not result in the photographer having the viewfinder image darken down, a much appreciated attribute. The Nikon F was very reliable and robust as well as being a full system camera with the capability to have lenses, backs, focusing screens and prism heads interchanged to allow the camera to be customised to meet the photographers currant assignment or be upgraded to a later and improved specification (primarily the optional light metering Photomic heads which improved over time).

VFM Flash Memory Cards

Although the Nikon F was the best Nikon could produce in 1959 they listened to comments from the photographers using the camera and made improvements to the interchangeable components of the system  and a few fairly minimal changes to the body in the last year of production, this version of the camera is unofficially referred to as the Nikon F "Apollo", just over 100,000 were produced and are valued more by collectors due to their far lower production numbers (a separate entry can be found here for the Nikon F "Apollo").


Nikon F with waist level finder

Basic specifications of the Nikon F MF SLR Camera

Production period (later availability via stock)

1959 to 1972
Lens meter coupling type None with plain standard viewfinder fitted
Aperture coupling range N/A unless Photomic viewfinder fitted
ASA film speed range N/A unless Photomic viewfinder fitted
EV range at ASA 100 N/A unless Photomic viewfinder fitted
Meter sensor type if applicable N/A unless Photomic viewfinder fitted
Shutter type and curtain material Horizontal Titanium foil focal-plane mechanical
Shutter speed range 1 to 1/1000 of a second + Bulb
Auto exposure modes available None
Flash exposure type and maximum sync speed Flash bulb & 1/60 sec Electronic flash socket
Interchangeable focusing screens Yes - 17 + others by third parties
Interchangeable viewfinder heads Yes - seven (four with light meters)
Interchangeable backs Yes - Bulk Film - Motor Drive - Polaroid
Film advance method Single stroke lever
Motor drive or Auto winder availability F36 or F250 motor drives
Film rewind method Manual folding crank
Self Timer Yes - 3 to 10 seconds
Battery type and number required Only if fitted with Photomic viewfinder
Body weight without lens attached Varies with Viewfinder fitted

Nikon F with external clipped on coupled Selenium meter


Nikon F top view

Nikon F


Nikon F back view




Reviews on Nikkor Lenses for digtlal and 35mm film professional cameras - Nikon F camera - Nikon Photography - Nikon Camera - Nikon Cameras -  Nikon F Camera Reviews - Review - Nikon Rumors - Photography Tutorials - SLR Camera - brands - 35mm - Digital - Nikkor Lenses -  Nikon F Camera - Portrait Photography - Nikon Photography Tips - Nikon Cameras Reviews - Nikon Lens Reviews - Nikon D5100 Reviews - Nikon D90 Reviews - Nikon D300 Reviews - nikon 1 Reviews - Nikon F Camera Reviews - Nikon D700 Reviews

Photographic Hardware
June 2014 Siteseen Ltd.

Photographic Hardware
Cookie Policy

Photographic Hardware
Privacy Statement