Your opinion on F-301 (N2000)
I want to play with a film camera for a bit, found Nikon F-301. To be honest I do not understand what it is, my friend who owns it have never used it himself. How good is it, how accurate is the meter and shutters?
My previous film camera was an ancient mechanical Pentax Spotmatic, but is is almost dead now. I have been using only digital cameras for some 4 years now, so that's nostalgia for manual focus, good viewfinder and a feeling of real solid film instead of digital photos that are nowhere.
So, the main question is, is F-301 worth the trouble? Is it any good? Can I shoot positive film with it, and is it necessary to use a light meter?
#1. "RE: Your opinion on F-301 (N2000)" | In response to Reply # 0Kilted_F3_nut Nikonian since 29th Jun 2004Thu 07-Dec-06 05:24 PM
The light meter is built-in, as it is on your Spotmatic. The only difference is that it comes on whenever you use the camera. You can't shoot without turning it on, since the F-301/N2000 camera is an electronic camera. You can ignore the meter readout, though, and use a handheld meter instead. It's an OK camera. Personally, I think I'd hold out for an FM2 or an FE2 as a camera to return to film with. The FM2 is like your Pentax. Mechanical, with a meter. The FE2 is electronic, but has manual wind (with the option of a motor drive, if you want one), and is built better than the EM/FG/FG-20/F-301/F-501 series...
If you do decide to go ahead with the F-301, it won't disappoint you, but there are better Nikon bodies available. The meter is accurate and is with the classic 60/40 Nikon centerweighting. Shutter's accurate and has a 1/125th flash synch, which is an improvement over the Spotmatic's shutter. Film advance is 2.5 frames per second.
F3HP, F2A, FE2, FM2n - John Laughlin Photography - nature photographer
#2. "RE: Your opinion on F-301 (N2000)" | In response to Reply # 1Chan Tran Registered since 04th Dec 2003Thu 07-Dec-06 05:55 PM
The F-301 was the least expensive camera at the time it was introduced I believe. There are quite a bit of firsts about this camera and I shall quote Leonard Foo from his website:
"This was the first Nikon that came without a conventional film advance lever to advance film. The launch of the F-301 or N2000 (in US) also signified versions for the US market and the rest of the world were detached in their respective model designations. Many observers believed the F301 was a product resulted from a hurried sales room decision as the market place during this period was rather quite confusing where all the Companies involved in the trade were sandwiched between directions on future direction on camera design - mainly due to the emergence of interest in autofocus. The built-in power winding introduced with this Nikon also has given a clue where all subsequent SLR models may not require a motor drive as accessory at all. Anyway, the built-in, body integrated film advance motor was capable of enabling automatic film advance rate at an impressive 2.5 fps - mid between performance of a Motor Drive and Power Winder. Another major feature included with the F301/N2000 was the use of DX film recognition - where it was the also a first in a Nikon SLR. However, the extensive use of polycarbonated for construction of Nikon cameras was also began from here, but despite with this unpopular decision, the F301 was surprisingly, still considered to be quite rigid. Shutter speeds range was electronically controlled from 1-1/2000 sec. Various exposure modes available were aperture priority AE, manual and a dual program modes (High Speed and Normal Program). It also embodied with many useful features. A very well laid-out top panel on the camera easily navigates user to access various camera control/functions. The camera uses either AA or AAA cells to power all its functions and it was sadly omitting the traditional old Nikon mechanical back-up speed feature. But it has laid a foundation for the first autofocus Nikon in the F501 in its basic core design.:"
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#3. "RE: Your opinion on F-301 (N2000)" | In response to Reply # 0
I'll second John's opinion. Unless you're getting the F-301 for next to nothing, there are better choices.
As you were shooting with a Spotmatic, using a manual camera should be no problem for you. If you really want a film camera, check out www.keh.com. You can grab an FM in "Bargain" condition for about what you might be paying for the F301. For a bit more, you can get an FM2 or FM2n if you feel that the differences are worth it to you.
With the FM, you'd be getting a body that can function with just about any Nikkor F mount lens made since the late '50's. There are an awful lot of early Nikkors around selling for next to nothing. The pre-AI lenses, in particular, are almost being given away.
I'd match the accuracy of the FM's Galium Arsenide meter against any center weighted meter ever made by any manufacturer. No problem shooting positive film with this meter.
"The more they overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain"...Chief Engineering Officer, Montgomery Scott
#4. "RE: Your opinion on F-301 (N2000)" | In response to Reply # 0
The F-301 is a great little camera, it isn't as sturdy as the FM/FE series but it is fairly strong (I've had one bounce across a car park and survive). The lightmeter and shutter are accurate (what Nikon isn't?). There is a slight downside though, the built-in winder isn't exactly noise-free (people tend to stare at you if you're shooting in quiet locations). There is also no aperture readout in the viewfinder just LED shutter speed indication.
You haven't said what sort of money you can get the camera for, F-301s don't fetch too much though.
#5. "RE: Your opinion on F-301 (N2000)" | In response to Reply # 0
>I want to play with a film camera for a bit, found Nikon
>My previous film camera was an ancient mechanical Pentax
>Spotmatic, but is is almost dead now.
Yo FX (what's your name?),
welcome to a very favorite and special forum.
You have been given some well-thought-out advice and a few insights. I also began my SLR-based photography on the Pentax Spotmatic, which I bought while in Japan in 1967. At the time, this camera was quite highly regarded. Having a very fine true spot-metering system, and a well-made, light, compact body, it was the choice of many pros.
While you could overspend getting your old Spotmatic in shape, there are many used Nikons which are the equal or better of your old camera. I would not include the F-301 in this category. Whatever spark of recognition drew you to the Spotmatic originally, would be rekindled by:
a) getting the Spotmatic overhauled. You get to use whatever lenses you already have!
b) replacing it with an equal or better Nikon (we'll presume, being good Nikonians, and because JRP might read this).
If you look at my profile you will easily grasp what my choice would be (but they are MY choices):
First, find someone competent to do an inexpensive overhaul on the Spotmatic (if that is feasible!).
AND (surprised?) buy a QUALITY Nikon manual focus, MANUAL camera, and a few more-or-less appropriate lenses to fit. Here, in Nikonians, you will get ALL the advice you can handle regarding these choices.
"THERE'S MORE TO OPTICS THAN MEETS THE EYE"
Not till we have lost the world do we begin to find ourselves.
"THERE'S MORE TO OPTICS THAN MEETS THE EYE"
Not till we have lost the world do we begin to find ourselves
#6. "RE: Your opinion on F-301 (N2000)" | In response to Reply # 0
If you're getting an N2000 for a representative price ($50-100), it's well worth the effort. I have about 5000 slides that I shot with my N2000. Its meter is quite accurate; it is a classic center-weighted model.
If you get it, I'd be careful with it and treat it gently. It has a tendency to get its mirror dislodged. Mine has come loose three times in about 6-7 years of use.
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!