my local camera shop has a mint F3hp coming in with the MD-4 drive. I am wondering if it is a camera to get; i have an old F, and my main camera is my FA. I feel the F3 may be to much of a step backwards (in reguards to metering) from my FA. I know the build quality of the F3 is great, better than the FA, but so far the FA has not let me down.
The F3 is what I would consider the combination of both of your cameras. Pro-grade ruggedness and modular system, with the metering display of the FA. Also has almost a spotmeter, the metering pattern is so center-weighted.
If I were in your shoes, I'd probably go for something different, like an F2AS, but if you like the "-+" of the meter on your FA, you'll feel right at home with the F3.
F4s, F2AS, F FTn, FM2n, Nikomat FTn, Nikkormat FT - John Laughlin Photography - nature photographer
The F4 is a tank of a camera. It does have a matrix metering arrangement much like our FA. The F3 is more in the keeping of the footprint of the FA. One positive aspect of the F4 is the dial-for-everything construction. It's a control-junkie's dream.
As already mentioned, the F3 has it's metering sensitivity that's a broad spot. The sensitive portion of the VF that defines the meter is the central ring around the split image. 80% of the metering sensitivity is inside that circle. If you pan a point light source you can see the sharp edge - it's much sharper than the 60/40 weighting of normal CW patterns.
With a little practice you will find the 80/20 F3 pattern extremely useful. You just put that portion of the VF over what you want to be a mid-tone in the image, press the meter-lock switch recompose and shoot. Many matrix users shy away from the CW and spot patterns, but IMO they are the most reliable way to lock in the estimated meter reading. The actual flow is to visualize the image, decide on what the metering area is to be, if you think the main subject emphasis need a bit of compensation from what the meter will evaluate with your chosen area - you can dial in that compensation using the exposure comp ring around the film rewind crank. Now meter you pre-chosen area and bingo. You've now just done what the matrix does.
The F3 is a beautiful piece of fine machinery. One reason I liked it so much is for the metering system and the fine clockwork of the film advance that makes it much more "stealthy", compact and less obtrusive for street and casual, especially over the F4.
Good luck with your choices.
Roger It's still, ISO, aperture and shutter-speed, right?
My F3HP is gorgeous. It was sold to me a few years ago by Hunt's in Manchester, NH. At the time, I knew a little about the camera, but quickly fell in love with it. I was sold the body, in excellent plus condition, MD4,the SB16 Speedlight, AH-3 motor drive tripod adapter, and 135mm f/2.8 Ai, for $100. I did get new light seals, a new LCD display, and a good CLA on the camera. I still feel ahead.
It is probably the best metering system out of any Nikon I own. It is very accurate, and just works.
The price on a Mint F3HP has a lot of collector value built in. If you are buying a camera to use, you may wish to accept a unit with a few cosmetic flaws but that's been checked out mechanically.
To my mind, the biggest advantage to the F3HP are the finder and range of available accessories. The ruggedness is great for a day-in, day-out work camera, but I don't think very many people use any manual focus 35mm film camera that way these days.
The biggest disadvantage of the F3 is flash functionality. Even with the scarce AS-19(?) adapter for TTL shoe-mount flashes, you're still stuck with a more awkward system and slower sync speed than with an FA.
So in summary, I think that like the FA, the F3HP is a great piece of "yestertech," and a nice piece to shoot with occasionally. But unless you wish to have a display camera, I suggest passing on a mint F3HP.
One of the biggest mistakes a photographer can make is to look at the real world and cling to the vain hope that next time his film will somehow bear a closer resemblance to it. - Galen Rowell
I have FAs and F3s both have features I want for particular shooting.I prefer the F3 over the F2AS because it has aperture priority.and the size and weight is less than the F2 I have a few F2s also (F2A F2AS)
my main though about getting the F3 is for a backup/alternate film loaed body. My FG is that now; would be perfect except no DOF feature! So with this in mind, i guess i will look for an excellect condition FE2 or another FA
If you are thinking FE2, I'll support that whole heartedly. The FE2 is an excellent all around camera and with excellent general photography features. The only slight draw-back that I experienced when using the FE2 was the ability to see the exposure needle in low-contrast and/or low-light. What I found was that the exposure system was so reliable that in those conditions I made sure I had good support, a "reasonable" aperture and just let the shutter time out. The electronics are fully capable of 30s camera suggested exposures. In those cases, you don't need to see the needle. .
The exposure compensation is easy to deal with, either by setting the compensation directly or just switching to manual and using the needle. Another strong aspect of the FE2 is the TTL strobe exposure capability as well as the very easy to use meter lock so you can quickly expose-lock-recompose.
Once I figured out the aperture auto exposure capability, I started using my small table-top tripod more and it completely replaced my FM2N which to that point had been my business travel camera. That particular niche of my photography adventure was almost always late at night after all meetings.
You are certainly familiar with the FA, but the FE2 is a very capable camera.
Roger It's still, ISO, aperture and shutter-speed, right?
Another vote for the F3HP. I have compared it side by side with all my film cameras (F, F2A, FM2, F100, N80) and in terms of a user-camera, the F3HP is at the top of my list. While I prefer to use the F for nostalgic purposes, my F3HP is my "go-to" camera when I need to get perfect results on film. It is, imo, that fantastic.
>Another vote for the F3HP. I have compared it side by side >with all my film cameras (F, F2A, FM2, F100, N80) and in terms >of a user-camera, the F3HP is at the top of my list. While I >prefer to use the F for nostalgic purposes, my F3HP is my >"go-to" camera when I need to get perfect results on >film. It is, imo, that fantastic. and the F3 has view finder display illumination