Man, do I love the look of the Nikon F with a prism finder, especially a black body with a lot of wear! I’m now of the opinion that it’s the most beautiful camera in the world, or at least the most beautiful 35mm SLR. And since my F Apollo’s Photomic finder was:
1) chrome, so not the original finder for a black body
2) far too early to be paired with a post-1972 Apollo body anyway
I decided it was time to get something much sleeker, lighter, and better-looking, hence:
Now all the beautiful brassing can be appreciated more! This camera as it looks above is what I’ve been shooting nearly all of 2020 for my photo project. This thing has already taken a beating over the last half a century so I’m less careful about where I take it and how gently I treat it; every ding is a story and if this camera could talk I’d buy it drinks all night to hear its history. I’ve never been one to buy camera equipment purely on aesthetics alone but I confess it’s happening more now that I’ve been delving into the Nikon system. This finder came with the chrome-bodied F in the picture below:
Not pictured: my original F2A which is taking the picture sporting the 55mm AI-s Micro-Nikkor. I suppose that using one camera means it can’t be in the picture so I’ve yet to get a complete family portrait but since I shot about 5 rolls of color film around September/October, I would keep Black&White in the F and color in the F2.
I was also generously given a chrome DE-1 prism finder recently, which has now gone on my chrome F2 (the DP-1 finder wasn’t working; it seems to be a common failing). The chrome F prism finder came off a parts body I bought cheap. I suppose Nikon should be commended for the foresight to have removable finders as it allowed for continuous upgrades of the F from 1959 to 1968. And of course over the course of the last 50+ years the electronics on those old finders have a pretty high failure rate, so the people who bought the prism finder now appear far-sighted as well as more ballsy. Now that people are catching on though, their prices keep going up. But besides the lens, the right finder is an accessory that I’ll go out of my way to find. I’ve also acquired film doors, soft-shutter releases, focusing screens, finder eyepieces, finder covers, filters, a speedlight setup, the possibilities and combinations seem endless for creating just what I need to shoot on any given day. For the photographer with a bad case of GAS, a job, and money to “invest” in new equipment, Nikon’s F system always had something else he didn’t have yet.
In fact from talking to people online it would appear that the common definition of a “professional camera” is one with removable/interchangeable finders. I’m definitely a fan of the non-metered prism finders, as they’re lighter and just look better. I shoot primarily Tri-X and know it well enough that Sunny-16 doesn’t bother me, though I should probably get a good handheld meter at some point. Hmmmm, something else to buy…