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Nikon F Value?

John-Paul Palescandolo , Nov 27, 2011; 07:18 p.m.

Someone my uncle knows was getting rid of some of her deceased husband's camera equpiment. My uncle snagged a Nikon F for me, along with a 50mm f/2 lens. When he dropped it off to me, it came with a few other non-Nikon lenses and he told me the woman wants $400 for the whole package.

First off, I'm not interested in any of the other lenses. Second, my uncle said he put a roll of film through the camera and it works very well. Upon inspection, however, I found a few things wrong with the camera, including:

  • The light meter doesn't work, even after putting in new batteries
  • The "T" mode on the shutter doesn't work properly. After you press the exposure button, it will not let you press it again to end the picture. To do so, you must wind the camera and then the shot will end.
  • Mirror lock up doesn't work. When you flip the switch to engage MLU, nothing happens until you take a picture. Then, the mirror flips up and stays up until you use the switch to disengage it.
  • The shutter has pinholes

I took the camera to the photo shop in town and they confirmed my findings and asked if I'd paid anything for this. I said not yet and the store owner said "Good, because the camera is worthless."

I got a repair quote for $185 from Mark Hama. Copies of the F in good, working order on eBay are selling for the same price as well. I sent my uncle an email explaining the situation with the camera and asking him to relay the info to the woman and see if she'd let it go for a low price, but he's insisting that the 50 f/2 alone is worth $200 and that I need to decide what the camera is worth, whether it be $50, $100, $200...

Honestly tho, this is turning into a hassle so I'll probably just give everything back, but what would people here think this camera is worth, in its current condition? I think that any price this woman is asking for the F is based off sentimental value, not the fact that in its current condition, the camera is only good for being repaired or for spare parts.

Anyways, I'll still put a roll of film through it to see how the shutter speeds work otherwise.

One last question - I have AI lenses that I use on other Nikon SLR's that were converted from pre-AI lenses and still have the catch mechanism on them for indexing purposes. Can I still use those lenses on the F?


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david carroll , Nov 27, 2011; 07:34 p.m.

The 50/2 is an excellent lens, but you can pick up good examples in Fleabay for $50. The F mirror lock is supposed to operate as you describe - once you set the MLU switch, you have to shoot a blank frame to lock the mirror up. The F2 rectified this, with an MLU switch that physically moved the mirror up without wasting a frame. That being said, an F with a faulty shutter mech, pinholed curtains and a non-functioning meter = a paperweight or parts. IMO, $20 would be way over the odds. The last F I bought on craigs*list works perfectly and cost me $20. The most I ever paid for an F was $115, for a VGC model with a relatively rare eye-level finder.
All your lenses will work on the F. You'd need the metering prong to operate the metering finder, but since the meter appears not to work, this is moot. Even without the prong, the lenses will attach and give proper aperture operation otherwise.

Bob Sunley , Nov 27, 2011; 07:37 p.m.

Your points 2 and three are working correctly. You turn the shutter speed dial to B to exit T mode.

Dead meters are common, and pinholes in the shutter are expensive to repair.

Any lens with the metal "hogs nose" meter coupling will work, but with a broken meter, any F mount lens except the autofocus G series will work.

Check http://www.KEH.com for pricing on the items. Seems 50mm f2 lenses are around 50-60 dollars, a good condition working body without pinholes is a couple of hundred. With a warranty too.

Jerry Litynski , Nov 27, 2011; 07:39 p.m.

If your uncle thinks the $200 price for the lens is a good, you might suggest he buy it.

John-Paul Palescandolo , Nov 27, 2011; 07:59 p.m.

Well, it's not like i even need the 50 f/2 lens. In terms of lenses with prongs, I have the 28 f/2.8, 50 f/1.4, 55 f/3.5 and 105 f/2.5.

In terms of the camera, if it cost $185 to be repaired with the issues noted, then I can't really see it going for any serious money. When I told my uncle that I didn't want any of the additional non-Nikon lenses, he said that each lens is easily worth $70, so I could pay the $400 that she wants for the whole package, sell the extra lenses and double my money. This is after I told him I wasn't interested in anything but the F. I'm not at home, but if I were, I'd tell you which lenses they were. All non-Nikon brands tho.

Frank Scheitrowsky , Nov 27, 2011; 08:00 p.m.

That's how MLU works on the F. You need to waste a frame.

david carroll , Nov 27, 2011; 08:36 p.m.

If you want an F, then I suppose $185 for a repaired, CLA'd example wouldn't be crazy, but when you factor in the additional purchase price (and it sounds like the seller isn't going to let it go for buttons), it starts to get seriously overpriced. If all the other lenses aren't Nikkors, then they'll be tougher to sell. Old manual-focus third party lenses are worth almost nothing, when you consider the wealth of OEM lenses available for relatively low prices. Personally, I would tell your uncle "thanks, but no thanks".

Michael R. Freeman , Nov 27, 2011; 09:08 p.m.

Respectfully, I think your uncle is way off base on the value of the package. As others already noted, you can pick up a good 50/2 for $50-$60 without even trying very hard. No one with any knowledge of used Nikkor values would be foolish enough to pay $200 for a used 50/2 (for that price you can buy an AiS 50/1.4). And if the other lenses are all third party, i.e non-Nikon brands, I suspect you would be lucky to give them away. $70 each is pure fantasy land for non-OEM manual lenses from that era unless they are some very unique and rare gems. You'll be deep in the hole after this deal, not doubling up on your $585 investment.

Vince Passaro , Nov 27, 2011; 09:24 p.m.

I think your uncle might have a thing for the widow. Just sayin.

Shun Cheung , Nov 27, 2011; 10:06 p.m.

You can buy a brand new 50mm/f1.8 AF-S with modern lens design and modern coating, including an aspherical element, for just over $200 (about $217 to be exact). Of course that AF-S is also a G lens that does not quite work on the Nikon F, but $200 for a 50mm/f2 pre-AI does not seem to make a lot of sense.

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