Nikon F2

Among many camera fans this was the best and still is the most beautiful Nikon SLR ever made.


Nikon F2A (= Nikon F2 + DP-11) + fast Nikkor 1.2/55 mm. + Nikon AR-1 (soft shutter release)

The Nikon F2 was introduced in September 1971, while the Nikon F was still in production. Maybe that's why the Nikon F2 was given a cold reception by the thousands of Nikon F owners. Funny enough this happened with the introduction of the Nikon F3 and Nikon F4, too. The F2 was a camera system as well. The camera body remained nearly unchanged during its production time, which ended in 1980, after an estimated production run of some 900,000 bodies. The body can be 'dressed' with finders, backs, motor drives etc. The lay out of the top was improved up to contemporary ergonomics. The feeling and grip was much better. Advancing the film is a single-stroke action of 120°, the back is hinged and can be opened by turning the key at the bottom. Like in the Nikon F-series there is a choice of various viewfinders. An eye-level finder (DE-1), a sport finder (DA-1), a waist-level finder (DW-1), a waist-level finder with a 6x magnification (DW-2) and 5 Photomic finders (DP-1, DP-2, DP-3, DP-11 and DP-12) with built-in exposure meters can be fitted.

If a Photomic finder is fitted the exposure meter will be activated by pulling the advance lever 30° out from the body. The shutter runs at speeds between 1 and 1/2000 sec. with a flash sync of 1/80 sec. The 5 Photomic viewfinders give the Nikon F2 a special indicator/name when fitted:

Nikon F2 Photomic = Nikon F2 + DP-1 (CdS cells, center-weighted metering and needle indicator) - September 1971

Nikon F2S = Nikon F2 + DP-2 (more sensitive CdS cells metering down to 8 seconds, center-weighted metering and diodes) - March 1973

Nikon F2SB = Nikon F2 + DP-3 (SPD = silicon photo diode cells, center-weighted metering and a five-stage LED display) - October 1976

Nikon F2A = Nikon F2 + DP-11 (= modified DP-1 to accept AI-lenses) - March 1977

Nikon F2AS = Nikon F2 + DP-12 (= modified DP-3 to accept AI-lenses) - July 1977

All bodies and all viewfinders can be combined with one out of 20 different view finder screens. To find out when your Nikon F2 was produced, please see the F2 serial number matrix.

The Nikon F2S and Nikon F2SB can be fitted with a Nikon DS-1 EE and Nikon DS-2 EE (see below) aperture control unit, the Nikon F2AS can be fitted with the Nikon DS-12 EE. These control units make the Nikon F2 a semi-automatic camera with shutter priority setting. The DS-1 will not fit a Nikon F2AS (DP-12). The DS-2 has a flash connector.

All units have to be fitted first (!) before a lens or viewfinder is mounted! The upper left button will screw a little screw into the PC sync thread. The lower button covers the battery compartment. Via a Nikon DH-1 charger the DN-1 battery (which runs empty before you'll notice it!) can be charged (see picture below).

Nikon DS-12 automatic aperture control unit + DN-1 battery + DH-1 battery charger


When any other viewfinder is fitted the Nikon F2 remains Nikon F2. Simple as that!!


On the right top of each Nikon F2 you'll see the advance lever with in front of it the frame counter. The shutter release button has a ring of which the black dot should point to the front. Turned to the 'L' will lock it and turned to the 'T' exposure for 2 seconds or longer can be made. In front of the body you'll see the self timer lever, the aperture control button, and on the right top of the Photomic view finder the lever to unlock the view finder. The chrome button is to check the power of the battery of the exposure meter. The ASA selector (= film speed) couples with the shutter.

On the left side of the body top you'll see the rewind lever mounted in/on top if the accessory or flash shoe with its electronic contact at the back. In front of the body is the flash connector and the lens release button. In front of the serial number 'F2' is engraved. BTW: serial numbers start at #7100001.

Nothing really exciting to see at the back. At the upper left the button to release the view finder (together with the black lever on the right front side of the view finder (see picture above).

Above a Nikon F2A with a winder or motor drive and the battery pack under it. The motor drive has its own shutter release button, which can be lifted and replaced by SC-2 cable enabling the photographer to shoot without touching the camera. There are three different motor drives: MD-1, MD-2 and MD-3. And a MB-100 for the high speed F2. The MB-1 and MB-2 are battery packs to be mounted under one of the three mentioned motor drives. There are 4 different camera backs available: the MF-1 (for 250 frames), MF-2 (for 750 frames), MF-3 (special back for use on the MB-2 which will stop the film running (rewind) back into the film cassette), MF-10 (data back) and MF-11 (data back for 250 frames). The MB-1 (and the MB-100) can be loaded with rechargeable MN-1 nicad batteries (charger is MH-1), but can also be used with normal AA-batteries in the MS-1 battery holder. The MS-2 is the battery holder for the MB-2.

Above the 'high tower' Nikon F2 High Speed, which was introduced in 1978 at the Photokina Camera Fair in Germany. This 'racing' camera is able to shoot 10 frames per second. The mirror can't move as it is locked but transmit 65 % of the light to the film. Due to this construction not all photographers were satisfied with the images this High Speed camera was/is producing. The body of the camera has a titanium cover. Only a few cameras (probably all proto-types) were made. Serial numbers start at 7850001. A second version (shown above) has no T and B settings. The camera is powered by the MD-100 motor drive + MB-100 battery pack (housing 4 MN-1 batteries).

Back of the motor drive and battery pack. The speed selector, a so-called Frame Number Preset Wheel (additional frame counter with which one can set/limit the numbers of frames to be shot) and rewind buttons can be seen. Serial number of the motor drive is identical to that of the camera body (proto-type bodies only).

Just before the production of the Nikon F2 line stopped a Nikon F2 Titan was introduced in June 1979. This camera has some body parts made from a titanium alloy. As stated above the production of probably one of the nicest SLR cameras ever build stopped in 1980!


For information about motor drives and backs see chapter accessories