Nikon F3, F3HP, F3/T, F3AF, F3P, F3H Film 35mm SLR Camera Resources

Nikon F3, F3HP, F3/T, F3AF, F3P, F3H 35mm SLR Camera Info

Nikon F3 Series Resource Site - Professional Film SLR

with 43 comments

2012. Nikon F3 dedicated website with full manuals downloadable in pdf format, and a bit about the history of the F3.

Nikon F3 Standard Prism with Series E 50/1.8
Nikon F3 with standard DE-2 Prism and Series E 50/1.8 AIs Lens

Any material appreciated and stories - I still have little time to update much - but slowly will get around to it!

I am sorry about the list, I just did not have time to get it started, and do not have spare time at the moment. My sincere apologies.

I am starting an e-mail list for those interested in the latest Nikon Developments as well as information about all the film cameras up to and including the F6. Subscribe if you wish below :)


I have managed to obtain scanned pdf versions of most of the F3 series manuals, including service, parts and user, these can be directly downloaded from the server using the links on the right hand side of the page. I hope you find these of use!

If you have any copies of related manuals not on this site please send me a message and I will add the manual/link as appropriate - many thanks! It would also be great to get scans of adverts from the 80’s!


Reigned Supremely for 20 years - 1980- 2000 - The Worlds longest Production SLR - built like a Tank - and often used to take Pictures of Tanks - not friendly ones either ;) The Journalists Film SLR of choice replacing the tried and tested Nikon F2.

The third Professional (F Series) Nikon SLR Camera the Nikon F3 was introduced in early 1980 was preceded by the Nikon F and F2 (the F2AS being the last model), and succeeded by the Nikon F4  ( 1988 - 1996 ) , Nikon F5 ( 1996 - 2005 ) and Nikon F6 ( 2004 - present ) - although it still holds the record for most variations of a professional Nikon model. It was also the last Manual Focus Nikon Camera - the F4 being AF but retaining MF lens capability (as have most later Nikons with some exceptions).

I am an enthusiastic amateur photographer currently using a Nikon D2x, although I have experience of most of the DSLR range and the F series Cameras. Without a shadow of a doubt my camera of choice is the F3, more specifically the Titanium Variant of the F3, the F3/T. I have owned and used the Standard F3, the F3HP, F3/T, but not however the F3/AF nor the F3/P, which although infrequently available does sometimes show up on ebay.

When you pick up the F3 you instantly appreciate its sold brick like feel and weight which reassures you immediately that this camera was designed to be used (and abused) - and to keep on going.

Back in the late 1980’s there was a UK Nikon Advert showing a wide range of British Press Photographers with their cameras, all of them had the F3 - and it is no exaggeration to say that the F3 ruled the 1980’s in professional 35mm photography - it simply had no equal. The Canon F1 was simply not an option.

The finest film SLR bar none. Its place in history is assured. The King is Dead… Long live the King!

I hope to develop this page into a full resource for F3 owners. Bookmark and Stay Tuned. Regards.

Written by admin

August 1st, 2008 at 7:36 pm

Posted in Nikon F3

43 Responses to 'Nikon F3 Series Resource Site - Professional Film SLR'

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  1. Their are many F3 references on the Web although their is no “unified” site encompassing everything. It would be a really useful resource for us F3 owners and I wish you well in developing this!


    2 Aug 08 at 6:40 pm

  2. Been a Nikon fan for years have sold and used their cameras for years. Owned most of the Digital line as well but I still dable in film. Scanning in my negs. now and printing them through an Epson printer has caused me to have a renewed interest in film. I have a FE2, F90 and an F3 as well as a D2X and I must confess a Canon 20D.

    Alan Whitehead

    7 Dec 08 at 3:24 pm

  3. Hi All
    Great site, and lifelong lover of Nikon.
    I wonder if anybody can help me I am looking for Nikon F3 Adverts from the 80’s and were I think in American photography magazines, the one in particular that I want shows 2 (I think or more) F3’s with motordrives and is set in the jungle, close up’s of leaves and other things one would take into the jungle for a trek.
    I have searched high and low for this with no luck.
    Hope someone can help.
    Many Thanks


    21 Dec 08 at 8:00 pm

  4. Their was another Nikon F3 advert from the UK, that showed (during the mid to late 80’s) all the Fleet Street (the UK newspapers classic home) Photographers with their cameras - all were using F3’s. It was a magnificent ad. If anybody has any scanned ads I would gratefully put them up.


    7 Apr 09 at 10:06 pm

  5. A Great Camera - almost as legendary as the Nikon FM2 ;)
    The FM2 was often the backup camera of choice for professionals just in case the F3 had problems (unlikely).

    Allegedly Nikon tuned the F3/T meters more accurately than the bog standard F3’s. I wonder whether their is any truth in this rumor.


    Gary Fletcher

    7 Apr 09 at 11:52 pm

  6. In the late 70s and early 80s I was a professional photographer with a private studio doing weddings and portraits and commercial photography. I just gave my 15 year old granddaughter my F3 and my Mamiya 645 1000s. She has a keen photographers eye and has made some excellent compositions with just her cell phone camera. Both cameras are in top notch condition (after all these years) and she will be blessed immensely with the quality and duriability of both cameras. So, after over 30 years, these two cameras will have yet another life. Just a bit of trivia.


    1 Sep 09 at 9:06 pm

  7. Dwight, your granddaughter is lucky, does she know it?
    I am a female amateur photographing basicly my kids. Its wonderful to work with film and the F3 is actually one of few that is easily handled even by lefthanders like me.

    Take care of your cameras,


    29 Dec 09 at 10:57 pm

  8. The more I use the F6 the more I appreciate as a refined version of the F3 :)

    The F6 is one under appreciated camera!

    Silent Lucidity

    31 Dec 09 at 2:46 am

  9. I recently purchased an F3 with the DE-2 eyepiece and MD4 drive from a local second hand store. The solid feel and ergonomics are great! I really like that I don’t have to pull the film advance lever out to shoot like on my FM3A. I’m looking for a waist-level finder because I’ve found it’s easier to take animal pictures than with an eye-level finder - they don’t think you’re looking at them. I use more film than digital, so my f3 will be working hard for a while yet. Thanks for this site - I hope it gets better & better.


    2 Feb 10 at 12:56 am

  10. Appreciate the manuals!

    Joe eskille

    18 Mar 10 at 2:44 am

  11. I just bought F3HP today. And I am planning to use it on my next trip to Snowy Mountain, Australia.


    20 Mar 10 at 6:31 am

  12. I just bought a pretty much new F3HP today (03/31/2010) along with a 105 f2.8 Micro and a 28-80 f3.5-4.5 and a PK-13 Auto Extension Ring. My friend had purchased a whole F3HP set up approx. 20 years ago and has only ran 10 or less rolls through it because he traveled so much that he never had the time to use it. Now I’m buying the system off of him piece by piece for pennies on the dollar! What a find! Everything looks “new” out of the box. This has been one of my main dream cameras since my teen years in the early 1980s!

    I look forward to checking back in on this site frequently. Thanks for setting it up - I hope its very successful!



    31 Mar 10 at 8:14 pm

  13. Iam Trying to use the f3 and changing the batteries I realised that it does not work and I am suspecting that the reason is the batteries. IS that True? The reason I am asking is that the shutter release button does not operate and I am wondering. Also looking in the viewfinder Ican not see the shutter speed which means the batt do not work.


    11 May 10 at 6:52 pm

  14. Great site! Will be back often. Thanks. I’ve just picked up a F3 from a local seller and can’t wait to get home to try it. I’ve been using a FA for a while and just can’t resist this solid black F3 when I saw it. :D


    2 Jun 10 at 7:16 am

  15. My grandson is nearly 21. I bought a Nikon F3 to photograph my son’s, his father, wedding. Although I have used the F3 personally and professionally a great deal since, it still is in mint condition both visually and electromechanically. I bought my first Nikon, an S2 Rangefinder with a 50mm f/1.4, when it first came on the market during the 50’s, and used it both at home in the U.S. as well as abroad. I moved on to an SLR F in ‘59, selling the S2 to help pay for it, something that I’ve regretted ever since.
    I’ve bought and used virtually every model in the Nikon F line since, holding on to a few of for many years past their prime if for no other reason but sentiment, as I have with the F3. I’ve never been able to warm up to digital photography all that much, resisting the switchover from film. I do admit that lately I’ve been tempted by the D700. Oh, I own several amateur-level but nevertheless quality P & S digital cameras for everyday personal use, but I have never been able to take them seriously other than for the convenience of inexpensive digital technology for snapshots. For serious photography, I shoot Adox 35 mm B & W negative film with my Nikons (Nikkormat EL, F, F3, F100 and F5) as well as 120 film with a C 503 Hasselblad with Zeiss lenses, glass - primes and zooms - which I‘ve handpicked over the years.
    I develop B & W negative film exclusively in Rodinal, using a 100 + year old formula I was introduced to in the mid ’50’s by a German lab technician while I was serving in a military photographic unit in Europe. Today, I typically scan my 35mm negatives to digital myself on an older but excellent Nikon CoolScanner, but then only those images I deem worth printing in B & W. I have the 120 film scanned professionally. By this means, I end up with just about the same image resolution as a 20 + megapixel digital SLR camera with a full frame sensor and very good and expensive glass would have yielded, all this for a fraction of the otherwise required initial investment for digital equipment.
    Of course, I cannot argue with the several and distinct advantages digital technology affords the serious photographer, especially in post shooting image handling, manipulating and reproduction. Time does indeed march on. However, there is something distinctly satisfying I feel results from the direct and classic hands on analog/chemical photographic routines and processes that I engage in that I don’t think I could get out of those digital. Call it tradition or call it stubbornness. I call it worthwhile! Nikons have been serving me reliably for now nearly sixty years. I fully appreciate and respect Nikon’s technological leaps and bounds in the digital sphere. However, I value loyalty and would not be all that comfortable turning my back on a faithful old and very dear friend: film.
    If I were to show you some of the results that I get from film through digital reproduction methods but assured you that I used a digital process throughout, you would probably believe me. If I then told you that the images originated on film, you would doubt me. However, you would not be able to tell the difference for certain. A well exposed film image taken by a talented and sensitive photographer with superior cameras through exceptional glass is and, for a very long time, will continue to be a very powerful means of expressing the human condition!

    Alfredo Montalvo-Rivera

    3 Jun 10 at 4:08 am

  16. Great site. I have a Nikon F3 and Nikon F2AS. Both beautiful cameras. I appreciate the manuals available for download. best wishes.

    Lorry Marks

    31 Mar 12 at 5:20 pm

  17. Manual focus metal-bodied Nikons are surely the embodiment of good camera design. I’ve owned many of them (Nikkormat, F2, FE, FM, FM2, FE2, FA, FM3a) and think the F3 is perhaps the pinnacle of this achievement. It’s a wonderfully simple, solid, reliable camera which makes you feel totally in control, and does nothing to get in the way of your photography. Marvellous.

    Well done on putting together this site too: a great resource.


    26 Jun 12 at 3:09 pm

  18. I have same prob as jpal. I have attempted to change batteries, but they seem to be slightly deeper than old ones. Thee is no power, no LED display etc. Any ideas? Ive owned the F3 from new and its been great.


    27 Jul 12 at 12:05 am

  19. not a duplicate.I have same prob as. I have attempted to change batteries, but they seem to be slightly deeper than old ones. Thee is no power, no LED display etc. Any ideas? Ive owned the F3 from new and its been great.


    27 Jul 12 at 12:08 am

  20. not a duplicate. I have attempted to change batteries, but they seem to be slightly deeper than old ones. Thee is no power, no LED display etc. Any ideas? Ive owned the F3 from new and its been great.


    27 Jul 12 at 12:09 am

  21. How about a forum for us all? That would be awesome..

    Noelle; I’m confused. they’re slightly deeper than the old ones? Meh, find a MD-4 for it and forget the hearing aid batteries.


    10 Aug 12 at 10:42 am

  22. I just completed my collection of all the F3 models. Except for the F3 and F3HP which I bought new, the rest I bought from eBay. It was expensive exercise because I only wanted those in ‘mint’ or ‘excl ++’ but worth the money when I see them in the flesh.

    I also almost completed my Nikon F collection, from the F, F2, F3, F4, F5 and F6. Still looking for the variations for the F and F2 to make it really complete.


    17 Aug 12 at 3:30 am

  23. Hi,

    I am in desperate need of some advice about the F3 from someone who is not trying to sell me one.

    I want a camera that can be used the push film to 12800/25600 ISO.

    The F3’s highest ISO is 6400, but then combine that by using the EV scale to under expose two stops and you have 25600.

    Only thing is, my FA and FE2 limit the use of the EV scale to one stop (or maybe 1.5 stops) when put on 3200.

    What I am asking is - Does the F3 do this too? I have asked two sellers one says it will be fine, one says it wont. I can’t find an F3 in a shop near my home to try. So here I am.

    Any help will be very much appreciated.


    13 Oct 12 at 8:47 am

  24. Hi, want to add as a resource page for my students and photo colleagues. Please advise if this is still an active site!

    Regards from Colorado,

    Matt “fotomatt” Lit
    photographer & educator
    Colorado Mountain College

    Matt Lit

    26 Mar 13 at 3:44 pm

  25. This is for James Spring. Tried to reach you through your Tumblr site. Don’t know if you ever got answered. Here goes anyway.

    Do the math on how many stops below your lowest ISO these values would be. So…

    12,800 = 1 stop underexposure
    25600 = 2 stops underexposure

    Simply allow yourself to underexpose the film at these values in Manual Mode.

    I recommend XTol developer. Freestyle Photo (in L.A.) sells a “Ktol” which is the same thing.

    Feel free to contact me.

    Regards from Colorado!

    Matt “fotomatt” Lit
    photographer & educator
    Colorado Mountain College

    Matt Lit

    26 Mar 13 at 3:50 pm

  26. I too had heard that the F3/T had a more finely tuned meter than the regular F3’s. Never knew if that was true or not. I do know my F3/T is extremely accurate though.

    Larry Miller

    18 Jun 13 at 9:08 pm

  27. I’ve been using Nikon DSLR’s since 2006 and I love them.

    A friend at work just gave me an F3 with four prime lenses, MD-4, SB-12 and some extras. I’ve been digging into it for a couple of days and I can’t believe what a gift this was.

    I’m looking forward to seeing a different view of the world.

    David Prosser

    28 Jul 13 at 4:52 pm

  28. I still have a Nikon F3 with motor drive.
    I the 80’s thru the mid 90’s I shot with one Nikon F3T, I did schools and events. Shot over 50 roll of film a week.
    Never had the camera in the shop except for cleaning.
    Mainly use a Nikon D3 now days, but still shoot every now and the with the F3


    6 Aug 13 at 10:53 pm

  29. I own a small camera shop in Sydney. A customer
    brought in a Nikon F3/T champagne #T8220017 which has P(ress) specs including prism hotshoe, rubber seal on release etc but ALSO finder blind and lever, self timer
    Can’t find any reference to this model. Any thoughts?

    Bruce Searle

    28 Oct 13 at 6:45 am

  30. F3/T Movie sighting. New Secret Life of Walter Mitty movie, the “legendary” photographer for Life Magazine is finally found out in the field shooting…and he’s shooting an F3/T. Just thought I’d mention it.


    31 Dec 13 at 9:54 pm

  31. I have been collecting F3 variants for a while, now I have amassed the following:

    F3, F3HP, F3T champaign, F3AF, F3P, F3L.

    I admire the tecnology of those years. Nowadays there are many plastic parts and electronics do not last.

    I also have a F2TAS.

    A Nee

    19 May 14 at 4:26 am

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