Nikon F Value?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by willscarlett, Nov 27, 2011.

  1. 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?
  2. 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.
  3. 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 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.
  4. If your uncle thinks the $200 price for the lens is a good, you might suggest he buy it.
  5. 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.
  6. That's how MLU works on the F. You need to waste a frame.
  7. 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".
  8. 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.
  9. I think your uncle might have a thing for the widow. Just sayin.
  10. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    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.
  11. Old camera gear can be a lot of fun to use, but only if you buy it right. I'd pass on this stuff. If the other lenses have names like Zeiss, Voigtlaner, Agenuiex they could be worth some decent money. More likley they're names like Spiratone, Vivitar, and Kalimar. If that's the case, definitely pass.
    Kent in SD
  12. @Kent Staubus: You meant Angenieux, right?
  13. John-Paul, give that equipment back without a second look. Listen to the camera repairman, not some old lady and your deluded uncle. You can go to B&H or Adorama's website and buy yourself a Nikon F, F2, or F3 with 50mm f/1.4 lens, or body alone, for much less than that. The repairman was correct in saying that it's worthless in that condition. I would MAYBE pay $400 for that if it came directly from a respected repair shop and was certified to as-new condition, but you might as well buy the F3 if you aren't getting a good deal; it's Nikon's finest manual-focus camera. You can type up which lenses are coming with the Nikon, but I doubt that the third-party lenses are worth much. Even some of the better lenses, if they are third party, don't sell for very much. You have nothing to lose by listing them, but right now I think that even $150 is generous to the woman. If she thinks that the camera is worth so much, let her send it to a reseller or put it on CL herself to see what it will fetch.
  14. The value of some aged non-Nikon lenses, a half-working F, and a 50/2 non Ai?
    Sincerely, nothing. I`d not get this stuff even for free.
    Personally, better to have a Nikomat or basic Nikon earlier model in excelent condition that an old glory in certified bad condition. If you want the lens (?), buy it in good condition, guarantee included, in a reputable 2nd hand online shop. About the non-Nikon lenses, they are worthless to me; in fact a problem, as they will take space in the closet. Just my sincere opinion.
  15. Only if one of those working Nikon lenses would be a 58mm F1:1.2 lens ( Noct....) , a 55mm F1:1.2 lens or a 300mm 2.8 lens ( or longer..) , otherwise i would steer clear of this deal,,,,
  16. An E+ condition 50/F2 at KEH sells for under $70. And F bodies w/broken meters can be had for a song as well. Walk away unless the camera and lens are in "like new" condition. If so offer them $100 for the set.
  17. tgh


    Pinholes in the shutter? Metal shutter or cloth? Most F's have metal shutters, which are pretty resistant to pinholes. Very early F's had cloth shutters. These might have unrealistic values to collectors, regardless of the actual working condition.
  18. Run as fast as you can away from this "deal". It reminds me of a yard sale I went to as they said in the ad. that among things there were cameras. I arrived, no cameras. Were they sold? No, my husband did not get here with the cameras. Do you want to see them? Yes. Go to his house they are out front ready to be put in car. I go there. Seller has a friend who offers all kinds of advice on the transaction. I finally say goodby to seller and "friend" without buying anything. IMHO if one wants to sell cameras, tell friend to go home!
  19. I went through the other lenses and here's what's in the box...
    • Rokinon 28-210 f/4-5.6
    • Kalimar 35-105 f/3.5
    • DeJur 135 f/2.8
    In other words, nothing of any value. I'm not sure why my uncle thinks each of those lenses could go for $70 a piece. I don't think he's that knowledgeable in the world of what photo gear sells for.
    I was never interested in those lenses in the first place. What interested me was the Nikon F with the 50 f/2 lens, but now that I know that my current AI lenses will work on the F body, there's not even a need for the 50 f/2. If she'll take next to nothing for just the body, then maybe. We'll see what goes.
    Speaking of buying used, I had a bad experience with Adorama once. They sold me a used Pentax 645 which scratched all the film that I put through it. They agreed to a return, even tho it was past their 30 day warranty or whatever. Luckily, I insured the return package and put tracking on it because Adorama started claiming the package return never arrived and tried to wash their hands of it, saying it was the post office's fault, so take it up with them. Only after the post office gave me some paperwork with a signature of someone at Adorama's warehouse who in fact had signed for it did Adorama start to be agreeable. Interesting fact was that the people at the post office who showed me the paperwork with the signature said that they aren't supposed to give that to customers.
  20. if it was just a matter of a broken meter I would buy the camera at the right price since you can always use a handheld meter. But the pinholes in the shutter are a fatal flaw. If you already owned the camera and wanted to keep using it it might be worth the $185 but not otherwise in my opinion.
  21. Looking at B&H's used gear, they have an F body with an eye level viewfinder for $250. They also have a range of F2's, F3's, F4's and so forth.
    Adorama has used F's as well and sells them with or without a lens and also with or without the finder. Adorama's prices, even for ones with the finder, are more reasonable. They have a Nikon F Chrome camera with Photomic FTN finder in "V" condition for $94. They have others as well, but they are in better condition, so the price jumps to $130. They also have ones without a finder for $190.
    Then again, the advantage of paying a little extra to get something fixed is that you know it will work. The man who gave me the quote, Mark Hama, has repaired several cameras for me and always goes a great job.
  22. I guess my advice would be to just give it all back and say "good luck selling it." If your uncle is so convinced of the value, HE should buy it an sell it. I have owned and sold some very nice Fs over the years, and the most I ecer sold one for (with the plain prism) was $225 -- and it was in excellent condition.
    The other lenses, as you note -- would not even bring in $20 each on ebay.
  23. I am not a big fan of the F. I have been using an F2 with some luck. Even the F's titanium foil shutter curtains do not last forever but pinholes are odd. I think I read that prototype Fs had cloth shutter curtains. If you have one of these it could be worth a lot more than $400. My favorite slow 50mm Nikkor is the 50/2 'K'. The AI s just as nice and its different prong will not be a problem with an F. The F meter prisms have not aged nearly as well as those of the F2. I have both a working DP-1 and a working DP-2. Getting back to the curtains, I don't know whether any new replacement material is available. Tyupically the material would be taken from another body. I have seen that a few repair places will work on FTN meter prisms but I don't remember how expensive that is. If I am going to actually use a camera I would rather get one in less pristine condition and have it overhauled than pay extra for a nicer looking one which may need work anyway. As a practical matter shooting with an F will not give you better results in most situations than shooting with a Nikkormat. I once tried to buy a Rolleiflex 3.5F from a widow. I was not trying to "steal" the camera by offering an unreasonably low price but I came to the conclusion that she wanted to keep it to remember her husband and that if it was worth more in her mind then it made her feel good to have something valuable. I was still able to take very nice pictures with my Minolta Autocord.
  24. I just went and checked the shutter curtain on the F. It is definitely not a titanium shutter, but it does not seem to be cloth either. It feels like a rubber shutter curtain - don't worry, I was gentle when I felt it. Also, the pinholes exist in the shutter that closes after the camera fires, not the shutter that is in place before the picture is taken.
    The serial number on this F suggests it was made in 1967. The serial starts with '67xxxx'.
  25. The whole "first two digits indicate the year" thing is a myth, AFAIK, 67xxxxx's could have been built anytime around the mid-60's. If the F had a low serial# (like 64000xx), this may have been a completely different conversation, but alas, no. Interesting about the shutter - I have F's ranging from 65xxxxx to 74xxxxx and they all have titanium shutters. So, the pinholes are in the trailing shutter curtain. Is the leading curtain made of the same material? I wonder was the shutter repaired some time in the past, and one curtain replaced with a rubberized cloth version? If so, it's worth even less than previously estimated.
  26. Yes, pinholes are in the trailing shutter curtain. The leading and trailing shutter shutters are made of the same material. I know what the titanium shutters look like, since my FE and FE2 have titanium shutters. This F definitely has no titanium in its shutter.
  27. Bear in mind that the Ti shutter in the F and F2 looks nothing like the shutters of the FM/FE series, even if they're both made of titanium. The F/F2 shutter consists of two strips of coiled ultrathin titanium foil that looks like slightly corrugated cloth, vs the rigid segmented vertical-travel shutters of the FM/FE.
  28. Your uncle reminds me a lot of my uncle - the one whose great deals I have learned to pass on as a matter of course!
    When I was ten, he had been fishing and caught a huge goldfish. I came home, and my mom had let him put that thing in my 50G tropical fish tank. They had to take a bucket of water out before the goldfish would fit in. It was so big, it couldn't turn around in the tank. I had one heck of a job getting that sucker out of there, and find it a new home. But a FREE goldfish - what a great deal! Let's just say that uncle isn't exactly my favorite relative.
  29. Yeah, this is the uncle who's the tech guru and always wants to sell you things, but won't buy anything unless it's a ridiculously amazing deal. I'm not sure Black Friday would be cheap enough for him.
  30. Simple: Pass on it. Save your money for better working equipment. Seriously: $200 for non-Ai 50mm f2.0? Who are we kidding? An important cavaet to remember: Do not confuse old with valuable. They are two separate words in the dictionary with different meanings. More often than not they do not overlap whether it is cameras, lenses, art, antiques, books, etc.
  31. According to your story, you are spending an astonishing amount of time and effort, gas money perhaps and who knows what else running around for something you keep describing as worthless being pushed by some lady and a relative who's probably just trying to get a cut. I recommend coming to your better senses and get this pile of crap back to the lady ASAP, not only to end the current madness, but to also get rid of it before something happens and there's some demand for compensation for any of the stuff being stolen, broken or improperly tinkered with.
    You're even bringing up Adorama deals gone by for no apparent reason. Unless you have nothing better to do, get this stuff out of your life.
  32. I wholely agree with John H. from A to .
  33. Based on your original description, as others have said, the T mode on the shutter and the mirror lock up work that way on a Nikon F. The meter heads use ring resistors, many of which have died. Thus, the big demand for the plain prism.
    The pinholes in the shutter are the killer. Let the old lady take her junk back.
    Let me tell you about my experience with an uncle and a camera. Back in the 1972, my uncle sold my father a Canon FX with 58mm f/1.2 lens for $200. I still remember the price, because it was a lot of money back then, and we didn't have a lot. Long story short, the camera worked, but the lens didn't. It wouldn't close down from f/1.2. Many years of frustration with poorly exposed film, and wasted development costs. There is a hole in the family history from these years as the photographs are simply missing. What we did have was taken with a Kodak Instamatic 126, which DID work. Finally, around 1976, we fixed the lens. It was fixed for about 6 months, then it failed again. When I finally got enough money (in 1983), I bought a Nikon F3, and it's been my baby for the past decades. The point is not to diss on Canon. Rather, relatives and expensive items such as cameras don't mix.
  34. Buy used requires knowing what you are buying. If you really are buying a Nikon F camera with a cloth shutter, you are buying a collectors camera. Only about 100 to 200 were made with cloth shutters. Since these are so rare, I question what you have. I have bought uses 50mm F2 Nikkors on ebay for 20 dollars. About 862k Nikon F's were made, they are all over the place on the used market. An actual Nikon F with a cloth shutter sells for over a grand or two. Thus your local camera store or clueless folks might not want you to make a profit. Fixing a broken Nikon F cloth shutter probably would be expensive, few if any repair folks have seen one before. Posting images of this gear allows a better appraisal, SUPER EARLY Nikon F gear can be rare and commands higher worth. Buying used items without knowing what they are worth is risky. Repairing often does not pay off. I have only seen one Nikon F with a cloth shutter. I saw it at a collectors home in Tokyo, on display. None of my many Nikon F's have pinholes, they have metal shutters and my first Nikon F was bought in 1962.
  35. (As a sideonote, it is actually possible to use MLU on a Nikon F without wasting a frame, but it does take some practice. Wind the camera, engage MLU, then flick or snap (I'm sorry I'm not sure about the right word) the exposure button sideways - if you do this just the right way, it will flip the mirror up without activating the shutter. I did have an F and tried this many times. It's actually described in Douglas Herr's article on the Leicaflex SL (, and when I tried it with my F, it just worked. Thanks, Doug! :) )
  36. Any F body with an original cloth shutter would have a serial number starting with 6400xxx, my oldest has a 6410xxx serial number, it dates from 1959-1960, and has a 5.8cm f1.4 lens to match, as in a really low serial number. Now it's possible someone put a set of fabric curtains in a 67xxxxx serial number body, but it sure didn't leave the factory that way.
  37. Hi. Speaking of the F's, I just taught a class in which we watched the final third of Apocalypse Now and Dennis Hopper has about five F's hanging off him in those sequences (though you also see him shooting a Leica at one point...) -- one or two looked suspiciously like F2s in what would have been an F world ten years' prior to filming in 1977. He's never still long enough for you to get a good look.

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