Nikon F with waist-level finder

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by jdm_von_weinberg, Dec 7, 2008.

  1. Thought some of you might be interested to see the relatively unusual, but cheap and common, waist-level finder on a Nikon F.
    I've always felt that the non-Photomic Nikons with the plain prism are among the most beautiful SLRs ever made, but I have to admit that the waist-level finder may even be more funky than the Photomic heads.
    I won't post any pictures taken with the camera because in fact many of my postings were taken with essentially the same camera over the years.
    And, yes, I will stipulate that it is even nicer in black, and wish I still had one that was.....
  2. It is a cool looking camera. I have an F with the plain prism viewfinder, also. But honestly, don't you like the feel and looks of the F2 a little better? I like the rounded edges.
  3. Naw, though do like the F2 and 3 models, I still think the first one is absolutely classic .
    Like the Contax S/Pentacon SLRs and the Praktina, it builds on what I think is also a classic RF look -- that of the Contax II cameras. (Of course, the Nikon RF cameras that were tranmogrified into the F were clones of the Contax, even to lens mount, bless them. Maybe someday I'll get meself a Nikon SP)
    As some of you already know, I was lucky enough to get a really, really rare, all-black Contax II in just minty condition from the former Soviet Union. Can you imagine? It was so well preserved, that the black lacquer still smelled fresh. ;)
  4. I have exactly the same set up in a display case in my den. Right next to it is an F2 Photomic to keep it company. Jerry
  5. Seems the reason I see so many WLFs for the F series is that they're borderline useless, much like WLFs for the Mamiya 645. Who needs full-time landscape shots, not to mention cruddy focus screens? But if looks matter more than utility, rock on, JDM!
  6. Yeah, they're cute, but they are pretty useless. I have one for my F3, and I've used it exactly once. I thought it might be handy for macro work, but then I found the magnifying eyepiece attachment and that was the end of that.
  7. I actually have a friend who used to shoot his F3 almost exclusivly mounted to a short tripod on the floor with a 15mm lens and a naked focusing screen. He could have really used a WLF in those days. He's moved on to digital, but the 15mm is still in his setup... the rear screen takes the place of the WLF I suppose.
  8. The WTF was not considered "useless" in the 1960's; its what one often used for macro work; slide copying; medical work; closeups; camera setups for eye doctors. Thus maybe in another 40 years film will be considered useless too.
  9. If the WLF for the Nikon F is "borderline useless" as Gary Watson claims; then perhaps he can explain why Nikon made 3 versions of the WLF for the F, plus a version each for the F2, F3, F4 and F5?
  10. My first SLR was a used Miranda with interchangeable screens and finders. In those days I sure could not afford a Nikon F! The first things I bought for the Miranda were a plain matte screen and a WLF. Acuatually used the WLF quite a bit. When the Apollo astronauts were in a parade I framed over the heads of the crowd with the camera up side down with a WLF. It was good for on the deck, wide angle shots too, didn't have to get your slacks in the mud to peer through a right angle attachment. I suppose that, as with all features, some need them, some don't.
  11. About 6 years ago I had my first experience using a SLR WLF with an Exa. I was surprised how easy it was and how bright the screen was. I had used TLRs (Yashica) and the difference (to me) was night and days. THE GG on the TLR is kind of grayish and compatively dark compared to the bright 2.8 Tessar on the Exa. However, I recently used it and found it a PITA, mainly because of my failing eyesight, I couldn't decide what was focused, but I'm having similar problems with the TLR too! I agree JD, that the camera lines are often nicer, without a prism to spoil the effect!
  12. Beautiful set-up JDM. I posted recently the story of my Nikon F with the photomic prism which I dislike and looking after a normal eye-level prism I found out they are very pricey. WLF for this camera are cheaper but I'm not sure they are as good as the normal prism.
  13. As stated, the waste-level finder was great for copy work, microscopes, telescopes, etc. It has a high- power magnifying glass built into it, like most TLR's. It was used more for technical and documentation work. The 6x Ocular finder and slightly newer DW-2 for the F2 also had their places.
  14. I see the new GUI interface has some problems with older web-browsers.
    Adapting Editor... BUT- On the original Waste Level Finders, Nikon included a nice NKT green cloth and the leather case. Those are fairly hard to find these days.
  15. JDM, I completely agree with you - the plain prism F is a very very classy looking camera. The irony is that the camera is better known with the Photomic head attached, which is a shame. I've wanted one of these waste level finders for a long time and have come very close to buying one for my Nikon (and for my Canon F-1 for that matter). I like the concept of waste level shooting - kinda inconspicuous, and I don't have a problem with landscape view only.
    I reccomend you also check out the Nikon DW-2 - the 6x WL magnifier. It is GREAT. Literally like a loupe on your focusing screen. I really regret that i didn't buy one when I had the chance (despite the price). Would have been great for my astrophotography.
    @ Kerry- I agree, the F2 does handle better... it was a very worthy replacement to the F.
  16. Also, JDM, what is the first two digits of yuour serial #? It's pretty kool that yours says "Nippon Kogaku" on the top plate. I have a 68xxxxxx, which just says "Nikon" ... not nearly as fun.
  17. Mine is a 671xxxx serial number. I was sorta pleased to get the Nippon Kogaku mark at that.
  18. According to Nikon serial number listing , mine was made in July to October, 1965.
    It is not true, as the listing above shows, except sometimes coincidentally, that the first two numbers are the year of manufacture.
  19. That photo takes me back a lot of years. I had an F with the Photomic head and the waist level finder. I never found but one use for the waist level finder other than a conversation piece, and in that role it found plenty of use. That job was on a copy stand. It was murder trying to copy anything with an eye level finder (stepladder, anyone?), so I found a source for the waist level finder, got one and boy did it make a difference in neck strain!
  20. As a long-after addition, the picture above was 2 pixels oversize, so didn't display. It didn't use to matter, but....
    Here is the Nikon F with the waist-level finder (also known sometimes as "waste-level") resized:

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