Price of F2 when new?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by mervyn_wilmington, Jan 20, 2016.

  1. I've just bought a 1972 Photomic with 50mm f2 lens and erc. Apart from a couple of rubs on the head, it is in very nice condition, and seems to be 'low mileage'. So far as I can tell, everything works. I hope to put a film through in the next day or two.
    It was the grand sum of £98 on the auction site. I wondered how much it might have been when new?
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Back in 1972, I was a kid growing up in Hong Kong. I recall that a Photomic F2 body was like HK$2000 or so. Keep in mind that camera prices were considerably lower in Hong Kong at that time so that a lot of European and American visitors would buy cameras and watches there. Another factor is that the foreign exchange rate has changed drastically since then. I would say it translates to approximately US$400 to 500 or so as a ballpark figure.
    I seem to recall that a Nikkormat FT-2 or FT-3 was around US$250 to $300 in 1977 or so. The F2 should be roughly twice the cost.
  3. I'd go to the library and dig through back issues of Popular Photography and Modern Photography and dig through the ads.
    Remember, back then some dealers would charge extra for batteries, straps, body & lens caps that came with the camera so the listed price may not be the actul street price. But it will give you an idea of about what they sold for.
    Then convert 1972 $ to today's money buy using this or a site like it to calculate inflation:
  4. My first SLR was a Nikon F2 with a 50mm f/1.4 lens. I think it was 1975 or 1974. It came new from the camera shop (San Diego, California) for $550.
    I hope that helps!
  5. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Remember, back then some dealers would charge extra for batteries, straps, body & lens caps that came with the camera so the listed price may not be the actual street price.​
    Not merely back then, plenty of scam shops would charge you extra for batteries, chargers, manuals ... today. :)
    However, back then the strap was not necessarily included automatically. In those days most lenses also didn't come automatically with a lens hood, which was an optional accessory that cost extra.
  6. 500 US bucks, body only, sounds about right. I seem to remember that the UK price was somewhere North of £300 and out of my league back then. I now own three of them. The last one cost me something like £50, 3 or 4 years ago. It works perfectly but is missing the bottom cap for the motor-drive hole.
    Quote from Wikipedia (so it must be true!): "A Nikon F2 Photomic with Nikkor-S 50 mm f/1.4 lens had a US list price of $660 in 1972."
  7. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Rodeo Joe, you need to pay attention to the sentence in that Wikipedia article, immediately after the one you quoted:
    A Nikon F2 Photomic with Nikkor-S 50 mm f/1.4 lens had a US list price of $660 in 1972. Note that SLRs usually sold for 30 to 40 percent below list price.​

    I indeed recall that back then, "street price" what people actually paid was considerably lower than the manufacturer suggested retail price (list price). Not sure that it was as much as 40%, but 20% off list price seems common.

    I can only wish I could afford a high-end F2 back then. My first SLR was a Minolta SRT-101.
  8. I am very grateful for the quick responses. It makes you think! We bought our first home - a small brick-built country cottage in good order - in 1970. It cost £1,000.
    There are certainly plenty of F2s for sale for little money, even in the UK, but many seem 'well used'.
    I had been looking for one with the plain prism, but good ones seem few and far between and more money. Then, yesterday, I found a plain prism, described as exc++ for £75. It arrived this morning and I think it a bit better than that. Seems remarkable to pay £98 for a complete cameras, and that much for just the prism, but I'm happy.
  9. Sorry to tell you this Mervyn, but my 50 quid F2 came complete with a plain prism. I actually prefer the look of the camera with the flattened out Photomic prism. After all you can just take the battery out and ignore the needle. But you still get the advantage of the Judas window that shows you the aperture through the viewfinder - well, just, and if you squint at it.
    FWIW, you could certainly get a good secondhand car for the price of an F2 when it first came out. And it would have easily put the 10% deposit down on a fairly nice townhouse. So Nikon's weren't much of an investment really. If I sold all my film Nikons today, I might be able to pay the bill for a meal out for myself and 3 or 4 friends - at a modest restaurant.
  10. No need to apologise RJ, there are always bargains, and then better bargains!
  11. IIRC, I paid $275 for a F body in 1968 and about $400 for a F2 Photomic body (which I still have) in 1972.
  12. I bought a 1986 copy of
    Amateur Photographer magazine
    off ebay in the UK a few
    weeks ago as I wanted to see
    the adverts & prices for
    Nikon gear back then. Maybe
    look there for a 1970's
    version? Had a quick look &
    there is a 1978 one listed. Might be a bit too late for you?
    Was surprised to see the 1986
    price for an F3 was £740. Had
    an idea it was less.
  13. All: Don't forget that there was a major burst of inflation, at least in the US, between 1972 and 1980. I don't remember the exact start and end dates, but I'm pretty sure it's between those limits. That means that a 1975 price would be a lot higher than the equivalent (inflation adjusted) price in 1972.
  14. In 1977 which was late in the F2 life cycle I bought the F2AS for $550. I remember it was about $750 with the 50mm f/1.4 AI lens. The F2A was $450 body only. The F2 with plain prism would be less but I don't know how much as few at that time would buy one with the plain prism.
  15. Last summer I bought a near mint condition Nikon F3/T and quickly added three classic lenses (28 f2 /50 f1.2 /105mm f2.5.) Camera is vintage 1983. These are truly great cameras and a lot of fun to use. There is no way I would have bought it in 1985 when I started photography. Classic cameras are an addiction all their own!
    Kent in SD
  16. In 1976 I paid $428 for my first F2, a black Photomic (one with the match needle meter rather than ligtht up diodes) with 50mm f/2 ordered by mail from Executive Photo in New York. I think shipping was around $10 addtional. In about 1990-1991 I helped a friend buy the same camera and lens except in Chrome used for around $400 or $450. I still have my original (and three others) and it's still working fine.

    For comparison, I bought my first car, a 1968 Chevy Impala four-door with big 283 V8, for $300, also in 1976.
  17. In 1972 my cousin bought me a silver F2 Photomic in Japan for $325. In late 1973 I bought a black one here in Los Angeles for $450.
  18. I am very grateful for the further interesting contributions.
    David Harris suggested I look for a contemporary copy of Amateur Photographer. Two years ago, I actually threw-away around 200 copies of AP and the like, some going back to the 1950s. Not even the charity shops would take them, and they went to waste disposal.
    However, what David said reminded me that I have a compendium book of AP Nikon test reports, and sure enough there is a report undertaken in May 1972. The price, including f2 lens, was £334. It is possible that dealers might be selling for less, but discounts were not very common at that time for this sort of equipment.
    Two years earlier, we had bought our first house for almost exactly three times that price.

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