Why does the Nikon F3HP have a "T" and "B" setting?

Discussion in 'Modern Film Cameras' started by mark_stephan|2, Nov 19, 2017.

  1. Bought a very nice, clean F3HP and 35mm f/2.8 ai-s through eBay and I'm familiarizing myself with all of the settings before I shoot a roll of film. I'm stumped when it comes to the "T" setting on the shutter speed dial. What is it used for? Why use it? Does it do the same things as BULB? Do modern digital cameras use T?
  2. In the old days, B let you press and hold the shutter button to keep the shutter open, whereas T allowed you to push the button to open it, then push it a second time to close it. This is how it works on my Bronica GS-1 lenses. This helps prevent battery drain on the camera because it has an electronic shutter.
  3. My DSLR has both B and T settings.
  4. As said, T holds the shutter open until you tell it to do otherwise.

    I use T all the time on large format lenses. If the shutter doesn't have an "open" button for composition, it's good for that and I can also avoid touching the camera(or relying on the cable release lock) on long exposures.

    On all the Nikons I've used, when you set the dial to T the shutter doesn't close until you move it away from T(the exception is the F2, where the T setting is on the shutter lock, and you move the lock to the center position to open the shutter). I just checked and the F3 requires moving the dial.
  5. Many cameras from the 1920's to 1930's have T, with many having both B and T.

    Some have I (instantaneous) and T (time), and often the usual use for T is for indoor shots, where you open and close about as fast as you can.
    Some fraction of a second longer than I (maybe 1/30 or so) and shorter than 1 s.

    The instructions often say never to use I for indoor shots, but with modern fast films, it is sometimes right.
  6. Having to touch the camera, and especially move a dial, to close the T (Time) setting completely defeats the object of it.

    If this is the case with any camera, then stick with the B (Brief) setting and use a locking cable release.
    denny_rane likes this.
  7. If the battery dies in your F3, you are left with two shutter speeds: 1) ~1/55 (using the mechanical lever instead of the shutter button) and 2) T.
  8. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    Full manuals available -- I have bought several for older cameras -- should say, donated rather than bought.

    link nikon camera instruction manuals
  9. I agree, but come to think of it I'm not sure if there's any FP 35mm camera where the T setting works without physically manipulating the camera.

    In fact, even my Leica IIIc has a "T" setting on the front dial, and the closing the shutter require moving the dial. Thus, I use the "z" setting on it for long exposures.

    The F2, IMO, is even worse as the T setting is integrated into the shutter button lock. Closing the shutter requires moving the collar to the "unlock" position. The only time I use the F2 T position is in combination with the self timer, where it can be used to time shutter speeds out to 10 seconds.

    The Seiko shutters in my RB67 lenses and all of my large format shutters use the two-press set up. I do use the T setting on those all the time. The Graflex focal plane shutter even works that way when wound to the T setting.
  10. On old Kodaks (and probably most cameras) set at B you have to keep holding the shutter release down as long as you want the shutter open.When you set it at T pressing once opens the shutter, the second pressing closes the shutter. If the camera is on a tripod, you can hold a black pice of cardboard in front of the lens until any vibration stops, lift the cardboard while timing the exposure, then cover the lens again and press the release again to close the shutter. Good for star photos.
  11. As I said, on Nikons(and at least the one Leica I have, along with the Canon Leica clone I checked) pressing the shutter a second time does NOT close it when set to T.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2017
  12. The F3 doesn't close the shutter on second press of the shutter release button but the digital camera Df does.
  13. That is a very nice camera Mark....

    Usually on extended time exposures moving the T has little if any effect on the image.
    As stated, simply covering the lens is a simple bit of insurance.....
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
  14. We could also use a top hat to cover and uncover the lens for time exposures, but this isn't the 1870s. Personally I'd expect any camera designer of the C20th or C21st to have the sense not to require the camera to be shaken in order to close the 'T' setting. But maybe my expectations are too high!
  15. I always figured that if you're using the T setting, the exposure is so long that the tiny jiggle of turning it off at the end won't make a visible difference. It never seemed to with me. On the other hand, I much prefer the way it's done nowadays with digital cameras, where a second push of the shutter button (or of the remote release button) closes the shutter. Even on the low end Nikon digitals with no T setting on the dial, the infrared remote turns B into a two-push T that is nice and vibration free.
  16. I have large format shutters from the 30s that work two presses-it's not exactly a modern approach.

    At least the F3 way of doing it causes less disturbance than T on the F2 where you have to lift the collar around the shutter release.
  17. Why that's 30 years into C20th! ;)
  18. I must admit I never use the T settings on the F3. B is sufficient and the locking feature is builtin to the cable release so there is no vibration.
  19. Many old cameras, especially box cameras, have a shutter release with two positions. In I position, the shutter opens and closes for each movement to the other position. For T, the shutter opens for one movement, and closes for the other, independent of the starting position.
  20. The 35mm Exaktas including the Varex/VX have a focal plane shutter, and (assuming the slow speed/timer dial is not in use) with the speed dial set to "T", depressing the shutter release once actuates the first curtain, repeating this, releases the second curtain to end the exposure, without touching the shutter speed setting knob in the process.

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