1979 Nikon F2AS, Black (29.4 oz./834g, about $500 used), with 28mm f/2.8 AI-s. enlarge. This free website's biggest source of support is when you use any of these links, especially this direct link to this lens at eBay (see How to Win at eBay), or at Adorama, when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Thanks! Ken.
The F2AS is the last, best, most advanced and most durable mechanical camera ever made by Nikon. It might be the best ever made by anyone. It was the last and best of the professional F2 series started a decade before.
I bought this in 1980. It was made in 1979. I used it through 1999 when I bought an F100. It's sat mostly unused since then.
It's highly collectible, especially in black, because it's the best Nikon has ever made. It's getting more valuable with time.
The F2 series came after the original F of 1959 and was replaced by the F3 in 1980. I paid more for this F2AS, used, in 1980 than a new F3 would have cost me. Pros in 1980 did not trust the electronic automatic F3.
The interchangeable viewfinders contain the meters. The bodies are fairly similar across the years. The earliest finders had no meters, or primitive CdS cell meters with mechanical match-needles. The F2AS was the only one to use modern LED readouts and silicon photodiodes, instead of the old CdS cells and Galvanometer needles. All are powered from two tiny S76 cells in the base of the body.
Specifications and Performance top
Horizontal titanium mechanical focal plane.
1/2,000 - 10 seconds, bulb and time.
Infinitely variable from 1/2,000 - 1/90 and from 2 - 10 seconds, Full-stop steps from 1 - 1/60.
I know of no other Nikon with infinitely variable manual shutter speeds.
Time mode opens the shutter, which stays open forever until you tell it to close. It allows long exposures without a cable release.
Times from 2 - 10 seconds are set on the self-timer. Metered long exposures are read from a second ring above the shutter speed dial.
1/90, X only. PC terminal on front. No hot shoe. A optional special flash coupler slides over the rewind crank and provides a hot shoe. I have one of these couplers, you need one if you have an F2.
All except G.
Push up the little tab by "AS" to use ancient non-AI lenses made from 1959 - 1977. AI lenses (1977 - 1983) and AI-S, AF and AF-S lenses made from 1983 through today pop right on. Mirror lock-up allows use of old fisheye and ultrawide lenses that recessed into the body.
Special super-sensitive meter, denoted by AS on detachable finder, rated to read down to negative 4 EV at ISO 100 with f/1.4 lens! That's more sensitive than any other Nikon ever made. I bought this camera for night photography. The meters live in the detachable, interchangeable finders. Externally reading, too! A little red dot lights up on the top center of the meter housing when the correct exposure is set. ASA, ISO and exposure compensation settable to sixths of a stop!
Two S76 cells power the meter and nothing more. The F2AS works perfectly without batteries, except meter. Battery life is many years. Batteries I installed in April 1991 worked through July 2006! The power switch is the film advance lever. Push it in to turn off, pull out a little to turn on. When it's off, it's completely off.
Huge and unusually sharp! Unlike other Nikons, the finder is devoid of the usual geometric distortion. Nikon manual focus wide and 50mm f/1.4 lenses had about the same barrel distortion, and Nikon makes most of their finders with complementary pincushion distortion to hide that. The F2AS has no distortion. Interchangeable screens. Interchangeable finders. Viewfinder illumination: pull the switch on the top towards you.
I measure mine at 29.440 ounces or 834.5 grams, with two S76 batteries and strap lugs but without strap, without lens and without body cap.
The professional F2AS is a system camera. Get one if you need crazy things like interchangeable viewfinders, 250 exposure backs, motor drives, intervelometers and etc.
If you just want a mechanical manual camera, get an FM. The FM does 90% of what photographers need, for less money and weight.
I haven't used my F2AS since I bought my F100 in 1999. I did use my F2AS in July 2006 to test a 1969 non-AI lens. I grew up 15 years ago and got a 4 x 5" camera to replace the F2AS for tripod-mounted landscapes. For hand-held photography I prefer digital cameras today.
I keep my F2AS for sentimental value, its ability to use ancient non-AI lenses and its extraordinary viewfinder.
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