The F2 Photomic was “the” professional 35mm SLR in the
1970s and was the gateway to the complete Nikon system of lenses and
accessories which, at the time, was the largest available. It was the
last of the professional mechanical manual cameras and only relied on a
battery for the metering. With the advent of electronics being used in
camera design; the F2 was eventually superseded by the F3 in 1980.
However, many photographers remained true to their F2s preferring to
keep to the proven mechanical technology.
The finest mechanical 35mm SLR ever made.
The F2 Photomic above is shown fitted with the MD-3
motor drive and The MB-2 battery pack. The motor drive units added
to the success of the F2 range with several model and battery pack
options available. The MD-3 motor drive with the MB-2 battery
pack, which took 8 AA batteries, would allow a shooting rate of 2.5
frames per second (fps). This could be increased to 3.5 fps with
the MB-1 battery pack which held 10 AA batteries. If a higher rate
was required, with the facility for power rewind, the MD-1 or slightly
updated MD-2 motor drives would give 4 fps when fitted with the MB-1
Although the body of the F2 never changed, the
camera evolved by updates to the prism head which lead to six variants
The standard F2 came with
the plain DE-1 head with no built in exposure metering.
1971-1977 (Non AI)
The F2 Photomic which came with the DP-1 head
offered Cds center-the-needle TTL metering and also displayed the
shutter and aperture settings in the viewfinder.
1973-1977 (Non AI)
The F2S with the DP-2 head offered Cds TTL
metering with increased low light sensitivity and a dual LED display to
The F2SB with the DP-3 head
had Silicon cell TTL metering which provided faster and more accurate
metering via a five stage LED display.
The F2A with the DP-11 head was the
same as the F2 Photomic but with Automatic Indexing (AI).
The F2AS with the DP-12 head was the most advanced
F2 produced. It was essentially the same as the F2SB but with Automatic
Indexing (Non AI) & Automatic Indexing (AI)
The Non Automatic Indexing (Non AI) heads required
the use of a meter coupling shoe, which was fitted to the aperture ring
on the lens, to couple it to the head. Once the lens had been fitted to
the camera it was required to be “indexed” by turning the aperture ring
to the largest then smallest aperture for it to meter correctly.
Detail of the Meter Coupling Shoe
The Automatic Indexing (AI) heads, introduced in
1977, removed the necessary for this as the head coupled direct with the
new AI lenses via a “ridge” on the lens mount.