We had visitors in town a few weeks ago and I and some of my colleagues were assigned as their minders. On the agenda was a courtesy call with the President. Naturally, we minions were not in the room and as time passed it became clear that the President and our guests were getting along nicely. We drank coffee and played with our phones. I happened to take a look at the Used Photo Pro website, something I do most days. From time to time a camera shows up there that I’m convinced I must have. I’m sure I’ve hit the ‘buy’ button and started filling in my details half a dozen times before talking myself back from the edge.

This time I jumped. A Nikon F2a, black, and in great condition. Who could resist? It arrived last week, though I’ve only had time to put one roll through it which is still to be developed.

Nico van Dijk’s F2 serial number matrix dates my camera to 1974, between August and October. This would imply that the head that came with the camera is  not the original, since the DP-11 head that makes this an F2a was designed to work with AI lenses which only appeared in 1977. The DP-11 uses CdS cells for metering and has a simple swinging needle display. I had read, while waiting impatiently for the camera to arrive, that the needle in these heads can sometimes be quite jumpy but on mine it moves very smoothly. I also noticed that the light seals, while not perfect, are in better condition than I would have expected for a 45 year old camera. I suspect that either the camera has been very well looked after or has been previously serviced at some point.

I didn’t need another camera but sitting next to my FM2n and collection of Nikkor lenses it looks rather well.

For those who would like to know more here are a few reviews of the F2 from Casual Photophile, Emulsive, Dan Schneider and Jim Grey. And here is a video walk through with Travis Mortz. Finally, here is Nikon’s own brief history of the F2’s development and launch.