The “Lord of Darkness” goes to space (Nikon D3s)


A week ago NR reported about NASA buying new Nikon D3s cameras (aka "The Lord of Darkness") and some lenses (Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED).

Today Nikon made it all official:

"The D3S digital SLR cameras and AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED lenses ordered by NASA will be carried on the Space Shuttle and used to photograph activities at the International Space Station (ISS) in the future.
No special modifications will be made to these products. They will be the same products available to end-users, confirming the incredible versatility of the D3S. This equipment will be used along with the Nikon D2XS digital SLR cameras, NIKKOR lenses, and Nikon Speedlights already in use at the International Space Station."

The love affair between NASA and Nikon goes back to the early 70's.

Here is the email I received from a reader (thanks Lucky) based on my previous question about the camera housing used in space:

Here is a close-up picture of the camera housing (continue to read after the break):


Update: a cool video of astronaut losing camera in space (thanks NikoDoby):

Since you had shown some recent interest in how NASA has used Nikons on board the International Space Station and had a question about the housing they use for spacewalks (EVA's) in yesterdays rumor discussion, I thought I'd follow up with a few things you might enjoy.

As far as I can remember, the housing is just some heavy white fabric to reduce heating and cooling from moving in and out of the sunlight. Sunlight is about 30% more intense in space than on the ground, and without air to insulate the camera or conduct excess heat away from the black bodies, those temperature extremes can be potentially damaging. I think the shutter button might also be extended slightly for easier use in those bulky gloves. You can see one of these cameras (with possibly a 12-24mm) in spacewalker Chris Cassidy's left hand here:

image source

You can see such a D2XS here naked and labeled "EVA camera" with velcro on it for attaching insulation. It's got an AF-I 400mm F/2.8 and a TC-20 mounted on it. This 800mm combo is used to photograph the space shuttle as it approaches to dock, so engineers on the ground can examine it for launch damage.

image source

Lastly, here's a mouthwatering collection of Nikons velcroed to the walls of the ISS while not in use. I count 6 bodies, 3 flashes, and 14 lenses! The Exif data says one more D2Xs, flash, and lens were used to take the picture.

image source

If you feel like browsing around more, NASA has thousands of photos online. The images above were from Expedition 20.

Full press release:

MELVILLE, N.Y. (Dec. 21, 2009) – Nikon Corporation (Michio Kariya, President) is pleased to announce that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has placed an order for eleven D3S digital SLR cameras and seven AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED lenses to be used for photographic documentation.

The D3S digital SLR cameras and AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED lenses ordered by NASA will be carried on the Space Shuttle and used to photograph activities at the International Space Station (ISS) in the future. No special modifications will be made to these products. They will be the same products available to end-users, confirming the incredible versatility of the D3S. This equipment will be used along with the Nikon D2XS digital SLR cameras, NIKKOR lenses, and Nikon Speedlights already in use at the International Space Station.

Nikon has spent many years contributing to NASA's study of space through the development and manufacture of advanced and extremely durable cameras as well as of NIKKOR lenses that make the most of Nikon’s optical technologies, and of which production has recently reached fifty million units. To date, NASA has captured more than 700,000 images using Nikon equipment carried into space. Space, however, is not the only extreme environment in which Nikon equipment is used. Nikon also provides official observation equipment used in exploring the Arctic. Nikon equipment contributes to observation and research of these little explored regions with durability, reliability and technical capabilities that stand up to even the most severe environments

Nikon’s history with NASA

• 1971: Nikon Photomic FTN* (NASA specifications) was used on Apollo 15

• 1980: The “Small Camera”, based on the Nikon F3 and equipped with a motor drive, and the F3 "Big Camera", which utilized long film, were delivered to NASA. The “Small Camera” was used aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia launched the following year.

• 1991: The Nikon F4 and F4S were delivered to NASA

• 1999: The Nikon F5 and AF Nikkor lens were carried aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery to photograph extravehicular activities (EVA)

• 2008: D2XS digital SLR cameras were delivered to NASA. Six D2XS cameras are used in space to document activities such as inspection and maintenance

• In addition, approximately about 15 types of NIKKOR lenses (more than 35 lenses all together) are kept aboard the International Space Station for intravehicular and extravehicular photography to provide continued support for NASA’s space activities

*Nikon F equipped with Photomic FTN viewfinder that supports TTL center-weighted metering.

The D3S was released in November 2009 as the latest flagship model for Nikon FX-format digital SLR cameras. This camera is equipped with a new CMOS sensor (36.0 × 23.9 mm) developed by Nikon and supports standard ISO sensitivity settings of 200 to 12,800. Sensitivity can also be set as high as Hi 3 (ISO 102,400 equivalent) or as low as Lo 1 (ISO 100 equivalent). Image-degrading noise has been minimized to enable shooting at high sensitivities under even extremely dim lighting. In addition, the D3S is equipped with the D-Movie function, enabling HD video capture and includes high-sensitivity movie mode and movie editing functions for trimming start and ending footage or saving selected frames as JPEG stills. Naturally, the camera itself is representative of an all-round flagship model offering basic performance and operation that meet the strict demands (fast, support for high sensitivities, superior image quality) of professional and advanced amateur photographers in a number of fields, including the press, sports and nature photography.

The AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED is the world’s first ultra wide-angle zoom lens to offer a focal length of 14mm with a maximum aperture of f/2.8. The performance of this lens has been extremely well received by the camera industry, and recognized by Europe’s Technical Image Press Association (TIPA), which awarded it The Best Professional Lens in Europe 2008, and the European Imaging and Sound Association (EISA), which awarded it European Professional Lens 2008-2009.

This entry was posted in Nikon D3s and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • jim

    That’s quite an endorsement. No modifications.

  • woble

    cool stuff 😀

  • nikkor_2

    I don’t see any white lenses… 🙂

  • Namphamq

    Those astronauts are some lucky bunch getting to use D3s’s for free, aside from getting to ride into space of course.

    Also, do those nikons that go out into space walks get a special suite? If yes, I’d say it’s quite a big mod then.

    • Louis

      i think by mod they mean NIKON making the camera better (if that’s even possible)

      a space suit is necessary for protection of the equipment from the kinds of dust and debris found in space. i doubt any camera could be used normally in space….

    • iamlucky13

      As far as I know, the housing is just some heavy white fabric that is attached to the camera body with velcro. In other words, the spacewalk “mod” is even simpler than a waterproof housing. If you click on “image source” below the photo of the space walker waving, and select the high resolution image, you can see this fabric cover in pretty decent detail. In the picture below that, with the 400mm lens attached, the high resolution copy will let you see the velcro attach points.

      As far as I’ve been able to find out, those are the only mods that the current cameras need, except maybe an extended shutter button…The spacesuit gloves are really stiff. If you check out the article about NASA and Nikon’s history going back to the 70’s, near the bottom there’s some pictures of heavily modified F3’s that are more substantial.

      • good idea – I included a close-up of the housing

        • iamlucky13

          Looks good. The closeup shows exactly what I was talking about.

          I was excited to see you were able to make use of the information I sent along. I enjoyed digging up a few pictures and info from two of my main interests: space and photography.

          • Sometimes I sit on a tip or an email for few weeks until I find some connection with ongoing events. For everyone out there that is sending me information: if I don’t post it right away online, it does not mean that I am ignoring you – I am just researching the topic or waiting on confirmation/more information.

      • Soap

        I’d be shocked if there wasn’t some sort of radiation shielding in the “fabric” cover.

        • Ronan

          LOL! Back to astronomy 101 for you.

          • Soap

            WTF fool?

            for starters:
            What percentage of cosmic rays get reflected by our magnetosphere and make life on this planet so… possible?

            What happens to a silicon chip when it is struck by one?

          • David

            I don’t get what Ronan is saying either.

        • Recent Convert

          In lieu of a heavy modification of the camera to prevent the haze that was the hallmark of early space photography (anything between X-ray and UV, plus particle radiation), the mod is obviously in the white cover. It makes sense. You need quite a bit of absorbtive depth. 4 or 5mm in the cover are easier to achieve this, than adding the shielding between sensor and the camera-back function buttons.

          • iamlucky13

            The haze from film results from the fact that the film sits continuously gathers exposure from as long as its exposed to x-rays. Since digital only gains exposure while it is active, I don’t believe this is an issue.

            However, the higher intensities of cosmic rays in space could gradually degrade the electronics in the cameras. If you look at full size images, you will see a lot of hot pixels. I suspect this may be a result of the harsher environment.

    • Jerry

      There must be something in the housing to keep the camera warm.
      I don’t know about D3S, but D90 is rated to work from 0 to 40 C.
      Space is very cold, normally camera, I think, just won’t work properly in such environment – LCD will freeze, for one, and who knows how sensor will behave. I read some posts that at -25 C colors are shifting and so on.

      • David

        I have shot the Nikon d700 and d300 in -50C, I didn’t noticed any significant color shift if any (then again there was not much color where I was). I doubt this is much of an issue when you shoot in raw anyway. What you do get at -50 C is some pixel deaths, LCD screens freezing up on you and not really responding (it is liquid, after all), and the AF slowing down quite a bit. Obviously, there is also the battery-related issue at such extreme temperatures. You can use heat packs that last quite a long time to keep the camera body warm (or at least warmer) which is that I did (and just maybe is’t that simple for NASA too?). You don’t want to heat the lens since it doesn’t need it and (at least on Earth where there is moisture) that can cause condensation/crystalization; though in space that might not be an issue.

        Ok but why didn’t they go with a D3x?

        • mojoplank

          “Ok but why didn’t they go with a D3x?”

          Because 12 (good) MPs are all anyone will ever need 🙂

        • Dweeb

          They have – you people just don’t know about it. 2 Missions ago pics were taken with at least one D3x, a story I broke on another website. I have a hunch it may be owned by the JSA and went up as part of the Kibo lab but that’s only a guess.

          They may be going with the D3s for some simple PR video. They also use a Sigma lense although I wonder how many they had to cherry pick for space flight.

      • EB

        Space is technically cold, but it is also airless and therefor heat radiates extremely slowly from objects. The main provision of a EVA suit is keeping the astronaut pressurized and preventing them from getting too HOT. If you just had a pressure suit without any cooling in a vacuum, your body heat would build up and you would likely die of heat stroke, all in an environment that is a few degrees about absolute zero.

        That’s why the camera is covered in white fabric and insulation, it is to keep it from getting too warm if sunlight hits it, because it wouldn’t be able to radiate that heat energy.

        • David

          Ok that makes some sense to me but don’t you still need to maintain the camera is somewhat operable temperature? So in other words if the camera is indeed operating in a zero Kelvin environment, how do you keep it at least sufficiently warm to operate? Relying on the heat of it’s LCD screen? (kidding, I truly don’t know hence am asking). I understand the shield being used to keep the camera from overheating, but that keeps it from freezing?

          • iamlucky13

            It’s a mutual balance. The camera actually would cool relatively quickly by radiating heat away if it were uncovered and in shadow. The white blanket reflects its own heat back to itself. Also, its electronics would contribute a little bit of heat. It would rapidly overheat in direct sunlight, but again, the white cover reflects back the sunlight.

            I would suspect that someone at NASA long ago did a heat transfer analysis of the basic camera housing and found the temperatures satisfactory for a typical spacewalk. If not, they certainly could use a heatpack, but as far as I know, none is needed.

  • GlobalGuy

    I like the name! Good one!

    Did you make that up?? Photonuts love these kind of nicknames… 🙂

    • no, I did not come up with this name – somebody mentioned it here few days ago and I’ve seen it on other sites too

  • Louis

    anyone else notice the large world atlas strapped to the ceiling?

    they go so far just to look back at earth…..

  • Anonymous

    Good thing about space is that you can handel a D3+400mm f/2.8 with only one hand !

    • mike

      It’s a D2xs, but that’s basically what I was thinking.

  • SimonC

    I wonder if the D3s’ sensor cleaning actually does more harm in space than on Earth. The dust particles can’t fall down due to zero gravity. Once shaken off from the sensor, I’d imagine they be floating around in the mirror box.

    • Ennan

      nah – the light would just wrap around most of it.

  • NikoDoby

    I recall that the NASA D2XSs have a “special” lubricant than what is normally used on production versions. No other modifications. I would think the D3S would require the same “adjustment” for space travel.

    • f/2.8

      Only mods to the D2XSs was the use of a special lubricant.

      Since the D3S does not need any mod. to board the space craft, my guess is that Nikon uses this space grade lubricant for regular production pro bodies.

      It is perhaps well worth the extra cost for the headline, “Look ma, no mods needed.”

      • GlobalGuy

        Plus, unless its made out of gold, a little lube isn’t going to cost very much at all. Even a little gold doesnt cost that much. We’re talking about $5-9k for pro stuff, the margin will eat it fine.

        For those that don’t know, liquids, include some lubes, ball up in space. So they stop being so lubricating. Poor lubrication is just one reason why guns don’t work too well in space and why everyone uses lasers instead. =P

        • Ennan

          yeah, plus lasers are cool. Also you can tell who is on your side by the colour of laser they are shooting. Fact.

          • WoutK89

            What about sharks in space? I want them to have the friggin’ lasers attached to their heads.

  • CraigP

    Did anyone else notice that the camera in the top right is a D200 (or D300) not a D2x etc – as you can read the x00 on the front ot the camera.

    • Flash to the Bone

      The top left camera (not right :P) is indeed a D200, and not a D300 because of the layout of the external contact (not the 11-pin, but the other one…)

      • CraigP

        opps yes I meant top left – too early in the morning for me here! I don’t (yet) have a D300 to compare, Still a very nice collection of glass to choose from.

  • Gra

    I wonder how VR on any lenses equipped with it would perform up there.

    • silverfire

      I’d expect the VR to operate as it does in the presence of gravity — they’re simply gyroscopes and/or accelerometers controlling voice coils to compensate for acceleration on a few axes.

      • Gra

        Yeah, but I’d assume they’re programmed to compensate for acceleration based on gravity and unsupported/sudden weight transference…

        None of which (I would figure) takes place up there, in the same way it does under gravity…my thinking is the VR would be confused and probably try and spin the camera the lens is mounted on…or at least oscillate.

        Dunno…maybe it does…guess I’ll never find out personally.

        Oh and good job admin…I told you so! lol

        • you are welcome – this is really cool stuff (no dislike votes so far)

          • f/2.8

            Don’t worry about any dislike votes. If there are any, they are from fanboys. Nikon fanboys included (you ever seen fans trashed their own city when their team won the championship?)

            Or from Canadians who saw their 14 D3Ss got re-routed to NASA.

            • I am not worry, I am just keeping track of the votes – I removed them from my other two sites (LeicaRumors & PhotoRumors) and I may removed them from here too – I already got a picture of what you guys like and what you don’t.

            • NikoDoby

              He means LeicaRumors and PhotoRumors 🙂

            • aahh, yea, I will fix it

  • low

    D3s rules all! Nikon in space. Nuff said!

    • Jay

      you own a d40 huh lol.

      • low

        i own them all.

        • Ennan

          oh dear… it has begun!

  • f/2.8

    Can’t wait to see International Space Station bloopers on youtube.

    • WoutK89

      or photos of their pets 😀

      • f/2.8


        Why, no brick wall in space?

  • Jabs

    NR Admin – you beat me to it – lol.

    I seriously doubt that there were no modifications to any of those cameras in outer space, so I take their reports with a ‘grain of salt’, as they say.

    Marketing people are stretchers of the truth, often.

    • f/2.8

      I have no doubt there were no modifications to those cameras and lenses because NASA ordered it from Amazon and got free shipping direct to the International Space Station. Ha!

      • Ronan


      • Jabs

        Yeah – LOL!
        They sent it via UPDS (United Planetary Delivery Service) and it got there in a space bleep = three years give or take FOUR, to you earthlings.
        They even lost their account information to hackers or even paid by ‘inspiration’ – BE VERY,VERY,VERY AFRAID – lol.

        People lie and tell you moronic things and suckers believe everything on the Internet.
        I seriously doubt that ANY camera can take the ravages of outer space in STOCK form even with a “BLANKY” on it – lol.

        Nikon is known to make SPECIAL cameras for NASA via CONTRACT and then the claim of no modifications is somewhat redundant – FACTS!
        If they did not modify the basic camera whatsoever, then they would be right BUT they would never publicly admit to WHAT they modified or did to meet the requirements of NASA (thus breaking their Contract or SECRECY Agreement) or ANYONE would then buy a ‘normal’ D3s and then take it apart and reverse engineer it for THEIR own use in space – duh! (or even buy a stock one for SPACE FLIGHT !!!)

        How stupid are we?
        Senor Spock – where forth art thou?

  • Eng Seng

    In the zero-gravity of space, you can handheld a Nikon D3s and a Nikkor 600mm f/2.8 lenses all day long.

    • WoutK89

      it’s pity there is no 600/2.8 Nikkor yet! But I bet the f/4.0 will be even easier to hold, since it would be lighter than a f/2.8 will be.

  • great post… thanks NR

  • camerausercollector

    Watch out E.T here comes D3s.

  • NikoDoby

    Remember when astronaut Suni Williams lost her D2X in space? If it made it through reentry to Earth and if someone finds it working perfectly then Nikon’s got a better survival story than the canon rebel that fell off a skydivers helmet at 3000ft/900m!

    There was also a COOLPIX that got close to space!

    • Jay

      lol your below link is not an accomplishment and can be preformed by any p&s that can be hacked… hence….

      lol at the d2x surving re-entry in your pipe dreams bud.

      • NikoDoby

        The Spanish students did it first with a Nikon. Once the MIT kids saw it was safe for their canon then they tried it too.

        And Jay at least I dream big. All your pipe dreams are just about improving the AF on your 5D2 🙂

        • Jay

          lol I own a canon because my work has nikon for free… the us navy hurrdurrr. I get to use the best from both sides. But hey you can stick to being a one brand hack all your life while other great cameras pass you by.

        • Jay

          also 5dmark2 still pumping out great images even with its 9 point af… guess no one can make great images without 51af points ROFL…. you,ronan, addair crack me up sometimes.

        • Jay

          lol you own a d80 hahaha

          • NikoDoby

            Wow, way to collect your thoughts Jay 🙂

            Actually I do own lots of different brands including canon film cameras. I didn’t buy a D80 since my D70 still serves me well though. Seeing as how you get so easily confused using canon’s complex 9 AF points I can understand why you dislike Nikon’s 51 so much.

            It’s great to hear you serve our country but I won’t ask since you can’t tell 🙂

          • Jay

            stress of combat perhaps… lol. I dont have problem with nikons 51 af points when shooting fast subjects. But still subjects I find it overkill. The 9 af points in 5DM2 have served me well so far, most of the time I just use 11 points on our niks. Sorry to be rude earlier im just going through alot right now lol, probably venting on people that dont deserve it.

          • NikoDoby

            lol, OK Jay apology accepted 🙂 Now let’s have a beer summit 🙂

  • zen-tao

    NASA is in crisis like me. I wonder they had crash down their piggy-bank and spent their savings. It’s supposed they have convinced their wives to spent so much money to purchase that stuff, I couldn’t.

    • f/2.8

      We are lucky Nikon has been so determined to the point of foolhardiness in developing cameras at huge losses for NASA for so long that NASA can now literally buy Nikon off the shelf for use in their space crafts.

      Otherwise, it would have cost us taxpayers billions just to see contractors build prototypes for evaluations. And of course Nikon, Canon, etc will be shut out of the bid leaving only a division from GM, Hughes, or Boeing in the running. That is, after 6 other companies burned up $900 millions in building and submitting non working mock-ups.

      • rhodium

        Who knows? For all we know, we could be seeing a Halliburton camera in the next few years doing service up in the ISS.

  • Rosco

    Do Nikon ever use the fact that there cameras are in space for their adverts? I’m sure that fact would be wonderful PR.

    • WoutK89

      this is a press release, so yes they use it for PR reasons 😉

    • f/2.8

      I don’t recall Nikon used that fact in an ad. Their partnership with NASA spans decades and almost every top pro body in Nikon’s history had been adapted for use by NASA so I can’t say for sure they didn’t tho.

      I do recall Hassy had ads regarding their moon cameras. One of the ad was a tougue in cheek one after the moon landing – they offered free Hassy, the catch is you have to go to the moon to pick it up.

      The Apollo missions had left 12 Hassys on the moon. They are still sitting where the astronauts abandoned them on the moon.

    • Jabs

      Hey ROSCO,
      Yes, Nikon used their ‘association’ with NASA in product brochures in the past – F4, F3, FA, FM-2 and most of the older ‘F’ series film cameras. I still have a few brochures that proves this.
      When other manufacturers went alongside or even supplanted Nikon, then they dropped their advertisement or a focusing on that alone. I believe that Olympus with an OM4-T (Titanium) did and some Leica’s did supplemental work. I am not sure about Canon, but I believe that Canon made it to space when they introduced the pellicle version of the F1 film camera that shot at 10 frames per second due to NOT having a mirror assembly BUT had a semi-transparent ‘assembly’ that DID NOT move and light came through to expose the film during exposure (another WIKI mistake made by many as they were NOT there then) . It was Canon’s response to the F3 + MD4, MN2 Nicads which shot at 8 frames per second EVEN in the cold and photographers ran to it like they did the D3.
      On the back of all the Nikon FILM body brochures it featured F’s, F2’s, the F3’s and then F4s’s as being ‘chosen for outer space’ implying a toughness in their PRO bodies. The F3 was especially touted along with the Nikon F with a Titanium head, F2T (a rare camera), the F3HPT-C (High Eyepoint, Titanium head and camera top -Chrome = the titanium finish was left the color of Titanium and NOT painted as erroneously reported all over the Internet on WIKI’s), the F3HPT-B (Black PAINTED top and HEAD, though Titanium underneath), the F3PT (P = Pro or Press and T = Titanium – and it was also painted wrinkled BLACK on the top part of camera plus had a unique head that contained an ISO hot shoe, as the F3 normally had its’ flash mount on the REWIND area but they had an adapter or several to make this a normal ISO head plus one to remove the head or extend it out so as to NOT block the rewind (AS-7). The F3PT or then simply called F3P was said to have been designed for NASA who requested the over the lens flash position like FA/FM2 and was NOT available to the general public, but later Nikon capitulated and sold it only to Nikon pros or Press photographers, as it was insanely expensive. They also talked about the F3AF with another special head and how that helped.
      Nikon was the first to deploy an autofocus camera in space, as far as I remember.
      Nikon also HAD a famous Location-Showroom-Museum in the area of Rockefeller Center near the skating rink or what is now the GE building or where NBC is. They had all their bodies there plus all their lens on display plus cutaways of all their cameras and many lens SHOWING how they were made PLUS they had some SPACE camera cutaways there showing what made them unique. We saw the differences PLAINLY and since that resource is closed, then we lost that great New York Showroom.
      THAT is my frame of reference and NOT wikis, as I saw all of their lens, bodies over the years up until the F4, I believe and they displayed lots of photographs by well known pros in a mini Museum. You could look through everything from fisheyes to huge mirror lens like 2000mmF11 and then look across to New Jersey with it.
      Great place but long gone!
      You could get cameras inspected and even sent out to serviced, plus they would allow you to use ANY Nikon body and lens combination there and thus I saw it all, then.
      Favorite then was F3HPT with 300mm F2 mounted on a huge Gitzo tripod or some humongous tripod buried in concrete wherein you could look through this 2000mm F11 mirror lens that looked like a white ‘astro telescope’. The big lens were mounted on sturdy tripods and they exchanged bodies. They dealt with people who came in there with NIKONS on their arms or in their bags, so when I went there, I took my F3’s, then later F4s (F4 with battery pack) and asked lots of questions. I even shot through a 300mm F2 there ONCE – awesome. Loved the 200mm F2 also and 8mm Fisheye – huge thing!

      • Rosco

        Thanks for the info everyone. I just thought it would be good for them to advertise that their cameras are used by NASA in consumer advertising. Big splashes in papers, mags etc. Surely that would be more impressive than Ashton Kutcher! You “By a Nikon the only camera NASA would consider tough enough to send into space” etc etc

        • iamlucky13

          We could only wish. Seeing those Ashton Kutcher commercials makes me embarrassed to own a Nikon.

        • Jabs

          Hey ROSCO,
          The dynamics of advertising has changed for Nikon over the years. Nikon did like what Apple does now with stores or ‘showrooms’ that displayed all of their products in the major cities of the world. Nikon was then more focused on the professional market PLUS cameras were relatively cheap compared to now.
          I first bought my F3HP for $439 US from B+H years ago – lol, then I bought several MD4 motor drives and MN2 Nicad packs plus special backs that left the film leader out and such. Thus, cameras were a lot cheaper and marketed differently. The most expensive Nikon camera was the F3P, F3AF, then the F3HPT-C and F3HPT-B. I paid over $1600 bucks for my F3AF with 80mm F2.8 and 200mm F3.5AF ED lens in mint condition and the irony is that BOTH this 80mm F2.8 and 200 mm F3.5 ED-IF had a motor in the lens and were very sharp. Later on Minolta and Canon joined the autofocus revolution and Canon changed mounts and then later we had the digital era.
          The digital era became so expensive and camera marketing became a boutique thrust like how Leica marketed their stuff. Nikon rarely marketed on television in the past but focused on magazines like National Geographic, Modern Photography, Popular Photography, Life, Newsweek, American Photographer, Rolling Stone magazines and of course product placement in Hollywood movies.
          ALL of my F3’s together did not cost what ONE D3 costs today – and I had 3 F3’s – F3TC, F3AF, F3HP plus all the heads and all the focusing screens plus lens hoods for every lens, all types of Nikon, Tiffen, B+W brand polarizers (linear and circular as the F3 needed a different type, then) and filters, 3 MD-4 motor drives with 4 MN-2 Nicad packs, plus a FA-B with an MD-15 motor drive and a few other Nikon ‘amateur bodies’ – LOL! I also had an F4s with the MB-23 (I think that was the name) and I would use this with or without the motor drive but preferred the motor drive, plus I had a data back – LOL!
          The point is – photo gear was much cheaper then and since I shot mainly slides (Fuji Velvia 50, Fuji 64T -Tungsten film, sometimes Kodachrome 25 or 64 -not really a fan of Kodachrome, sometimes Ektachrome) and then for B+W, I shot Fuji Neopan 100 -1600, Agfapan, Ilford Delta and the Ilford B+W which could be developed in E6 and even some Polaroid B+W slide film in blue and white or black and white.
          The marketing has changed now as digital P&S cameras and camera phones have made almost everyone a ‘photographer’, hence more choices, a wider field of users PLUS now we have the Internet and Photo Sites to display all this goodness.
          Actually, Nikon had more of a variety of lens and bodies in the past and their cameras were more physically customizable than now. I outfitted my cameras according to what I wanted to shoot that day and I always shot with 3 or more bodies, all with motor drives. I bought things from 47th Street Photo (no longer around, I think), B+H, Adorama and all the Hasidic Jews who operate these Camera stores in Manhattan and Brooklyn, New York.
          Higher costs of equipment has made marketing different plus the Internet has changed everything.
          Have a good one!

  • Gra

    Hey Admin, d0 you reckon they ever sent up that rumoured white bodied D3 to test? lol

    Look ma, no space suit…:D

  • Jabs
  • Back to top