Nikon prices from 25 years ago

I came across an old issue of Modern Photography from December of 1986. With the latest price increases, here is a nostalgic flashback of Nikon prices from 25 years ago:

More after the break:

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  • broxibear

    Nikon D7000 wins Best D-SLR Advanced at TIPA 2011.
    Sigma APO 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM won Best Expert Lens which is interesting, Best Professional Lens went to the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM.
    All winners here

  • alex

    Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II won Best Professional Lens in 2010. Did you expect to give the award twice??? :))))))

  • bo130

    It’s amazing to see just how close the FA was in price to the F3. I know that the FA was “new technology” when it was released, but I think I can see how some Nikon users may have been hesitant given that they could have a full ‘pro’ Nikon body for a few more $.

    • Vandyu

      The price list has just about my entire first Nikon kit: Nikon FA body, 35-70mm lens, MD15 motor drive. I also added the Series E 70-210mm and a small Nikon flash. At the time it seemed like a lot for me to spend on a camera, but now it’s about half what a D7000 will run. I still have that SLR sitting in a bag in pristine condition. It was a fun camera and I wish Nikon would produce a digital version of the FA body type.

      • carlgo

        Forgot what I paid for my FM-2. Still have it, still works. Frankly, I like it better than the computers with lenses being offered today. I too wish there was a digital version of a mechanical cameral. I guess the Leica M9 is pretty close to that. I would buy one if I was quite a bit richer. And I would use it, not store it in the closet in a velvet case.

    • Jabs

      Actually many photographers shooting F3’s used FA’s as their second body, since it had 1/250th of a second flash sync and a 1/4000th sec shutter speed compared to the F3’s 1/80th sync and 1/2000 sec shutter. Had both but preferred the F3 series but I liked the FA with the MD-15 motor drive only and not with the older MD-12. The F3 and FA were Nikon’s two new electronic cameras and a break from the past manual cameras and they received a lot of flak from that. The FA when released was close to the F3HP in price but later became cheaper. Some of these ads might be for the price of an F3 non-HP model (DE2 head) also.

  • chris

    hallo inflation

  • sithruz

    Tried computing those prices with Philippine currency, 1986 dollar to peso was 1 dollar to 20.53 pesos. 2011 dollar to peso now is 1 dollar to 45 pesos. Its hard to know which lens was AF and which one is AI-S on the list.

    • Jabs

      I think that all the lenses then were AIS including the AF lenses, if I remember right. The AF lenses had an AF designation at the end as there were a few then.

  • John

    Interesting how the FM2n seems to have held its value, compared to the 1987 price. A KEH EX grade FM2n is about $249-$299ish, and, back in 1987, the FM2n was about $249 new.

    • RThomas

      FM2 bodies do retain a certain intrinsic value, (they’re tanks, and can take a lot of abuse – back in the 1990’s when I worked in graduation photography we used them exclusively). But they don’t exactly cost the same compared to 1987; when you take inflation into account, a $250 camera then would be roughly a $500 camera now.

  • Prices for Nikon gear has held through the years. Check out Ebay and you’ll find used gear going for about the same price as it did new in 1987. Amazing.

  • Jeremy

    What I find amazing was the lens selection. From 6mm to 2000mm all available. Imagine paying $4600 for a 6 f2.8 today…

    I remember reading those magazines then when I was a kid and couldn’t afford anything. I also remember a bit later when I saw the F3T at $1,099 and thinking that was very expensive.


  • Before you get nostalgic for the old days, remember you had to pay for film and processing then. In reality, on a per-picture basis, photography is cheaper than it’s ever been!


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