Camera Geekery: The Nikon F2 Data
Amongst the rarest of Nikons, the ultra special Nikon F2 Data. As Nikon cameras go, this is one of them that you are not going to see very often. Very few of these cameras were produced and as usual with something of this age, it is more than likely that very few survive.
As for every collector out there, there are three people who care very little for the future of their gear, even with an item such as this. And this camera is special in that there are lots of little bits to go missing on it. So, lets have a look at the legendary Nikon F2 data.
This camera is the precursor to the modern data backs that began creeping onto cameras in the nineties. The is really the ‘Grandfather’ of data imprint technology. The basis of the camera is an F2, but it was developed with scientific and/or industrial applications in mind.
At the time of it’s inception it was at the very forefront of camera technology,
There were several different configurations available, all based on F2 versions available at the time. The bases body is the same with all, but the difference could be found in the finders, the DP-11 (F2A), DP-12 (F2AS) or DE-1 (F2). Added to this there were two different data backs available, an MF-10 Databack for 36-exposure or MF-11 (with the MF-1 magazine) for 250-exposures.
The camera comes with three different ways to imprint data onto the film. You could imprint with the timepiece, the date unit or the memo plates. The memo plates leave an imprinted message of your choice on the film, making them perfect for recording important data.
Unfortunately since these plates are so small and fiddly, they are easy to lose or break, so when you see one of these cameras with the plates you know you are on to something special.
The utilitarian design of this camera is something that comes from a different era of camera manufacture. There was nothing in the way of ergonomics or style. This camera was designed by engineers to do a job and to do that job well.
The time pieces (made by Seiko) are not interchangeable and are slotted into the side of the imprint unit. This camera comes from a different era. So different in fact that apparently the dates on the date unit do not even reach the end of the 90’s. These cameras were so specialist that they were not even intended to be used for any great length of time.
When I checked this camera the date units only went to 1987! I was 10 when this camera was not longer commercially applicable.
I think one of my favourite things about this camera is that on film ASA rating scale on the back of the camera the legends Kodachrome and Ektachrome are clearly printed, with the setting that you should be using for that film.
Apparently each one of these cameras was handmade to order. Which makes you wonder who ordered them and for what reason. I would love to see that order book.This is the rarest of the F2 cameras and it was a pleasure to be able to find it.
I was very fortunate to find this camera, and I cannot see myself finding another one in this kind of condition any time in the near future, but that does not mean I shall not be looking.