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Nikon F2AS
Professional 35mm SLR (1977-1980)
© 2013 KenRockwell.com. in French / en Français.

Intro   Specs   Performance   Recommendations

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Nikon F2AS

1979 Nikon F2AS, Black (29.4 oz./834g, about $500 used), with 28mm f/2.8 AI-s. enlarge. I'd get it today at this direct link to the F2AS at eBay (see How to Win at eBay), or at Adorama.

My biggest source of support for this free website is when you use those or any of these links when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live — but I receive nothing for my efforts if you buy elsewhere. I'm not NPR; I get no government hand-outs and run no pledge drives to support my research, so please always use any of these links for the best prices and service whenever you get anything. Thanks for helping me help you! Ken.

June 2013      Nikon Reviews   Nikon Lenses   All Reviews

Guide to all Nikon F2 models.


Introduction         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Recommendations

Adorama pays top dollar for your used gear.

B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio
I use these stores. I can't vouch for ads below.

The F2AS is the last, best, most advanced and most durable mechanical camera ever made by Nikon. It might be the best ever made by anyone. It was the last and best of the professional F2 series started a decade before.

I bought this in 1980. It was made in 1979. I used it through 1999 when I bought an F100. It's sat mostly unused since then.

It's highly collectible, especially in black, because it's the best Nikon has ever made. It's getting more valuable with time.

The F2 series came after the original F of 1959 and was replaced by the F3 in 1980. I paid more for this F2AS, used, in 1980 than a new F3 would have cost me. Pros in 1980 did not trust the electronic automatic F3.

The interchangeable viewfinders contain the meters. The bodies are fairly similar across the years. The earliest finders had no meters, or primitive CdS cell meters with mechanical match-needles. The F2AS was the only one to use modern LED readouts and silicon photodiodes, instead of the old CdS cells and Galvanometer needles. All are powered from two tiny S76 cells in the base of the body.

See more at Guide to all Nikon F2 models.


Specifications and Performance    top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Recommendations



Horizontal titanium mechanical focal plane.

1/2,000 - 10 seconds, bulb and time.

Infinitely variable from 1/2,000 - 1/90 and from 2 - 10 seconds, Full-stop steps from 1 - 1/60.

I know of no other Nikon with infinitely variable manual shutter speeds.

Time mode opens the shutter, which stays open forever until you tell it to close. It allows long exposures without a cable release.

Times from 2 - 10 seconds are set on the self-timer. Metered long exposures are read from a second ring above the shutter speed dial.


Flash Sync

1/90, X only. PC terminal on front. No hot shoe. A optional special flash coupler slides over the rewind crank and provides a hot shoe. I have one of these couplers, you need one if you have an F2.


Mirror Lock-Up.


Depth-of-Field Preview.


Lens Compatibility

All except G.

Push up the little tab by "AS" to use ancient non-AI lenses made from 1959 - 1977. AI lenses (1977 - 1983) and AI-S, AF and AF-S lenses made from 1983 through today pop right on. Mirror lock-up allows use of old fisheye and ultrawide lenses that recessed into the body.



Special super-sensitive meter, denoted by AS on detachable finder, rated to read down to negative 4 EV at ISO 100 with f/1.4 lens! That's more sensitive than any other Nikon ever made. I bought this camera for night photography. The meters live in the detachable, interchangeable finders. Externally reading, too! A little red dot lights up on the top center of the meter housing when the correct exposure is set. ASA, ISO and exposure compensation settable to sixths of a stop!



Two S76 cells power the meter and nothing more. The F2AS works perfectly without batteries, except meter. Battery life is many years. Batteries I installed in April 1991 worked through July 2006! The power switch is the film advance lever. Push it in to turn off, pull out a little to turn on. When it's off, it's completely off.



Huge and unusually sharp! Unlike other Nikons, the finder is devoid of the usual geometric distortion. Nikon manual focus wide and 50mm f/1.4 lenses had about the same barrel distortion, and Nikon makes most of their finders with complementary pincushion distortion to hide that. The F2AS has no distortion. Interchangeable screens. Interchangeable finders. Viewfinder illumination: pull the switch on the top towards you.



I measure mine at 29.440 ounces or 834.5 grams, with two S76 batteries and strap lugs but without strap, without lens and without body cap.


See more at Guide to all Nikon F2 models.


Recommendations         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Recommendations

The professional F2AS is a system camera. Get one if you need crazy things like interchangeable viewfinders, 250 exposure backs, motor drives, intervelometers and etc.

If you just want a mechanical manual camera, get an FM. The FM does 90% of what photographers need, for less money and weight.

Get an F2AS if you demand the best and are willing to pay for it and haul it around. Get an FM, FM2 or FM3a if you want a manual camera to make photos. They weigh much less and do the same thing.

I haven't used my F2AS since I bought my F100 in 1999. I did use my F2AS in July 2006 to test a 1969 non-AI lens. I grew up 15 years ago and got a 4 x 5" camera to replace the F2AS for tripod-mounted landscapes. For hand-held photography I prefer digital cameras today.

I keep my F2AS for sentimental value, its ability to use ancient non-AI lenses and its extraordinary viewfinder.

See more at Guide to all Nikon F2 models.


Help me help you         top

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Mr. & Mrs. Ken Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.


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August 2011