Nikon F-301 35mm SLR Camera with Nikon Series E 50mm f1.8 Lens
Fully film tested and all functions working as they should (see test pics).
The lens is not original as the lens supplied is the first version of the Series E. Nikon F-301s were usually supplied with the second version of the lens which is cosmetically different but optically identical.
The lens is silky smooth throughout its focus and has a snappy and reactive aperture. Viewfinder is clean and bright.
Camera and lens are in used condition showing some scuffs and some small scratches but are functionally perfect.
The lens DOES NOT have a skylight filter on it, the pictures show a filter ring attached without a filter. This has been added to protect the front of the lens as the lens face is otherwise almost flush with the front of the lens housing and prone to damage. This will be supplied with the camera but we would recommend a skylight be fitted to give the lens extra protection.
The F-301 was very successful in its day but Nikon cut its production run short and as a result it was only available for around 2 years starting in 1985. It was a casualty of the Auto Focus revolution. Its sister camera was the Nikon F-501 which is basically an F-301 with Auto-Focus.
The F-301 is a very sophisticated camera featuring full manual controls, Aperture Priority and two Program modes. The program modes feature a standard mode which favours depth of field and a High Speed Mode which favours shutter speed. The Program mode on the F-301 is masterful and it almost never misses a trick. Check out the night shot in the test pics taken on high speed Program model under very difficult lighting and you can see just how good it can be.
Like many cameras of the late film camera era the F-301 is equipped with a DX reader to automatically set the film ISO but than can be overridden and manually set if desired. The camera also has up to 2 stops exposure compensation for all shooting modes.
Technically the F-301 surpasses both the Canon AE-1 Program and the Minolta X-700 its two closest competitors from its day missing only a depth of field preview but offering DX coding, superior program modes, a built in auto winder and the superb viewfinder.
The view finder and focus screen may just be the best of any camera from the period and some would say any camera PERIOD! Bright and sharp giving an exceptional view and making focusing easier. Only the Minolta X-700 with its AccuMatte screen can rival it.
Paired with the 50mm f1.8 Series E lens it is a compact and potent combination capable of getting excellent pictures.
Sadly, time has not been kind to the F-301, though its reliable very many of them turn up with badly corroded battery trays or other corrosion related issues. The F-301 used standard AAA batteries and these could last for as many as 30 rolls of film. Probably more film than many people buying them would ever shoot. The consequence is many have been left to rot in cupboards and lofts. Finding a good reliable one is hard work but a good runner is a total joy to use.
There was some mild corrosion caused by a leaking battery which needed careful cleaning. This is a common issue with the Nikon F-301. The product pictures show this has been cleaned to perfect, with only some small staining left on a single contact.
Overall the camera was acquired in near perfect operating condition and so only cleaning work has been carried out.
Light seals are in good shape and will likely last for a considerable period of time. Nikon used a different foam to most manufacturers and as a result it tends to last better which is just as well as the foam cut-out shapes are rather difficult to replicate.
The lens was in poor shape with a jammed focus and oil haze issues on its optics. The lens was completely cleaned and rebuilt with more modern lubricants and while its cosmetics are best described as worn it is optically and mechanically perfect returning excellent sharp pictures. The lens will be featuring in one of our rebuild articles very soon.
Shutter tested with ZTS V Tester to ensure accuracy.
All lenses of this age exhibit some small particles of dust and coatings are not up to modern standards. Cameras will exhibit some wear signs and likewise may have small dust specks in their viewfinders or focus screens. These do not affect the picture in any way.
ANY problems or issues will be described in the main text which you are advised to read carefully.If you are unfamiliar with film cameras we suggest you do some online research and read the manuals which are freely available from online resources.
Most lenses are cleaned, re-lubricated and all of their functions checked prior to sale so you know they will work, full details will always be in the text. All items are packed safely for transit using proper packing material NOT something the cat was sick in.Having been stung both on eBay and by dealers alike who often know very little about film cameras we decided to offer people a chance to experience film using a camera that will last for many years and which we can say for sure works reliably
Mel & Claire