Exploded Views – Nikon F3

After an extended hiatus, our Exploded Views feature is back, and I’ve brought to bear my most ambitious effort yet! I’ve chosen a truly legendary camera, Nikon’s F3, and photographed it in a way that brings unprecedented detail to this popular feature.

But what’s different about this Exploded View?

Instead of laying out every component of the camera and taking a single photo of the lot (as in our previous efforts) I’ve gone through the excruciating process of photographing every single component with a macro lens, and compiling the hundreds of massive images into one gargantuan file. The detail is just unbelievable, and it allows me to make prints that are truly impressive.

But enough yammering. This project has taken too long to keep squawking about it. If you want to see every single part of a Nikon F3 laid out in a gorgeous display, read on.

As stated, I’m going to just sit back and let the work do the talking for this one. But some quick background on the project- longtime readers will surely know of the previous CP Exploded Views. This ongoing feature lays out the components of different classic cameras so we can all see the amazing machinery that’s working to help us make an image.

I’ve wanted to explode an F3 for a long time now, but doing the same old project just seemed a bit lazy.

A few weeks ago I came across a factory service manual for the F3, and in it I found a beautiful schematic of the camera. Some online searching shows this schematic has been uploaded in various places online, most famously by Bellamy of Japan Camera Hunter fame.

It got me thinking. The drawing is charming and detailed, but what if we could actually see every component as it exists in reality. With this in mind, I set out to make it happen. Here then is the final result, as well as some detail shots.

The resolution of these uploads has been significantly reduced for posting on the web- the full size image that we’ll use for prints is over 15,000 x 9,000 pixels. I can’t stress enough how detailed the full sized image is, and it allows us to make truly amazing wall-sized prints.

Prints of this series have proven to be extremely popular, and I love the idea that these pieces are hanging proudly under glass in homes all over the world. The Nikon F3 print has now joined the others in my shop and on Etsy, so if you love what you’re seeing and would like to own a print of this project pay us a visit.

This task was truly laborious, and I hope at least a few of you enjoy it.

Buy the print at F-Stop Cameras

Want your own Nikon F3? Buy it on Amazon or eBay

CASUAL PHOTOPHILE is on ElloFacebookInstagram, and Youtube


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  • Reply
    March 14, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    I’d suggest buying your camera from http://www.japancamerahunter.com instead of Ebay or Amazon.

    • Reply
      March 14, 2016 at 5:29 pm

      Bellamy is a true gentleman for sure and I second your recommendation. For personalized service JCH is at the top of the heap.

      • Reply
        March 14, 2016 at 6:03 pm

        For sure, he has just been a very valuable resource to those who still shoot film, so I like to add it out there as an option, thats all. Good article by the way, I didn’t say that in my original post.

        • Reply
          March 14, 2016 at 6:22 pm

          Thanks, my friend! ??

  • Reply
    March 14, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    Wow. Just… WOW!

    • Reply
      March 14, 2016 at 10:40 pm

      Glad you like it! ?

  • Reply
    March 15, 2016 at 3:43 am

    Wow! I’m sure that took a little bit of time to assemble in Photoshop, let alone the time it took to photograph everything. Pretty cool.

    • Reply
      March 15, 2016 at 4:26 am

      Thanks bud!

  • Reply
    March 17, 2016 at 12:49 am

    Just WOOOW.

  • Reply
    March 18, 2016 at 3:02 am


    • Reply
      March 18, 2016 at 3:10 am

      Thanks! It was a fun one.

  • Reply
    Randle P. McMurphy
    March 29, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    The Nikon F3 is a legend – nothing compares to you I would say – but did you ever
    touched the first electronic time automatic camera Nikon made ?
    The Nikkor EL “is” build like a tank and you can use all the wonderful pre-AI lenses
    with it !

    • Reply
      March 29, 2016 at 12:11 pm

      I have sold a few ELs through the shop. They’re impressive for sure.

  • Reply
    Silver Blogger
    September 21, 2016 at 1:29 am


  • Reply
    David Murray
    February 8, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    I have a black Nikon EL2, the final incarnation of the electronic Nikkormats, as a back-up to my F3. If my F3 packed up, I still have a body to take my AI and AIS lenses. Strange place to put the battery Better specified than the FE that followed it. Heavy though, especially with a short zoom or a 135mm f2.

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