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Nikon F5 Anniversary Model 1948-1998

It is highly unusual for a traditionally conservative Company, Nikon to introduce an official camera model for celebrating an event. In April 1998, Nikon announced availability of a 50th Anniversary camera model based on their flagship SLR camera, the Nikon F5. This limited edition Nikon F5 was introduced mainly to commemorate Nikon's 50th year of entering business in the manufacturing of camera (year counted based on their first Nikon rangefinder camera, the Nikon 1,1948.

Nikon F5 Commemorative Model.jpg (25k)
Are there any significant differences between the standard Nikon F5 and this anniversary model ? Physically, most noticeable difference was the color at the top plate as well at the viewfinder where it was chromed in a special rusty-chrome color (difficult to express it in English, It fact, I have to use an actual F5 Anniversary model beside me to tune the Jpeg file to its closest color appears on my computer screen, it is hard to describe, but the colour was very similar to the late classic, Olympus OM-3Ti's). I was told the top plate, like the prism, was also made of Titanium, I can't confirm it yet from any reliable source. Another major visual difference is the standard, strikingly red color strip locates at the inner section of the hand grip has been replaced with grayish colour. If you have seen the pre-production mockup models of the F5, there are some visual similarity between them. A similar gray color plastic body cap was supplied as standard accessory with the package.

The rear section has a special silk screen print-on emblem of the original Nikon logo where the previous trade name of Nikon, 'Nippon Kogaku' Tokyo 50' was marked beside the serial number printed on the flip-out cover of the rear hidden control panel.

handgrip.jpg (5k)
The inner portion of the hand grip was originally colored in a striking red. It has been replaced with a matching gray color (Well, I should say, the color of the body cap matches the hand grip...). Surprise to see a detachable hand grip as such ? Don't be, in years to come, at least you know you can change it as a wear and tear replacement aprt for your F5 even if you seriously give your F5 some tough workouts in the fields.

For quite a while, we have not seen an official special-production Nikon camera with reasonable quantity since the Gold Edition of Nikon FA back in 1984. The previous much-hyped Nikon FM2T 'Year of the Dog ' should not be considered as an official model, as the rare 300 units was an idea of the Taiwanese distributors (Stephen Gandy of CameraQuest defended my remark with a different opinion). That was one of the reasons the response from the Nikon followers and collectors were so overwhelming with this 50th Anniversary F5. The scheduled 2,000 units was originally only meant for domestic market in Japan. A friend from Japan wrote:-

"...when it was announced Apr 21, 1998, the 2000 units were easily 'digested' by the local Nikon fans and those who have booked it late was informed there was an incredible long waiting list and one has to expect cancellation of any pre-order in order to get one. I could not get one either, consequently many of my friends faced the similar situation......".

Subsequently, many enthusiastic collectors outside Japan got to know this special variant and have voiced their dissatisfaction for the unavailability to fans outside Japan; Nikon eventually obliged (strange, those guys can hear complaints at times...) by re-arranging the production line for an additional 1000 units* to fulfill demands for markets outside their homeland. One thing was for sure, as I have also encouraged Shriro (the then local distributor for Nikon in Malaysia - Nikon finally has opened an official branch office here) to ship in 50-80 units for local Nikon fans. Miss Rissa Chan, their Sales Manager was quite worried as the prevailing economic situation caused by the Asian Financial Crises in Asia as well as the implementation of the tight Foreign Exchange Control measures in Malaysia but she was courageous enough to forward an a request for 50 units from the Japan Headquarter in September, 1997. She was allotted 30 units (That is 10% of the total number for the US market, totaling 300/1000). It was snapped up within half a day upon arrival in mid-November, 1997.

MF-28.jpg (11k)
Personal conclusion: - Less thoughtful/considerate was the omission of a Multi-function Control back MF-28 as its standard accessory in the package because 10-15% long list of impressive features in a Nikon F5 was when you mounted a MF-28 at the rear ... I would not think Nikon was generous enough to offer a Photo Secreatry also as accessory for the highly collectible F5A but MF-28 Data Back should be included .
After all, how much would it adds to the cost if one can afford such a collecor piece ? especially when you relate many people were still flocking in to buy the modern replica of a USD5,000-00 Nikon S3 or a USD6,800-00 SP rangefinder. Without the MF-28, The 50th Anniversary F5 was like a tail-less tiger, not exactly important - but it will make a fearsome beast looks more like tiger, hehe ....

| At the back | | At the Top | | Side - right & left | | Packing | | Behind the leatherette |
Material used for the TOP and BOTTOM plate: Contributed by Mr. Eric Andeson <eric.andersen@central.sun.com>
| Back to 1991-1998 various models |

back to | Nikon F5 | Main Index Page of Nikon F5 - Modern Classic SLR Series

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Recommended links to understand more technical details related to the Nikkor F-mount and production Serial Number:
http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-153.html by: my friend, Rick Oleson
http://www.zi.ku.dk/personal/lhhansen/photo/fmount.htm by: Hansen, Lars Holst

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