Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Nikon F - Operating the FTn Meter Finder/Prisms


FTN Prism Base view.jpg (14k) Loading..
( * Click here to open a new window for cross reference: Front, back, top and base view with illusatrations outlining its respective main functions)


Checking the Batteries

The Photomic FTN Finder is powered by two 1.3 volt mercury batteries located in the battery chamber on the bottom of the finder. To check the batteries, press the meter switch-off button and observe the needle in the window on top of the finder. If the needle swings to the center circle or beyond, the batteries are in good condition. The two mercury batteries come installed with the Photomic FTN Finder.

To replace weak or worn-out batteries, unscrew the cap over the battery chamber using a coin or key and the batteries will drop out. Make sure that the positive (+) side faces out when new batteries are installed.

Caution: Never throw discarded batteries into a fire as they will explode when heated.

Attaching the Photomic FTN Finder

To attach the finder to the camera with the lens in place, first set the diaphragm at f/5.6 and place the finder in position loosely. Then depress the finder lock lever and press down gently on the finder until it clicks into place. The Photomic FTN Finder has a pair of pincer-type clamps on the bottom to hold it securely in place. They are loosened by depressing the finder lock lever.

Mounting the finder on the camera body without a lens is simple. Just depress the finder lock lever and press down gently on the finder until it clicks into place.

To remove the finder, depress the finder lock lever and press the finder release button located on the back of the camera. The finder will be unlocked and can be lifted out. Note: When using flash, be sure to set the camera for flash by lifting up and turning the milled synchro-selector ring. Refer to the "Flash Synchronization" section in the Nikon F instruction manual.

Shutter Speed Coupling

When the Photomic FTN Finder is attached to the camera, the shutter speed dial on the camera is covered by the finder unit. Therefore, an auxiliary shutter speed scale is provided on the finder. With the FTN Finderim place, twist the shutter speed selector right and left until it engages the dial on the camera and the two rotate

Lens Aperture Coupling The Photomic FTN takes advantage of the automatic diaphragm feature of Nikkor lenses to measure light with the lens wide open. Full-aperture metering gives a bright, clear finder image for viewing and focusing and minimizes the effect of light entering the viewfinder from the rear.

In order for the meter to measure exposure at full aperture with lenses of different maximum aperture, it must be coupled with the maximum aperture of the lens in use. This is done each time the lens is attached or changed by turning the aperture ring of the lens through its entire

With the lens mounted on the camera, twist the aperture ring counterclockwise, then clockwise as far as it will go. This meshes the coupling prong on the lens with the pin on the Photomic FTN Finder and adjusts the meter for the maximum aperture of the lens. The adjustment can be verffied by checking the maximum aperture scale on the front of the finder. The scale has a range from f/1.2 to f/5.6. For example, if the 50mm f/1.4 lens is mounted on the camera, the red index mark should appear between 1.2 and 2.8.

Setting the Film Speed

Lift and tum the milled ring around the ASA film speed dial so that the red triangular index mark on the ring lines up with the number corresponding to the ASA rating of the film loaded in the camera. The film speed dial covers a range from ASA 6 to 6400. There are two dots between each pair of numerical marks for intermediate settings such as ASA 64, 80, 125, etc.

Turning On the Meter


Switch on the meter circuit by pressing in the meter switchon button located on the side of the finder. The meter switch-off button will then pop up and a red line around its circumference will be visible. This serves as a warning that the meter is on.

To turn off the meter, depress the top button until the red line is no longer visible and the meter switch-on button on the side of the finder pops out. Do not leave the meter on for long periods of time unnecessarily since the batteries are being drained as long as it is turned on.

| Next | More features and Exposure Control

The FTN section is my little contribution to Michael Liu's Nikon F site.

Main Reference map in HTML & PDF:
Body with FTN Finder | FTN finder | camera body |
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Recommended links to understand more technical details related to the Nikkor F-mount and production Serial Number: by: my friend, Rick Oleson by: Hansen, Lars Holst

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Copyright © 1998. Michael C. Liu ®

Site rearranged by: leofoo ®. Credit: Hiura Shinsaku® from Nikomat Club of Japan for feeding some useful inputs on the introductory page. The great 3D logo by Kiasu; Ted Wengelaar®, Holland for his continuous flow of input of early Nikon bodies. Stephen Gandy's Cameraquest; Marc Vorgers from Holland for his additinal images on Nikon F Apollo; Hayao Tanabe corrected my Red Dot and Early F assertions. Gray Levett, Grays of Westminster publishes an excellent monthly historical look at Nikon products, from where I learned about the high-speed F's. Made with a PowerMac, broadcast with a Redhat Linux powered server.

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