Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Nikon F - F250 Motor Drive

 

Dual Motor Drives.jpg (13k)

F36 cordless & F250 Motor Drive for Nikon F (View shown here are the two cordless MD available for the Nikon F)

F36 with Cordless battery pack

Provides automatic fire power in its most convenient form. Attaches directly to the F36 motor drive and transforms the Nikon F into an integrated, one-piece automatic unit. Has built-in release button and selector switch for single and sequence shots. Built-in relay simplifies remote operation.

Nikon F36MD Motor Drive LINK
Uses conventional 2-conductor, household-type cord, which may be connected to a manual switch, intervalometer, radio control receiver or other switching device.

The cordless battery pack is designed for use with the F36 motor drive only. It holds 8 penlite AA batteries. It may also be operated from an external 12-volt DC source. It is not necessary to detach the cordless pack while changing films.

| Photo Showcase on few old /new versions of the Nikon F36 Motor Drive Units |

Nikon F250 Motor Drive The Nikon F250 motor drive extends Nikon automatic fire power to applications where frequent film changes are impratical.

Nikon F250MD Motor Drive LINK
Using special cassettes which hold up to 33 feet of bulk film, it delivers 250 exposures without the need to do reloading. It can also be used with standard 20 and 36 exposure loads.

Nikon F250 Motor Drive The F250 motor drive extends Nikon automatic fire power to applications where frequent film changes are impratical. Using special cassettes which hold up to 33 feet of bulk film, it delivers 250 exposures without the need to do reloading. It can also be used with standard 20 and 36 exposure loads.

| Photo Showcase on Nikon F250 |

Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Peter Coeln from LEICA Shop®, Austria who also operates a popular Westlicht Auction House. Image Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

The F250 provides the same selection of firing rates and shutter speeds as the F36. It operates with the standard Nikon battery Pack. The overall specifications and the operation of the three back dials of the F250 are the same as those for the F36, listed on the previous page. Obviously, the F250 uses its own special cassettes, can only be used with the Cord Pack, and has its own set of loading and attaching procedures. In a frontal view of the F250 (i.e. with the three knobs facing away from you), note that the film chamber on the same side as the power connector is smaller than the other side; the smaller side will be referred to as the supply-side, and the larger side will be the take-up-side (please, no cheesy economics jokes).

Bulk Film Loader with 250 exposure film cassettes.

Unlike the F36, the F250 does not have the keyed lock/unlock on its bottom plate. It actually attaches over the strap eyelets.

Bulk Film Loader.jpg (10k)
The top of the F250 is dominated by two large, knurled knobs at either end; there is one slider just inboard of each knob, which goes over the strap eyelets. The very right edge (i.e. the take-up side) of the F250 also has a back-plate lock on it. To fit the F250 to the F, assuming camera and motor are synchronised:

    1. turn both knurled knobs so that "open" lines up with the white index dot towards the back of the camera (i.e. turn the supply-side knob clockwise, and the take-up-side knob counter-clockwise)
    2. slide each slider outwards, uncovering the grooves into which the camera's eyelets will go
    3. fit the camera (without standard back) to the motor and back
    4. slide the sliders back inwards, locking the camera's eyelets in place
    5. raise the back-plate lock on the take-up-side chamber and remove the back-plate

Now you are ready to load the MZ-1 cassette with 33 feet (10m) of film. On the other hand, you can use your camera as a massive F36 -- you need to remove the camera (reverse steps 3-4 above and load the cassette [can't use Nikon's reloadable cassette] normally) and then fit the camera to the F250 again. For those of you with MZ-1's, this is how you load one:

    1. open the cassette:
      1. press the silver button under the "J" in "Japan"
      2. rotate the shell relative to the top plate until the openings in the two halves line up
      3. separate the two halves
    2. go into the darkroom
    3. trim leader of bulk film to form a "tongue" appox. 30mm long and 20mm wide (1.2 in. long and 0.8 in. wide)
    4. put the tongue into one of the two slots on the spool inside the MZ-1
    5. wind about 10m (33ft) onto the spool, with the emulsion side on the inside (using the winder, if available):

      1. put the bulk-film supply on the film drum spindle, with the film coming over the axis, not under.
      2. put the MZ-1's spindle on the winding spool
      3. trim leader, if necessary, and thread film into the MZ-1's spindle, taking care to pass over the sprockets and passing film over the axis of the MZ-1's spindle
      4. swing the film pressure lever over the film
      5. pull and turn the exposure-frame dial to set the total number of frames to be wound
      6. wind (at appox. 2-3 frames/sec) until you reach the preset, which will cause the winding to stop
      7. cut the film approximately halfway between spools

    6. place loaded spool into "top half" of MZ-1 with film protruding (to the right, if "top half" is held so that "Nikon" and "Japan" are facing up)
    7. close the cassette:
      1. slide "bottom half" over "top half"
      2. turn "top half" clockwise until you hear two clicks, meaning that the catch has fallen into place
    8. leave the darkroom

Hey, we're not through the woods, yet. You still need to put the loaded cassette into the supply chamber, which requires a bit of care:

    1. pull out the supply-knob (on the bottom of the chamber)
    2. align the small tab on the cassette with the corresponding notch in the chamber
    3. align the two silver buttons with the recess at the chamber's top
    4. align the white (or red) dot near the base of the cassette with the corresponding white line on the chamber's floor

Now that all that's been done, you have to pull out some film (about 400mm or 16 in.) from the supply spool, cut the leader to shape, and thread it onto the take-up cassette as outlined above. Again, note that the emulsion side should be in. After sliding the take-up cassette back into the F250, as outlined above, take up any slack in the film with the supply-knob. Make sure that the sprocket teeth of the camera engage appropriate holes on the film. Whew! I'll tell you this much: I don't think that the whole business of bulk-loading film and fiddling with the MZ-1's has much changed, even today with the Nikon F5. Finally, replace the back plate and turn the two top knurled knobs to "close" (which locks the eyelet holders in place and somewhat perversely opens both MZ-1's.

You may confirm that the camera and motor are winding the film correctly by making sure that the supply knob is turning as you expose film. Because you lose so much film to being the leader, you need to make five complete "blank" exposures before getting to the unexposed portion of the film. Similarly, when taking the completed 10m roll out, you will need to make five "blank" exposures before removing the back.



Enlarged view of the control panel from the back of the F250.

Nikon made plenty of exciting accessories for the F250, but the one that you really need is the Cord Pack (or the MA-1) to supply power. It attaches just the same as to the F36, through the coaxial connector on the motor's front. Strangely enough, F250's are often cheaper than F36's, probably because of their limited usefulness to modern users (much easier to perform time-lapse photography with an integrated intervalometer, autoexposure, and autofocus -- ergo the F4/MF-24) and amazing bulkiness. On the other hand, you might be able to accomplish reportage more efficiently by not having to stop and reload so often, although the F250 only holds the equivalent of seven rolls of regular film, and whatever you save in not reloading so often, you probably lose again in weight/bulk, handling, loss of portability, inefficient reloading, and unwieldy processing. So perhaps the F250 is best for the budding F collector who wants to obtain a reasonably rare item at a decent price.

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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
http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/nikonfmount/lens2.htm
http://www.photosynthesis.co.nz/nikon/serialno.html

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