Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Nikon F2A Photomic w/DP-11 Finder
Instruction Manual -
Part III

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The exposure meter of the F2A Photomic finder utilizes Nikon's through-the-lens center-weighted exposure measurement at full aperture. The meter reads the light over the entire focusing screen but favors the central 12mm-diameter area, while taking the entire area into consideration.

This allows you to make precise readings of the selected subject area, and results in more balanced overall exposures.

Determining Exposure

The finder of the Nikon F2A Photomic camera features an exposure meter display visible within the view field for easy-to-read operation while viewing and focusing. Additionally, the selected shutter speed and lens aperture settings are visible on either side of the meter display to allow the photographer to check at a glance the camera settings in use.

To determine the correct exposure with the Nikon F2A Photomic, perform the following: Switch ON the meter by moving the film-advance lever to the 20° standoff position; with this action, the meter will swing to indicate the exposure condition of overexposure (needle to the left), correct exposure (needle to the center) or underexposure (needle to the right).

If the needle moves to the left, increase the shutter speed or decrease the aperture until the needle is centered; if the needle remains at the right, decrease the shutter speed or increase the aperture until the needle is centered.

Note: The figure at the top section indicates the various meter needle indications. Note that the same metering operation may be performed using the external meter window positioned atop the finder.

Exposure Control

The amount of light reaching the film plane is determined by a combination of the lens aperture and the shutter speed. Since the two are interrelated, different combinations will give the same exposure. A 1-step change in the shutter speed, or a 1-stop change in the aperture setting, will either halve or double the exposure. For example, a shutter speed of 1/125 second passes twice as much light as a setting of 1/250 second, and only half as much light as a speed of 1/60 second; for an aperture setting of f/11, twice as much light as f/16, and half as much as f/8, is passed. This feature characterizes the operation throughout the available range of shutter speeds and aperture settings. With this in mind, it's easy to see that if a correct exposure for a scene is 1/125 at f/11, then 1/60 at f/16 or 1/250 at f/8 will be equally acceptable.

The best combination for your needs will depend on the results desired. Use fast shutter speeds to freeze motion, or use slow speeds to produce deliberate and creative blur. Small apertures give greater depth of field, while large apertures restrict sharp focus to the main subject. The creative selection of both speeds and apertures will greatly enhance your photography.

Shutter speed (sec.)






Aperture (f/number)






More info is available at a | separate section | on the topic "Exposure" and its relation to Shutter Speed and Aperture.

Metering Range

If the Photomic finder's meter needle fails to center, even after all possible lens-aperture/shutter-speed combinations have been tried, then the available light is too bright or too dim for the meter's range. To correct this situation, several measures may be taken, as follows: Switch to a new film (either higher or lower ASA) that more closely matches the available light; mount a neutral density filter on the lens to decrease the light reaching the film plane-, or use artificial lighting (i.e., an electronic flash unit) to increase subject illumination. Remember, too, that the lens in use can greatly influence suitability for bright or dim shooting. For example, a 50mm f/1.4 lens (with ASA 100 film) couples from EV 1 (f/1.4 at I second) to EV 17 (f/8 at 1/2000 second) for excellent low-light performance; on the other hand, a 200mm f/4 lens proves more usable at bright-light levels, coupling (with ASA 100 film) to EV 20 (f/22 at-1/2000). Thus, choose the lens carefully to match the existing lighting conditions.

Extra-long Exposures

Although shutter speed settings are only provided to 1 second on the camera's shutter-speed dial, longer speeds to 10 seconds are available via operation of the camera's self-timer in conjunction with the "B" setting on the shutter-speed dial.

For exposures of from 2 to 10 seconds, perform the following: Set the shutter speed dial to the "B" setting; lift up and turn the T-L finger guard so that the guard's index dot aligns with the "T" setting; and turn the self-timer lever downward until the index line on the lever aligns with the figure on the scale corresponding to the desired exposure time.

slowspeed.jpg turnknob.jpg timer.jpg

Having set the camera, simply depress the shutter release button to make the exposure, with the shutter remaining open for the time interval set on the self-timer. At the completion of the exposure, set the T-L finger guard to the middle position to return the shutter release button to its normal (up) position.

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Credit: Chuck Hester, US for his patience, encouragement and help to setup the various content in this site; Robert Johnson for some of his original images on the F2H-MD appeared in this site; my ex-staff, KiaSu for his superb 3-D logo appeared in this Nikon F2 site; Marc Vorgers from Holland who generously provide me with some of his images of F2AS; MCLau®, who has so much time with me to re-edit the content in this site and not to mention buying a Nikon Coolpix 990 just for this site. Keat Photo, Kuala Lumpur for providing their Nikon F2A to take some images for this site; again, Mr Edward Ngoh the great camera collector who provides us his collection of F2AS with MD-2; for their images on the Speed Magny film backs; Sean Cranor for his image on Nikon F2 25th Anniversary Model; Ted Wengelaar®, Holland for his continuous flow of input on some of the early Nikon bodies; CYLeow ® , photo editor of the Star newspaper, Malaysia for some of his images used in this site. Ms Rissa Chan, Sales manager from Shriro Malaysia who has helped to provide some of the very useful input. HiuraShinsaku®, Nikomat ML, Japan for some of his images on various F2 models; my staff, Wati, Maisa, Mai and my nephew, EEWyn®, who volunteered and helping me did so many of the film scanning works. Contributing photographers or resellers: Jen Siow, Foo KokKin, Arthur Teng, Mark Fallander, John Ishii, Ed Hassel, YoonKi Kim, Jean-Louis, M.Dugentas (Dell, Mr "Arsenall" and a few images mailed in from surfers with no appropriate reference to their origin. Dedicated to KU Yeo, just to express our mutual regrets over the outcome of a recent corporate event. Made with a PowerMac, broadcast with a Redhat Linux powered server.

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