Nikon U2 (N75 / F75) 35mm AF SLR

Nikon U2 (N75 / F75) AF SLR Film Camera

Nikon U2 (N75 / F75) 35mm AF SLR

'Film Camera Review - A quick look review at the Nikon Nikon U2 (N75 / F75), an advanced and full-featured lightweight 35mm film SLR from Nikon'

Introduction and Overview

Nikon U2, View
The Nikon U2 (N75 in the US and F75 in Europe), a missed opportunity and a grossly underrated 35mm SLR film camera, was the last consumer-level autofocus 35mm SLR film cameras manufactured by the Nikon.

The camera, a compact and lightweight model, was designed for the amateur and beginner SLR user market. Simple yet practical as it looks, sometimes giving way toa a rather fragile feeling, the U2 is actually a very advanced and capable camera developed to incorporated features and innovations that make the F5, F100, and F80 SLRs as the top cameras of their genre.

Its introduction, however, was lost in the pomp and pageantry of the digital revolution. When launched in 2003, it was already a year into the introduction of the digital D100 (2002), which was followed by the more advanced D70 in 2004 and the rest of the field till where we are now. Production of the U2 was discontinued in 2006.

Nikon N75 Video Manual

One of the last consumer grade SLRs. This camera from Nikon reminds me a lot of modern cameras and the good and bad that comes with that. . . . .

The Nikon U2, which weighs only 380/385 grams, comes with a vertical travel electronically-controlled focal-plane shutter with speeds from 30 to 1/2000 second, film ISO rating of 25 to 5000 (set by DX coding only), a varied automated program and manual shooting modes, remote control sensor, and built-in Speedlight.

Metering is by a 25 segment Matrix metering pattern with five user control autofocus sensors via a three-way switch plus jog dial on the film back. The AF system works with every AF, VR, AF-I and AF-S lens ever made by Nikon, and in-focus confirmation dot with manual lenses.

A veritable selection of exposures modes gives you the choice of using the camera in Auto Multi-Program [P}, Shutter-Priority Auto [S], Aperture-Priority Auto [A], or Manual [M], or Point-and-Shoot options with AUTO, Portrait, Landscape, Close-Up, Sports, and Night Portrait shooting modes.


Basic Camera Features

More commonly seen in the chrome version, with the occasional all-black popping up here and there, the U2 was part of the trend of low-cost plastic bodied fully automatic 35mm AF SLR cameras of the 90s. The camera has a simple ergonomic design with features that include a simple and easy-to-use function dial and an LCD control panel. When powered to function automatically, the camera is light enough to operate with one hand and is almost the perfect point-and-shoot.

Nikon U2, Front oblique

The veritable control center of the camera, the top panel, which is rather clean and simple, is populated by a control dial on the left, the LCD panel on the right, and a camel hump housing the power and shutter button, and a couple of toggle switches for LCD illumination and Aperture/Exposure Compensation/Film Rewind functions. The built-in Speedlight sits on top of the pentaprism.

Nikon U2, Top

The control dial houses the Auto and PSAM mode selection setting, as well as the Vari-Program selection for Portrait, Landscape, Close-Up, Sports, and Night Portrait shooting modes. A small selection lever sticks out of the control dial for Film Advance (Single, Continuous) mode and CSM mode selection. The Vari-Program modes will let the camera determine the precise aperture and shutter speed values automatically.

Nikon U2, Front

The front of the camera houses the proportionally huge lens mount housing, which almost fills the whole front of the diminutive body. The housing is fitted a depth of field preview button on its lower left, the lens release lock on the right of the mount, and vertically, the Flash Release Lock/Flash Sync Mode button, Auto Exposure Bracketing/Multiple Exposure/FIlm Rewind button, and focus mode selector (AF, MF) switch.

Nikon U2, Back

The back of the camera carries the AE-L switch, the Command dial for the LCD panel info, and on the film back itself, the AF Area Selector. The Quartz Date version of the camera will have the QD selection and setting gizmos located on the film back itself, partly integrated with the AF selector dial. The bottom plate is plain except for the tripod mount, and the 2CR2 batteries chamber cover.

Nikon U2, Bottom


LCD Panel Info

Nikon U2, LCD Panel
The LCD panel on the right side of the body is the command control, is firstly a numbered menu system display with which you customize the camera's setting, and in shooting mode, a display of all relevant shooting information. This includes the number of shots taken (count down, number of shots remaining), shutter speed, aperture, metering mode, and flash settings.

To customize the camera's setting, first rotate the Custom Setting Selector of the top left of the camera to CSM, next use the Command Dial at the top back of the camera to run down the menu list, which range from 1 for the Beep Sound, to 12 for AF Assist Illuminator activation.


Viewfinder Readout

Nikon U2, Viewfinder info

The viewfinder, fitted with a B-type Clear Matte Screen V with focus brackets, providing approximately 89% frame coverage, displays a central a 12mm reference circle for Center-Weighted Metering, five focus area indicators, and a couple of icons for film status and battery power indicator.

Nikon U2, Side front
An LCD bar below the screen displays the Focus Indicator, Shutter Speed setting, Lens Aperture opening, Exposure Compensation value, and Flash Ready light.

Exposure Compensation, which is available PSA and Vari-Program modes are adjustable by pressing the Auto Exposure Bracketing/Multiple Exposure/Film Rewind button located on the left of the lens mount (just above the Lens Release lock) and rotating the Control Dial to the amount required.

Note: Page number indicators on the illustrations above refer to the pages where the info is located in the Instruction booklet, which you can download from Buktus.org.


AF Area Mode Selection

Use the Green Box genie of AF Mode Mode selector, located on the film back itself, to let the U2 to selectively pick the area sensor, and inform you of the selection by lighting up the relevant rectangle in the finder, or set the selector to the middle dot to use only the middle sensor. The lower crosshair setting lets you select which sensor to use with the compass-point thumb-control of the rotary switch.


Lens Compatibility

As mentioned earlier, the U2 is completely compatible with every AF, VR, AF-I and AF-S lenses and flash systems made by Nikon. Manual focus lenses can only be used in the Manual shooting mode, with in-focus confirmation dot, but with no metering.


Film Handing

A unique change from most other Nikons is how the U2 handles film loading. The camera winds all the film out when you load the film and then winds it back into the canister frame by frame as you shoot.

Nikon U2, Film box

The logic here is that if there is a mishap and the back is opened accidentally, all is not lost on the shots that you have taken since they have been rewound into the film canister.


Battery

The U2 requires a pair of CR2 batteries to operate, rated for 40 36-exposure rolls without flash, or 12 rolls with flash half the time.


Using the Camera

Aside from the assumed feeling of the flimsiness of the plastic body, which dissipates once you get into the swing of having a lens attached, the U2 is a great camera and a pleasure to use. You will have access to almost all the functions that you can find on your current DSLR body in a very compact and lightweight body, managed via dials and mode settings that are equally easy to master.

To top it all, the U2's compatibility with everything of Nikon's AF, AF-S, VR and all the flash systems since 20 years ago, the straightforward, easy handling, very well damped and smooth operation of the U2 makes it a truly incredible and affordable introductory film camera for the new enthusiast. It could also very well be a film backup camera for digital enthusiasts who are keen to have a look back at film photography.

If you already have access or you are using any or all of the lenses mentioned, the cost of adding the U2, or the N75 and F75 body to your arsenal, as are frequently listed and are easily available on the auction market, normally priced for a song, almost negligible.


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