In 1980, Nikon debuted a new flagship model, the F3. Built on the system approach used by its predecessors the F and F2, it still used the same bayonet lens mount but was fitted with a more accurate, electronically controlled titanium foil shutter, a battery-saving built-in LCD meter, and automatic exposure control. Like the earlier cameras, it accepted interchangeable finders and viewing screens, making the camera adaptable to just about any photographic assignment. Famed Italian auto designer Giorgetto Giugiaro consulted on the camera’s exterior design, creating an appealing look. The Nikon F3 was one of the cameras used by NASA on the Space Shuttle, and Eastman Kodak Company chose the F3 as the basis for its Kodak DCS 100 professional digital camera in 1991.
At its introduction, the F3 retailed for $1,174.90, including a 50mm f/1.4 lens. It remained in production for more than twenty years, five years longer than its older sibling, the F model. An autofocus model, the F3AF, was introduced in 1983. Three sequential models concluded with the Nikon F6. A true workhorse, the F3 no doubt cut the mustard in the field, yet it never really gained the iconic status held by its older mechanical siblings.