The 1971 follow up to the Nikon F was the Nikon F2. Still aimed at the professional market and still a "go-to-war" tough camera. The F stayed in production until 1974, a testament to the quality of the F more than a criticism of the F2. Production of the F2 finally ended in 1980.
The F2 was similar on the outside to the F but was a new design on the inside. One key carryover was the lens mount from the F. The F2 increased the top shutter speed to 1/2000 and a more user friendly, hinged swing film door. It also had an optional motor drive. The camera remained a fully mechanical design and only required batters for the optional metered viewfinders or motor drive.
Over the production life there were a variety of viewfinders introduced and a larger number of focusing screens. Making the F2 a highly customizable professional tool. Mine has the DP-1 viewfinder with the standard Type-K screen. The DP-1 viewfinder uses an easy to read center the needle meter with shutter speed and aperture shown in the viewfinder. Some of the other viewfinders switch to an LED system but I like the center the needle best. (note: some of the viewfinders require lenses with the Nikon fork to mate properly)
What a great chunk of camera. Mine is dented and scratched but functions like a champ. I'm not sure what you would have to do to one to fully destroy it. I can see why the pros were reluctant to give up the F2 when the F3 came out. The F2 was mechanical and did what you need it to do.
For me the F2 was a joy to shoot. Not a small camera. This is a full size professional camera. Plus I went for a 135mm lens so there was nothing small or stealth about it. But the longer lens made for a nice balance in the hand and an easy carry. So easy that I shot my test roll on a quick walk in and around my office parking lot. Not a very photo worthy environment.
Who should get an F2? Anyone who wants a tough straight forward pro quality SLR. Especially if you don't want to be battery dependent. This is 1970s photography at its best.
Unlike the photographers making that decision in the early '80s, we have the knowledge that the F3 was also a tank and switch from a fully mechanical camera did not cause the world to end. So today the F3 seems to get most of the spot light. But don't overlook the F2 if you get the chance.
Lens: Nikkor 135mm f2.8
Film: Ilford HP5 400