Relive Nikon and NASA’s storied past with this space program F3 camera
posted Friday, January 22, 2016 at 12:00 PM EDT
Are you planning a trip to outer space soon? Then you need to head on over to eBay and shell out $13,500 for a space-ready Nikon F3 camera.
In the 1980s, NASA ordered 50 space-ready Nikon F3 cameras. It is not clear if this particular F3 ever travelled to space as it does not have accompanying flight data. It does, however, have NASA SED numbers to prove that it was in the space program, even if its exact place in the program remains a mystery.
The seller, classicantiques110, states in the product listing that the blue Velcro pieces affixed to the camera were used to hold insulating protective materials in place, so that the camera could be safely used in space. The camera is listed as being in mint-minus condition, showing only minimal wear from use on the stainless mounting plate.
After having previously done work for NASA, Nikon made "big" and "small" F3 cameras, the small is in the eBay listing above. The "small" F3 was equipped with a motor drive, whereas the "large" F3 had interchangeable film backs and longer film for bulk loading. Both F3 cameras share much in common with the mass market F3, including internal parts. You can read more about the NASA F3 models and other products Nikon developed for NASA here.
If $13,500 is a bit too much, you can also submit your best offer. Make it a good one, though, as 45 eBay users are watching this camera as of the writing of this article.