Author Topic: Nikon F3 Serial Numbers / Production Dates  (Read 46953 times)

RonVol

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Nikon F3 Serial Numbers / Production Dates
« on: March 12, 2016, 07:07:42 »
Hi all,

I've been working on compiling a list of serial numbers along with production date information about the Nikon F3.

Here is a link to the list as of October 2016 - https://www.flickr.com/photos/94603494@N06/22100494975/sizes/o/

Below is an explanation of what the production code means.

If anyone would like to contribute information to the list; then please post your serial numbers along with the production code.

Many thanks,
Ron V.

Explanation of the 4 or 5 digits that make-up the manufacturing code, found on F3 bodies adjacent to the camera-back / door hinge.

As of October 2015; the earliest body with a date code that I know of is serial #1225494, 60AA (It's possible that this body has had the top plate replaced).
Previous bodies do not seem to have a code. The highest body without a code is #1221963. The earliest confirmed body without a code is #1200520.

* The first digit is a date code for the month : 1 = Jan. - 2 = Feb. - 3 = March - 4 = April - 5 = May - 6 = June - 7 = July; 8 = Aug. - 9 = Sept. - O = Oct. - N = Nov. - D = Dec.

* The second digit is a date code for the year : 0 = 1980/1990/2000; 1 = 1981/1991/2001; 2 = 1982/1992/2002, etc.

* The third digit means the type of body :

Non-HP and HP bodies start as 'A' (confirmed end is #128225, D0AF - December 1980) then changes to 'V' around the start of 1981 (confirmed start is #1322628, 31VA - March 1981).

AF bodies are also stamped 'V'.

Early chrome Titanium bodies are also stamped 'V' and later this changes to 'T'.

Black Titanium bodies are all stamped 'T'.

P and 'P Limited Edition' bodies are stamped with the letter O (not 0, zero).

* The fourth digit means the number of modifications or design changes that have been made to the camera:

XXXA or XXX0 (zero) means no modifications or upgrades.
XXXB or XXX1 means the first of a design change or modification has been made.
XXXC or XXX2 means up to two design changes or modifications have been made.
XXXD or XXX3 means up to three design changes or modifications have been made.
etc.

* The 5th digit seems to be associated with special & low-volume production run editions along with very late standard HP bodies.

F3HP Lapita 2000 shows 'N'
F3T Classic also shows 'N'
F3H High Speed shows 'B', but this is separate to the group of 4 digits and uses a smaller font.

Bjørn Rørslett

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Re: Nikon F3 Serial Numbers / Production Dates
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2016, 08:49:09 »
You should co-operate with Roland Vink :D

Always interesting the see the logic behind the numbers at it were.

RonVol

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Re: Nikon F3 Serial Numbers / Production Dates
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2016, 09:04:28 »
You should co-operate with Roland Vink :D

Always interesting the see the logic behind the numbers at it were.

LOL Bjørn   ;)
It was Roland that suggested I join the forum.
Nice to be part of a forum that isn't covered in advertising.

Bjørn Rørslett

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Re: Nikon F3 Serial Numbers / Production Dates
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2016, 09:09:44 »
"Nice to be part of a forum that isn't covered in advertising"

You are guaranteed no advertising. A cornerstone of NG forum policy.

However, we don't mind members subscribe to be an NG Supporter. But this they can decide for themselves without additional pressure.

Roland Vink

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Re: Nikon F3 Serial Numbers / Production Dates
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2016, 09:48:19 »
Welcome aboard Ron, great to see you here!

(we've been co-operating for years, Ron has been a great contributor of information to my site :) )

John Geerts

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Re: Nikon F3 Serial Numbers / Production Dates
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2016, 10:31:06 »
Welcome Ron,

Very informative.  Is there also some logic in the numbering of the modern DSRL's (apart from a region index) or is that just a plain serial number?

Akira

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Re: Nikon F3 Serial Numbers / Production Dates
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2016, 11:13:36 »
Welcome aboard, Ron!  So, you have been helping Roland help us nail the year of production of our gears.  Thanks for your contribution!
"The eye is blind if the mind is absent." - Confucius

"Limitation is inspiration." - Akira

null

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Re: Nikon F3 Serial Numbers / Production Dates
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2016, 14:13:41 »
I suspect you imported The F3 SN list that was up a while ago? Can't find it now. I'll have to open up the backs and note the numbers on my F3HP's, you already have the F3AF on your list from the Flickr thread.

I have two F2's from the first batch on your F2 serial number list. Some interesting differences between them and the later ones, the Tip on the lever advance is Metal not plastic for one.

null

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Re: Nikon F3 Serial Numbers / Production Dates
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2016, 17:29:44 »
1999982 51VRN F3HP

I suspect the 5th digit is for the new millenium.

RonVol

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Re: Nikon F3 Serial Numbers / Production Dates
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2016, 19:21:38 »
Welcome aboard Ron, great to see you here!

Thanks for the warm welcome Roland  ;D

RonVol

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Re: Nikon F3 Serial Numbers / Production Dates
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2016, 19:28:25 »
Welcome Ron,

Very informative.  Is there also some logic in the numbering of the modern DSRL's (apart from a region index) or is that just a plain serial number?

Thanks for the welcome John  :)

The serial numbers on any Nikon (that I know of) are simply numbered based on the body's position along the production line................that is the only logic.
The F3 is the only pro level Nikon camera that has this unique date/production code.

RonVol

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Re: Nikon F3 Serial Numbers / Production Dates
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2016, 19:31:01 »
Welcome aboard, Ron!  So, you have been helping Roland help us nail the year of production of our gears.  Thanks for your contribution!

Thanks for the warm welcome Akira  :)

Yes, I do help Roland (a little bit) but not as much as he helps me with the wonderful information found in his Nikkor database  :D

RonVol

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Re: Nikon F3 Serial Numbers / Production Dates
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2016, 19:34:20 »
I suspect you imported The F3 SN list that was up a while ago? Can't find it now. I'll have to open up the backs and note the numbers on my F3HP's, you already have the F3AF on your list from the Flickr thread.

I have two F2's from the first batch on your F2 serial number list. Some interesting differences between them and the later ones, the Tip on the lever advance is Metal not plastic for one.

Hi Brian,
Sorry, I don't know about the F3 SN list that you are referring to.
My list is the first time I've ever seen such a list. I don't know of anyone that has anything similar.
All the lists I've seen to date are simply serial numbers, they do not show the date/production codes and the corresponding information associated with those codes.

RonVol

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Re: Nikon F3 Serial Numbers / Production Dates
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2016, 19:42:27 »
1999982 51VRN F3HP

I suspect the 5th digit is for the new millenium.

Thank you for the info from your F3 Brian.

Your suggestion as to the meaning of the 5th digit is a good one...............I hadn't thought of it.

Can you please tell me if the bottom plate on your F3 #1999982 has the letters 'CE' stamped into it?

Erik Lund

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Re: Nikon F3 Serial Numbers / Production Dates
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2016, 19:46:38 »
Welcome to the NikonGear! Do feel at home! Sorry I don't have and F3 but appreciate your effort to keep track of the changes etc ;)

Is that a 13mm on your Avatar?
Erik Lund