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Nikon N2020 35mm SLRs
Submitted by gestaltent a Expert
Date Reviewed: March 9, 2008
Strengths: Solid. Simple Basic. The ideal affordable transition camera for a truly traditional manual focus photographer. Has all the knobs and dials where you'd expect to find them. Gives the maximum amount of automation possible on a manual focus Nikon lens (short of the Nikon FA). Uses cheap and easy to get aaa or aa batteries depending on holder). Decent speed built in motor (up to 2.5 frames per second). Can rewind the film even if camera is totally dead. Film can be wound halfway in and leader left out (which the much more advanced and recent Nikon AF 35mm slrs still can't do unless modified...extra $$$). Three program modes. Autofocus actually works down on lenses as slow as f/6.3 (in good sunny 16 type lighting). A full stop better performance then the rated f/4.5 officially given by Nikon. Slow but accurate autofocus. Can use just about any Nikkor lens from ai to the latest af stuff (with some limitations depending on configuration). Even had a dedicated TC16a autofocus teleconverter which converted manual focus Nikkors into autofocus ones ! (Albeit with a one and one third stop speed loss, 60% increase in focal length and requiring a maximum apeture of f/2.8 or better).
Weaknesses: Three program modes and no shutter priority or matrix metering (the Nikon FA came out years before the N2020 and had both...) ? Loud motor drive. Exposure compensation can't be used to go beyond iso 3200. No set shutter speeds below one second (there is bulb though). Dirt cheap on the used market, but in some markets, more advanced slrs like the N8008 and N90 series are as cheap if not cheaper and offer faster, more advanced features then the N2020. AF can't match even later second generation af slrs (Nikon N8008s) for speed if not accuracy, forget about 3rd generation/modern autofocus slrs (N90s and later...). Poor/slow autofocus performance in lower light/contrast conditions, and on non vertical subjects.
Note, on older AF Nikon bodies (N2020, N8008) the lens is a big factor in focusing speed. A faster f-stop and newer lens design will generally increase lens focusing speed it seems. I've used a 28-300mm f/ 3.5-6.3 on N8008 with problems focusing in outdoor low light condtions and used the same model with an 80-200mm f/2.8 under nightclub (even worse ) lighting condtions with good focus.
But if you can get a throwaway price like I did on my second one, why not?
Nikon's first direct competitor to the late lamented Minolta's (Before Konica and Sony...) groundbreaking original Maxxum 7000 Autofocus slr of the mid 80s. The introduction of this camera also brought with it the first truly successful autofocus Nikkors. The N2020 was a groundbreaker in its own way. Bought my first one back in the 90s when used Nikon film cameras were still expensive. Bought my second one (in less then perfect condition) two months ago because it came with some really cheap Nikkor af zooms. The second one had a damaged aperture setting tab, which I fixed by sticking it to the len's apeture tab via scotch tape! Can be dirt cheap, but watch out for better, later Nikon af slrs (N8008/s, N90/s, N6006 etc, which can be just as cheap if not cheaper depending on seller...) Worth it if the price is right. (Mine was almost free...)
Duration Product Used: 11-20 years
Price Paid: $15.00
Purchased At: Classifieds
Similar Products Used: Nikon N4004 series, N5005, N6006, N8008/s, N90s, Nikkormat FTn, FG, Em.
Type of photography: Other
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