A prizewinning photojournalist’s battered Nikon F3

Washington Post photographer Carol Guzy won several Pulitzer Prizes for her work. This is the camera she used for at least one of her prize-winning photos.

Cameras that took Pulitzer prize-winning photos

Yep, the Nikon F3, with a motorized winder attached. And it’s beat all to hell.

Cameras that took Pulitzer prize-winning photos

But this is why photojournalists chose Nikon pro bodies: they could withstand serious abuse. I wouldn’t be surprised if Guzy’s F3 still worked. Here, by the way, is one of the prizewinning photos she took with this camera.


Here’s what an F3 looks like when it’s had a pampered life:


Guzy placed her F3 on display at the Newseum, a Washington, DC, museum devoted to newsgathering and reporting. You’ll find it in a larger exhibit of Pulizer-Prize-winning news photographs.

If you ask me, this photography exhibit is the best thing in the museum and by itself is not worth the $25 ticket. Overall I didn’t enjoy the Newseum. First of all, it is incomprehensibly laid out. Just one example of how: we went down one staircase from the sixth floor which inexplicably led to the fourth. From where we stood we could see the fifth floor, which is where we wanted to go, but we couldn’t figure out how to get there.

But more than that, the Newseum is actually a museum of recent history, and only the bad parts as that is what reporters tend to report. My wife and I were not prepared to be immersed in the Berlin Wall (especially since I stood before it before it came down) and all of the domestic terrorism that has happened in our lifetimes. It was overwhelming. We wanted to run away.

But what do we know. Our son says the Newseum was the highlight of his time in DC.

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9 responses to “A prizewinning photojournalist’s battered Nikon F3”

  1. Sam Avatar

    Great article Jim! That F3 is the best of the best! Nice reminder for me to use the one I got! 😘

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I really like my F3! I shoot my F2 more, but it’s out of respect for that great machine. The F3 gets out of my way in ways that the F2 doesn’t.

      1. Sam Avatar

        Hi Jim, cool! When I had the F2 I used it more for the exact reasons as you! I respected its reputation and craftsmanship. That, despite the fact that I liked the F3 more which is why I ended up keeping it! Ah such great machines both! Have a great weekend my friend and thanks!

  2. Photography Journal Blog Avatar

    Interesting, we visited there and I really liked it.

  3. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    Have to laugh, the F3 is practically “new”, and I started when the “F” ruled and practically none of the photographers I knew had the Tn or FTn top, since we were all hand-metering. Boy, now I feel ancient! Lot’s of people love the F2, cause it’s the last of the mechanical F’s, as long as you can find a good camera mechanic (or maybe Rolex repair guy), they can be kept working great….F3? Not so much love, altho plenty love the “big eyepiece” model.

    The Newseum used to be free, and used to be in Rosslyn Virginia, easily walk-able from first Metro stop in Virginia. It was great going there and seeing all the newspapers current front page every day, which were mounted around the entry. It closed the Virginia location sometime in 2002, about the middle of when I was living in DC, and it cost them 450 million plus to open the DC site, a complete waste of money as far as I’m concerned. Should have stayed in Rosslyn. Most newspapers have horrible content staffs now (read: reporters), who don’t even cover local news in depth any more, mostly thanks to Gannett and a few other big conglomerates that are bleeding them dry for ad dollars and not replacing or funding professional reporters like we had in the olden days. @ho cares if it’s paper or the internet, if the content is unprofessional and not researched or edited correctly.

    BTW,a tone time, they had my buddy, Jim Romenesko’s cell phone on display, since he was a media commentor and reviewer…wonder if it’s even there now…

  4. bodegabayf2 Avatar

    Beat up, brassy old film cameras have a certain charm. When I see one, I wish it could talk and tell me tales of where it has been.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Oh man yes!

  5. Joe shoots resurrected cameras Avatar

    drool I thought I’d conquered GAS but evidently not yet! Gotta get me some Nikons…

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      The F3 is lovely to behold and to hold!

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