Collecting Cameras, Film Photography

Operation Thin the Herd: Nikon N2000

In Starkey Park

Nikon fans had to be disappointed in their favorite camera manufacturer in 1985 upon the introduction of the N2000. It was the first Nikon SLR ever to have a plastic body. Polycarbonate, to be precise. It was also first to lack a winding lever — automatic winding was built into the body. Perhaps that luxury feature softened the blow for dedicated Nikon shooters.

Nikon N2000

Does Nikon even make a metal-bodied camera anymore? The N2000 pointed toward the future. And when I came upon mine, I found it to be a robust and highly capable tool. Here’s a shot from my very first roll of film in it, Fujicolor 200, through a 50mm f/1.8 Nikon Series E lens. This is my most-viewed photo on Flickr, by the way, with 36,838 views as of the day I am writing this.

Every step of the way *EXPLORED*

I liked this camera so much that I shot it all over Ireland a couple years ago. I was gifted a 35mm f/2.8 AI Nikkor lens that was just right to take in Ireland’s sweeping vistas. I shot Kodak T-Max 400 all over that country.

At Kylemore Abbey

This gives me a great chance to plug my book, Textures of Ireland, which collects the best of my black-and-white Ireland photos. They’re all as beautiful and as deep as the one above, of Kylemore Abbey in County Galway! I’d be thrilled if you bought a copy today: $14.99 plus shipping for paperback and $4.99 for a PDF. Click here to order one!

The N2000 handled beautifully all over Ireland. It proved fully Nikon tough when I fell hard on some slippery rocks — the camera banged right into them, leaving a dent in the bottom plate. It kept working as if nothing had happened.

It was with this memory in mind that I loaded some Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400 into it for a hike through Zionsville’s Starkey Park. It had rained the day before and the trails were wet.

Backlit leaf

I had mounted a 35-70mm f/3.3-4.5 Zoom Nikkor lens that I picked up somewhere along the way. I like this lens a lot, except that at its widest end it has wicked barrel distortion. It shows right up in any shot with straight lines. I corrected this photo’s distortion in Photoshop with a few clicks.

Bridge

I did have some trouble getting good exposures this late afternoon. The sun was low in the sky, casting deep shadows. But by the end of the roll the winder was sounding sickly, meaning that the batteries were weak. Drat! That had to affect the meter’s accuracy.

Stalk

This little zoom lens offers a macro mode, too. I love macro lenses!

Berries

There was plenty of autumn foliage to get close to.

Flowers

I shot this whole roll in Program mode, letting the camera choose all the settings for me. With its automatic winder, all I had to do was focus and press the shutter button. At the end of the roll I did have to manually rewind the film — automatic rewind was one nicety that Nikon wasn’t ready to offer the world yet in 1985.

Rocks

The N2000 was an eager and versatile companion on this hike. If only I had thought to put fresh batteries in before I left the house!

Pond

To see everything I’ve ever shot with this camera, check out my Nikon N2000 gallery.

I just love this plastic Nikon SLR. I love most of my other Nikon SLRs, too, especially my two F2s and my F3. I sure as hell don’t need them all. But it’s good to have a reliable F-mount body that, if damaged or lost, would not reduce me to tears. I can buy another N2000 for under $30. Try that with an F2 or F3.

Verdict: Keep

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16 thoughts on “Operation Thin the Herd: Nikon N2000

  1. Hi Jim some superb pics! I have this camera. It’s the most 80s looking Nikon and I haven’t used it in years cause it reminds me of my Minoltas from that era. But your pics make me want to fire her up!! Ps: Haven’t gotten the book yet but I will. Cheers! 😎

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  2. Marcus Peddle says:

    That camera produces some very good results. I’m not surprised you’re keeping it. I have an F80 that was very cheap but works very well.
    I’m glad you reminded your readers about the book. I meant to buy it on payday but forgot. I paid for my copy a few minutes ago and Blurb is warming up the printer as I write this. I have to admit that in addition to wanting to see your wonderful photos of Ireland, I’m also curious to see what the magazine format looks like. I’m thinking of collecting and printing my photos of Gangneung this year.

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    • Oh gosh yes! An N2000 and a nifty fifty can see you back as little as $50 – and go on to make photos mighty hard to distinguish from one made with a far more expensive Nikon kit.

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  3. Those macros are really nice. One of these days I’ll get a macro lens, probably for one of the Nikons. I’ve grown to like my plastic EM, deciding that my initial assessment of it was uncharitable, particularly in light of the ten dollar price.

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  4. DougD says:

    Not a nice looking camera but the results are good, for sure.

    How’s the overall camera reduction program going? Where are you now and what number are you shooting :) for?

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    • I don’t know exactly how many I’ve gotten rid of and how many are left. I’m not aiming at a specific number but at just that set of cameras I will actually use.

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  5. Heide says:

    I was almost holding my breath as I worked my way down toward the verdict, Jim — and was so relieved to see it’s a keeper. You’ve captured some really gorgeous images with this camera.

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