Nikon N8008

The Autofocus SLR for people who are against

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I was surprised to observe that few Internet pages are written about one of the greatest successes of Nikon and one of its mythical cameras, the Nikon N8008. This page tries to fill this gap.

In 1985, Minolta has launched the first autofocus SLR: The Minolta Maxxum 7000. Quickly Nikon and Pentax have followed the same way that preserve their dedicated bayonet but they kept the same concept and the patent of Minolta. The focus is made by a mechanical cam and by an engine in the camera.
Canon has redefined the entire concept and proposed new cameras with a new mount EOS and new objectives, without mechanical connection and with integrated motor. This last option already taken on the Nikon F-3 AF is the solution that offers today the most possibilities.

In 1988, three years after, Minolta 5000, 7000, Nikon F - 501 and other EOS 600 have not yet convinced the enthusiastic to abandon their Nikon FE.
In general, Nikon professional cameras have always preceded their declination in expert cameras: The Nikon F was launched before the Nikkormat, the F2 before the FE.

This time Nikon presented the N8008 some months before its new flagship camera: The Nikon F4
Both two share exceptional performances but it is the N8008 that establishes the new record for: motorization 3,2 frames/seconds shutter from1/8000 th of second (that will be exceeded only by the Minolta Maxxum 9xi), matrix measure with all lenses, timeless design... and fast and efficient autofocus. The slogan of the advertising campaign Nikon is: The Nikon N8008, an autofocus SLR for people who are against.

Despite its expensive price of 750 $ in June 1998, the double of its direct competitors, the Nikon N8008 will be an immense success and Nikon will have the pain to satisfy demand.

It is as interesting to note that the Nikon N8008 comes with a flash dedicated: The Nikon SB-24 that establishes it also new functions: Motorized head, strong power, manual, automatic and TTL modes performing with the matrix measure, strobe effect, releasing on the second curtain ...

A data back and a multifunction back MF-21 complete (bracketing, pre-focus on a point) complete the offer.

For their new professional cameras: the Canon EOS1 and the Nikon F4, the two leaders of the photography propose autofocus and indicate both that they have collected needs from professionals but choice are different: While Nikon preserves classically the speeds and the rewind buttons, Canon passes to the LCD screen and function wheels. The Nikon N8008 is closer in the design of the EOS1 that the F4. It outclasses the EOS1 by clearer orders, the presence of a "clover" with a touch by function, concept that we will retrieve on the F100, D1, and D2. D200. Its design is close enough to the SVC prototype presented in 1986.


Nikon N8008

The Nikon N8008 will know many declinations, a version N8008s with spotlight measure, for the great - public: Nikon F - 601 and other F70 and for experts: F90 very close with more efficient matrix measure but a less nice design.


My Nikon N8008

This camera is the alone (with now the D200) that I have bought "on plan" after an article in "Chasseur d'Images" titled "the Nikon N8008 an imperial camera". Preordered to the FNAC, I had one the first bodies available in June 1988 and it was used by me during ten years. Although noisy and more voluminous than the FE, its exposition measure is wonderful. After a fall, it will continue to take photographs despite an open hole in the plastic of the prism leaving seeing its electronic circuits. Even now second-hand, it continues to be researched for its exposition measurement even if its autofocus seems now well aged. It is again one the best camera Nikon for them which are against the autofocus.

pierre j.

Nikon N8008 Specifications

Type of camera:

Integral-motor autofocus 35mm single lens reflex.

Picture format:

24mm x 36mm standard 35mm film format.

Lens mount:

Nikon F mount.


Lenses with Nikon F mount with some limitations.

Focus modes:

Autofocus and manual with electronic rangefinder.

Autofocus modes:

Single servo AF with focus priority and continuous servo AF with release priority.

AF detection system:

TTL phase detection system - Nikon Advanced AM200 module.

AF detection range:

EV minus 1 to EV 19 at ISO 100.

AF lock:

Possible in single servo AF mode once a stationary subject is in focus as long as the shutter button is depressed; in continuous servo AF, focus can be locked with AF-L button.

Electronic rangefinder:

Available in manual focus mode with an AF Nikkor and other AI-type Nikkor lenses with a maximum aperture of f/5.6 or faster.

Exposure metering:

Matrix metering, centre-weighted metering (75/25) and only for N8008S : spot metering .

Metering range:

EV 0 to 21 for matrix and (at 100 ISO centre-weighted; EV 4 to 21 for spot with f/1.4 metering. lens):

Exposure meter:

Activated by lightly pressing the shutter release button; stays on for approx 8 sec after finger leaves button.

Exposure modes:

Programmed auto-multi, shutter-priority auto, aperture priority auto and manual.

Programmed auto exposure control:

Both shutter speed and aperture are set automatically; 1 EV increments of aperture is possible.

Exposure compensation:

Use exposure compensation button within +/- 5 EV range in 1/3 EV steps.

Auto exposure lock:

By sliding the AE-L lever while the meter is on.


Electromagnetically controlled vertical-travel focal-plane shutter.

Shutter release:

By motor trigger.

Shutter speeds:

Lithium niobate oscillator-controlled speeds from 1/8000 sec to 30 sec; stepless in programmed auto and aperture-priority auto exposure modes; 1 EV steps in shutter priority auto and manual exposure modes; electromagnetically controlled long exposure at B setting.


Fixed eyelevel pentaprism high-eyepoint type; 0.75x magnification with 50mm lens at infinity; 92% frame coverage.


19mm approx.

Eyepiece shutter:

Provided. (DK-8)

Focusing screen:

Fixed Nikon advanced B-type screen BriteView screen; interchangeable with E type screen.

Viewfinder information:

Focus indications, exposure mode, shutter speed/ISO, aperture/exposure compensation, electronic analogue display, exposure compensation mark and flash-ready are all shown in LCD readout; also shows flash recommended/ready light LEDs.

LCD panel information:

Shutter speed, aperture, exposure mode, metering system, film speed, DX mark, electronic analogue display, exposure compensation mark, frame counter/self timer/multiple exposure, exposure compensation value, film advance mode, film loading, film rewind, self timer.

Viewfinder/LCD panel illumination:

Viewfinder and LCD panel illuminated by pressing button.

Film speed range:

ISO 25 to 5000 for DX-coded film; ISO 6 to 6400 for manual setting.

Film speed setting:

At DX position, automatically set to speed of DX-coded film; manual setting available.

Film loading:

Film automatically advances to first frame when shutter release button is depressed once.

Film advance:

In single-frame shooting mode, film automatically advances one frame when shutter is released; in continuous high or continuous low shooting modes, shots are taken as long as shutter release button is depressed; high speed 3.3 fps; low 2.0 fps.

Film rewind:

By pressing buttons with red rewind markings simultaneously; rewind stops automatically when film is rewound.

Frame counter:

Additive type; counts back while film is rewinding.


Electronically controlled; timer duration selectable from 2 to 30 seconds in one second increments; blinking LED indicates self-timer operation; cancellable.

Depth-of-field preview button:

Provides visual verification of depth-of-field in aperture-priority auto or manual exposure modes.

Reflex mirror:

Automatic, instant-return type.

Camera back:

Hinged; interchangeable with Nikon Multi-Control Back MF-21 or World Time Data Back MF-20.

Accessory shoe:

Standard ISO-type hot shoe contact; ready light contact, TTL flash contact, monitor contact.

Flash sync control:

Normal sync, normal with red-eye, slow sync and rear curtain sync provided.

Flash synchronisation:

In programmed auto or aperture-priority auto, shutter operates from 1/250 to 1/60 sec in normal sync or 1/250 to 30 sec in slow sync; in shutter-priority auto or manual exposure mode, shutter fires at speed set, and when set from 1/250 to 1/8000 sec, shutter is automatically set to 1/250 sec.

TTL multi sensor:

Five segment multi sensor used for TTL auto flash control.

Automatic balanced fill-flash:

Possible when AF Nikkor or AI-P Nikkor lens is used with Nikon dedicated Speedlights.

Flash recommended/ ready light:

Lights up in green when flash is recommended and no speedlight is attached; when speedlight is attached, lights up in red when Nikon dedicated speedlight is ready to fire, or blinks to warn of insufficient light for a correct exposure.

Number of 36 exposure film rolls per set of fresh batteries:














Power source:

Four AA alkaline, Ni-Cd or manganese batteries.

Battery check:

Battery power confirmation as full battery sign; half battery for nearing exhaustion; blinking half empty battery sign indicates batteries are just about exhausted; no indication appears when batteries are completely exhausted or improperly installed.

Dimensions (W x H x D):

154 x 103 x 67mm approx.

Weight (body only):

695g approx.

Price in June 1988

750 $

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Created in December 14 2005, Updated November 6 2006
© Pierre J.