The F-301 was Nikon's first single-lens-reflex camera that offered an integral motor with auto film winding. With the F-301, you can take continuous shots at up to 2-1/2 frames per second, or single shots. Nikon released the F-301 in 1985 and its sister, the F-501 in 1986, in an effort to gain back the popularity of the 35mm SLR cameras that the compact cameras were taking away. This is opposite of today's scenario, where the reduced prices of digital SLR cameras are rivalling the compact digital cameras.
Compose and focus your shot after loading the film and the four AAA batteries. There are three methods of focusing: Split-image; microprism and matt field. The split-image rangefinder will show up through the viewfinder as the smallest, centre circle. This is for precise focusing on subjects with distinct contours. In microprism focusing, adjust the focusing ring until the shimmering image is in focus and sharp. Matt field focusing is for when you are using high magnification or a telephoto lens with a maximum f/11 (approximately) aperture.
Press the shutter release button lightly, located on the top right of the camera when holding it as if taking a photograph. Take the photograph if the camera does not give a warning bleep. In "S" mode, the camera automatically advances the film one frame. In "C" mode, the camera continually takes shots at up to 2.5 frames per second while the shutter release is depressed.
Check your viewfinder's LED indicator lights for the following problems if there is a warning bleep when you lightly press the shutter: If the top red LED triangle blinks, use a neutral density filter because of overexposure; if the bottom LED red triangle blinks, use an electronic flash to prevent underexposure; use a tripod to avoid camera shake or synchronise the shutter speed using a flash.
Rewind the film when the red indicator tells you to.
Set the film advance selector from "S" or "C" to "L". Slide the film rewind lever and push the film rewind button at the same time. Gently lift out the film rewind crank and rotate until the advance indicator stops moving. Remove the cartridge and have the film developed.
Consult the manual or consider a photography class to learn how to use your apertures and other settings for information on shooting great photographs with the F-301.