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This Photographer Owns $125,000 in Nikon Gear



John S. Payne is a professional photographer who has been running a studio since 1985. He has also spent decades collecting Nikon gear, amassing an arsenal of cameras and lenses worth over $100,000.

The Morganton, North Carolina-based photographer purchased his very first Nikon camera, a Nikkormat FT-2, back in 7th grade in 1975. After purchasing more gear for his hobby over the next several years, Payne began seriously collecting Nikon equipment around 1990.

Since then, he has been adding to his collection by purchasing both new and used items from individuals, eBay, and camera stores.

What you see above is the latest “family portrait” Payne captured recently in his studio. Here are some behind-the-scenes views of the shoot and the collection:






Payne’s collection currently contains 155 camera bodies, about 150 lenses, and an assortment of other accessories (e.g. motor drives and bulk film backs).

The cameras are “mainly Nikon F variations as well as 25+ F2 variations, F3 variations, F4, F5, All Nikkormats, Nikon FM, FE, and a couple of Nikonos V models,” Payne tells PetaPixel. “Digital items include an E2 Body and professional models from D1 to D4.”

His most prized items in the collection? “Probably a very early black Nikon F body from the 640XXXX serial number black,” he says, “along with the 126th F-36 motor drive produced and the 4 early tick marked lenses: 3.5cm, 5cm, 10.5cm and 13.5 cm.”

Payne estimates that his collection is currently worth around $125,000, but he’s unlikely to sell it anytime soon: Payne is a die-hard collector who also shoots with Nikon gear in his daily work, which you can find on his website and on Facebook.

Image credits: Photographs by John S. Payne and used with permission