This may look like just another run-of-the-mill Nikon F to you, but in fact it is an extremely rare model. Military Nikons of any kind are hot collector's item and KE-48C is no exception. This camera is so rare that many collectors probably have not even heard of it! I have come across another two KE-48Cs with "US GOVT PROPERTY" engraved at the back. One is engraved in the middle, just below the viewfinder eyepiece. It was shown on the March 1996 issue of the Nikon Historical Journal (perhaps the first ever reference of this camera?). The second one has the engraving more to the right, just below the film advance lever. However, this KE-48C I own and the other two examples shown on the Japanese book "Millitary Camera -- the Pictorial Guide" do NOT have this "US GOVT PROPERTY" engraving. Apart from the Japanese book I just mentioned and a couple of NHS Journals, the only other reference about KE-48C I am aware of is the legendary website run by Mr. Stephen Gandy. In Mr Gandy's website, there is another mysterious Nikon F marked with "US GOVT PROPERTY" (No contract plate on the back) that he is unsure of its background. I personally suspect this is actually just a KE-48C with a mis-matched back because the location of the engraving on his camera is exactly the same as the second KE-48C I was talking about earlier. Mis-matched parts are very common on military cameras. That KE-48C I saw actually had its advance side top plate replaced with a CHROME one! (I bet the current owner of that camera must have rectified it by now.)

The body serial number "7087179" matches that on the contract plate.


"Why do I use the F3 (Nikon)? Well, I may be willing to risk my life for a picture, but I hate taking chances."

- by Eddie Adams

(A photo-journalist who's survived 12 wars, 3 revolutions and an assignment in Soviet Prison)