Not only was Nikon the first Japanese company to make motor drive for 35mm reflex camera, but also the first one in the world to offer it as standard accessory. That means you can attach a motor drive to ANY production Nikon F as long as it is fitted with the motor base plate.

The 36 shots F36 motor drive was launched in 1959 with the Nikon F. However, the 250 shots F250 motor drive did not appear until a year later in 1960. This is a very extensive system with lot of accessories. You can literally write a book about it! What I show you here does not even scratch the surface!

6 different variations of F36 motor drive out of a total of 17 discovered so far!!
On the left is the earliest Type 1 and the last production type is on the right. You can spot quite a few visual changes from the photos above.

From left to Right: Type 4, Type 2 and Type 1 External Battery Packs.

Nikon initially only offered seperate battery pack as the power source for its F36 and F250 motor drive.

An early example of F36 with Type 1 battery pack in original box

The photo above is a typical F36 setup with the optional pistol grip. Can you imagine what it felt like when all the cables and shoulder strap tangled together at the most critcal shooting moment?

An American company JPI Jacobson Photograhic Instruments saw the shortcomings and released a cordless battery pack system called Powercorn for F36 and F250 in 1964. Later on, another company received license to manufacture a similar but different battery pack called Remopak. Many photo jornalists preferred this cordless design to Nikon's seperate battery pack solution.


Nikon F36 motor drive with Remopak cordless battery pack

Photo copyrights (C) Amblin Entertainment and Malpaso Productions
In the 1995 movie "The Bridges of Madison County", Clint Eastwood played Robert Kincaid, a photographer who was sent by National Geographic to shoot the covered bridges in Madison County. The Nikon F36 setup he used in the movie was powered by a Remopak/Powercorn battery pack. Even his black Nikon F with a mis-matched chrome prism would be an accurate replica of a typical workhorse camera used by the pro in 1960s. My hat's off to the film production team for paying attention to such small details!
Nikon eventually came out with her own cordless design in 1966 (see photo above). Its integrated hand grip with the extra shutter release button made it a more superior product to the Powercorn and Remopak. However, it should be noted that the Powercorn and the Remopak today command a higher price than the Nikon's on collector market. I think it is because of their rarity and historical importance. Afterall, the Powercorn and Remopak started the concept of integrated battery pack which continued until today.

Nikon F36 motor drive with cordless battery pack, 50cm f5 reflex mirror lens and the optional handgrip with coiled connecting cord.


On left: Type 4 F250 motor drive. On right: Type 1 F250 motor drive.

Nikon did not make any cordless battery pack for F250 motor drive.

F250 motor drive in original box

Battery tester for seperate battery pack
6 Feb 2012