Things We Love: Nikon AR-3 Threaded Cable Release


Am I alone in having such strong tactile preferences that they guide purchase decisions for me? In the world of threaded cable releases, one—the Nikon AR-3 Threaded Cable Release—stands alone, not for its diverse functionality or plethora of technological capabilities—they all do the exact same thing—but simply because of the way it feels.

Nikon AR-3 Threaded Cable Release

Growing up, before I was a photographer, Dad was the family shooter and he had a cable release for his Leica. It worked well enough, and, knowing Dad, it was, if not a made-in-Germany piece of precision engineering, an actual Leica-branded cable release that cost a lot more than the competitions’. However, I never remember the actuation of the mechanism feeling good to my fingers.

Gepe Metal Weave Covered Cable Release with Disc-Lock - 20"

For years, with my Nikon N6006, I used a generic release. Those years were OK, but, you know, the generic cable release didn’t make my annual summary of “things that felt good.”

Somehow, somewhere, I got my hands on the Nikon AR-3 threaded release and experienced tactile bliss. How good is this release? Well, is the fact that I owned one while I was shooting digital cameras that did not accept a cable release an indication of its tactile amazingness? Or does it just prove that I am crazy?

Seventy-two five-star reviews at press time. I wonder if any of those photographers own one, even though they don’t have a compatible camera? For years, Nikon digital cameras never accepted the threaded AR-3. Even most modern Pentax, Sony, Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, Sigma, and Olympus cameras, among others, could not accept an AR-3, or any other threaded release.

Fast-forward a few years and look who, besides Leica, figured out how to make a threaded shutter release weatherproof? Fujifilm did. The X-T2 has a threaded release following in the steps of the X100 series, X-Pro1 and X-Pro2; all of which took threaded releases.

Fujifilm X-Pro2 Mirrorless Digital Camera

Now my Nikon AR-3 has graduated from its position as a photographic fidget spinner to an actual tool that gets to ride around in my camera bag and release some shutters—along with a lot of just-for-fun actuations!

The “Things We Love” series articles are written by B&H Photo Video Pro Audio staff to talk about products and items that we love. Opinions expressed in the articles are those of the writers and do not represent product endorsements from B&H Photo Video Pro Audio.


Hello! I own a Nikon FE 35mm film camera. Is the Nikon AR 3 compatible with my camera? Any help would be appreciated. Thank you!

Since the Nikon FE uses a threaded cable release, the AR-3 is definitely compatible with it. 

The Nikon Df uses the AR-3 shutter release.  I was delighted to discover this when I purchased a really nice used Df.  In fact, I find this whole camera delightful so far.  It is a lot like my old Nikon F3.  It has knobs, and they are in the right places.

Hi Richard,

Yes! That was a nice retro touch on the Df. I have my complaints about the Df in general, but I love that they had a threaded shutter release!



Careful,'re showing your age :-)    People commonly become attached to "old favorite" items (not just photo stuff, even favorite toys from childhood), even if they are not used any more.  I still remember fondly the Rolleicord, a hand-me-down from Dad, that started me in photography. We are not fully rational creatures, any of us, and fond memories often override the cold facts of superior performance by more modern equipment.  For example, your mechanical external shutter release still transmits a (small) physical force to the camera; the modern electronic type does not, plus which the latter can do more things. Is the electronic one better technically? Yes, it is. But since you enjoy using the old standby, go out and have a fine day shooting with it, and to blazes with the nay-sayers :-)

Hey Matthew,

Who says I cannot enjoy a mechanical release at the age of 24? :)

Thanks for reading and sorry for the delay in replying...was on vacation last week with my shutter release.