In March 1958 Nikon announced an appropriate companion for the flagship Nikon SP and called their new camera the S3. It was built as an excellent second body back-up to your SP, and for this reason the two cameras are almost identical. It is important to emphasise that except for one feature, the SP and the S3 are absolutely identical! Many collectors do not realise this because that one feature change caused a rather large difference in the appearance of the two cameras. Because of the necessary second frosted window to illuminate the projected frame lines in the SP, Nikon chose to use a long front glass that stretches from the wide angle finder over to the frosted window and covers almost half of the camera face. This large window is what gives the SP its distinctive look but no other Nikon camera possesses.
For the S3 Nikon decided to use a different and less expensive finder system. Instead of projected, moving, frame lines the S3 uses etched lines for only the 35, 50 and 105mm lenses with parallax markings. Although the cameras look different at first glance, after close examination it becomes obvious that these two cameras are really the same. They share the same exact body casting, wind mechanism, auto-resetting frame counter, single non-rotating shutter dial, accessory shoe, rewind lever and assembly, PC socket (for flash), flash sync dial, self-timer lever and shutter mechanism and interchangeable removable back. The S3 uses the same S36 motor drive as the SP. It also accepts the same exposure meter and camera case. Except for the finders, these two cameras are identical in design and quality. This particular example has the <EP> engraving on the rewind handle which means ‘Export Permitted’.