Fe2 or F3?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by alvin_leung, Jul 21, 2008.

  1. Im looking to venture into film photography, after a year with my nikon dslr. I've narrowed it down to Fe2 and F3. I would like to continue
    the type of work I'm doing now, and start shoot more daylight shots rather than just alot of indoors and night shots. I have a nikon 50mm
    f/1.2 that i plan to use most often with my film slr.

    I also have a sigma 10-20mm, would it be possible for me use with either film slr?

  2. http://flickr.com/photos/alvinleung/ , some of my work
  3. The FE2 is a slightly smaller body without interchangeable finders but with a faster max x-sync speed. The F3 requires battery power for shutter and meter operation. The FE2 needs batteries for the meter, but the shutter is mechanical. The F3's meter pattern is center-weighted 80/20, while the FE2's is a somewhat more forgiving 60/40. The FE2 has a standard hot shoe. The F3's hot shoe is a proprietary Nikon design atop the film rewind lever. The only way to get a standard shoe with the F3 is either with the DE-5 finder or with AS-4 or AS-17/TTL accessory.
    Henry Posner
    B&H Photo-Video
  4. oh, flash isn't a factor in my decision making, i don't even own a flash and dont plan on using one.
  5. Pro camera vs amateur? Not too big a choice unless the pro one is all used up.
  6. An F3 is an absolute joy to use. Go with an F3! Why only those two? Why not an F100?

    Your sigma lens will cut off the corners at every setting from what I understand. Also, it is a G lens, which means you can
    NOT alter the aperture from the smallest setting at all. It will work on an F100, but still cut off the corners. In short, it's not
    practically useful.
  7. I like the Fe2, because of its 1/4000th shutter, its a bit lighter than the F3, there are alot more on ebay that are in decent
    condition, the price under $200. But the F3, like you said is a pro body, but are more expensive and more used on ebay(im
    weary about the shutter use by previous owners since its a pro body.

    What can the F3 do that the Fe2 cannot that will affect the photo results? Which has better metering?

    I will use Aperture priority about 70% of the time
  8. one more question, is one of the viewfinder better the other (larger/bright)?
  9. Henry's post is correct regarding the metering, but his "power description" has an error. The FE2 has an electronic
    shutter and requires battery power for the meter AND the shutter (just like the F3). It's not much of an issue on
    either body since you can just toss an extra pair of A76 button cells in your bag. Also, while the FE2 does not have
    interchangable finders, it does have user-interchangable screens.

    The F3 (which I love and own) has perhaps the worst meter display ever put in a camera. The FE2's is much easier
    to see (I also have an FE and an FM2N so I have used both extensively). If you don't wear glasses consider the
    plain F3, versus the F3HP if you do wear glasses.

    I think your choice comes down to weight. The F3 is noticably heavier than the FM/FE series of cameras. The F3
    is certainly more solid, but the FE2 is a great camera, too. You really should try to put both in your hands before
    you buy.
  10. The F3, if you get the HP, has beautiful finder to compose images, especially so if you are an eyeglass wearer. The metering window in the finder is a stinker, as is the electronic light switch. It only has a 1/60 flash sync. It also has a fold away AI prong to use non-AI MF glass. There is also mirror lock-up, for slow shutter macros. Accepting it's limitations, I feel it is still a more versatile camera.

    I used an FM2n extensively till I gave up wearing contact lenses and had to resort to spectacles. I believe the FE2 has a similar finder as the FM. I only used flash on rare occasion, but I have the vivitar adapter that allows standard hot shoe flashes to do TTL metering.

    Some Dx lenses are usable on 35mm, but not at the wide end.

    Hope this helps,
  11. The F3HP has the biggest, brightest viewfinder of any camera I've used, including an F5. The camera itself is a jewel to use - as smooth and precise (and hardly larger) as a Leica, but a lot noisier. The auto exposure (aperture priority only) is reliable and predictable, but you have to get to know it for scenes with high contrast.

    Refusing to use flash is like refusing to learn to read. Anyway, the F3 is a dog with flash and does not have a conventional shoe (hot or cold). For $20 you can get an ISO adapter and use any modern flash in manual or, preferably, AUTO mode. It's not TTL but effective nonetheless.

    Most F3's will have been owned by dilettantes, not professionals, and will be nearly spotless. They were made up to 2003, if I recall correctly. You may want a factory CLA for tuneup and replacement of the foam mirror damper. That will cost about $150 and give you a camera to last another 20 years. Show it to your grandchildren and tell them you had to walk to school and use film when you were young :)
  12. The FE2 does require a battery to work. There is only one shutter speed that will operate without the battery (1/250th). If the flash is not an issue the FE2 has little to offer over the F3. The F3 is slightly larger, has a great viewfinder (100%) and is about as durable as a camera can be. I own the FE2 and have no complaints about it. You can use the focus screen and screw on diopters from the FM3A and they are available new at BHphoto. For how long I don't know. The FE2 has a 60/40 center weighted meter vs an 80/20 center weighted meter on the F3.
    I don't know about the sigma usuable part. Both camera's use AIS lenses. I would imagine that a 24mm and a 50mm would get you going pretty good. Both camera's are highly desireable bodies and both of them are getting pretty old now. I would suggest the F3 as it's more durable. I shoot film and digital myself but I really like the old film bodies. They are very beautiful.I cannot imagine being a hobbyist and not shooting some film..It's really fun and can still deliver the goods just like it did for decades.
  13. I'm much like Steven. I found my FE2 fine until I changed from contacts to glasses. Now I can't see all the frame. I'm sure the FM2 and FE2 finders are much the same except for the meter display.

    Neither FM2 nor FE2 are good with glasses.

    The FE2 meter is great on manual. You can evaluate the brightness range as you move the camera around and see the meter needle move either above or below the set exposure time. On an F3 you just get a little + or - mark.

    I find the exposure memory lock a little awkward (you have to push the self timer lever in) so if it's needed I tend to switch to manual.

    Some say that even the plain F3 is OK with glasses. Has anyone tried both FE2 and F3 to compare?
  14. Steven and Edward's comments on the viewfinder are incorrect and misleading.

    The F3HP has more eye relief. and that is VERY important to eyeglass wearers. But the "plain" F3 finder has a
    much bigger, higher-magnification view. In order to give the extra eye relief of the HP finder, the magnification MUST
    BE less. If you don't need room for glasses between your eye and the eyepiece, the non-HP finder is far and away
    the better finder.
  15. "If you don't need room for glasses between your eye and the eyepiece, the non-HP finder is far and away the better finder."

    If you buy a basic F3 with the better finder, you'll almost certainly get a camera body that is older and which doesn't have minor improvements made in the camera over the years. For example, older bodies have an exposure lock button that very often works loose and pops out, never to be seen again. Ask me how many F3s I've had with this problem... the answer is 4. Newer F3s (the HP versions) with serial #s starting with 16 don't have the exposure lock problem in my experience. Just something to consider.
  16. Having owned and used both cameras, I would go for the F3. I had the F3HP which was a joy to use as I wear glasses. Easily the best 35mm viewfinder I've ever used, no contest at all. I also found the meter to be dead on, much better than the FE2 when shooting slide film. I sold my F3HP a year ago since getting the D300 and I shoot about 5 rolls of film a year. Get the F3, but make sure you get the cleanest one you can find. Most have been owned by pros. And don't be surprised if you need to get it overhauled. It's worth it.
  17. I think both cameras are very good. Try to get a Fm2 with titan shutter!
  18. I'd go contrarian and say neither. Clean F3s are getting tough to find and when you do, you're slugging it out with collectors and paying their prices. FM/FE variants are all sweet but I'd go for the cheaper FE which can take old NAI lenses. With the exception of late-run FM2Ns, these are getting to be old cameras. As nice(maybe better) for flexibility and viewfinder goodness--along with high shutter speeds and great metering for fill flash--are now dirt-cheap N90s/F90x and practically-free 8008s/801s bodies. Both work wonderfully with AF/MF lenses.
  19. Would using any of these two cams be a problem in cold weather/winter season?
  20. With the fe2, you can change the focusing screen by putting a "K3" screen with is very very clear. I also have a
    50mm 1,2 and it's a real pleasure with it. The fe2 can measure low light quite easily (much better for example than
    the FA). I don't know if this better or not that the F3, as I don't have one. But the fe2 is great for action pictures (as
    the shutter goes up to 1/4000).
  21. No cold weather issues apart from the severe Canadian winter that can weaken or kill any battery. Both AF models I mentioned use a 4 AA holder that's easily changed. Failing that, you just keep several sets warm and change 'em. No functional problems with either in winter shooting I've done around Ontario.
  22. Nikon used to offer a special cold weather battery holder for the FE2 and similar cameras. It may fit the F3 too.
    It has two AA cells in a holder on the end of a cable that screws into the normal battery holder. You put the
    holder in your pocket. Never needed it here in the UK though!
  23. My vote will go to the F3. Own the F3HP and am loving it. If you're worried about the cold, get the MD4, you can set the number of shots in the roll of film and not worry about the film snapping under mega harsh conditions. But anyway, unless you live in a place that is way below sub zero, i don't think there's much to worry.

    As mentioned by some, the F3 is a darn solid camera that can probably double up as a weapon and still be used to shoot the poor bloke at the receiving end of it.
  24. I have an F3HP, and I LOVE IT!!!. However, no-one has mentioned the Nikon FA, which is worth a look.
  25. Get an FM3a. Used F3s & Fe2s are so old now you're bound to looking at a repair in the future.
  26. For a long time, I was after an FE2, but due to the high price, I went for the FA. The only pluses of the FE2 over the FA is the needle metering and the ability to set an 8 second manual shutter speed. The FA does low light metering just as well as the FE2 when it is put into center-weighted mode and does similarly in AMP mode. AMP mode doesn't work properly in the portrait orientation.

    I'd say, go F3HP if you are after a tough body with a tough shutter. Go for the FE2 if you need high sync speed, the ability to use normal flashes and a smaller body. Be prepared to pay for a CLA and possible spare parts which are no made anymore for the FE2.
  27. I shot with FE2s until the FM3a came out; over the next couple years I started to use two FM3as. They are very similar
    cameras and almost ideal for what I do. I've also used an F3HP, and I agree, it's a more substantial camera.

    Others may chime in to the contrary, but I would guess that Nikon USA provides better service for the F3HP than the FE2 -
    let's not forget that F3HP production didn't stop too long ago. There are a bunch of newer top condition F3HPs out there.

    How important is mirror lock-up to you? Racketing back the FE2's exposure-delay lever gets a bit old, and not having
    precise control of when the exposure is made can yield lower quality photos.
  28. Just my 2 cents worth,i own both and like them both, the f3 has mirror lock-up which is important for longish exposures. Also a point worth mentioning is that if you prefer to look through the vewfinder with your LEFT eye then the f3 is the more comfortable camera to use because with the fe2 the film advance lever cannot be returned back to the flush position to shoot because this will turn the camera off. If you are right eyed this isn't an issue.

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