Identify my nikon! What is this??

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by petrina_yyuen, Jun 23, 2013.

  1. Hello all, First of all dont kill me, im just an amateur photographer, not really into the gadget side of it all.
    Regardless of that I was extremely excited when my father cleared out his study room and found this gem, an old nikon he bought in his twenties, thats about 20-30 years ago. I have no idea what model it is, what its capable of.
    Sure i have a nikon dslr, but i have no idea about their slrs, but what model is this ? Its really really moldy and needs cleaning. how much would that cost me, and is that really worth it? It has a 55mm lens which really needs a clean up too. in the box the original flash is still with it, didnt manage to take pictures.
    is this something worth refurbishing?
    also this might sound dumb but... i cant get the back to open, and i cant figure out how... not sure if theres any film still in it...
  2. It's a Nikon FM (notice that the serial number on the back begins with "FM"), a 35mm manual-focus, manual-exposure film camera made between 1977 and about 1984. It is fully mechanical in operation except for the light meter, which requires two SR44 batteries that go into a compartment on the bottom of the camera. Without batteries, you can still take pictures, since the camera as a fully mechanical shutter, but you'll have to figure out the exposure yourself. It's an excellent camera, capable of using any of Nikon's manual-focus AI or AI-S lenses (such as the 55mm macro that you have mounted on it).
    To open it: See the black rewind knob on the top left of the camera, with the curving arrow pointing to the left? There is a small lever on the top of the camera next to this knob (visible in the picture above, the arrow seems to point at it). Pull this lever back, and while holding it back, pull up on the film rewind lever. The back should pop open. It may be sticky if it's been sitting in a box for years.
    My offhand guess is that sending this camera out for a thorough cleaning would probably be almost as expensive as buying another one, considering how much the prices of film gear have dropped in the last decade. If it's only dirty on the outside, then you might be able to clean it up yourself enough to try it out. The "mold" isn't visible (to me, at least) in your pictures, so I'm not sure what you mean when you say it's moldy.
    You can find an instruction manual for this camera here:
  3. Looks a lot like a Nikon FM, probably 30 years old ,but I have trouble making out the serial number in the photo posted. Look at the serial number on the back just below the film advance/shutter cocking lever. If so, needs button batteries for the light meter. Fully manual, focus, shutter speed and aperture set manually, after consulting a light meter. A solid consumer SLR in its day. The lens might be worth more than the body, but no much in either event. This camera is a perfect student camera if the shutter works.
    To see if there is film in the camera, mover the rewind lever on the left top to see if there is resistence. Moving the stutter lever should move the rewind lever is there is film in the camera. You can probably find a pdf copy of the manual on line by googling "instruction manual nikon fm"
    This database can give you an idea of the lens' date of manufacture.
    Ebay, or might give you an idea of the value of the body or lens. See also used departments at B&H or Adorama.
    If you want to mess with film, it is a wonderful tool for instruction as you will learn what shutter speed and aperture do and the relationship with the available light. Otherwise, I suggest you get something digital.
    Have fun!
  4. Before you open it, check whether there's film in it by folding out the crank on the rewind knob and turning the knob several rotations in the direction of the arrow. If there's film in it, you'll feel increasing resistance as the spool inside the canister takes up slack. (Stop before it gets difficult to turn - you don't want to put too much force into it.) If there's film, wind it back into the canister by first pressing the small round button in the bottom plate of the camera, which will click in, signifying that the resistance on the take-up spool has been released, and then wind it with the crank back into the canister. That way you can open the back of the camera without ruining whatever photos were already on the film.
    It's a very nice camera if you're interested in manual shooting. It's also a really sharp lens that can shoot macro. You can use the lens on your DSLR.
    If the camera and lens are just dusty you can clean them with a moistened q-tip and a toothpick (used carefully) for the corners. Anything on the inside, try to get out with a blower. If there's black gummy crap on the mirror it means the foam bumper has deteriorated and when you open the back, check for intact black foam in the grooves on the camera body side that the back plate edges fit into. Those two types of foam usually need to be replaced eventually, and you can have that done for you or get a kit to do it yourself on eBay. For the lens, check whether it has scratches on the glass or fungus (which looks like tiny spider veins on the glass inside the lens), which you can't really do anything about, and whether there is oil on the aperture blades that would keep them from moving freely, which can be cleaned.
  5. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    That is an FM.
    In 1977, Nikon introduced auto indexing (AI) and was converting their lenses into AI. The first two SLR bodies with AI were the FM and (Nikkormat) FT3. I bought my first Nikon camera that year including an FT3 and a 43-86mm/f3.5 AI lens. I still own that lens and the FE I bought in the following year, 1978; the same year the FE was introduced.
    It is easy to tell that it is an FM because the FM and FE have a flash sync speed of 1/125 sec, slower than the 1/200 or 1/250 sec in the subsequent FM2, FE2, and FM3A. However, the FE has the aperture-priority auto mode while the FM is all mechanical. The 1/125 sec flash sync and the lack of the auto mode identifies that it is an FM.
    Unfortunately, film and processing is very expensive in these days. It can be fun to shoot a few rolls of film or maybe develop some black and white film, but it will cost some money.
  6. The FM differs cosmetically from the FE by having a chromed finger-guard around the shutter release. The FE has a black-finished one. That's about the only way to tell them apart at a distance. However we can clearly read the letters "FM" on the back of the OP's camera. It's also quite an early FM with a knurled finger-guard that I believe could be used to lock the release. Later ones were smooth and didn't turn, like the FE shown above, but still chrome plated rather than blackened.
    At present there's a PDF manual for the FM posted here. Doubtless if Nikon get wind of it they'll demand its removal.
    PS. That's a nice 55mm f/3.5 micro-Nikkor lens attached as well. One of the sharpest lenses Nikon ever made. So happy shooting if you decide to use the camera!
  7. You have an early model Nikon FM (serial number 'FM 2xxxxxx' series) with the knurled lock collar around the shutter release and s/n starting with a '2'. The manual link that Craig Dickson posted above is the proper one for your camera. The link that Rodeo Joe posted is for the later Mk.II model of the FM (serial number 'FM 3xxxxxx' series) with the smooth collar around the shutter release and s/n starting with a '3'.
    Regardless, the only important functional difference between the two is that on the earlier model the knurled shutter lock must be turned to the red index mark for proper synchronization with the MD-11 or MD-12 motordrive (see page 12 in the manual). For normal operation the collar is aligned with the black index mark.
    As Rodeo Joe noted, the Micro-Nikkor 55mm 1:3.5 lens attached is an excellent marco (close-up) lens and well worth servicing to clean it up. It is also compatible with your Nikon DSLR, although to what extent will depend on what DSLR you are using.
  8. That's a beauty! One of the best ever Nikons IMO. Awesome lens too.
  9. The neck strap is a style that was ubiquitous in the 80's. One issue to be aware of with that style of strap is presented by the large metal snaps that are hooked onto the camera body. Over time, those large snaps can scratch or ding the camera or other items in your camera bag. I had one almost exactly like yours on my black FE body, and it attached with the very same kind of hooks. The hooks wore away the black finish on the corner edges of the camera body exposing the brass underneath.
  10. You might wish to purchase an instruction manual for your "new" FM camera. There's lots of them available presently on eBay for very nominal prices (e.g. "Buy it Now" - $5.99). The manual will be of use as you're learning to use the camera.
    The prices of film and development varies, I'm sure, depending on your location. I'm still able to obtain film processing (both slides and negatives/prints) at relatively low prices in my area. This is at a "pro-quality" lab - ($10.00/slides develop and mounts; $6.50/Negative processing).

    I think you'll enjoy your FM camera, digital photography is at a stage of development that surpasses film in most areas, but film has a quality that many still enjoy/prefer. Photography should be, in my opinion, fun - and film can still be fun!
  11. You must have a very cool dad!
  12. That's easy, an original FM and I did not need to see the FM in the serial number. The FM was a terrific, all manual camera. The FM was improved over the years, culminating in the FM3A which still commands a premium price ($400 to even $700) used depending on the condition.
  13. I'm not seeing any sign of mold in the photos. Where are you seeing mold? Anything on the exterior of the body you can try gently wiping off with a damp cloth (not soaking wet, just damp). You can clean the exterior glass surfaces of the lens very carefully with lens cleaning paper from a camera store (not the kind used for eyeglasses, it can scratch) or a clean white cotton T-shirt. Be very, very gentle. If there is mold inside the camera or inside the lens, that's a bigger problem.
    Somebody said film is expensive. Not necessarily true. Film is not as cheap as it once was but you can still buy color print film for around $3 a roll. Processing with prints can run anywhere from around $10 up.
  14. Some one-hour labs will process a roll of film and scan JPGs to a CD with no prints for around $6. This provides a fairly inexpensive way to practice shooting film and you end up with files that you can e-mail or post online, plus you still have the negative if you capture an extraordinary image that you want to get printed.
  15. hello, I would like to ask u what camera is this?


  16. That is a Nikon F with a plain prism. Offhand, I think it's from roughly 1964 or '65-I'm too lazy to look up the S/N at the moment, but it's earlyish(6.7 million SN) and marked "Nippon Kogakua" on the top right.

    Great camera! This was Nikon's first SLR, and arguably one of the most significant cameras in the history of photography.
  17. Ok, thank u very much, approximately his value is..?
  18. If I were buying(and I've bought a decent number of Fs recently), I'd probably pay in the $125 range(assuming there's not an engraving or the like and everything works correctly). The condition looks quite good, and the pain prism version seems to bring the biggest prices these days.
  19. ok, because i have full set of lenses for this camera with original cases....thank you

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