In praise of Nikon FM/FE/1/2/3

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by kivis, Dec 27, 2012.

  1. Anyone who has ever owned a Nikon FM/FE series camera knows that they are compact and essentially bombproof. My FE (circa 1981) was my first SLR. It has gone backpacking thru the wilds of the Rocky Mts, The Blue Ridge Mts, the Everglades and many sandy beaches. It has never failed, ever. I have owned an FM3a (I am an idiot for selling it). Yes they are a bit clunky compared to a Leica M, but these rigs are great street shooters as well as great with telephoto lens. I love traveling with my Fe combined with the CV pancake 40/2 and a Nikkor 105/2.5. Light and tough. Nuff said.

    FE with 105



  2. The 40mm looks interesting to me and I spotted a monopod :) Any sample photos to show?
  3. I do not own a monopod.
  4. The blurry, out-of-focus object sticking up from behind the table in the middle picture (above the FE's rewind knob) could be mistaken for a monopod, but it could be a walking stick or any number of other things.
    I own an FM and an FE. Both are wonderful cameras. On the one hand, I prefer the meter display of the FE (double needles on a shutter-speed scale) for its informational value, but on the other hand, the FM's simpler Goldilocks LEDs (too high, too low, just right) are much easier to see in poor light.
  5. sorry that is just the door jam. LOL. Yes the FM's are easier to read in dark situation, but the organic feeling in the FE's is just right.
  6. Nice looking.
    Do show us some of your work with these, though. ;)
  7. Still have my silver FM from the 80s that never saw much use. The motor drive (see below) makes it look much cooler. :)
  8. Very cool. My lineup was F3HP, a pair of FM2s, FE, N2000, Canon F1, Olympus OM1 and PC, later an N90. And LOTS
    of film.
  9. I've got three, OK? Still my favorite Nikon film body. Just hope Nikon bases one of any future APS-C MILCs with an EVF(a la Oly OM-D) on the dimensions and layout of the FM/FE classics. Seems a fitting homage to one of their best designs. I like 'em with the little 45/2.8 AI-P pancake.
  10. I have an FM2N, FE2 and F3T. I don't get to use them as much as I would like to. I probably use the FM2N more than the others. I had the 45/2.8 that came out with the FM3, but I sold it a few years ago. I really wish I had kept it because it performed well and looked good on my FM2 and Fe2. It really made for a nice compact setup. I would love to get an FM3 but can't justify the expense since I don't use film much. I have an F100 and N90s, but I prefer the manual focus cameras. When I go out with film, I usually only finish one roll. I photograph fewer subjects, but put more thought into each photo. I think I do it as an excercise. It's more about the process, visualizing, composing, determining exposure, than about the how many images I can take.
  11. I have four F2 bodies but always loved my FM. It was the first body I had with a motor drive(the MD-11 winder), before I could afford motors for the F2s.
    Back in my newspaper days when the F2 was the top of the line pro body, many newspaper shooters had an F2 as their main body but an FM as their second/third bodies. Not only were they half the cost to start with but many people considered them "disposable" cameras -- if they were damaged or broke down, the price of a new FM was less than the typical repair bill for an F2.
    An FM was also more compact -- you could stuff an FM with a 50 into the pocket of many jackets. Couldn't do that with an F2 with motor and battery pack.
  12. FE was my first modern SLR, followed by an FE2 and then an F4. Still shoot the F4 and an F6. I would love an FM3a, but they are about the same price as a nice F6 on the used market. Crazy pricing. Nice to see people still love film cameras.
  13. FM2n and FE2. Both have Brite Screens. I also have, and still use an F4s with the MB23 data back. When you look through the view finder of the F4, you are spoiled, especially in comparison with DX viewfinders.
    You are fighting the ease of digital workflow against the seductive feel of the engineering in the enduring Nikon film bodies.
  14. I used an FE2 all through school and it still works well, but for the kind of photography I like to do generally with film, it doesn't quite hold up to a Leica....sorry:) But it is a solid camera with a very good metering system and fairly high sync t/l. I do have a motor drive, but the thing was always dodgy, so I don't use it. The camera's pretty loud too. But its a really good camera.
  15. I love mine. Use it for winter camping. Always forget how nice it feels in hand. FE, that is.
  16. I love my FM2 and FE2. Light and compact for travel. Change the foam seals every few years to keep them working.
  17. "it doesn't quite hold up to a Leica....sorry:)"
    I like to consider myself a lifetime Nikonista but I must agree with him... specially these days that I shoot fewer and fewer rolls (aprox. 2-4 rolls per month), I have to say that I tend to use Leica more and more. I think the reason is my way of working... I shoot more relaxed, fewer and more thoughtful shots (the cost per shot is almost infinite compared to digital!). Focusing with a patch is much easier under certain conditions.
    My first Nikon is a F3 from the early eighties, then a FM2 and many others that I still keep in good working condition.
    Just a paradoxical thought; this film cameras are actually "bomb proof", but I have probably shot way more pics with any of my digitals than with several of my film cameras... and not only in quantity but also in much higher quality (exposure accuracy, speed, image quality...), and in the very same conditions. Maybe we should say they are "time proof", instead... :)
  18. I'm an avid film shooter and love my collection that includes the FM (black paint), FM2N, FM3A, FE (black paint) and FE2. I always carry a FM/FE series body with my F3HP. I recommend anyone interested in film getting a FM/FE series body!
  19. In a game of conkers between one of my F2s and my FE or FM, I know which camera my money would be on; but isn't this thread about 30 years too late?
  20. Never too late to enjoy a classic.
  21. "Doesn't hold up to a Leica"? ? ?
    I had to use a then fairly new Leica III model in the field. As history shows, most people found the Nikon F to be a ray of light in the darkness. I know I did.
  22. I've given away most of my 35mm film bodies but I kept the F and FE.
  23. I've given away most of my 35mm film bodies but I kept the F and FE.
  24. Yeah, great cameras. I have always wanted a FE. I hear the seductive call of the used camera shop.

    What watch is that?
  25. A Leica III? That's like driving a Model A. Try a M7!
  26. I purchased my first SLR while a junior in high school, a Miranda SE body that gave me trouble after a year or so (needed a new exposure sensor). Getting accessories such as bellows turned out to be difficult as supplies where really limited where I was living at the time, France.
    The Nikon FM was released during my first year of college. I brought the brochure home and couldn't get my mind out of it. I saved money and bought it a couple of months before leaving for a trip to Greece. I only had a couple lenses but it was love at first sight. The FM size felt fantastic, it followed on the footsteps of the Olympus OM line, smaller and lighter bodies.
    I added lenses and accessories over the years, including the MD-12 motor drive.
    The FM was my first Nikon, I have never looked back since. I sold the FM and replaced it with a N90 in 1993.
  27. I purchased my first camera, a silver FE, new in 1978. About 25 years later I purchased my second camera, a black FE, on eBay for my black and white film. I'm sad to say that since I purchased my D300 new in 2008 I've not used either FE. I still have a bunch of film and after reading threads such as this I keep telling myself to load some film and go shoot.
  28. I've bought three Nikon FMs. The first two were both stolen from me. One in my apartment & one on a plane. The second on in the care of my mother-in-law while I carried my infant daughter. Ah well.
    The third one I bought a few years ago. It's mostly for sentimental reasons I have it. But I have it & I have film for it. This one I will keep. I've always had black ones. ;-)
    Extremely solid & sturdy cameras. Not giving this last one up willingly...
  29. The first camera I bought was a Nikon FE back in 1982 after I got my first permanent job. I had to economize so I got the 50mm Series E lens to go with it; I was aghast over the cost of Nikkor lenses. After a couple of years of frustration over the single focal length, I extravagantly (I thought at the time) sprung for a Vivitar 28/2.8 and 70-210 "macro" (not the Series 1 version, but the crummy f/4.5-5.6 version) and used those for another couple of decades before bothering to upgrade.
    Well, the camera was great and served me well for over 20 years before finally being put out to pasture. After having used an old Petri rangefinder with a dead meter for over ten years, the new SLR with a functioning and accurate meter was a definite step up. I loved the "match needle" display in the viewfinder, and due in part to its greater precision picked it over competing makes and models using LEDs. It was great being able to make exposure calls based on just how far the needle had gone towards the next shutter speed.
    My FE was old 'reliable' and went on many backpacking, camping, and four-wheeling expeditions without complaint. My only regret (other than not getting better lenses) is that I found out the hard way towards the end that the prism housing can be bent inwards by the application of excessive pressure. I'm still unhappy with myself over having carelessly damaged 'my baby' even though it has not been used for several years now. When it was my only camera it did get a lot of use, the cumulative effect of which is shown by the visible wear on the shutter blades.
    In retrospect this camera is a real classic.
  30. Ironic that Leica came up, given the shared chassis of the Voigtlander Bessa R Leica clone and the FM10. (I notice Nikon USA *still* list the
    FM10, though the F6 is truly scary money these days... though I guess not since the M7 came up.

    Michael - sorry to veer off topic, but what's that Sony?

    Good to hear the favourable reviews. I'm from the DSLR era, but still get tempted to pick line of these up. That said, lightness is debatable -
    my Bessa is heavier (though smaller) than my Eos 500 because the latter is plastic and has a mirror finder, and for lightness an F75 is hard to
    beat in the F mount. I still wish someone would make a camera the weight of the F75 but with the F5's feature set.
  31. Andrew, that Sony is an early Mavica video still SLR camera used extensively during the first Gulf War. Pictured is the model MVC-5000 which has 2-CCDs for luminance and chrominance. There was also a 3-CCD model (MVC-7000).
    The lens is impressive. I've always wanted to hack one (I have two) to fit a modern digital SLR but haven't gotten around to it - yet.
  32. Thanks, Michael. My photographic education continues!

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