Nikkormat Ftn eyepiece and flash help!

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by chloechalmers, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. Hello! I recently got given a Nikkormat FTn and i have noticed it does not have an eyepiece, is this a problem? does it need one?
    also as it does not have a mount for a flash, does a flash mount screw into the eyepiece?
    what flash and flash mount do I get ?

    I'm sorry I'm very new to all of this!
  2. I have a Nikkormat FTN laying beside me as I type this.

    First of all, what do you mean by "doesn't have an eyepiece"? The FTN has a threaded "porthole" for the viewfinder. It can be used as is with nothing on it, although it will accept any screw-in accessories meant for "low eyepoint" finders. This means later Nikon Fs, the F2 series, the non-HP F3, and all the "compact" Nikons in the FE and FM series. If you go shopping, most that you will see will be marketed for the FM, FM2, FM3a, FE, and FE2 although they will also fit your FTN(I just checked one off my FE to make sure of this).

    As I said, you don't NEED anything, but many folks will like a basic rubber ring. I always use these(I don't have enough of them in this size, so I swap them between cameras) since I wear glasses and the naked eyepiece scratches the heck out of even my AR-coated plastic lenses(after my next eye appointment, I'm ordering a set of glass lenses to go in an old set of frames for this very reason).

    You have a few other options, too. If you normally wear glasses but want to take them off to use your camera, there are screw-in diopters available. These can also take a rubber ring. The DK-3 is a round rubber cup that will fit. I don't know the part number offhand, but I have a right-angle viewer that will work. There's a magnifying eyepiece that will probably take a bit of hunting to find.

    As for flash-there's NO provision I'm aware of for an accessory shoe on these cameras. Unlike the contemporary F2, you can't slide one over the rewind crank. If you look on the left side of the camera, you will see two PC sync sockets-one marked "M" and one marked "X." You will use the X terminal for any electronic flash. If you're not using off camera flash, you'll need some sort of flash bracket. If you want to throw a lot of light, the Metz 45 and 60 series are good options that are meant to be put on a flash bracket, although getting working batteries can be a nightmare. It will take some hunting on Ebay, but you MIGHT find some sort of hand grip that will attach to the bottom of the camera and then have an accessory shoe on top. Some of these will also have a "trigger" button that works via a sync cord, although that gets complicated as you need the old Leica-style cable release for the FTN(there are adapters to fit a standard threaded release to a Leica/Nikon style camera). If this route interests you, you might try searching for something like "flash bracket" and look for something made by Metz, Sunpak, or Vivitar. There are likely other brands out there, but those were the big names in aftermarket flashes in the 70s and 80s.
  3. Most SLRs don't "need" an eyepiece, but it is nice to have one.

    As well as I know, there are a few different Nikon eyepieces so they aren't that hard to find.

    I have an FTn, (I think it is an FTn) so I could test it.

    I think one that I have, maybe the FT3, doesn't have one, so I move one around.

    Try one from another Nikon SLR from similar time frame.
  4. I remember accessory cold shoes - no hotshoe for obvious reasons - being sold, of a type that was clamped in place by the camera eyepiece, and sat over the pentaprism. This was many years ago and I haven't seen such a thing lately.

    In any event, such accessory shoes had a couple of issues; they put a lot of strain on the eyepiece if used with a decent-sized speedlight, and the depth of thread of Nikon's eyepiece glasses isn't great.

    By all means get a rubberised eyepiece ring, but for flash a bracket with a shoe is a better option. This used to be the standard way of mounting a flash before the pentaprism hotshoe became ubiquitous. Or you could buy a hammerhead style flash with a provided bracket.

    Sunpak Autozoom 3600 or 455 flashes, for example, are plentiful on the used market and have a reliable Auto Aperture exposure mode. They take standard AA cells - Alkaline or rechargeable. The 455 actually provides more light than an SB-900/910 or a Metz 45 series.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
  5. The standard eyepiece is not absolutely necessary as mirrorbox is rather well protected even without it. I have eyepiece that has no rubber eyewear protection and I usually wear glasses, so FTN is not one of my go to cameras. Cold flash bracket attaches to eyepiece, but at least my copy has habit of wiggling so I probably would look for side bracket with cold shoe. I would also look for flashes from same era that do not cost too much. SB-22s is newer, and will cost more, but has all the needed features.
  6. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    There is an accessory shoe that screws into the eyepiece, I may have one around, if I find it, I'll post a photo.The rubber truncated cone eyepiece will screw directly into the finder, or even into the Accessory shoe. Here is the eyecup on a later model ELW.
    R0011707 (1000x750).jpg
  7. SCL


    Ebay usually has a number of eyepiece rubber rings as well as diopters if you need one. I recently sent my last one to another PN user, but I'm sure you can easily find one. Like others, I keep a plastic ring on hand switching it between cameras as needed so as to not scratch my eyeglasses.
  8. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Frankly, I no longer remember why I have the eyepiece on the ELW, as I don't have one on any other film Nikon. I suppose there are conditions under which it could be useful.
  9. There is a COLD shoe that is secured with the eyepiece.
    As has been said I would really limit how much weight I would put on that shoe, and how you hold the camera+flash to avoid stripping out the eyepiece from the camera.
    Being a COLD shoe, you have to insulate the hot foot contacts from the shoe. In the old days of film, the shoe flashes that I used did not have a hot foot, so a COLD shoe was not a problem.

    If you wear glasses, get a RUBBER eyepiece, to prevent scratching your glasses.
    Albin''s images likes this.
  10. Just to double check, I pulled a rubber ring off an FE I had lying around, and it screwed right into place.


    So, as I mentioned, any eyepiece attachment marketed for the FE series(FE, FE2), FM series(FM, FM2, FM2N, FM3a), and FA will work.

    Interestingly enough, I bought this camera and a WHOLE bunch of other good stuff in a box lot at a surplus auction at work. There was a lot of macro gear, including what I consider to be the more or less useless right angle finder. Still, though, that finder was the basis of my assumption that the ring size and thread was the same as the later compact series.
  11. I have a neat little Vivitar auto thyristor unit that actually has a built-in PC cord that plugs into the body of the flash when not in use. The sync signal is ALWAYS routed through the PC cord, and when you pull it out to use it you're actually physically disconnecting the hot shoe. To me, it's a nice little design, especially considering that it probably would have been sold when you were just as likely to have a cold shoe as a hot shoe. I forget the number, but it runs on two AA cells and actually came with a Canon FTb kit I bought a number of years back.

    Most of my cameras with cold shoes that I've used for flash work have a couple of pieces of scotch tape in the bottom of the shoe. Not too long ago, I had a Bronica S2A speed grip where a previous owner had put duct tape in the bottom of the shoe. On the cameras where I've "installed" tape, I've never seen a reason to remove it. It doesn't hurt the function of any other item I might be inclined to put there(like the booster finder on my Canon FT or a viewfinder on a Leica III series).
  12. This is generally not true. I own both the Metz 45 and 60 CT series flashes. The 45 CT4 comes with a "cartridge" that holds "AA" batteries, so it's an easy to use no-brainer. The 60 CT series throws more light, but it must use an accessory battery pack that connects to the flash via a cable. It's kinda awkward to use in walking around situations, but fine for studio work. You can still find the dryfit batteries for the Metz battery pack, but they are expensive -- like $70 or so. You can usually find a complete 45 CT 4 with bracket for less than that. Note, you want the CT 4, not the CT 5, which was a bit of an oddball unit.
  13. I actually got the 'cold shoe' for the FTN.. from a friend, somewhere in the '90s.
    So yes: it exists, it attaches.. But above recommendations on strength/stability are probably valuable (I never used it.. had F3 and '4 then already) !
  14. I liked the battery pack units, as it got weight off the flash and into a pack that is over your shoulder. My still favorite is the Honeywell Strobonar 800. With the external HV pack, the flash was comparatively light, compared to the equivalent Sunpak flashes that had the battery and step-up circuits in the flash.
    But yes the battery pack was an additional thing that you had to deal with, but I got used to it.

    What I like is now using a 2000+ma NiMH AA battery that has 4-5x the capacity of the 500ma NiCd we used back then. So a set of batteries will last much longer, before the recycle time gets to be too long. You don't have to carry so many batteries.
  15. One of the camera manufacturers had a cold shoe with a trough in the middle, so that you could use a flash with a hot foot and not have the cold shoe short out the hot foot. It's been too many years, I cannot remember which manufacturer it was.
  16. There was also a hot shoe for the Canon New F-1 which extended over to the flash contacts around the rewind crank. I always thought it was the best of those designs I'd seen.

    With that said, I'm REALLY glad that Canon put a hot shoe on the New F-1. The F3 really has better flash capabilities, but it's weighed down with the rewind crank flash. I have an SB-16 with the F3 shoe on it, and it makes the camera quite imbalanced.
  17. Ben
    I guess with the removable prism on the Fs, it made it more difficult to wire in a hot shoe. I think it would have put a lot more stress on the mechanism to hold/lock the prism into the body. And yes with the flash over the rewind crank it was off-balanced.
  18. Gary,

    There again, the contemporary Canon New F-1 managed it on the standard and AE prisms.

    With that said, I've always felt like Canon's prism lock was a lot more stable than the F/2/3. Truthfully, I think there were only 3 interchangeable prism Canons-the original Canonflex, the F-1, and the new F-1. All of them used the same basic attachment structure with rails that the prism slides into.

    Here it is on a Canonflex(all I had handy) but the F-1 and New F-1 aren't a lot different


    I agree that with the Nikon "drop in place" prisms on the F to F3, a flash would probably put undue stress on the anchors. You'll notice that the F4 and F5, both of which have hot shoes on the eye-level prism, use a rail system like Canon to hold the prism in place. The rails are certainly less convenient than dropping in and out, but use cameras with both types of prism side by side and you'll notice that the rails feel a lot more sturdy.
  19. I have one of those Canonflex.

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