Nikkormat Shutter Speed RIng Unique Among Classic Cameras?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by christian_fox, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. I have never experienced a Nikkormat, and notice that the shutter speed setting is near the lens aperture ring. Visually, it looks like a neat idea. What happened to this design? Did any other Nikon model or company do this? Does anyone miss it in actual use, compared to moving your hand to the top plate?
  2. The Nikormat was the only Nikon model to do this, and while you do get used to it, I prefer the traditional top deck placement. The Olympus OM series cameras used the same system as did many of the leaf shuttered SLR's as well.
  3. I have a Fujicarex II that has that setup.
  4. I learned to shoot on an Olympus OM-1, and prefer the shutter speed dial on the lens near the aperture ring. It makes it so I barely need to move my hand to set shutter speed, aperture, and focus.
  5. There were some rangefinders with this sort of speed setting.
    On the older Nikkormat FTn, I didn't mind the shutter speed setting, but I hated the film speed setting.
    Just as the old shooters still have the Nikon twitch, they also all have a broken fingernail from the film speed setting.
  6. In fact, my broken fingernail turned into a callus.
  7. One good thing about it was that it was unlikely to get accidentally reset to a different speed. :|
    Here is is
  8. Topcon Unirex (and many other of their leaf-shutter SLRs) had the shutter ring in the same position. Aperture ring was right on front of it, and was part of the body.
  9. What happened to it? It was a PITA to use, so it went the way of the Pinto/Vega. etc.
  10. Mamiya had this arrangement in their NC1000 and NC1000S. The film speed setting gizmo was also embedded into the ring, and was a nightmare to set. I agree with Steve, it was not a great setup, and died like most other bad ideas. I can't remember if my Miranda (the last one they made) had it also. Now I'm going to have to dig that out, just to see.
  11. I no longer own nor use Nikkormats of the FT models because of the speed ring encircling the lens mount. Reason: when changing lenses (non AI), one must do the Nikon "Shuffle" to index the maximum f stop. In doing so my clumsy fingers would move the shutter speed dial to 1/250th and my strobe would not allow a proper image. It happened too many times when using a strobe. Otherwise they were dependable cameras with aforementioned irritating speed dial. I very much enjoyed my Nikkormat EL with more conventional speed control but alas that now is long gone.
  12. Nikon with their Nikkormat and Olympus with their OM put the shutter speed control at about the same place but for quite different reasons.
    Quote from Nikon website:
    Shutter dial

    The Nikon FM adopted a square-type focal plane shutter called "Copal CCS-M". This shutter unit features in that shutter speed selector cam shaft is arranged horizontally, and if coupled directly with the shutter dial, the dial goes through the camera's front panel.
    This was same as in the previous "Copal Square S" shutter unit and other manufacturers actually located the shutter dial in front of the camera body.
    The Nikomat series, starting with the Nikomat FT (See Part 5.), brought the dial to the lens mount area for the sake of looks, but there were arguments for and against this.
    When adjusting exposure by looking through the viewfinder, the aperture ring and shutter dial are close to each other, for easy operation.
    Once you get used to it, you can find out the shutter speed setting from the position of this dial's lever.
    However, on the other hand, some criticized its relatively unsophisticated lens-shutter-camera-type looks.
    Many people had an idée fixe that a shutter dial of a focal plane shutter should be located on top of the camera.
    As a result, the FM's shutter dial was placed at the conventional position, as on the Nikomat EL, ELW, and Nikon EL2.
    This arrangement requires rotating movement from the camera top's dial to the shutter unit's front cam shaft, and bending 90 degrees of the rotating direction.
    The designers considered using gears, but too many gears would be needed, and the plays will not be completely eliminated. One day, an engineer suggested using a durable string. Despite skepticism, it worked just fine, without shifting or loosening, even after hard testing.
    Thus, we succeded to position the shutter dial conventionally in a very simple way using a string a pulley.​
    And a quote from Olympus's Y Maitani:
    My first idea was to find underutilized areas in the camera and relocate some of the functions to those areas. However, those spaces were underutilized for a reason! We couldn't connect the functions. We found that by using a central drive shaft running from the top of the camera to the bottom we could transmit the driving force, even in those underutilized spaces. However, some functions, such as shutter speed adjustment, couldn't be moved. To relocate the shutter speed control, we would have had to put the dial on the bottom of the camera, which would have created many problems: the photographer would have had to turn the camera upside down to adjust the speed, and the dial would have been inaccessible when the camera was on a tripod. However, there was space, and we had reached a decision that functions should be relocated to that space. It was not difficult to move the strength controls. The problem was the linkage between the shutter speed and other controls. The method that we devised to move things from the bottom of the camera to the top was to place the shutter dial on the front of the camera. That was the only solution, and so that is what we did. Only the OM had a shutter speed dial in that location.​
  13. @BeBu great presentation. You see what the motivations and the reasons for such decisions. Good or bad it is fascinating to get into their heads. Thanks!!

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