Nikon FE or FM

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by Donald Harpold, May 28, 2021.

  1. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    Sometimes a "new" battery is dead. Also, wipe the batteries with a clean cloth to remove any tarnish from the contacts. Do the same for the battery cover.

    When my LR44 equivalent batteries die, I replace them with a CR 1/3 N battery.
  2. Hello
    Yes I do have the film advance open to the on position, the LR44's are new and I have tried 386 and 357
    I do have CR1 3V coming.
  3. I found the FM meters are more accurate than the FE.
    ] likes this.
  4. I bought my FM 42 years ago, just after the FE came out.

    At the time, I was used to manual exposure with a Canon rangefinder, and liked the
    idea of manual exposure in the FM. Manual mode reminds me to think about what
    exposure change I might want to do. Adjust for back-lit subjects? Also I tend to round
    up with negative film.

    I how have an FE2 that I got used, which I have had fun with.

    I think for manual mode, I still like the FM. (As in over the FE in manual mode.)

    I am not sure about which works better after 42 years.

    In the case of electronically timed shutters, they either work or not.
    Mechanically timed shutters can change speed, but still seem to work.
    The failure modes are different, and I am not completely sure that one
    is better or worse after 42 years.

    I believe both have that if it works, the battery is good (enough).
    I was out two years ago with the FE2, on exposure 35 on the roll,
    and the shutter locked up. After rewinding it, I remember that is what
    happens when the battery is too low.
    Fiddlefye likes this.
  5. Do you have the batteries in the right way up?

    Silly question maybe, but the positive side of LR44s is the 'blunt' end and not the smaller cap. Unlike AA and similar cells. However the plastic surround of the FE battery holder is marked with a diagram of the batteries IIRC, showing their correct orientation.
  6. Hello Joe
    Yes I have the + up in the battery holder.
    Would Silver Oxide or Alkaline make any difference?
  7. The FM (and I believe FE) is pretty independent of battery.

    If there is enough voltage, it works and meters right. If not, it doesn't work at all.
    There is no almost works.

    I believe the lithium version came out later, but was well known to work, and
    most often was used with the FM. Alkaline won't last as long.

    The lithium version is a single (about) 3V cell, instead of two (about) 1.5V
    cells for the others. That means a lot more material, so it should last longer.
    (Unless you leave the meter on for a long time.)
  8. the single cell lithium battery was introduced after the first FM which was in 1977. They are fine but don't last longer than 2 silver oxide battery.
  9. I have been using the silver oxide since the 1980s and have excellent results. They started out as MS 76, then LR44 and now 357. Same battery as far as I can tell and the grocery store (Kroger) carries them where I live.
  10. I use them in my Nikon F, F2as, FM2n, and Nikkormat FT2.
  11. I remember learning that they would work. More important is how long they last per dollar.

    It seems that the EPX76 is 200mAh, and the DL1/3N is 190mAh.

    Close enough for me, but yes the Ag2O is more.
  12. Yup I would certainly use them. I just said they don't last as long as the silver oxide but only when you use a lot but still it would be a year or so.
  13. Here is a pretty good comparison on both cameras: Nikon FE FM FE2 FM2 FM3a

    I have the FM2n and the FE2. If I had to make a choice, I would go for the FE2, because it's slightly smaller, sleeker, slightly quieter and has more functionality. if I had to shoot in in inclement weather though, I would pick the FM2n in a heartbeat. My FM2n which I purchased used on eBay, actually came from a Police Department that used it for Forensic/Crime stuff, so it was in very good condition. It came with a data-back that I removed because it made the camera too bulky, plus I could not find a cable for it no matter how hard I tried. My FE2 which I also purchased on ebay, was cosmetically in great shape, but internally not so good. I spent over $200 to get it up to snuff, so now it works like brand new ! These are 2 cameras I don't think I'll ever sell !! Although I rarely use them anymore...

    The FM2 has a better (brighter) view finder than the FE2 and I find it easier to use the (+ -) LED metering believe it or not than the Match-needle metering on the FE2. The Metering on the FM2 is also better than on my FE2 (IMHO). I mean it's pretty dead-on in most lighting situations, even tricky ones. I think that meter is even better than on some(most) of my Digital cameras to tell you the truth.

    The FE2 has match-needle metering which some prefer because you can see the actual shutter speed that you are using to shoot the picture, but to me the dim viewfinder negates that advantage. The advantages the FE2 has over the FM2 is of course Aperture priority, but it also has on-the-fly over/under compensation. The FE2's electronically-controlled shutter let's you take pictures all the way down to 8 full seconds, while the FM2 can only go down to 1 second. This is not so much of a big deal, because you can always use the FM2 in Bulb mode which lets you keep the shutter open for as long as you like. The FE2 also has TTL which is great when it comes to flash photography. With a couple of Nikon SB15's and system cables, you can do a lot of nice things with that TTL when it comes to close-up photography.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2021
  14. There are also the FT3 and EL2, I believe predecessors of the FM and FE, respectively.
    A little heavier and more solidly built. I am not sure about how well they stand the test of
    time, though.

    The FM does show the shutter speed in the viewfinder, but the opposite side. Maybe not
    quite as convenient as the FE.

    I was out last summer with the FT3, and no cable release. I might have tried longer exposures
    if I had one, or if I had the FE2 with 8 seconds. I didn't think I could both hold it solidly against
    something and also press the shutter. Maybe I should have tried, though.
  15. Not a bit when they're brand new. The Silver Oxides have a longer shelf life though, and almost no possibility of leaking.

    Having said that, I've never had an Alkaline button-cell leak either.

    If the camera still shows no sign of working, it might be worth removing its base. This only needs a couple of small crosshead screws undoing, and it lifts straight off. You can then get access to the wiring harness, IIRC, and this allows you to check for continuity between the battery contacts and the wiring. I suspect that there might be a corroded contact or broken solder joint between the on/off switch and the battery.
  16. Thank you Joe
    I will try that
  17. Silver oxide not only longer shelf life they have long life (that is their mAH rating is higher) but alkaline works fine. These days since I don't really use the film cameras that much I use alkaline in them.

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