Nikon FE2 (£150) vs FM3A (£210)

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by dean_jiang, Oct 30, 2010.

  1. Hi, I'm interested in buying a 35mm camera and I finally located two deals (second-hand camera):
    1. Nikon FE2 with 50mm 1.8 lens (£150)
    2. Nikon FM3A with 50 mm nikkor lens (£210)
    I am new to photograph and want to own a Nikon camera, what will you buy if you were me?
    Cheers,
    Dean
     
  2. FM3a is the last of the Nikon manual focus camera's. It's newer then the FE2 and of course it has the interested thing of being a hybrid camera. It's an electronic camera or a manual camera independent of batteries. The FE2 is/was a great camera also. The electronics are getting up there in years. I would defineately buy the FM3A first.
     
  3. That's not so much of a difference, all things considered. I'd take the FM3A - it's the newer model, combines good parts from the FE2 and the FM2, and it's definitely got to be considered one of the best manual cameras out there. I'd get one myself if I didn't already have more cameras than I know what to do with and an unhealthy fascination with Rokkor glass.
     
  4. 210 British Pounds is about US$335 according to the online currency converter I use. If I found an FM3a in excellent condition for that price, I'd buy it. KEH sells them for about US$500.
     
  5. And that's with a 50mm lens to boot.
    You can get it just in time to try the new Kodak Portra 400 :)
     
  6. Any particular reason for choosing Nikon? Anyway, sticking with Nikon, my choices would be something like:
    • For a camera to sell on, the FM3A.
    • For a user film camera, an F3 or F100 (depending on preference for manual- or autofocus).
    • For a camera for someone new to photography, an entry-level digital camera - probably an SLR, but not absolutely necessarily. That instant feedback is a wonderful teaching tool.
     
  7. You should be able to find an 8008s for much less than an FE2. Autowind, autorewind, auto DX coding, 1/250 synch, TTL flash metering, and a spot meter. Runs on AA batteries. If you insist [and if you can find one], you can use the microprism screen intended for the 8008 [no 's'] but then you lose the spot meter. Having used both the FE2 and the 8008s in my mind the 8008s is the clear winner.
     
  8. FM3a is a much newer camera, I'd spend 60 pounds extra to get one over an old FE2.
     
  9. FM3a for that price.
     
  10. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Right, the FM3a is the most recent model with some minor improvements (those improvements are minor as far as I am concerned). However, usually the FM3a is a lot more expensive in the used market since it was discontinued about 5 years ago. I am a bit surprised that the OP only finds a small price difference.
    If the price spread is that small, I would go for the FM3a.
     
  11. You said
    I am new to photograph and want to own a Nikon camera​
    So I assume that you are not familiar with these cameras, hence you can't tell correctly the condition of them. Likely, the seller/s know a lot more about them than you do. I would not buy anything until I know the condition, because their value depends on the condition. Who dares to say an FM3A can not be broken in anyway? The seller's ratings are not always as generous as KEH's. Unless you are confident on determining the condition yourself, stick with the rule:" The seller always knows more"
     
  12. You should be able to find an 8008s for much less than an FE2.​
    As the O.P. is quoting prices in pounds, I assume he is U.K. based. In which case the camera model is the F801.
     
  13. With the two cameras you've named, the FE2 price is WAY too high; and the FM3A is on the low side. Whatever you decide to do, don't spend 150 pounds or over $200 on an FE2 as you can get them much cheaper than that.
     
  14. In the end both cameras are of a similar build and basically do the same thing. The Fe2 can be had elswhere for less money making it a better deal. There are suggestions for AF models above as well. Not sure your interested in that but the F100 can be had very cheap now in fine condition.
     
  15. If I remember rightly, the FM3a is basically the FE2 but with the added benefit of more advanced (better) TTL auto flash exposure.
    I have dusted off my old FE2 and FM2 and have hung onto the FM2 - awesome camera that!
    So if youre going to shoot flash, get the FM3a, if not thats £60 towards a flashgun.
    Thing to check is if the mirror stop rubber is in good condition or if it is starting to crumble, also the electrics, ie does it make the battery test whine and light come on. Does the shutter advance smoothly, or is it notchy.
    Other than that its sophy's choice, but I would go for the FM3a
     
  16. The FM3a does read DX coding, from what I understand. Supposedly it is one of the only manual cameras to do so. If you plan on keeping it for a long time, it's a good buy. I'd say it's between that an an F3 for best manual Nikon. The FM3a holds its value very well, but the F3 is one of the best cameras ever for heavy users.
    As mentioned, pass on the FM2 at that price. Also, don't get ANYTHING _00_. 6006s, 8008s, etc. are okay cameras, but the electronics are getting old, and they're not the easiest cameras to get serviced. If you REALLY wanted an AF Nikon, I'd just pony up for an F5, since they take almost any lenses and run forever. Now that it's a user's and collector's market, we're talking about a two hundred dollar difference, and not a two thousand dollar one.
     
  17. So the general consensus seems to be the that the FM3a at £210 seems to be quite a deal, and is more modern and feature packed than the FE2.
    I got my FE2 at £100 body only in June and I feel I paid over the odds somewhat, so yes you can do slightly better than £150 for both lens and body. John Tran mentioned the condition was important to ascertain and this is very true for older cameras...
    ...This brings me onto my F-801s. I got it early October (2010) in near-mint boxed condition with the MF-21 control back (also boxed and near-mint). Total price = £29.99. It is a joy to use and I cannot think of a better Introduction to Nikon 35mm photography, though its modern looks and noisy, "dentist drill" motors may put some people off. And because it's been so lightly used, Im hoping the electronics still think its 1988 (at least the MF-21 does!) and wont bring about any problems for a long long time, which as pointed out earlier pretty much means end of the line for this era of AF Nikon.
    Finally the F5 was also mentioned. I bought mine for £180, which came with a second battery holder, and cosmetically it looked as if the past user had shot enough film to need it on a daily basis, but I dont care. The single digit F series are the jewels in Nikon's crown, and collectively are some of the best 35mm cameras ever made - it would be the last camera I would let go.
    SS
     
  18. Nikon FM3a with a 50mm lens, for £210 = U$336.81 (?) is a very good price, and the camera is one of the top Nikon last manual camera, build solid and reliable. It is going over U$400, here in N.America. I just bought one, cosmetically mint, silver, (I own a black, brand new, with MD-12 ) for U$ 200 and need a shutter blades replaced. (150 C$) Still a good deal. Own many Nikon film bodies, but I like this one the best, for film use.
     
  19. I agree with Shun. I bought the FE2 and its brilliant. That FM3a sounds very cheap. They are going for $600+ down here if you can find one. If its in good condition, buy the FM3a. If it was me again, I'd buy both. The way the market is going here, they will only go up in value. I've already seen the value of my FE2 and also my FM2n, double in the past two years.
     
  20. The FM3a does read DX coding, from what I understand. Supposedly it is one of the only manual cameras to do so​
    The N2000/F-301 is also a manual camera that can read DX coding
     
  21. Between FE2 and FM3A the choice is easy..FM3A. Its an FE2 with both the electronic speeds and the manual speeds of the FMN. FE2 just electronic. Why does this matter? Well the Elec. speeds in Aperture priority are more accurate than manual speeds. But, if your battery dies, on the FE2 you only get 1 manual speed whereas on the FM3A, you get the whole range of speeds. Can come in very handy.
     
  22. if your battery dies, on the FE2 you only get 1 manual speed​
    Nope, if the battery dies, I'll stick in a new one, and then a new one, and then a new one. You would have no problem carrying 10 batteries
     
  23. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The FM3a does read DX coding, from what I understand. Supposedly it is one of the only manual cameras to do so.​
    And that is a feature I would never use on the FM3a.
    Film speed DX decoding could be wrong; that happened to me on an F4 about 20 years ago. I had a roll of Kodachrome 64 in my F4, but I noticed that all the automatic exposure settings did not make any sense. The F4 has no LCD read out to show the decoded film speed, so I attached an SB-24 flash onto the F4, and the LCD on the flash showed that the decoded ISO was 4000 instead of 64.
    On bodies such as the N8008, F100, F5, etc., there is an LCD readout for you to verify the decoded film speed. On the F4 and FM3a, there is no LCD. In case it is off by a stop or two, it is unlikely that you'll find out until you get your develped film back.
     
  24. fm3a,what else?
     
  25. Assuming it hasn't been through a rock crusher - buy the FM3a, put it up on eBay, and then spend some
    of the profits on a decent intro-level digital camera. A dSLR would probably give you the best bang for the
    buck, but anything with which you're comfortable will do.

    Film is wonderful, but nowadays there are better teaching tools for the novice photographer.
     
  26. Although I love my FE2($150 off eBay Mint) it did come with some headaches, one was the AE(auto exposure) which was unreliable, the other was that it seemed to drain the battery fairly quickly. Cleaning the battery chamber solved the first problem, and purchasing a higher grade battery solved the second one somewhat ? but I still remove the battery when storing the camera. The FE2 is a beautiful camera, smaller and easier to handle than the FM2 and even if the battery runs out you can set the shutter speed to 1/250 where it works in full mechanical mode. As far as reliability and ruggedness the FM2/FM3A is the clear winner.
     
  27. In real estate, the important factors are location, location, location. For classical cameras, at last for me, it is condition, condition, condition. The price of this FM3a seems very low to me, as this camera model seems to have achieved cult status. I always bring spare batteries when I photograph. Given that FM3a's now appear to be more costly than F100s in LN condition, I would go with the F100. I have two FM2n's and two FE2's, black and chrome for each and I will only get an FM3a, if ever, when reality brings its price down to sanity.
     
  28. Nope, if the battery dies, I'll stick in a new one, and then a new one, and then a new one. You would have no problem carrying 10 batteries
    Ahh, but what if you are the rainforest and run out of batteries? ..or in Siberia and the batteries stop working? What if you forget to have them with you? What if the 10 batteries you buy have been sitting on the shelf or your bag for 5 years and don't work? Anyways, you are right, always carry spare batteries, but it is still better to have the full mechanical back-up. Also, the FE2 is very noisy for street photography. I haven't played with the other one yet. I have the FE2, it's a great camera indeed but, if I had the choice now, and it was just a few dollars difference, easy choice to take the FM3a. I wonder why the OP is getting such a good price?
     
  29. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Ahh, but what if you are the rainforest and run out of batteries? ..or in Siberia and the batteries stop working? What if you forget to have them with you? What if the 10 batteries you buy have been sitting on the shelf or your bag for 5 years and don't work?​
    Barry, those are merely poor excuses to justify a mechanical shutter. We have seen many similar excuses to justify various purchases in this forum. So what happens if you run out of film? (Years ago before the FM3a was introduced, once we got into a similar discussion, and I was told that for exposures that last for hours in astrophotography, you are much better off with a mechanical shutter on an FM/FM2 that do not require batteries.)
    The last time I ran out of battery on my camera was back in the 1970's when I was a teenager; that was 30+ years ago. I learned my lesson and have never run out of battery, film, or memory card ever since.
    The main issue with the FE2 is that they are all quite old by now. Unless a specific FE2 is kept in excellent shape, you may have maintenance and repair issues. For that reason, the FM3a is a better choice, but unfortunately they tend to be very expensive in the used market ever since the FM3a was discontinued in early 2006. The low price for the FM3a the OP lists is in the "too good to be true" category (unless that camera is defective or damaged already).
     
  30. If you say so Shun. But not everyone is as diligent as you are. In my naivete I didn't realize one had to justify getting a mechanical shutter.
    Also there's a reason that Nikon released it that way with the redundancy speeds. I believe Nikon at the time touted the redundancy. Maybe night shooting is one of them. In any event it's peace of mind and if it's not much more than the FE2, it's pretty much a no brainer. Though yes, the OP had better make sure it's in good shape given the seemingly low price.
    I have an FE2 and it works great and I like it. It is very noisy on the street, the only camera I've used that the shutter sound has made people turn around to see what the noise is about. Also, the needle meter on the FE2, which I really like, is one of the things that are prone to break down over time. The fix could almost match the price of getting a replacement.
     
  31. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Barry, without battery power, the FM, FM2, and FM3a cannot meter. Therefore, even though you can trip the shutter, your exposure is going to be hit and miss unless you have an external meter, but if you can bring another light meter, why can't you bring a few extra button batteries as well as a few extra rolls of film?
    All in all, those are merely silly excuses to justify the purchase of another camera that isn't a whole lot different from the FE that I bought back in 1978. Now 32 years later, I still own that FE.
     
  32. Shun, you would of course, have to use the sunny 16 rule. Most school'd photographers learned how to use that before they learned to use the meter. It's really very simple and in many situations works if you don't have a working meter. I don't like using it because you have a better chance of poor exposures, but I can do it should I have to in a pinch and get pictures.
    However I'm agreeing with you as to batteries, it's just a matter of keeping some batteries on hand at all times and buying new ones for those that have been sitting too long. But if something goes wrong, and you can have the benefit of the backup speeds at little extra cost, why wouldn't you want that? I don't see the point of not having that. I get what you say about the batteries. Also, I'm not trying to talk you into buying one, I'm responding to the OP. I have an FE2 bought before the FM3a came out and like you say, there wasn't enough benefit for me to get a very similar FM3a as my FE2 still works like a charm. However, if when I decided I wanted a FE2 and there was an FM3a available for near the same money, I would have gotten it in a snap if it was in good condition. You haven't really stated a cogent reason not to get it if one had a choice, other than to admonish one to never run out of needed essentials. Good advice, but not really germain to the OP's question.
     
  33. What is appealing to me about the FM (FM2n in my case) isn't that it will work without BATTERIES, which sometime, Shun, you just don't happen to have with you -- you took your camera and one lens and left the bag at home, you're just out and about, etc. -- working without batteries is certainly a benefit. But it will work without ELECTRONICS. On these old cameras that's often what goes -- capacitors and the like. No electricity = mirror lock. This will not happen to you with the FM line. So I like that.
     
  34. I had FE2 in Ex, sold it and bought FM3a in Ex+ for 275GBP (need to sell my mint fm2n to cover the diff)
     

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