Nikon FM3A

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by mt4x4, May 20, 2009.

  1. I'm getting an FM3A in July. It is a one-owner camera and in mint condition. I'm pumped.

    Does this count as a classic camera?

    I was just wondering, because I may end up needing some advice from advanced manual camera users and wanted to know if this was the place to go!

    The FM3A is going to be my first manual camera.
  2. Well, it's in that gray area. Once upon a time, nothing later than 1970 was quite right for many participants on what is now called the classic manual camera forum. I personally wouldn't gripe if you asked a question here, since it does have manual focus, even if it is a sophisticated modern film camera actually made in this century. Also, as I recall, it was one of the last film cameras to operate even without its batteries.
    People here tend to be pretty calm, but you might find more sympathy at the Nikon site, even if your question would be awash in chatter about digital cameras there. People with autofocus EOS film cameras are even more orphaned in some ways.
  3. "The Nikon FM3A is an advanced semi-professional-level, interchangeable-lens, focal-plane shutter, 35mm film, single-lens reflex camera. It was manufactured by Nikon exclusively in Japan, on small-volume assembly lines by trained assembly technicians, from 2001 to 2006"
    "The FM3a was built to a level of workmanship and material quality beyond that of most competitive cameras available during its short production run"
    Can't disagree with the above quotes from . Its a good 'un.
  4. it's a classic camera on steroids. wish i kept mine :(
  5. It's my favorite manual camera! Pair that baby up with a good Nikon AIS lens and you'll be in heaven. I think it's a perfect camera for your first manual camera. The metering on the camera is great. I don't think it would count as a classic camera but it's the closest you'll get with modern technology.
  6. It's a bit premature to refer to it as a classic for no other reason than lineage, but the label is inevitable. As for forums, I think you'll find a larger audience in the Nikon forum.
    Joseph, I've noticed many people sharing your sentiment: 'wish i kept mine'. Why sell?
  7. According to this site is considered a classic, and I agree:
  8. as I recall, it was one of the last film cameras to operate even without its batteries.​
    That statement applies only to Nikon:
  9. "one of", I said.
    Not the only one.
    Of course there are retro cameras like the Zenit and many others that are fully manual. I meant modern , too, with a full array of (electronic) functions, but would still work without batteries.
  10. IMHO a classic (camera, car, vintage etc it doen't matter) is a classic even when new - hence my total agreement with the recent change of title of this forum. Just because it is old, or pre a certain date does not make an average or even a good camera a classic in my book.
    Retro is fun, but not the same thing as classic. Due to the changes in production methods, and modern materials used, it is often the case that classic cameras come from a different era, but I don't think age alone has anything to do with it.
    No flaming please, but disagree at will - its just my own thoughts. Nick
  11. Ah, classic vs. retro- the debate continues
    I don't worry about it. I just buy and use what I like.
  12. I consider it to be a classic and wish I had one. But its cult status has driven prices sky high the last time I checked. I do have FE2's in chrome and black and FM2n's in chrome and black all in very nice condition, so I feel that I have most of the bases covered.
  13. I agree, Nick. It's easy to see, especially with newer ways of making cameras and then the ascension of digital, that the FM3a will always be unique. Usually the passage of time reveals the true classics. Sometimes something is an "instant classic" and we don't have to wait a few decades to know it.
  14. I meant modern , too, with a full array of (electronic) functions​
    I thought only in the Leica forum where aperture-priority AE and TTL flash metering (both 1970s technologies) as on the M7 can still be called "a full array of (electronic) functions." Guess it's not true anymore.
    The FM3A's selling points are a full range of mechanical shutter speeds combined with aperture priority AE. It has no built-in motor, AF or evaluative/multi-point metering (1980s technologies), no shutter priority AE (1970s technology.) The camera is unique, but hardly modern or sophisticated.
  15. I'm cynical. "Classic" as in classic cars usually entails knowing every tow truck guy in town and hearing a sucking sound from the garage whenever you're flush with cash. With cameras, I'm not so sure but it often involves lots of excuses and windy lectures about "design" and "heritage" and "legendary" users when pix suck or the camera packs in. With the FM3A, you've got great design DNA that's been genetically modified to produce a low-key over-achiever. It delivers consistently and that's what cinches "classic" for me.

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