Advice on Nikon FE needed

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by James-EG, Aug 11, 2013.

  1. James-EG

    James-EG Member

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    I started a thread a while ago asking about what people thought of a few different cameras, I think it included Canon, Olympus and Nikon, and maybe a couple of others. Anyway I decided in the end that I would like to get the Nikon FM2n. But, now that that it's closer to the time that I start school I know that I will find it very hard to afford an FM2n with a couple of lenses, so I have been looking for an alternative. I recently found the nikon FE, it seems to be a lot cheaper than the FM2n so I would like to get an insight on how well it works and some advice from people who may have used this camera, just in case the lower price means that I lose a few features than I would have on an FM2n.

    So far I know that the FE is likely to be a bit older than an FM2n, but as long as I get one in great condition that shouldn't be a problem.. right? Also is it correct that the FE has an aperture priority setting? As I would prefer a full manual camera.

    Or if you know of any other models similar to the FM2n that you would recommend I would appreciate it (maybe FM2?)

    Any help is much appreciated! :smile:
     
  2. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Get the FM2n and one lens instead of two or three.
     
  3. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Yes, the FE has aperture-priority automation. But it can be used as a manual camera if you choose to do so since it has all of the settings you'll find on a full-manual camera. I believe the only difference will be that with a FE the shutter will require a battery in place to operate, whereas the FM-series will need the battery only to operate the meter. I use a FE and find it to be a fully satisfactory camera.
     
  4. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    p.s. With the FE you don't "lose" features... you actually gain features - the automatic mode. There are some times when that could mean the difference between getting a shot and not. The reason it could be less expensive is that many folks don't like being battery dependent (loss of battery will lead to lost shots too) and because when the electronics go the camera becomes basically a throw-away.
     
  5. Ap507b

    Ap507b Member

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    Or look for an FM instead of an FM2? The FM is the fully manual model from the same era as the FE. Both the FE & the FM will be over 30 years old though & if it hasn't already been done will need the foam seals & the mirror bumper cushion replacing.

    Going back from an FM2 to an FE or FM will lose you shutter speeds (1/4000th for the FM2 vs 1/1000th for the older ones) and the flash synch will be slower although none of them have TTL flash.

    Does the course that you are doing stipulate a fully manual camera or does it allow you to have one that has automatic modes & trust you not to use them? If the latter as well then as the FE maybe look at the F301 as they go for peanuts. Nowhere near the quality or handling of an FM2 but worth considering if you are on a budget. I paid £15 for one on ebay a few years back.

    If you can I would go with what Rich815 has said & go for the FM2 & fewer lenses. It really is a lovely camera to use.

    If you are unsure of features on the various models you can find their instruction manuals for download here:

    http://www.butkus.org/chinon/nikon.htm
     
  6. Ricardo Miranda

    Ricardo Miranda Member

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  7. James-EG

    James-EG Member

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    rich815: I think that I would need some more versatility than one lens on the camera, and I'm not sure how much I would use the camera after the course as sending film off to be developed is expensive, and I often find it hard to regularly use a film camera, so would the FM2n still be worth the extra money?

    BrianShaw: Thanks for your help, when you put it like that the auto feature actually sounds like something that I might want on a camera, although it is still not at all essential. Also the dependence on battery wouldn't be a problem for me, I will probably be able to carry spare batteries just in case anyway, and if I really need to I can use my Pentax K1000 or MX as backups (although the MX is so beat-up I think the light seals may be useless, I guess I'll find out when the film comes back!)

    Ap507b: Am I right in thinking that both cameras are more or less identical other than the lack of the auto on the FM? Which isn't a problem. My teacher hasn't said anything about auto features being disallowed so I'm not sure, but I would probably be trusted not to use it, I much prefer using manual anyway, I never even use auto on my DSLR! The lack of 1/2000th and 1/4000th isn't a problem either, I've never wished I had higher than 1/1000th on my K1000 and MX. I would love to get an FM2n, and they went for good prices on eBay I would have one already, but they often go for up to £150, which I think is too much, especially since they normally don't come with a lens.

    Once again thanks for everyone's help, much appreciated!
     
  8. maderik

    maderik Member

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    Ignoring automatic exposure:

    FM2n/FM2/FM: Metering is indicated via LEDs: + 0 -. You adjust shutter speed and/or aperture until the 0 is lit. LED's are theoretically more rugged and easier to see in dim light but sometimes harder to see in bright light.

    FE/FE2: You have two needles: one is the metered speed and one is the currently selected speed. You speed and/or aperture until the needles line up. IMHO the needles of the FE series give more useful information. You only have 1 working speed if the battery is dead.

    The FM/FE can be used with pre-AI lenses (flip up index tab, stop down metering), the "2" cannot. Top speed is 1/1000 and sync speed 1/125. The "2" cameras have shutter speeds up to theoretical 1/4000 although few will really reach this speed unless recently and fully CLAd. It's typically more like 1/2000th actual. Sync speed is 1/200th (the "n" may say 1/250 but again many only hit 1/200). If you expect to be shooting fast film in bright light, the FE2/FM2 give you about 1.5 stops more range.

    Unless you really need the extra shutter speed range or sync speed, the differences are pretty minor. Get whichever you can afford that's in the best operating condition.

    P.S. Since you say you already have an MX and a K1000, why switch to Nikon? Foam seals are easy to replace.
     
  9. James-EG

    James-EG Member

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  10. Ap507b

    Ap507b Member

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    I have found a 1/1000th shutter speed limiting. I got up an Olympus OM2 Spot Program recently that has the same top shutter speed & with ASA 200 film I have struggled in bright light shoot to wide open & have had to sacrifice the shallow depth of field that I was after.

    I imagine that you would be able to get pretty much most of what you paid for an FM2 back if you chose to sell it at the end of the course. If you are really worried about spending on the camera then look at the F301 that I suggested. There is one on ebay at the moment for £15 on buy it now. At that price it borders on a disposable camera.

    Others have answered the question on the differences between the FE & FM I think. Apart from the mechanical differences with the shutter & the viewfinder display, you won't notice difference with the FE in manual than you would with the FM.

    I echo what Maderik has said. If you have a K1000 already why not use the money to get some better glass & stick with it? Other than faster shutter speeds, what will an FM2 give you that it doesn't? Unless you want to switch to Nikon of course?
     
  11. James-EG

    James-EG Member

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    To be fair I probably haven't been using film cameras long enough yet to have been in enough situations to know if I would need faster shutter speeds. I could re-sell but if I was to buy a new camera I would like to keep it and continue using it after the course, as I love using film. At the moment I have found an FE at a £5 starting bid, it's been for sale for a few days already and has no bids, so with luck it will stay cheap. If it does I think I might have to buy it!

    Everyone else has answered all my questions, so now it mainly comes down to price. Lastly, I had not seen Maderik's post until now, that is a very good idea and I have actually been trying to do that, I got a Pentax 50mm f/1.7 recently, and have been trying to buy 28mm and 135mm lenses which would give me a great range. I was originally trying to buy a Nikon (the K1000 was given to me) so I always preferred them, but the K1000 is still great to use. Also aren't Nikon lenses known for having much better quality? This really appeals to me. I could always get and FE with 50mm lens for general work, and get the lenses I want for the K1000 for when I need a greater range. How does that sound?
     
  12. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    While many people always wanted high top shutter speed as well as high flash sync speed. I have been using film cameras more than 40 years I never wish to have shutter speed higher than 1/1000 although my first camera did have 1/2000 and I do now own camera with speed of 1/8000 but I never use such high speed. I think with digital one can have very high ISO setting then the high shutter speed is more important. For me my film speed is around 100 and 160 and I prefer to use aperture of 5.6 and smaller so high shutter speed isn't important at all for me. You do have the MX which to me just as good as the FM. I have to say that I don't care for the K1000.
     
  13. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    My photographic experience is very much like Chan Tran's. I never craved a higher top speed than 1000... and rarely use it anyway. Even when I was doing a lot more flash work I rarely craved a faster synch speed either. If it were "free" I suppose I'd take it but I never felt a need to change cameras to get that feature.
     
  14. maderik

    maderik Member

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    You are not likely to notice the difference between Nikon and Pentax lenses for the most common primes.

    The only times I've needed a shutter speed of more than 1/1000 is either shooting really fast action or trying to shoot at wide apertures on a bright day and/or with faster film. If you have ISO 400 speed film in the camera and its a sunny day, you can only really choose 500@f/16 or 1000@f/11 (add a stop if your film has the latitude). Even 100 speed film only gets you down to f/5.6@1/1000th.
     
  15. James-EG

    James-EG Member

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    Thanks for your replies, I don't think I will need higher than 1/1000th, like you both I've never needed anything higher and rarely even use 1/1000th. Chan Tran, the problem with my MX is that it is badly damaged, it's usable, but large dents don't look good, and I'm worried about the light seals and mirror buffer (hopefully I will be able to replace them soon). But the camera also has a rather important issue where the light meter sometimes shows that the picture will be over-exposed, but when I check the same settings with my DSLR they are spot on, meaning I sometimes under expose shots, luckily however this seems to only happen with one particular lens which I am now trying to replace. Personally I love my K1000, I find it really useful and prefer it's larger size as I have big hands, but then the self timer and depth of field preview on the MX are very useful too. I suppose my K1000 also has sentimental value, it was given to me by my grandfather who really looked after it, so it's almost in perfect condition (apart from a deteriorating mirror buffer and maybe light seals)

    Maderik: Thanks again for your help, if that's the case I will concentrate on getting the two new pentax lenses, however I will consider a Nikon if I find an FE, FM, or FM2n going cheap :smile: Also, since most of my course will be during the winter I don't think there will be many sunny days where I need a faster shutter speed, so that shouldn't cause any problems.

    Thanks again
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 11, 2013