In praise of Nikon FM/FE/1/2/3

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by kivis, Dec 27, 2012.

  1. kivis

    kivis Subscriber

    Messages:
    268
    Joined:
    May 21, 2006
    Location:
    South Florid
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Anyone who has ever owned a Nikon FM/FE series camera knows that they are compact and essentially bombproof. My FE (circa 1981) was my first SLR. It has gone backpacking thru the wilds of the Rocky Mts, The Blue Ridge Mts, the Everglades and many sandy beaches. It has never failed, ever. I have owned an FM3a (I am an idiot for selling it). Yes they are a bit clunky compared to a Leica M, but these rigs are great street shooters as well as great with telephoto lens. I love traveling with my Fe combined with the CV pancake 40/2 and a Nikkor 105/2.5. Light and tough. Nuff said.

    FE

    [​IMG]


    Fe with 105

    [​IMG]

    FM3a

    [​IMG]
     
  2. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

    Messages:
    1,382
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Location:
    Monroe, GA
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I have an FE that is wonderful!
     
  3. agphotography

    agphotography Member

    Messages:
    664
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2010
    Location:
    Orange County
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If I don't get another F3 I'll likely be getting one of these guys as a second body. I've always, always heard great things about them.
     
  4. ArtO

    ArtO Member

    Messages:
    263
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2008
    Location:
    Florida
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've got an FE and an FM, they are super cameras. Meter is shot on my FM2n right now and unfortunately it doesn't seem like it makes sense to get it fixed. So I'll be looking for another soon. Never had an FM3a but I'm looking for one at the right price in the coming year.
     
  5. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

    Messages:
    1,325
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2010
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Nikon minimized the size a bit - not like the OM's, but the weight differences would be noticeable when carrying around your neck awhile.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. sr44

    sr44 Member

    Messages:
    27
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2011
    Location:
    Bellingham,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    My FE is the camera that I really started to get into photography with. I may have gravitated more toward rangefinders and medium format these days, but I still try to take my trusty old FE out for a spin from time to time. I have to keep fighting the urge to start stockpiling them whenever I see how cheap they go for these days!
     
  7. kivis

    kivis Subscriber

    Messages:
    268
    Joined:
    May 21, 2006
    Location:
    South Florid
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Super ditto on that one.
     
  8. artonpaper

    artonpaper Subscriber

    Messages:
    326
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Location:
    Staten Islan
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have an FE and an FM2. Great cameras. A friend of mine, years ago, bought two R series Leicas to bring on a round the world trip. I told her she would be better off with Nikons. Both of her Leicas broke down multiple times. I bet Nikons would have come through unscathed.
     
  9. LJSLATER

    LJSLATER Member

    Messages:
    280
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Location:
    Utah Valley
    Shooter:
    35mm
    My FM2n is my least used camera. My criticisms are mostly about the viewfinder:

    a)The shutter speed display intrudes into the viewing area! I understand why Nikon did this; it's so the numbers are backlit. I just don't like it.
    b)The shutter speed, aperture, and meter indicators are each on seperate sides of the viewfinder. I'd much rather have them all on one side.
    c)The motordrive, while extremely comfortable in the hands, jams when misused. It jams on me all the time because I forget to keep the advance lever in the off position.

    All that said, I have enormous respect for my FM2n because it appears to be indestructable. I've dropped mine several times, it's been kicked, left in the car for weeks at a time, left unprotected in the rain and snow. It doesn't give a f&$%. I've had to send my F2S for repair after it's been dropped but never my FM2n. It could just be luck, but I think most users have similar stories.
     
  10. parkpy

    parkpy Member

    Messages:
    96
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2010
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I'm pretty certain that if I needed a 35mm body, I'd pick up a FM2n before a Leica M any day. I've done the Leica thing, and the experience wasn't as...special as I thought it was going to be.

    I quickly fell in love with my FM2n. I shouldn't have sold it, but GAS was strong in me a few years back.
     
  11. drumlin

    drumlin Member

    Messages:
    199
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2010
    Location:
    Chapel Hill
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    +100 on this whole thread. Got my start with an FE2. Sold (and now regret selling) an FM3a. Now have two other FE2s and an FM2. How many more do I need to buy before its a stockpile?
     
  12. agphotography

    agphotography Member

    Messages:
    664
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2010
    Location:
    Orange County
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I can help prevent that from happening. Send some my way :wink:
     
  13. djacobox372

    djacobox372 Member

    Messages:
    127
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2008
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Fe2 is the best camera ive ever used.
     
  14. Pumalite

    Pumalite Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,078
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2009
    Location:
    Here & Now
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Excellent cameras. I've several: FM, FE, FE2, FM3A
     
  15. kobaltus

    kobaltus Member

    Messages:
    68
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    Location:
    Slovenia
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yes ,FM and FE are good cameras. But I prefer my ugly nikkormat and fancy F2. The life is sometimes easier with mirror lock up, distorsion free viewfinder(100% on F2). And shutter on F2 cause almost no vibration . And you can
    use a nikkormat as hammer. It does not matter,every camera is good camera in proper hands.
     
  16. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,450
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2003
    Location:
    Sacramento,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Unfortunately I dropped my FE2. I need to find another one. But right now I am selling off my stuff.

    Things I dont like: the viewfinder eyepeice is round and it cuts off the corners. The exposure compensation is hard to use.
    The Nikon FG has a nice square viewfinder and the exposure compensation is 100 times easier to use. But the shutter sounds like an android having a hernia.
     
  17. Kiron Kid

    Kiron Kid Member

    Messages:
    438
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2005
    Shooter:
    35mm
    The self timer on the FM, FE and FE-2, also activates the mirror lock-up.

    KK
     
  18. tessar

    tessar Subscriber

    Messages:
    270
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2008
    Location:
    Calgary, AB,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The FE and the more manual Nikkormat FT3 are my favorite 35mm SLRs. Neither has failed me once in the decades I've had them.
     
  19. rwreich

    rwreich Subscriber

    Messages:
    345
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2012
    Location:
    Greensboro, NC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I went out today and shot some tri-x on my FM2n. Looking forward to riding this dinosaur into 2013!
     
  20. Magic2007

    Magic2007 Member

    Messages:
    31
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The FM3A is the Best camera I ever used, good for Travel.
     
  21. starcade design

    starcade design Member

    Messages:
    30
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2012
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I have notoriously bad luck, so my 3 Nikon film cameras have each had issues at purchase. FE = rewind knob issues, FM = metering issue (which I think I've worked out without needing repair), FA = frozen DOF preview lever & horrible foam.

    Likely though this is all from lack of use/maintenance.
     
  22. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,809
    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2012
    Location:
    Sonoma County, California
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I just got an FM2n and am about 7 frames away from finishing my first roll through it. If there are no light leaks or shutter issues, I have a feeling this will become my favorite 35mm camera for walking around. From "sunny 16" considerations, and using the same speed film in my F3, I have the feeling that the meter is almost 1 stop under what I would expect. However, it seems to be consistent, which is all I really need-- and some of this must be due to including more sky due to the 60% center weight. I have no doubt I'll get used to it.
     
  23. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

    Messages:
    4,758
    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2011
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    I have both an FM3a and a FM2n, and prefer the latter. I suspect that both are very dependable.
     
  24. LyleB

    LyleB Member

    Messages:
    379
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Location:
    Lower Michig
    Shooter:
    35mm
    My first serious camera was a FM2n bought new in 1985. Have bought plenty more film cameras in the past few years, they are all so cheap. The original is still my favorite.
     
  25. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

    Messages:
    1,325
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2010
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    The marriage of the FE2 and FM2 resulted in the FM3A - the aperture priority and metering of the FE2 with the FM2's full manual ability when batteries are drained. I just wish they had also kept the FE2's additional slower shutter speed range and brought back the flip tab in order to use non-AI lenses.