Nikkormat FT, 55mm 3.5 PC Micro-Nikkor Questions

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by brofkand, Apr 13, 2013.

  1. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    Hi all,

    Just visited the local thrift store and came home with a Nikkormat FT body with the 55mm 3.5 Micro-Nikkor. Has anyone used this equipment, specifically the lens? What's your opinion of it?

    It appears to have been in use not too long ago, since the Nikkormat has a new Varta alkaline battery (and the meter works). The lens is in good shape. Really a great looking camera and lens!

    I plan on flipping the equipment -- I have no use for Nikon non-AI cameras or lenses; I don't need another 35mm system going besides my Pentax MZ-S and LX. What would be a fair price to pay for a FT with heavy brassing and some light dents (but fully functional) and a 55mm 3.5 Micro in good condition?

    Thanks!
     
  2. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Is it an FT, or an FTN? Is there an "N" above the meter window, near the rewind shaft?
    You say it has "heavy brassing". Is it the black model?
    There are several versions of the 55/3.5 with different values.

    The alkaline cell you found is wrong, the voltage is too high (about 1.6v when fresh), which will lead to underexposure with that meter, and as the cell ages the voltage falls constantly, resulting in changine readings. It will be accurate for the brief period of time it delivers 1.35v
     
  3. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    E. von Hoegh:

    It's a chrome FTN. Thanks for pointing out the N; I had no idea how to tell the difference.

    I say heavy brassing because there are black parts of the camera that are brassed. The chrome parts don't display brassing obviously, but the chrome does show some superficial scratching (and dents on the bottom plate). The VF is dusty and the seals are toast.

    The 55/3.5 is non-AI with scallopped aperture ring, diamond-pattern rubber focus ring, and the interior of the lens barrel reads: Nikon Micro-NIKKOR-P.C. Auto 1:3.5 f=55mm. Serial number for the lens is 785707. The lens shows very light scratching and paint loss, mostly on the aperture ring. The glass is perfectly clear; very little (to no) dust inside the lens.

    Serial for the body is 3846239.

    benjiboy: I'd get the lens AI converted, but I do not own any Nikon equipment and don't really plan to. I'm really quite happy with my Pentax setup, and save for a few lenses I'd like to own in the future, do not feel wanting for any other 35mm system.
     
  4. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    You can check KEH and ebay as well as we can. My experience (YMMV) is that the FT and FTNs don't go for much money, maybe $20-40, depending on condition and whether the cold shoe is included (there was no hot shoe IIRC). The FT2 and FT3 do better, at least in part because they use a current battery. I paid about $20 for an FT2 in VG-exc condition at a dealers annual "tent" sale, but I considered that a very good deal.

    I'm guessing about double that for the 55mm micro non-AI. As you would expect, there is much less demand for most non-AI lenses. The older metal focus ring non-ai lenses seem to go for more than the later rubber ring models. At about $40 for basic AI conversion (once shipping is factored in), buying a lens to have it converted is not economical.

    The 55mm micro was often used as a "normal" lens, so the combination is not a "white elephant". But I would suggest selling the body and lens separately.

    Needless to say, if you want to get the most for it, test the meter and shutter so you can describe it fully and accurately.
     
  5. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    Thank you for your detailed response, mgb74.

    KEH is not currently buying the FTn; they likely have more than enough for the demand they have. Likely it's due to it using an obsolete battery with modern replacements being too expensive to be economical. The camera works perfectly without a battery though, obviously.

    I know that KEH will pay me more than I paid for the camera and lens for just the lens alone, which is why I initially purchased the camera at the thrift store. I know enough about old Nikons to know that I wasn't sitting on a secret rare camera, I just didn't know what it was worth.

    I have not done a full comparative test of the FTn, since as E. said the battery in it is not to be trusted. The shutter speeds seem to be accurate and the camera seems to work in my limited playing. I honestly don't want to put the money into it to buy a Wein cell. It will more than likely go on eBay as an as-is camera. The lens...still deciding on what to do with it. I may send it to KEH for a quick turnaround, but I may also post it on eBay. I'm sure the EOS video junkies will buy it and not worry about the AI conversion; they'll slap it on an adapter for their 5D Mark II.
     
  6. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    Nikkormats are under appreciated gems in my book.
    Great little utilitarian camera.
     
  7. rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    I'd say $50 or so for the lens; according to this chart it is a multi-coated version, one of the later non-AI lenses. If I didn't already have a small pile of normal and macro lenses in various mounts, I'd offer you something for it myself.
     
  8. TeeSquare

    TeeSquare Member

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    That's a great lens...about as sharp as they come. The camera & lens aren't worth a lot, but they are great performers. Run some Tri-X thru them and have fun.
     
  9. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    I have used that version of the 55/3.5 Macro. It's one of Nikon's classics. Very fine results. My only real criticism is the 6 blade diaphragm produces hexagon-shaped out-of-focus highlights when stopped down-which can be distracting in the final image. But that was common in macros of the time. My EBC Fujinon 55/3.5 and Pentax K-mount 50/4 macros have a 5-blade diaphragm- about equally as distracting.
    Also it's not multicoated, which is usually not perceptible.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 15, 2013
  10. Ricardo Miranda

    Ricardo Miranda Member

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    Your version might not be, but the one that the OP is enquiring about is. The "C" in the lens name denotes multi-coating. You can see the different versions on the chart mentioned above by rthomas.
     
  11. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Oops! Missed that! The one I used was of the same type in appearance but only had P, no C. It was a friend's and he bought it in '71 or so, as I recall.

    Thanks for the correction.
     
  12. Ricardo Miranda

    Ricardo Miranda Member

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    That's ok and you're welcome! :smile:
     
  13. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Modern replacements are only expensive if you waste your money on those Wien cells, which are ridiculously overpriced, and last only a few weeks.

    Here's what you do. Go to the local drugstore and buy a sixpack of #675 zinc-air cells for hearing aids. This will cost about what one Wien cell costs.
    Next, go to the local hardware store and get an O-ring to use as a bushing, to hold the cell centered in the "battery" compartment.
    Now, remove one cell from the package and peel the tape off the airholes. Using glue, or something, block off three of the four airholes on the cell. Put the O-ring on the cell, put the cell in the camera, go take some pictures. I'm on my second year with one of these cells, in a Nikkormat FTN.:smile:
     
  14. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Clarification #1: To rthomas: this appears to be contradicting your post- sorry, no contention intended. I answered too hastily and missed your post and the accompanying chart, along with the "C" in the OP's lens description, as Ricardo pointed out. My apologies.

    Clarification #2: When I said "usually not perceptible", I meant in photographs, as it of course can be seen by looking at a lens if it's multicoated (usually quite easily).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 15, 2013
  15. rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    No apology needed. I have a strange affliction: checking Nikon lens serial numbers against that database for no good reason. :whistling:
     
  16. noacronym

    noacronym Member

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    Nikkormat FTn-FT3 will be the most capable and sensible 35's you'll ever see. With one, it's the best you'll ever need.
     
  17. Ricardo Miranda

    Ricardo Miranda Member

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    lxdude: thanks and what rthomas said!
    About your second point: you are absolutely right!
     
  18. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    This is exactly what I do.
    Before I got hip to the right size rubber O rings I made a ring out of spare insulated wire I had laying around.
    The O ring are a much more elegant solution.
     
  19. noacronym

    noacronym Member

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    And you're sure it can come up to 1.35v, blocked off that way?
     
  20. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Jon Goodman sells a reasonably priced adapter that the hearing aid cells fit in which also makes contact with the edge of the battery compartment, just like the 625 cells did originally.
     
  21. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    It is multicoated, the c designation means it is, and there should be a greenish cast to the coating. That lens is really the standard for all macro lenses, great performer indeed. While the FT and the lens might only be worth less than a hundred bucks these days, they are worth much more as a user. Camera is also often used as a hammer!