Nikon FE/MD-12 Coming...

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by FilmOnly, Nov 4, 2009.

  1. FilmOnly

    FilmOnly Member

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    I have enjoyed using Nikon AI and non-AI lenses (with the Nikkormat that I parted with), and so I have purchsed a Nikon FE and MD-12. I opted for the FE because it will work with both AI and non-AI lenses. Previously, I had, but did not care for, the F4 (too much plastic). I am thinking the FE will suit me. Any comments or opinions? I thought I had read somewhere that while the FE's sync speed is 1/125th, it will sync at only 1/90th with the SB-10. This seems strange. Is it true, or have I remembered incorrectly? I have also picked up an SB-10 (for almost nothing, too).
     
  2. jphendren

    jphendren Member

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    "F4 (too much plastic)"

    Isn't the F4 a metal body camera like the F3HP and F5? Sorry, I can't help on the FE questions, I've never owned one of those either.

    Jared
     
  3. FilmOnly

    FilmOnly Member

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    I had an F4s. The body appeared to have some type of synthetic coating. I am sure, though, that the frame underneath is metal, as the camera is fairly heavy. The attached motor drive (MB-21) looked like it was all plastic. The lens mount area of the camera body looked particularly plasticky. In fact, it looked like a polycarbonate...a polycarbonate that seems to flake away over time. This is not what I would want near a lens mount.

    Additionallly, I am one of those types that appreciates quality craftsmanship and beauty in design. I know that some here do not agree with this (and like to assert that a camera is "for use" and not anything else), but I do not mind admitting that: a) I like (and expect) quality in design and manufacture, b) I can appreciate a camera's form as well as its function and, c) I like old cameras.
     
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  4. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    You will love love love the FE.
    it feels great in the hands. its shutter is accurate.
    The controls are laid out in a straight forward manner.
    You can use almost any Nikkor lens.

    Whats not to love?
     
  5. jphendren

    jphendren Member

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    "additionallly, I am one of those types that appreciates quality craftsmanship and beauty in design. I know that some here do not agree with this (and like to assert that a camera is "for use" and not anything else), but I do not mind admitting that: a) I like (and expect) quality in design and manufacture, b) I can appreciate a camera's form as well as its function and, c) I like old cameras."

    I can't argue with that logic, I completely agree. I also will not buy a camera that is made of plastic; I wanted an EOS-3, but the out shell is made of polycarbonate. I know that the EOS-3 is tough as nails, but I can't get past a plastic camera body. My F5 has an aluminum-alloy chassis with a titanium finder, it feels great in hand, might be too modern for you though.

    Jared
     
  6. elekm

    elekm Member

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    I bought my FE new in 1980, and it's been a faithful camera for going on 30 years. I've never had a problem with it. I bought a second FE body, which turned out to be a piece of junk. I think it had been owned by one of those photographers who proudly batter their cameras, and it showed.

    I've since added the MD-12, and the two make for a heavy camera. I might remove the drive, because I don't need to shoot at 3.5 frames per second anymore.

    The only quibble that I've always had about the FE is that if you push the film advance flush against the body, it locks the shutter release. I've missed shots because of that "feature."

    The autoexposure has been accurate -- within the limits of any autoexposure system. As I recall, the top deck is polycarbonate (plastic). It's a well-made camera.

    I've had no problems with my original FE. I replaced the foam seals around 2000, and that's the only service that's been required since I bought it.
     
  7. Leighgion

    Leighgion Member

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    I've got an FE. It's a fine camera, though I rate it second in daily usability to the FE2, whose refinements I consider much handier than they look on paper.

    Afraid I know nothing about the SB-10 though.
     
  8. FilmOnly

    FilmOnly Member

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    If the FE2 had been made to accept non-AI lenses, I may have opted for the FE2 (the 1/250th is nice).

    As far as the FE's top plate or top deck is concerned, I had (according to what I have read) thought that both the top and bottom plates of the FE are metal. Can anyone verify this?

    Also, when the MD-11 or MD-12 is attached, the "on/off" switch of the drive unit actuates the meter, right? Thus, would this also disable the flush position advance lever lock?
     
  9. elekm

    elekm Member

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    I'll have to check. I seemed to recall that magazines made a big deal about it having a plastic top deck, but I could be wrong about it. I think that I read this article in 1978, so you know that it's been a long time.

    The magazine might have been referring to another camera, probably Canon, which was beginning to prolifically use plastic in many of their consumer cameras and lenses.
     
  10. elekm

    elekm Member

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    OK, what I found was that the camera's "Nikon" nameplate is plastic, while the top deck is metal. That makes more sense.
     
  11. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    Unless some change was made along the production life of the FE, they are metal, at least on mine.
     
  12. FilmOnly

    FilmOnly Member

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    Thanks, folks...I appreciate the verifications. I have never heard of any production variances with regard to the FE. I await its arrival--which is scheduled for Friday. Now the only question that remains is: what film to load? Considering the time of year, I will use 400 speed. Hmm...400 Delta or 400 Portra NC?...
     
  13. glockman99

    glockman99 Member

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    The MB-21 for the F4s is not a motordrive...It's a battery holder/verticle grip that holds 6 AA batteries, rather than the 4 AA's of the F4. This "extra power" makes the motordrive, (which is built-in to the F4 body), run faster. Also, I feel that MY F4s is a VERY sturdy (professional-grade) camera.

    However, your choice of the FE & MD-12 is a VERY good combo.
     
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  15. dynachrome

    dynachrome Member

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    Nikon FE/MD-12

    I have two FEs, an MD-11 and an MD-12. For slower shooting I prefer a Nikkormat. The FE I use more often has an E screen so it's nice for macro work. The way film prices are going I think I'll use the FE more without the MD-12 or MD-11. For low light situations the FE's meter is sensitive so that's an advantage over the Nikkormat. I decided on the FEs because I do not trust the electronics in the earlier Nikkormat EL or ELW models as much.
     
  16. elekm

    elekm Member

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    OK, I have my FE in my hands. You need to have a battery in the camera. The MD-12 doesn't provide power to the meter or shutter. If you try to shoot it without batteries in the camera, the mirror will lock up.

    You can operate the camera on B or M90 without a battery and with the drive, just as you can without the motor drive attached. The motor drive uses eight AA batteries, which adds considerably to its weight.

    I had wanted the MD-12 for years, and now that I have it, I think it's a bit too bulky. Well, that's how it sometimes goes.

    When I was shooting college sports years ago, I would have gladly used it. As it was, I used two bodies and changed film when there was a break in the action.
     
  17. elekm

    elekm Member

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    Well, that last sentence didn't make any sense. I still would have used two bodies. I just would have been able to shoot the action a bit quicker. And of course I probably would have had to change film more often.
     
  18. FilmOnly

    FilmOnly Member

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    I appreciate all of the input--thanks.

    I agree that it looks like I have made a good choice with the FE/MD-12 combo. I prefer the added bulk of the drive, and so I should find the drive to be an improvement in more than one way. I find that I am steadier with hand-held shots with a little more weight. The camera seems to balance better, too.

    I wonder if I will need to place the advance lever at the 30-degree angle when I have the MD-12 attached? The way I see it, the on/off switch on the MD-12 should be sufficent. I know that the switch turns on the meter, but am unsure if I will have to flip the advance lever to turn on the camera.
     
  19. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    I love the Nikon FE. I have had four of them. Two died (caution: the MD-12 can be hard on these bodies!) and two survive. The body is all metal and the only 35mm SLR that I have ever found to do a better job of metering is the Nikon FA. I have the SB-10 too. It is a nice little flash and if carefully used, gives decent results. It gets the job done but it is nothing to write home about. The more modern offerings are better. Mine has lately developed some problems with the battery holder...not really problems...more like it is is getting finicky in its old age.
     
  20. elekm

    elekm Member

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    With the MD-12 attached, you don't have to touch the film advance lever at all. It can remain in its stowed position.
     
  21. FilmOnly

    FilmOnly Member

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    Thanks for the information...I am concerned about what you indicate in regard to the MD-12 being hard on the FE body. I plan on using the MD-12 all the time. I hope this does not bring about problems.
     
  22. BobD

    BobD Member

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    Non-AI lenses can be used on the FE via stop down metering. Before
    mounting the Non-AI lens be sure to flip up the coupling tab located at
    2:00 on the camera's lens mount. Press the nearby button and lift it
    up. Stopping down the lens is done with the lever on the camera beside
    the lens mount. Also, be sure to flip the coupling tab back down before
    mounting AI or later lenses. This goes for the Nikon FM too and some
    other models but not the FM2 or FE2 which have no flip-up tab.


    Yes, they are both metal.

    The meter on the FE can be used with the MD both on or off but
    turning on the meter is different for each case. With the MD off
    the meter is turned on in the usual way as if no MD were attached
    (by pulling out the film advance lever). If the MD is turned on the
    film advance lever should be pushed in against the body and a light
    press on the shutter release will turn on the meter.
     
  23. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    Nikon apparently warned against using the FE with an MD-12 in continuous mode as it could lead to premature failure of the film advance mechanism in the FE (which is exactly what happened to one of my dead FE bodies). See this thread for more discussion of this...
     
  24. FilmOnly

    FilmOnly Member

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    I appreciate the link. I see that problems may occur if the MD-12 is used in continuous mode at lower speeds. I am glad that it seems that it should be fine otherwise.

    I have been considering an F3. I gather the F3's gearing would be superior?
     
  25. Pumal

    Pumal Member

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    The F3 gearing is practically immortal.
     
  26. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    The F3 was a professional body whereas the FE was a consumer body...so, it seems reasonable that F3 might have a significantly stronger gear train than the FE (for example) but, i have no evidence to support or refute that hypothesis.