Nikon FM2N or FM3A, which one to get?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Vsanzbajo, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. Vsanzbajo

    Vsanzbajo Member

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    I have been offered a FM2N and a FM3A both mint. The FM3A is more expensive. Is it worth the difference?
    Convince me one way or another?
    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    How much more expensive?
     
  3. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    Probably close to double.

    My FM2n just keeps going.
    I'm not up on the added features exactly so I'll let someone else say the FM3 is better.

    For my use the FM2n is plenty.
     
  4. Vsanzbajo

    Vsanzbajo Member

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    Double the price. What are the main differences?
     
  5. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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  6. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    The FM2n is all manual and mechanical, has an LED meter display. The FM3a is sort of two cameras in one. It's both a fully mechanical camera with the full range of shutter speeds if the battery dies, and an automatic camera with electronically controlled shutter speeds. So it's both fully mechanical and fully electronic. It has a meter needle instead of LED's. Both cameras have a 1/4000th top shutter speed and interchange most accessories.
    The FM3a is very collectible, because of its unusual design, its status as the last of the FM/FE/FA type cameras, and because it did not sell in large numbers. IMO, it was a Nikon tour de force, displaying their prowess at camera design and building.



    If you just want a camera and don't really need or don't want an automatic camera, I say get the FM2n and spend the difference on film. If you want an automatic I say get an FE2 and spend the difference on film. If you want a very special camera pop for the FM3a.

    Just my opinion.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 15, 2011
  7. BobD

    BobD Member

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    I have a near mint FE2 and FM2 and some FM/FEs. I'd love to have an FM3a but I
    don't see that I'd be gaining much over the FE2 except some flash features but I
    don't use flash.
     
  8. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    Essentially, you will pay twice as much for aperture priority which can extend the lower shutter speed range. You'll also get a needle display meter rather than LEDs. The camera will be newer, but I doubt that matters much with these models. If the price being asked is very, very low and double is still a steal, go for it (if you don't like it, sell it and buy two FM2s), otherwise, I don't think the gain is worth the cost.
     
  9. Pumalite

    Pumalite Subscriber

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    FM3A is on top extremely strong. No failures.
     
  10. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    With prices what they are, I'd be tempted to get an FM2n and an FE or FE2 just for the AP feature. Another route is to get a clean N90s/F90x--an AF model that works superbly as a MF camera.

    The FM3a was a bit of a disaster for Nikon--an enhanced, technically advanced retro camera whose belated roll-out coincided with burgeoning digital sales and plummeting interest in new film gear.
     
  11. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    Maybe a disaster for Nikon but certainly a benefit to anyone who can appreciate a great light tight box :whistling:

    [​IMG]

    It is literally having the best of both the FM2 and FE2 (and then some) but almost 20 years newer to last that much longer.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I truly enjoy my FM2.

    Personally I would skip the 3 and go with an N90s or F100 if you need more automation.
     
  13. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    ZZZzzz. Old news. Too bad they cheaped-out and forgot a flip-up Ai tab. So much for whimsy. Love my 45/2.8 Ai-P--another Nikon "dud."
     
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  15. budrichard

    budrichard Member

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    I have both.
    Stay with the FM2N if you do a lot of shooting in dark conditions and don't require Auto exposure because the LED's and lighted shutter #'s can be readily viewed whereas the FM3A cannot.
    As said, the FM3A is a last gasp technological marvel of a camera and a delight to use in AUTO but not at night because you don't know what the shutter speed will be.

    The ideal world would be to have both, FM2n at night and FM3A during the day!-Dick
     
  16. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    The omission of the tab happened with the FE2/FA/FM2 which was long before the FM3A conception.

    To be sure, the FM3A's total hybrid design was unprecedented and has since not yet been matched to-date by any other camera.

    We can only be so lucky for another whimsical release . . .
     
  17. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    Yeah but Nikon would retrofit F5s with a flippy tab. More whimsy? Probably.

    Recall talking to visiting Nikon.jp techs in 2002 at Nikon.ca who bemoaned cancellation of plans to market a range of "chipped" manual lenses after the FM3a's disappointing debut. Still not sure what they were thinking when this project went ahead. Suspect it was mulled over for too long then fast-tracked only to fizzle. Reactions around Toronto ranged around: "WTF?" "Too pricey" "I've got an FE/FE2/FM2n," not to mention silent head-scratching and puzzled looks. Would have been a winner if it had hit the market in the mid/late 90s.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 15, 2011
  18. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    The FM3a is significantly newer and likely seen very little use. That is about the only reason to opt for the FM3a. The FE2 would be almost the same as the FM3a except for the mechanical shutter but you would not miss it unless you run out of batteries. I am not sure that the FM3a was a disaster for Nikon. There were a lot of interest in the camera but due to the high price of $600 at introduction (much higher when Nikon discontinued it) prevented a lot of people from buying on including myself. If Nikon could sell it for $400 I would have one and I believe many others.
    If someone wants a camera with more automation then one can get even an F5 for the price of the FM3a these days.
     
  19. Aja B

    Aja B Member

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    'Is it worth the difference?' I can't help but chuckle.:laugh: Volumes have been written comparing/contrasting these bodies. Have you searched? Do you anticipate needing the aditional features of the 3a? What is the value to you of the additional features and having a newer camera? You'll soon have your answer.

    At times I can get by with my 2n, esp for potentially damaging situations in the wilds, and others when I want aperture priority or TTL flash, in which case the 3a is the ticket. Hard to go wrong with either.
     
  20. slumry

    slumry Subscriber

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    Motor winder + FM3a = a heck of lot of fun. Only complaint is you can put it on 4000 instead of A rather easily. Shot a whole roll of Kodachrom 64 at that speed with a some interesting results.
     
  21. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    A little dark? :laugh:
     
  22. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    How much are these being offered for or what is the difference?

    I have heard of this huge difference before but I guess in Toronto - and maybe other countries, the difference was head scratching. The

    scans of the ads below - from the same magazine, only show a few dollars (between $10 - $70) difference between an FM2n and the FM3A.

    Click on the link for the scanned images -> Adorama, Smile Photo & CCI Camera City

    The FM3A is so perplexing even the smaller font upper case A throws people off . . . :whistling:


    [​IMG]
     
  23. Vsanzbajo

    Vsanzbajo Member

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    Nikon FM2n $399.
    NIKON FM3A $625 with Nikon 50mm 1:1.4 lens AI-s. I am almost convinced I am getting the FM3A.
     
  24. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    Like you almost got the XD-11 . . . :whistling:

    Believe me I am not one to judge as I cannot choose just one camera . . . :smile:

    Of course your price with that lens sounds like a good deal to me provided lens is clean and camera is fully functional.
     
  25. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    4 bills is too much for an FM2n unless mayyyybe it is BNIB.
     
  26. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    I am quite sure 4 bills for a BNIB FM2N - especially a black body, would be a bargain.