Nikon FM3A anyone

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by catem, May 12, 2006.

  1. catem

    catem Member

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    I've returned to using my Nikon Fm2n, after using MF almost exclusively for a couple of years. In fact I am really enjoying and appreciating it. I'm now thinking of buying a second body and wondering about the FM3A. They seem to be a bit more than the Fm2's but are they worth the extra? Any views most welcome.
     
  2. DBP

    DBP Member

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    I haven't used the FM2, but handled the FM3a a while back and it was a jewel. For myself, I couldn't justify the expense given a perfectly usable FE2 sitting in my bag. But I also don't have to depend on it for a living. If I did, I might buy one, as it may be the last and best all manual SLR made, given current market trends.
     
  3. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    I use a FM body, which is cheap and can couple the non-Ai mount as well.

    And I'm in search of a good used F body right now.
     
  4. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    I bought one recently, totally satisfied, I bought FM3a rather than FM2 purely because of the aperture-priority AE - sometimes I need to be quick and not spend time matching exposure needles.
     
  5. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Since you're in the UK may be you can get one at reasonable price. In the US if one could find one new the price is likely to be $800 USD.
     
  6. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    The FM3a is a great camera and would make a great second body. In fact, it would probably be your main body.

    However, since you already own an FM2n and don't really need your other camera to have a fully mechanical shutter, why not consider a nice used FE2? They are very inexpensive and do everything the FM3a does, except work without a battery. (Well, they work, but only at 1/250.)
     
  7. HerrBremerhaven

    HerrBremerhaven Member

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    Over the FM2, the FM3A has aperture priority auto exposure, and slightly better flash integration. It really is more like an FE2, though the flash features are slightly different. You might want to compare costs to getting a good condition used FE2, like from a place such as KEH.com.

    I think the FM and FE combination are a good complimentary pair of 35mm SLRs. Any of the versions, from nearly any years, would be good choices, though the FM2 and FE2 would be much newer, and if you look at enough places you might find an FM3A new.

    Ciao!

    Gordon
     
  8. catem

    catem Member

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    Thanks for the info/comments - I see another thread's been started on the FM3a's aswell! Which of course makes me feel even more like getting one....
    There are a few around new still but they are over £400 here, (body only) and seem quite pricey second-hand too, However, I know I'd feel very at home with one, and feel tempted to snap one up while I can....
     
  9. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    I bought one about a month ago - it was Robert White's demonstrator, the last one they had, and they had been told by Nikon UK that there were no more in stock or obtainable from Japan. It's just down to what individual dealers have in stock now, so don't wait too long!

    Regards,

    David
     
  10. Allora

    Allora Member

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    I've got one that I've been using for just over a year and I've just picked up another - just love 'em. Yes they are jewels and do everything you could want them to - reliable, versatile, travel well and (most important) make you think. I know there's the Auto option but.....if you can track one down then grab it - you won't regret it. It will become an extension of your arm and brain and will probably outlive you - I know mine will outlive me but i havent told my grandson yet!! I know this is more an emotional than rational or technical response thing but the teccies will have their say too.
    Mike.
     
  11. ajuk

    ajuk Member

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    I don't understand why Nikon made the FM3a so unnecessarily old fashoned looking?
     
  12. Rombo

    Rombo Member

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    Nikon FM3a is one of the best cameras for me in 35 mm. If You get one, and if You will not like it (I doubt), sell it, and You probably will not lost a lot of money.
     
  13. catem

    catem Member

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    I'm seriously after one now. As for the look - that's something I like about it! :smile:
     
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  15. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    For us oldies, the FM3a has the same feel as the classic Nikons from the F onwards. I can appreciate that the F4/5/6 are great cameras but they seem to be bulkier than any 35 mm camera has the right to be!
     
  16. bogeyes

    bogeyes Member

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    I recently bought one on ebay with a 45mm lens for £350 , its not a lot of money for something which I hope will out last me, I'm 47 but feeling 25 in the head, so that means its got to last at least 50 years, well maybe 23 if I make the 3 score and ten.
     
  17. ajuk

    ajuk Member

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    I'm not saying Nikon were wrong to make such a camera but they did seem to make an effort to make it look old school, just because its MF and Manual film advance shouldn't mean it should look like it was made in the 70's look at the OM2000 for example.
     
  18. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    That is the reason why the FM3a is worth a whole lot more than the Olympus OM2000. That is what the intended customers want. I think it looks very nice. I want one for the look alone.
     
  19. HerrBremerhaven

    HerrBremerhaven Member

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    I don't think it is so much of a styling decision as a choice of efficiency. They already had the tooling for decades from the FM and FE lines. Very simple to not do any styling, and leave the development expenses to the electro-mechanical construction. I think that Nikon could not have expected many sales, so why put more money in styling. Even if they had made it look modern the reality is that it was introduced as a manual focus and manual film advance camera body in a world full of autofocus and motordrives.

    Sure, it looks old school or retro, but I don't think that is a bad thing. When I compare an FM3A to the previous versions, I find the best and strongest feeling with the original FM and FE; then the FE2 and FM2 seem slightly less rugged . . . all these are durable cameras, but modernizing or cost cutting changed the feel. It would still take some abusive behavior to damage any version.

    Ciao!

    Gordon

    P.S. - Thanks to all for this discussion. I enjoy this series of cameras.
     
  20. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I think styling did enter into this decision. I have a close friend who had Canon non AF equipment, and who wanted to move into a smaller and lighter SLR wirh AF ability. He decided on a Pentax MZ5-n. The decision was strongly influenced by the dials and controls on that camera - rotary, without LCD displays. The location of those controls was fairly traditional too.

    All of those factors influenced the style of the camera.

    I expect that there were a lot of Nikon owners who, when the FM3A was being designed, wanted to update their cameras, but who didn't want to change too much.

    IMHO those Nikon owners had/ve good taste.

    Matt
     
  21. catem

    catem Member

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    Well, I am now the proud owner of a (second-hand) Fm3A body, bought from Mr Cad this morning. Apparently they hardly ever get them in, so I feel very lucky. It's in very good condition and is black like my Fm2n.

    So I'm very happy :smile: :smile:
     
  22. mawz

    mawz Member

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    Because their 'modern' looking MF slr didn't sell well at all. In fact I'm pretty sure the least successful SLR Nikon ever made was the F601m/N6000, the MF version of the F601/N6006. I own one, it works pretty well, but in many ways it's a pain to use compared to a traditional layout SLR, and it's frikkin huge compared to a FM3a. The only reason I use my F601m anymore is it's the only camera I own with program shift, flash exposure compensation and rear curtain sync, which come in handy on occasion.

    As to the OM2000, well Nikon already sells an almost identical SLR as the FM10 (The FM10 is actually the same as the OM2000 apart from having more modern styling and the mount) so why would they go along those lines for an SLR which was specifically introduced as a 'Retro' model.
     
  23. Ara Ghajanian

    Ara Ghajanian Member

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    Congratulations on your new purchase! I hope it provides you with years of photographic ecstacy.

    I'd love an FM3a also, but I'm scared to buy one. I'm afraid my two Nikon F3's might ge jealous and turn on me.
    Ara
     
  24. catem

    catem Member

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    Thanks. To be completely honest I also bought a new (second-hand) lens - an 85mm f1.4 AIs, which I've wanted for years. So 'ecstasy' is probably near the mark today....the only thing is I neglected to buy any more 35mm film - I have a shelf full in my fridge but it's all 120mm....have to wait til tomorrow! :smile:
    Oh yes, I'll probably think about what I spent too - but certainly not til tomorrow :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 15, 2006
  25. Allora

    Allora Member

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    Just spotted 2!!

    Kingsley Photographic (they have a website) in Tottenham Court Road have 2 pre-owned bodies in the window (well they did 40 minutes ago!). Suffering from N[FM3a]AS I was sorely tempted as I already have 2 but thought of trying to breed them - (un)fortunately a branch of my bank is almost next door and financial reality kicked in. They are jewels indeed, of the hardworking and reliable kind. Just thought somebody might be interested.
    Mike.
     
  26. catem

    catem Member

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    :D :D


    There again, keep them for a few years and they'd probably be a great investment? (but not saying you should regret your decision.. Can't believe you need more than two... :smile: ).

    I'm delighted with mine - used to completely manual cameras and put a roll through with aperture-priority - seemed to work very well (exposure-wise, at least!)....