Nikon FM3A vs FE2

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by RattyMouse, Jul 14, 2013.

  1. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,481
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2011
    Location:
    Ann Arbor, M
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Reading about these cameras, I am finding it hard knowing what the difference is between them. Can anyone summarize this? The FM3A is priced much higher than the FE2, but I am not sure why. Anyone have experience with both these models by chance?
     
  2. Ricardo Miranda

    Ricardo Miranda Member

    Messages:
    2,086
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2012
    Location:
    London, UK
    Shooter:
    35mm
    They are very similar. The advantage of the FM3A is that, in Manual, all speeds are manually controlled like in a FM2n, not needing a battery. The FM3A adds to the TTL flash control of the FE2 a small button to enable fill-in flash. Add in a few cosmetic changes and that's about it.
    So, if you don't mind relying on 2 silver oxide batteries on the FE2, they're about the same in function.
     
  3. John_Nikon_F

    John_Nikon_F Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,918
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2008
    Location:
    Duvall, WA,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    There's also the brighter focusing screens (the B3, E3, and K3 - all of which will work in the FE2 just fine). But, for the price difference, I'd go with the FE2, source a third generation screen, and some extra CR 1/3N batteries.

    -J
     
  4. TheToadMen

    TheToadMen Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,971
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2012
    Location:
    Netherlands, EU
    Shooter:
    Pinhole
    If money isn't an factor, get the FM3a with the pancake lens. Modern & manual, nice to handle.
    But other Nikon cameras are fine as well. I recently bought a nice Nikon F3 for $28. Technically perfect. It only needs a new skin.
    See: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum52/118400-refurbushing-old-battered-nikon-f3.html
    A real nice camera to use!!
    I also have a Nikon EL2 I use for about 26 years now. Also recommended.
    So take your pick...
     
  5. Oren Grad

    Oren Grad Subscriber

    Messages:
    959
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2005
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    The main distinction of the FM3A is its hybrid shutter, which supports aperture-priority AE while still working on all speeds without a battery in manual mode. Few other aperture-priority AE cameras even approached this - the exceptions that come to mind are the Pentax LX, which has instantaneous mechanical speeds from 1/75 - 1/2000, Pentax ES/ES II (1/60 - 1/1000) and Canon New F-1 (1/90 - 1/2000). In general, aperture-priority AE cameras have electronic shutters with at most one or two instantaneous speeds - typically around 1/60-1/125 - available if the battery dies.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2013
  6. Lamar

    Lamar Member

    Messages:
    361
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2008
    Location:
    Georgia, USA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    When I was looking to purchase one of these two I opted for the far cheaper FE2. I've been very happy with it. The only thing I see I really giving up to the FM3a was the fill flash button, the DX ISO/film window, and the ability to shoot without batteries. The batteries last forever in these things anyway so I have never had an issue with low batteries causing me to miss any shots. Regardless, S76/LR44s can be found cheap at any Walmart or Target and I always carry a few extra with me. To get -1 flash for fill I just adjust ISO or EXP comp to give me - 1 stop and shoot manual and overexpose 1 stop. For the price of one FM3a you can get an FE2 and an FM and most likely have money left over. I own and shoot them both. Great little cameras.
     
  7. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,481
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2011
    Location:
    Ann Arbor, M
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks everyone! I know nothing about how to use flash on these cameras so it seems that an FM3A would be a waste on me. Glad to hear that the cheaper option will work for me.
     
  8. jpa

    jpa Member

    Messages:
    42
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    Location:
    The Windy Ci
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I agree with the majority here, and would get the FE2 if money is at all an issue. Having said that, the FM3a is my favorite camera, and I never intend to part with it.