Using FM3A without battery - is it possible?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by colrehogan, Sep 16, 2006.

  1. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    Is it possible to use the FM3A without the battery? I have a hand-held meter. I have two shots on a roll left and I want to finish it today - preferably without a trip to get batteries someplace.
     
  2. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    YES! The FM3A has an "hybrid-electronic" shutter. This ingenious design has a mechanical over-ride when the batteries are dead (or, not present). You may feel slight difference in trigger pressure is necessary but, the shutter works at all speeds even without batteries! Cool -huh?
     
  3. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    Wow, seriously? I didn't know that! I should look for one of those if I can...it's about the perfect camera for me SLR wise.
     
  4. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    Stephanie, they cost huge money for what they do. They have suddenly become collectible. But if you can get one at a good price, what a great camera.

    For about 1/7 the price you can get cameras in the Nikon FM and FM2/FM2n range that are also fully mechanical. The Nikkormat FS, FT, FTn, FT2 and FT3 are all mechanical as well although they are of an older design. If you want the dirt on how they differ, let me know and I will give you the details.
     
  5. Colden

    Colden Member

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    The only benefit to the battery besides the metering is that it makes precise intermediate shutter speeds possible while the shutter ring dial is in the "A" (aperture priority) setting.

    In other words, you can manually select 1/60 or 1/125 without any battery, and, as several posters above indicated, the camera will run the shutter curtain at that speed mechanically. But if the camera is in A-mode (with a working battery present), you may notice the match needle pointing somewhere between 1/60 and 1/125, and you do not have to adjust the aperture ring at all, because the camera will actually run the shutter for 1/83, for example, to achieve the best exposure that it thinks your picture needs at the aperture that you have selected. Of course this feature is nothing extraordinary on modern equipment, but I do not know of other fully manual and battery independent shutters that can do this!

    Finally, the above feature can be happily combined with the auto exposure lock button, so you can theoretically have both the control and precision. I often find it quicker to point the camera someplace to get the speed that I need and then press the AE-lock rather than move the shutter speed dial, especially when I want a relatively minor adjustment to the shutter speed.

    So, for all these reasons there is always a spare battery and a coin in my bag, though I have no idea when I will finally have to use it.
     
  6. Bromo33333

    Bromo33333 Member

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    Interesting ... does the F3A share this with the F3HP too? curious.
     
  7. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    Even cheaper and on a par with all so far mentioned is the Olympus OM-1. All manual with mirror lock up. An OM-1 in very good condition, with 50mm lens, will set you back about £80 ($150USD).
     
  8. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    Here in North America, the Nikon FM is worth a little over $100 US, the Nikkormat FT3 (which still takes AI lenses) is around $100, the FT2 is about $80 and the FTn and FT are around $40-60. The OM-1 is a nice camera, but if you already own Nikkors ... an FT3 or FM would work better. :smile:
     
  9. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    Thanks for all the replies regarding the FM3A.

    An Olympus OM-1 works without batteries too? I rescued one of those from a co-worker who was going to throw it away in his lab at work. It was in mint condition with 50 mm lens. All I've done is had the seals replaced and it works just fine.
     
  10. Jeffrey A. Steinberg

    Jeffrey A. Steinberg Member

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    The FM3a also has TTL flash synchronization with newer nikon flashes as well as AE exposure lock (which is kind of strange on a manual camera as you can do the same thing via composing/metering and then recomposing with the old metered value).

    I bought an FM3a when new (about $535 if memory serves) and now I see them selling for $900 plus. It is a great camera.
     
  11. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    $900 ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?


    SHeeesh! I should sell mine...It just sits all locked up all alone. $900....Wow!
     
  12. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    Brad, in the spirit of fairness, DON'T sell it that high. :wink:
     
  13. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Subscriber

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    On ebay, they seem to be running from $500 to $700 with a few brand new with warranty models in the $900 range.
     
  14. Uncle Bill

    Uncle Bill Subscriber

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    I second Photojim's opinion if you are on a budget go for an FM2 or a Nikkormat FTn/FT2. I have the Nikkormat FTN it's about as old as I am and it is super dependable.

    Bill
     
  15. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    The F3HP does not really work without battery. Only at 1/90 and B.
     
  16. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    About the only other camera I know which has aperture priority automatic but has a full range of manual shutter speed available when the battery is dead is the Pentax LX.