Mine is definitely plastic.
Mine is definitely plastic.
The reason one might see 'brassing' in worn areas is because there is a bronze colored layer of paint between the gray plastic and the outer layer of black paint. It's plain to see looking at the underside of this particular top plate. I think that's pretty clever, although, I would have preferred metal over plastic.
Brad, since your Nikon FA top plate has a dent in it, perhaps some earlier models were metal. I don't know.
I can send photos if anyone is interested in seeing both sides of a Nikon FA top plate. I'm usually not this technically 'vocal', but I really love using FAs (as far as 35mm goes). -Marc
The FA was my first and only new SLR I ever bought. The metering was excellent and the camera gave consistent spot on exposures in all modes. Mine finally died a couple of years ago when the titanium shutter jammed and broke. The repair person I consulted told me this was a typical end fate of the FA. The repairs would have cost more then the camera was worth as I was told repair parts would need to come from another FA as that particular shutter was not used in any other camera made by Nikon and replacements were no longer avaialble from the factory.
I had thought about just buying a used FA, but not knowing how much real use it may have had I decided against it not wanting to suffer another shutter failure a few months down the road.
I used an FA for a number of years but eventually it developed an annoying fault: occasionally a frame would come out completely blank for no apparent reason. Maybe the shutter developed a fault but because it was completely random I never managed to get to the bottom of it -- yes, I did try changing the batteries ;-)
About ten years ago I replaced the FA with an FM2, which is still going strong, and even bought another FM2 quite recently. I am totally satisfied with the FM2. Even though the metering is relatively simple compared to the FA, there is a lot to be said for simple, manual metering. And the LEDs are visible under even the darkest conditions.
I bought my FA new back in '87. It was a fun camera to use, but around 1996 or so it started to develop problems. It started with the blank frame problem (as described by lawrenceimpey) but gradually this became worse until eventually the shutter wouldn't fire at all. Sometimes I could "reset" it by switching the shutter speed to B or M250 or by removing the batteries. A CLA seemed to fix the problem, but after a short time it quit working for good. Given Nikon's reputation, I was surprised that the camera died after only 10 years of light-moderate use.
For technical specs, operation and any specific questions, this is a good site to look at:
So it looks (and feels) like the whole piece is plastic with a layer of bronze paint and then black paint over that. It also looks like there is some green paint in the area of the shutter button/film counter/film advance lever/mode selector/shutter speed control (underside of top plate). Not sure what that's for.
Anyway,...here you go.
Hi, I've just bought a brand new top plate for my FA, is replacing it difficult? I don't want any springs flying away when I take the old cover off! Also I will change the bottom plate. Is it the same story there?
used four of them in the 90s, a bit heavier than "nomal" use perhaps--two of the four shutters died in mid-roll, right on the job. also, i'd forget that early matrix--sooner or later you'll notice it makes you recompose ever so slightly, to get a better exposure, quite a silly thing to do; when you eventually lock center-weighted, you'll quickly realize you've got yourself a less reliable, plastic FE2 or FM2N, with a squinty readout that disappears at night
I like my FA alot - even more now that I installed a K3 screen. I just shot some challenging subjects this past weekend (backlit people in water in the late afternoon) and most of the exposures were right on; definitely comparable accuracy to my N80 that I was shooting at the same time. I even had the FA on P(rofessional:D) I normally use aperture priority but it did just fine in program with the 75-150 Series E. Fill flash was the only thing I had to work to figure out. If you use a dedicated flash on the FA, it will default to 1/250 BUT if you use a 'dumb' flash on Auto, you can easily set your fill flash ratios with the ambient exposure. My Metz 54 with the standard shoe works well for this since you can dial in the exact under or over exposure on the flash instead of messing with the ISO, but any other would work fine. The only feature I REALLY wish it had was a backlit LCD.