I bought my Nikon FA new in 1986 as far as I recall. For a couple of years I used it together with a F100, but I actually preferred the results of the matrix metering in the FA when shooting slide film. I used it until 2006, where I bought the Nikon F6. At the same time the sealing needed to be replaced as it gummed up.
It's a great camera in my opinion, and I have decided to keep my sample on the shelf, even though I don't use it anymore.
For me the most annoying thing about the camera is the viewfinder coverage that always gave me some trouble when shooting slides.
I didn't like the FA when it was introduced and hence I never had one until a couple years ago I got a used one out of curiousity. The camera had problem with the shutter as sometimes it would go to 1/4000 no matter how it was set. But that's only a problem specific to the camera I had.
I found the display are not consistent due to the fact that it has too many automode.
Could somebody tell me the difference between the FA and the FE2 ?
I own an FE2 and the way the FA is highly regarded, I am wondering whether I am missing something or not... ;)
I really like the FA. It was my carry-around camera for several years; with me 24/7 in the car, on the street, wherever.
It was fast, reasonably light weight with a 35-105 (compared with my F3HP/MD-4), and the metering was quite accurate.
I think the difference is the matrix metering. Nikon made a really big deal out of that when it was introduced.
Originally Posted by Photo-gear
FA also adds program shooting mode. It needs an AIS lens to work properly & shifts into a high speed program when anything longer that a 135mm lens is put on it (IIRC?). I bought an FA new back in 1986 & have been very happy with it. I have had no problems with it beyond the foam needing to be replaced.
Originally Posted by Leigh B
I have an FE2 as well, picking one up cheap off of ebay a few years back. Out of the two I much prefer to use the FA. Two things that swing it for me are having an MD15 attached to the FA so find that it handles better & I prefer the LCD to a needle in the viewfinder. I also much prefer the FM2's LED viewfinder to the FE2's needle.
I have the MD12 for both the FM2n and FE2 and it works out just fine. And concerning the viewfinder, I understand your point of view, but I also put up with FE2's one. But if the differences come down to those 2 points, I don't see the big deal out of that. I think I'm gonna read more reviews regarding that, just to make sure I don't miss the point.
Originally Posted by Ap507b
I understand that the FA model was innovative - matrix metering on manual lenses - at the time of its release. I think this is why the FA model has a deserved and great reputation.
Thanks for your comments.
Two other techno things that the FA has over the FE2 are shutter priority shooting mode & a cybernetic override facility on the exposure.
Pinched from Ken Rockwell's review of the FA at http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/fa.htm
"The FA offers Cybernetic Override, which new Nikons omit but Canon includes. This always active mode allows the camera to alter the chosen aperture or shutter speed in S or A automatic modes if the lighting changes and the camera runs out of suitable shutter speeds or apertures at the setting you've chosen. This way it is almost impossible to make a bad exposure, even if you make a silly choice in shutter- or aperture-priority modes. I like this a lot: with the modern Nikon AF cameras one has to adjust the settings manually if the light changes or get a bad exposure."
Another good place to look for FA info is Mir.
The matrix meter by the way is a bit primative & can be foiled by turning the camera from landscape to portrait orientation according to what I have read. I haven't experienced it. One thing that the FE2 has over the FA is an exposure lock. Maybe they didn't think it was needed with the matrix metering?
Preferring LCD over needle is a personal thing. The only display that I have met that I have liked less than a needle is the LED one in the F301/N2000.
I agree that the other point could be cured by getting an MD 12. The FA should have a little finger grip on the right hand side (it has to come off if an MD is being fitted & a lot you see for sale are missing it) The FE2 lacks one & providing it is still on the FA, you may find it feels a bit better in your hands?
That is unfortunate that Nikon dropped the Cybernetic Override after the FA release. It is also called the "Safety Shift" function on the Canon T90. Indeed, it is quite useful.
Mir and Rockwell, of course, are reliable references.
Thanks a lot for these precisions.
I purchase the FA for my wife who only used it a couple of times. I tried it and while nice, just to complex for me. I prefer the F3, FE, or EL and should of sole the FA when they were still available new.