View Full Version : Nikon EL2 vs FM
05-01-2010, 02:08 AM
I am primarily shooting digitally, but can't shake the film addiction.
I shot with an EL2 for a long time until an unfortunate incident with a sports drink in a shoulder bag at an airshow gummed it all up. I picked up an FM as a replacement and for years missed the EL2, though I'm not really sure why. I just purchased another black EL2 to satisfy the longing for yesteryear, but now I'm wondering if maybe the FM is superior in some ways that I am missing. It IS the more recent, though still archaic, camera.
Anyone have opinions on which I should keep. One of them has to go.
05-01-2010, 02:42 AM
It's a bit strange to be asking strangers to tell you which of your cameras (that you already own) you should keep. If you've shot with both cameras, you should have formed some kind of opinion on them, and should already have some kind of preference...
The choice will also depend on what you use the camera for (sports, weekend trips with family, bugs and flowers - macro shots, expeditions to the Amazonas or to the North Pole, etc...) - which you did not say in your question.
So, it's purely a personal preference.
However, putting all that aside, here's what I think about them (and I've used both).
FM is a no-nonsense purely mechanical camera, with batteries used only for metering and nothing else. If the battery dies on you, you lose light meter and can keep on shooting. FM is also a lighter camera (590g, if I'm not mistaken). It does not have auto-exposure!
Still, it's a very rugged camera, which will keep on working in all kinds of conditions, even without batteries or in very cold climates (the reason for North Pole reference above...).
EL2, on the other hand, depends on battery to function, and has only one "mechanical" shutter speed when battery is empty: 1/90 sec (if I remember correctly). No battery, no shooting... except on 1/90 sec. It's also a much heavier camera (880g, according to specifications found on the Internet... don't feel like weighing them right now...).
EL2 is definitely a more advanced camera: it has a good auto-exposure mode, has mirror lock-up (important if you shoot bugs and flowers and other macro kind of stuff - for me it was inconsequential), better range of shutter speeds (sometimes quite important)...
I really don't know - and I think I'd keep both :) That's what I did with mine - I still have both, although I don't use them much. More of a sentimental value than everyday shooters, though (my eyesight is not what it used to be...).
05-01-2010, 10:17 AM
The EL2 is battery-dependent, offering just one manual speed should the battery fail. It has autoexposure and is a solid and heavy camera. and performs well. It's like a larger and heavier FE and like the FE the EL2 has a needle in the viewfinder.
The FM requires the battery only for the meter. It's a smaller and lighter-weight camera with very good ergonomics. No autoexposure, and uses LEDs in the viewfinder.
I don't understand why you have to get rid of one of them. I'd keep both.
I will take whichever one of those icky cameras you wish to rid yourself of. :)
05-01-2010, 07:36 PM
At current market prices, it may not be worth it to make sure that one body *has* to go. The FM does have the advantage of being able to use a real motor drive, instead of the auto winder that was sold for the ELw and EL2.
If you were mulling over keeping an EL or ELw versus an FM, I'd definitely steer you toward the FM, but since the EL2 has pretty much the same electronics as an FE (including a flexible circuit board, instead of the earlier hardwiring), I don't see why you must get rid of one or the other. Pick up a couple 50/2 AI's, put one on the FM, and one on the EL2, then add a MD-12 to the FM. Use them when you feel like shooting either an FM or an EL2.
05-01-2010, 11:23 PM
One important feature on the EL2 is that you can dis-engage the little piece that mates with AI lenses, which then permits you to mount non-AI lenses on the body. The FM is, I believe, only mounts AI and subsequent lenses. So the EL2 is better for someone who wants to use vintage Nikkors.
05-02-2010, 12:32 AM
That is true for the FM2, FM2n, FE2, FA, and FM3a. Not true for the FM and the FE.
A link showing a pic of an FM body with the button plainly in sight is here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/marcus20/3618725672/
05-02-2010, 02:02 AM
Yes, I guess it IS a bit strange asking strangers which camera to keep when I've shot them both. I asked because I was going blurry-eyed trying to keep the specs of both in mind as I did research. I thought that there might be better exposure electronics in the (somewhat) newer FM.
I wasn't aware that the FM would shoot at different shutter speeds even if the batter fails. That is a plus since I have had battery failure on really cold days.
I had forgotten that the EL2 has mirror lockup, which I do use on occasion.
I bought the EL2 on a lark and out of some emotional attachment to the camera since I had used it for so many years, but I haven't received it from the seller yet, so I had some buyer's remorse.
I remember the EL2 felt so substantial - bomb proof, and I liked that. Maybe I will keep both. I just thought that I should sell one of them because if I were being practical, I really need to be saving for a Nikon D-700 and lenses.
Thank you all for the great responses. I'll be visiting this site a lot more.