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  1. #1

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    Questions About the Nikon FM3a

    I am considering an FM3a purchase. Is the shutter in the 3a any different than that which is in the FE2 or FM2n? I had read somewhere that the top speed on the FM2n was closer to 1/2750, rather than 1/4000. I welcome any comments on the shutter.

    Does the MD-11 work on the 3a? I prefer the ruggedness of the MD-11 over the MD-12. I once cracked the top of the an MD-12 grip with what I thought was a more or less slight knock. I once had an FE2, and I am still considering getting one back, as the FM3a is about double the price. My main motivation here is to obtain the 1/4000 top speed, as my F3 tops out at 1/2000. The 1/4000 would be useful for blurring the background on bright days.

  2. #2

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    The FM3a has mechanical backup for all shutter speeds. I don't know about the top shutter speed of the FM2n as compared with the FM3a (though the FM3a also has a top speed of 1/4000) -- but generally speaking, electronic shutters are more accurate than mechanical. (If you use the FM3a without batteries, the shutter speed might be more like the FM2n -- but this is pure speculation on my part.)

    The FM3a takes either motor drive, I understand.

  3. #3

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    Thanks, Nick.

  4. #4
    PhotoJim's Avatar
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    The MD-11 will work, but if you leave it turned on, you will kill the battery in the camera in a hurry, from what I understand. Forgetful me prefers the MD-12.
    Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

    A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.

    Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?

  5. #5

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    I had an FM3a but never used it -- not because I didn't like it, but because I had an FE2 and FM2n already, and realized I was happy enough with those two.

  6. #6

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    the fm3a always has electronic shutter if in auto mode and always mechanical when in manual mode even if the battery is good. The top shutter speed of any camera is always a little iffy and tends to be slower than indicated.

  7. #7
    CGW
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    My main motivation here is to obtain the 1/4000 top speed, as my F3 tops out at 1/2000. The 1/4000 would be useful for blurring the background on bright days.

    The late AF bodies like the N90s/F90x and F100 are great for this. Both are bargains now.

  8. #8
    Colin Corneau's Avatar
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    The N/F90x had the great feature, with the SB-26 flash, of high speed flash synch. You have to use the flash on manual, but you can sync at any speed...quite brilliant, really.
    "Never criticize someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes. That way, you're a mile away and you've got their shoes."

    MY BLOG - www.reservedatalltimes.com
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  9. #9

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    Excellent commentary, thanks.

    I have given much thought to the N90s--a very good choice, indeed. I have opted for the FE2, as the FM3a comes at too much of a premium, and I prefer the FE2's 0.86x magnification finder to the 0.78x of the N90s. It is a difficult choice, though, as all of these cameras are fine tools for the photographer.

    In comparison to the FE, the FE2's finder is a half-stop brighter, right?

  10. #10

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    I'll take your word for it -- I've never noticed that or read anything to that effect. The FE finder is plenty bright for me, though in low light it can be hard to see the shutter speed readout (same is true for the FE2).

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