A little rapid question: was the Nikon FE a profesional camera or a normal amateur model?
The FE was typically thought of, and priced, as an advanced amateur camera, which, of course, didn’t prevent working professional photographers from using them in work suited to 35mm.
Ultimately a camera and lens are tools. A competent worker uses whatever tool allows him or her to get the job done, regardless of the supposed “amateur” or “professional” label appended to the camera in the maker’s advertising literature.
When we look in a magazine like the National Geographic, we’ve no idea if it was shot on an F2 or an FE. There would be no difference in the photo due to the choice of camera body. I think if I was lugging a camera in rugged conditions where it might easily be damaged or destroyed I’d be more comfortable using an FE than a camera costing twice as much, such as an F2 or F3.
Last edited by Ian C; 09-17-2012 at 08:26 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Ian already answered your question accurately, but I'd like to punctuate the rest of his comments. I chuckle at the concept of "amateur versus professional" cameras because during the small part of my career (about 8 years) that involved using a camera I used amateur cameras exclusively, yet at the same time I did all of my personal amateur photography using a professional camera. There was a difference, though. The cameras used professionally were overhauled at least annually and were replaced after about 3 years. I'm thinking that if we were using professional cameras in the same conditions they may have only needed overhaul every 18 months and may not have had to be replaced.
And speaking of National Geographic... we ended up shooting side-by-side with a NatGeo photographer. This was in a very dangerous and difficult industrial setting He had gear, and more gear, and then more. We were shooting amateur equipment and using a minimalist approach. We had an opportunity to share images after the session and he liked ours better. His looked like studio shots and ours looked like "real life". It was an interesting discussion to say the least.
p.s. Lately I've been using my F3 as a backup to a FE.
You seem to worry about shutter noise and just about any SLR will have quite a bit of noise because of its mirror. So if you want a quiet camera then you may need to look into a rangefinder or use and SLR with the mirror locked up. You also wanted to know if the Pentax KX and now the Nikon FE whether or not they are professional models. As others have said, there isn't solid definition as to what is a professional camera. But as others have said that both the KX and FE are generally not considered as a pro models although they are suitable for professional use. If you worry about the durability then I can say if you get a good sample of either of them they will last you a long time.
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Pros often use the less expensive models. I would guess that if u time traveled to the mid 80s youd find more pros using the n90s than the f4 or f5.
FE was aimed at the amateur market, although I'm sure some pros had it as a backup to their F, F2, F3, etc.
As I recall, much was made about the FE's battery dependency. It had just two manual speeds if the batteries died: 1/90 and B.
I believe the all manual FM was the backup camera of choice for pros. The batteries powered only the meter.
Again, I wouldn't base any purchasing decision of whether a camera was for pros or amateurs.
In fact, a specific camera won't make you a better photographer, although that's always the promise.
However, you will feel more comfortable using certain cameras, and it's then that you'll take "better" photos.
Your recollection about FM being the preferred backup is exactly right. The bigger flaws of the FE in my opinion is the way the batteries, both motor drive and camera, will completley drain if the motor drive is left on when stored. But when the battereis are good, the FE is just as good as a FM.
You would be guessing wrong! Even if time travel was achievable, you won't find any N90S, F4 or F5 in 1985 or even 86 or 87! They didn't existed at that time! The F4 was introduced in 88, the N90S (F90X) in 94 and the F5 in 96.
I would guess that if u time traveled to the mid 80s youd find more pros using the n90s than the f4 or f5.
In the mid 80s, professional photographers were using mainly F3 and/or FM2. I know I studied photography with one in 85 and he was using a F3, while I was using my father's Petri FT!
Nikon F4, F4S, F401S, F601, F801, F801S, F50, F55, F60, F65, F70, F75, F80, F90, F90X, EL2, FE, FM, FG, FG-20, EM
... or in my case... a bunch of Nikkormat FT3's.
Originally Posted by Ricardo Miranda
Nice history lesson, BTW!