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  1. #1

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    Nikkormat FT, 55mm 3.5 PC Micro-Nikkor Questions

    Hi all,

    Just visited the local thrift store and came home with a Nikkormat FT body with the 55mm 3.5 Micro-Nikkor. Has anyone used this equipment, specifically the lens? What's your opinion of it?

    It appears to have been in use not too long ago, since the Nikkormat has a new Varta alkaline battery (and the meter works). The lens is in good shape. Really a great looking camera and lens!

    I plan on flipping the equipment -- I have no use for Nikon non-AI cameras or lenses; I don't need another 35mm system going besides my Pentax MZ-S and LX. What would be a fair price to pay for a FT with heavy brassing and some light dents (but fully functional) and a 55mm 3.5 Micro in good condition?

    Thanks!
    Pentax MZ-S, Calumet 4x5 Monorail

    Favorite Films: Foma 100, Acros 100, Delta 400, Portra 400.

  2. #2

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    Is it an FT, or an FTN? Is there an "N" above the meter window, near the rewind shaft?
    You say it has "heavy brassing". Is it the black model?
    There are several versions of the 55/3.5 with different values.

    The alkaline cell you found is wrong, the voltage is too high (about 1.6v when fresh), which will lead to underexposure with that meter, and as the cell ages the voltage falls constantly, resulting in changine readings. It will be accurate for the brief period of time it delivers 1.35v

  3. #3

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    E. von Hoegh:

    It's a chrome FTN. Thanks for pointing out the N; I had no idea how to tell the difference.

    I say heavy brassing because there are black parts of the camera that are brassed. The chrome parts don't display brassing obviously, but the chrome does show some superficial scratching (and dents on the bottom plate). The VF is dusty and the seals are toast.

    The 55/3.5 is non-AI with scallopped aperture ring, diamond-pattern rubber focus ring, and the interior of the lens barrel reads: Nikon Micro-NIKKOR-P.C. Auto 1:3.5 f=55mm. Serial number for the lens is 785707. The lens shows very light scratching and paint loss, mostly on the aperture ring. The glass is perfectly clear; very little (to no) dust inside the lens.

    Serial for the body is 3846239.

    benjiboy: I'd get the lens AI converted, but I do not own any Nikon equipment and don't really plan to. I'm really quite happy with my Pentax setup, and save for a few lenses I'd like to own in the future, do not feel wanting for any other 35mm system.
    Pentax MZ-S, Calumet 4x5 Monorail

    Favorite Films: Foma 100, Acros 100, Delta 400, Portra 400.

  4. #4

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    You can check KEH and ebay as well as we can. My experience (YMMV) is that the FT and FTNs don't go for much money, maybe $20-40, depending on condition and whether the cold shoe is included (there was no hot shoe IIRC). The FT2 and FT3 do better, at least in part because they use a current battery. I paid about $20 for an FT2 in VG-exc condition at a dealers annual "tent" sale, but I considered that a very good deal.

    I'm guessing about double that for the 55mm micro non-AI. As you would expect, there is much less demand for most non-AI lenses. The older metal focus ring non-ai lenses seem to go for more than the later rubber ring models. At about $40 for basic AI conversion (once shipping is factored in), buying a lens to have it converted is not economical.

    The 55mm micro was often used as a "normal" lens, so the combination is not a "white elephant". But I would suggest selling the body and lens separately.

    Needless to say, if you want to get the most for it, test the meter and shutter so you can describe it fully and accurately.
    "Far more critical than what we know or do not know is what we do not want to know." - Eric Hoffer

  5. #5

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    Thank you for your detailed response, mgb74.

    KEH is not currently buying the FTn; they likely have more than enough for the demand they have. Likely it's due to it using an obsolete battery with modern replacements being too expensive to be economical. The camera works perfectly without a battery though, obviously.

    I know that KEH will pay me more than I paid for the camera and lens for just the lens alone, which is why I initially purchased the camera at the thrift store. I know enough about old Nikons to know that I wasn't sitting on a secret rare camera, I just didn't know what it was worth.

    I have not done a full comparative test of the FTn, since as E. said the battery in it is not to be trusted. The shutter speeds seem to be accurate and the camera seems to work in my limited playing. I honestly don't want to put the money into it to buy a Wein cell. It will more than likely go on eBay as an as-is camera. The lens...still deciding on what to do with it. I may send it to KEH for a quick turnaround, but I may also post it on eBay. I'm sure the EOS video junkies will buy it and not worry about the AI conversion; they'll slap it on an adapter for their 5D Mark II.
    Pentax MZ-S, Calumet 4x5 Monorail

    Favorite Films: Foma 100, Acros 100, Delta 400, Portra 400.

  6. #6
    brucemuir's Avatar
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    Nikkormats are under appreciated gems in my book.
    Great little utilitarian camera.

  7. #7
    rthomas's Avatar
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    I'd say $50 or so for the lens; according to this chart it is a multi-coated version, one of the later non-AI lenses. If I didn't already have a small pile of normal and macro lenses in various mounts, I'd offer you something for it myself.
    “For me, the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity.”
    ― Henri Cartier-Bresson

  8. #8

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    That's a great lens...about as sharp as they come. The camera & lens aren't worth a lot, but they are great performers. Run some Tri-X thru them and have fun.

  9. #9
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    I have used that version of the 55/3.5 Macro. It's one of Nikon's classics. Very fine results. My only real criticism is the 6 blade diaphragm produces hexagon-shaped out-of-focus highlights when stopped down-which can be distracting in the final image. But that was common in macros of the time. My EBC Fujinon 55/3.5 and Pentax K-mount 50/4 macros have a 5-blade diaphragm- about equally as distracting.
    Also it's not multicoated, which is usually not perceptible.
    Last edited by lxdude; 04-15-2013 at 12:41 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
    When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.

  10. #10
    Ricardo Miranda's Avatar
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    Also it's not multicoated, which is usually not perceptible.
    Your version might not be, but the one that the OP is enquiring about is. The "C" in the lens name denotes multi-coating. You can see the different versions on the chart mentioned above by rthomas.
    My cameras:
    Nikon F4, F4S, F401S, F50, F55, F60, 2xF601, F65, 3xF75, F801, 2x F801S, F80, F90, 4xF90X, EL2, FE, FM, 2xFG, FG-20, 3xEM

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