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  1. #21

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    Wayne, not sure if you've already made your decision, but thought I'd add a point or two.

    I think the FE is one of the most underrated cameras out there. It's light but not flimsy, I think the controls are laid out perfectly, and it fits perfectly in my hands (maybe not everyone's). Personally, I like the needle and scale display in the viewfinder. I also have an FE2, and it has all the same benefits, but one thing that I prefer on the FE is that it does not have the auto shut-off for the meter. In the Nikons after the FE, the meter shuts off after about 10 seconds. I find this feature annoying, especially if you're taking your time setting up a shot, or following some action though the viewfinder. The meter often shuts off at an inconvenient time, and it's one more thing to think about. With the FE, the meter stays on as long as you have the film advance lever pulled out. Even without the auto shut-off, batteries seem to last me a couple of years or more in this camera.

    But if you want TTL and a higher synch speed than that of the FE (1/125), one of the later cameras might be a better choice. If you like the needle and scale viewfinder display, I think that'll limit you to the FE2 or FM3A. The FM3A is nice, but it's still quite pricey compared to a used FE or FE2. If you don't mind LCD's/LED's, then the F3HP is a nice choice, and it's coming down in price. If you wear glasses, the HP viewfinder is great (it's big and allows you to see the whole frame, even with glasses on). The only thing I don't like is the LCD display with +/- reading, but I guess that's just a matter of what you're used to.

    Good luck,
    Dale
    Last edited by images39; 12-27-2005 at 03:30 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by images39
    Wayne, not sure if you've already made your decision, but thought I'd add a point or two.

    I think the FE is one of the most underrated cameras out there. It's light but not flimsy, I think the controls are laid out perfectly, and it fits perfectly in my hands (maybe not everyone's). Personally, I like the needle and scale design in the viewfinder. I also have an FE2, and it has all the same benefits, but one thing that I prefer on the FE is that it does not have the auto shut-off for the meter. In the Nikons after the FE, the meter shuts off after about 10 seconds. I find this feature annoying, especially if you're taking your time setting up a shot, or following some action though the viewfinder. The meter often shuts off at an inconvenient time, and it's one more thing to think about. With the FE, the meter stays on as long as you have the film advance lever pulled out. Even without the auto shut-off, batteries seem to last me a couple of years or more in this camera.

    But if you want TTL and a higher synch speed than that of the FE (1/125), one of the later cameras might be a better choice. If you like the needle and scale viewfinder display, I think that'll limit you to the FE2 or FM3A. The FM3A is nice, but it's still quite pricey compared to a used FE or FE2. If you don't mind LCD's/LED's, then the F3HP is a nice choice, and it's coming down in price. If you wear glasses, the HP viewfinder is great (it's big and allows you to see the whole frame, even with glasses on). The only think I don't like is the LCD display with +/- reading, but I guess that's just a matter of what you're used to.

    Good luck,
    Dale
    Actually I have not moved on my decision yet, partly due to the holidays and somewhat to indecision. My whole motive is be firmly in one camp and not divided between newer Nikon and an older Canon system which I also own.

    My preference is for needle displays, and I can get around the synch speed. Battery turnoff is also always a pain to me. But what is the battery needs of the FE, and what are the weak points of the camera mechanical wise?

  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by waynecrider
    Actually I have not moved on my decision yet, partly due to the holidays and somewhat to indecision. My whole motive is be firmly in one camp and not divided between newer Nikon and an older Canon system which I also own.

    My preference is for needle displays, and I can get around the synch speed. Battery turnoff is also always a pain to me. But what is the battery needs of the FE, and what are the weak points of the camera mechanical wise?
    Wayne,

    The FE uses a pair of the ever-common and cheap MS76 or LR44 battery. Power consumption is very low. I measure battery life in years rather than hours. As far as mechanical weak points, I've not had problems, but there is one component that can fail/crack over time. It's called the FRE resistor, it's underneath the ISO dial. There aren't any replacements available new, so if it fails you have to salvage one from another FE body.

    Dale

  4. #24

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    I've just received a used Nikon FM body with a 105mm f2.5 non Ai lens that I auctioned off for about 170 USD. But the lens is so heavy and the camera balance is pretty awful. So, I might just get a 50mm f1.8 pancake lens for the body and save the 105mm until I get a Nikkormat or something that weighs for the good balance.

    Meanwhile as a alternative lens, I've been thinking about a Cosina's Ultron 40mm F2 pancake lens, which is not really cheap (at least 250 USD) since it's new in the market. Has anyone had any experience with this lens? I want to hear some opinions about this product, but there are very few reviews available online. They are mostly saying that it's not a great lens, a bit too heavy to be a pancake lens, and the bokeh is harsh because of its aspherical design, etc.

  5. #25
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    Unless you really want a 40mm lens, I can't imagine that the Ultron would be worth the money. For less than $250, you could find a used 35mm and a used 50mm, both top notch Nikkors in excellent condition. If you stick with pre-Ai lenses, this is easy to do.

    KEH has a Nikkor 35mm f/2 pre-Ai lens in Excellent condition for $115...this is the version just before Ai lenses came out, so it has the 52mm filter thread and is multicoated. In my experience, KEH's Excellent is close to what most people consider mint. (One of the images in the 2006 Nikon calendar was shot with an F2 and a Nikkor 35mm f/2 lens...it really is a great lens.)

    If you want a normal lens, don't discount the Nikkor 50mm f/2 lens. I have a number of Nikkor 50mm lenses, and the f/2 is actually my favorite. If I needed the speed of a 1.4 I might think otherwise, but I find the images from the f/2 lens to be more pleasing than those from the other Nikkor 50mm lenses. You can get the 50mm f/2 in late pre-Ai (52mm threads, multicoated) from KEH for $65. If you want speed, the 50mm f/1.4 late pre-Ai Nikkor will set you back $79.

    If you want a 40mm lens, then I think the Ultron is your only choice in a Nikon F mount. But if you can live with a 35mm lens, a 50mm lens, or both, then there are a number of very highly regarded Nikkor lenses at those lengths. Plus you'll pay less than you would for the Ultron.

    Best of luck.
    Dave
    Film is cheap. Opportunities are priceless.

  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mongo
    If you want a 40mm lens, then I think the Ultron is your only choice in a Nikon F mount. But if you can live with a 35mm lens, a 50mm lens, or both, then there are a number of very highly regarded Nikkor lenses at those lengths. Plus you'll pay less than you would for the Ultron.
    Dave, thanks for your comment and the info. You're right that it's almost ridiculous to think to pay 250 USD for a new lens that doesn't get good reviews when you can buy a few good quality items for less. However, I don't mind paying for that as long as the lens is substantially good, meaning more than just being good.

    Just to be clear, I never pay anything for the hype of something that's new or a brand name because I shoot photos in the environment in all kinds of condition.

    It's just that the FM is compact and solid, so instead of carrying around a few different lenses all the time, I thought about choosing one type for the camera. Ideally this combination would serve me as a memo camera perfectly in the same way digital P&Ss for a lot of people in general. There is pretty much no chance for me to go for a digital still camera since all I care about is B&W photos/prints.

    Generally speaking, I would've chosen a 35mm lens, but I didn't know that Nikon's 35mm Ai or AiS lenses are still pretty pricy and not nearly as small as other lenses to begin with. So for that reason, a 50mm F1.8 pancake would be a choice, though it's 50mm.

    Years ago, on a FM body I used to have a non Ai 35mm F2, which I no longer own, which is probably the same type as the one you mentioned from KEH. I was pretty happy with the results that lens produced. I've also tasted a non-Ai 50mm F2 in the past and enjoyed it very much, and I'm going back to that at some point since it's been sold so cheap lately. I just can't bear to watch good pieces of older equipment being thrown away due to the digital trend.

    So, in a way I'm just wondering how other people manage to have their Nikon bodies with lenses being compact and handy. The point is, no P&S or rangefinder cameras for this purpose, but Nikon SLRs because they are right now real hot items for the high quality but the low cost.

    And before I head out to the camera store or order online for that expensive lens, I just need someone to slap me in the face a couple of times and wake me up a little. Thank you for doing that.

  7. #27
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    Sorry...no slap intended! I just wanted to let you know what was out there, and didn't realize you had a lot of knowledge about Nikkor lenses. I feel like I was preaching to the choir.

    One other thought that came to me last night (sorry I haven't been online since I wrote my previous message)...there's always the Nikkor 45mm lens in either the old "guide number" configuration or the newer "chipped" version. That'd make a pocketable configuration with the FM for about the price of the Ultron...actually a much smaller package. I imagine a decent guide number 45mm Nikkor would probably set you back about the same amount as the Ultron.

    I admit that I never bought a lens for the FE2 with any thought about the size of the lens. I use the FE2 when my primary purpose is to photograph with 35mm, so I've not been bothered by the bulk of the lenses. I've been expanding my set of lenses lately, given the bargain prices on old manual focus glass. I'm stunned at just how inexpensive Nikkor lenses have become, although I expect that the release of the D200 will cause a jump in the price of Ai lenses.

    For pocketable, memo-style photography I tend to grab a Contax G1. It's a nice small camera that can capture images with amazing quality...nowhere near as flexible as an SLR but that's why I have the Nikon.

    Best of luck.
    Dave
    Film is cheap. Opportunities are priceless.

  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mongo
    Sorry...no slap intended!
    I know! I was just being playful with words. But seriously thank you for your thoughts for my sanity check.

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