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  1. #1

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    Nikon FM3A v. F100

    I'm getting ready to sell my last Canon SLR and 50/1.4, as I have a Nikon dSLR and a couple of their AF lenses (20/2.8,50/1.8) and a flash. Much better to have one system's equipment rather than the lonely 35mm body.

    I had planned on buying an FM3A as I prefer to focus manually, but I've read that it's not ideal for glasses wearers. I could use cheap Nikon diopters, but it's a bit of a pain to switch back and forth, and I'm nearsighted enough right now that composing without glasses is difficult. (Someday I'll be brave enough to go in for a LASIK consultation)

    Which led me to the F100, actually a little cheaper from KEH used, which would match with my AF lenses and has the high-eyepoint feature for glasses wearers. I'm okay with that, but unsure how functional it is for manual focusing.

    So I guess the prime questions here are to the FM3a's usability with glasses, and the usability of the F100 with MF lenses. Any help would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Rombo's Avatar
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    I wear glasses, and I have no major problems with my FM3a.
    Well, sometimes is a little pain to focus and compose, but such things hapens also on my 501 CM.
    I hope that You will buy one of 'definetly last' manual cameras from Nikon.

  3. #3
    DeanC's Avatar
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    The F100 works fine with manual lenses. You won't get aperture information in the viewfinder because there's no CPU in the lens to communicate that info back, but the F100 couples with AI lenses just fine, so you will get metering. The focus indicator in the viewfinder also works so you get that double check of your focusing.

  4. #4
    Robert Kerwin's Avatar
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    With the F100 you'll lose the microprism/split-prism focusing aids found in most screens for MF Nikon bodies. But you can use the F100's autofocus assist if you desire.

    You didn't say if you would be using MF lenses or your existing AF lenses. If you're using AF lenses and focusing manually, you'll still have all the metering and exposure modes of the F100. With older MF lenses, you lose some of the F100's features such as matrix metering and shutter-priority and program exposure modes.

    I also have a Nikon FA, which has a similar eye relief to the FM3a. I can use it with glasses, but I need to move my eye around to see the whole viewfinder. I found I've really gotten spoiled with the F100's eye-relief.

    - Robert
    "Photograph more, worry less"

  5. #5
    Will S's Avatar
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    The F100 has a switch on the left (when you are holding it) that lets you change between manual focus and auto focus. You would just need to make sure that your MF lenses will mount to it and meter. I use a AF micro lens I have in manual focus mode all of the time.

    Maybe see http://www.bythom.com/f100.htm for some ideas.

    Best,

    Will
    "I am an anarchist." - HCB
    "I wanna be anarchist." - JR

  6. #6

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    From what you have said, I would suggest the f4s. It's heavy, but it can be sized down to a minimum, auto focus if you need it, and it can lock up the mirror. What's nice with the F4s is the simplicity of seeing all of the camera settings from the top of the camera, and there is an eye diopter adjustment.

    I have a hard time connecting with the F100 which is not built as well as the older Nikons. As you know there is an eye diopter, but it's one of the first things that fall of the camera. I have 3 F100s and they are all missing little parts. BUT, I am hard on equipment, VERY HARD. With that said, the F4s keeps going. I dropped in the water one time (for about 20 seconds), quit working for about a week until it dried out, been ran over by a horse (more than once)......and it keeps going.

    But since you were not asking about the F4s, I would choose the F3 -- hands down.

    Good luck
    Shane
    www.shaneknight.com

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by celluloidpropaganda
    ... but unsure how functional it is for manual focusing.

    So I guess the prime questions here are to the FM3a's usability with glasses, and the usability of the F100 with MF lenses. Any help would be appreciated.
    Go the F100. Shane must be extraordinarily hard on his equipment, imo the camera is extremely well built. I've had nothing but joy from mine from start to finish. (unfortunately it must move on now to fund a lrg format upgrade - something I truely regret). I would liken knocking the diopter knob off, to knocking the wing mirror off a car - it can be done but not with normal use.
    The nikon lenses will allow manual or auto focus with the flick of a switch, and prof lenses allow fine tuning manually in auto mode (though I never used this). The predictive/intelligent focussing is brilliant for sports or wildlife. But the real 'coup de grace' is the metering - simply unsurpassed.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Kerwin
    With the F100 you'll lose the microprism/split-prism focusing aids found in most screens for MF Nikon bodies. But you can use the F100's autofocus assist if you desire.
    As F100 takes changable screens he could easily change that and get a different one. Either from Nikon or Beattie.

  9. #9
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    I have owned various Nikons in the past, the F3HP I once had did allow me to view the whole frame easily, with the new FM3a I bought last week you cannot QUITE see the whole frame at the same time but it really isn't a problem.

    For what it's worth, I would favor the FM3a - it's the last of a classic line, and it finally has an AE (aperture-priority) program that earlier manual-focus models didn't have. Furthermore, I never buy second-hand SLRs - if I do this (even apparently totally clean examples), I seem to get one which has reached the point where vibration levels have risen and are ruining sharpness (this happened to me with an FM and an F3HP, I then got a near-mint FM2n which was fine but whose match-needle metering I found tedious).

  10. #10

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    I have a F100 also and it is built extremely well. I would get either a F5 or F100 as you can get a second hand one very cheap these days. The F5 is better with glasses.

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