I have never owned an FE2 but have seen some used at prettty decent prices recently. Can the FE2 be used without a battery like its FM2 counterpart? Does anyone have any comments to share about their experiences with the FE2?
It is battery dependent, except for the synch speed (1/250). Other than that, it handles nicely, has a good viewfinder and reliable metering, can take a fast motordrive, and has a wide array of focusing screens. Mine has become my primary SLR, ahead of a Nikkormat Ftn, FG, EM, and a pair of FM10s. I bought mine old and battered and it has held up well, even after the strap broke and it fell 3 feet onto concrete, which slightly bent the motor drive door, but didn't do any damage requiring tools to fix.
My all time favorite 35mm camera. The best of the best just before the black blobs took over. The problem with an FE-2 is that even a mint one is approaching 20 years old now. 20 year old electronics makes me nervous. I have one at home that still works perfectly but the swing needle no longer works. As long as I trust the camera it picks a good exposure but it's frustrating not knowing what your camera is thinking any more.
I'll agree with the other posters that it's a great camera. It was my main 35mm SLR for several years, until my eyesight slipped to the point that I went to an F100 (my new favorite). The FE2 is still my backup for the F100. The MD4 motordrive is excellent, but I just wish it didn't take 8 aa batteries. That said, they last a long time. I highly recommend the camera.
Are you sure that your FE2 uses an MD4 motor? I'm sure that's a typo. Both of mine work splendidly with the MD-12, but the 8 AA batteries keep them running for more than 30 rolls of 36-exposure film. I doubt it would be that reliable for so long with only 4 AA batts. The motor helps give the rig a very substantial grip, making it more solid and easier to focus when using a zoom, such as the fine 35-105 AIS or the 35-70 constant f3.5.
Originally Posted by eddym
For me, it's a tossup as to whether I prefer the FE2 or the slightly more electronically advanced FA with its version of matrix metering. The nice finger grip of the FA makes it a better choice when its MD-15 or MD-12 drive is not attached to save weight, but the drive really helps the FE2 ergonomically.
I also have an MD-11 motor drive that fits the FE2, but I have been cautioned against using it. It is kept solely for my FE. I understand that the MD-12 had some sort of electronic update that makes it better for the FE2, and that the MD-11 can cause a problem. I am unsure what that might be.
Of course, I use a lot of zooms, so that's why I like the MD-12 drive on the FE2. Occasionally I don't miss the weight of the drive when I'm armed with the FE2 and just a single-focal-length lens such as the 35mm F2 AIS, 28mm F2.8 AIS or the 24mm F2.8 AIS. It then makes a nice lightweight package.
Note also that the AIS capability of Nikon glass is absolutely unnecessary for the FE2. The FA can actually use the added functions of shutter-priority or full-program mode, while the FE2 cannot.
Neither of my FE2 cameras has ever given me a moment's problem and, other than a very occasional, light cleaning and one replacement of the light seals since they were new, I have only changed button cells every few years and have never been disappointed.
They'll be working fine long after I'm not.
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The MD-4 is for the F3.
You can safely use the MD-11 on the FE2, but if you forget to turn off the motor drive, you will kill the battery in the camera.
The FE2 is a great camera. It is esentially an FM3a except that the shutter won't work without a battery (except at 1/250 and B). It's a terrific value and a great manual-focus camera.
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?
I am curious about its power source when used with an MD12. Is it like the F3 that when the MD4 motor drive is used it then uses the power from the MD4 instead of the tiny batteries? In other words, if I remove the small button batteries from the FE2, will I be able to power it entirely with the MD12?
Originally Posted by DBP
No, the MD12 does NOT power the FE2. Or the FA. It merely winds the film. The MD15, however, which fits ONLY the FA, will wind the film AND power the camera, making the button cells unneccesary.
Originally Posted by snegron
One thing I used to check before recommending an FE or FE-2 to a customer was whether the user was left or right eyed. The advance lever has to be angled out pretty far from the body to turn on the meter, which poked many left-eyed users in the right eye. This can be overcome with a motor winder attached, which makes the meter operate with the advance lever folded in over the body.
The local authorized Nikon repair person in Minneapolis told me (in 1983) that he never saw the 1/4000 second shutter speed test faster than 1/2500 second. This was still in about the first year or two of production, and I didn't get a chance to ask if that was a limit of his testing equipment (I'd presume he'd know better than to use inadequate test equipment), nor do I know if later production got a truer 1/4000. In any case, don't be too surprised if you get nearly an extra stop of exposure at 1/4000.
We also had issues with the shutters in a number of first year production FE-2 and FM-2. The shutter blades would hang on one side and end up looking like a wrecked venetian blind. Nikon refused warranty repair on several of these sold out of the shop I worked in (and gave a number of concoted and changing reasons for refusing warranty repair), but I later production seems to have worked out the problem with the new high speed shutter design. Any cameras with this particular fault should be long dead and gone.
Otherwise, it's a solid, reliable camera. My wife runs into one of my customers at professional meetings every couple of years, and his FE-2 is still going strong.
I bought an old beat up Fe2 last year I think. Though it has taken some punishment its still going strong I have the MD12 attached to it and that helps controling long lenses as my 180mm AIS. I like the camera with its mirror prerelease and multiexposure capablity which my F90X lacks. It even controls the SB28 flash TTL and that really works.
The finder in the F90X is better though.
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