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  1. #1
    snegron's Avatar
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    Nikon FA Opinions?

    Curious to know user opinions on the Nikon FA. How is the build quility, reliability? How does the 5 segment metering compare to the metering found on newer Nikon film bodies? How is the battery life? Will the shutter operate without a battery? Are there any special or annoying quirks you have discovered after using it for awhile? Anyone care to share their experiences with the FA?

  2. #2

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    Mine has been pretty good to me. I haven't owned it long enough to have a real opinion on reliability, but it went with me to Europe a couple years back with no trouble. The 5 segment metering is adequate but lacks a lot of vertical patterns, so you may want to be careful if you do that a lot. I haven't had any problems with battery life, with or without the MD-15 (which overrides the camera's battery). The shutter has one manual speed, 1/250th if memory serves... yup, also B. The main annoyances I've had is that the stop down lever and self timer are awkward to reach with the MD-15 attached, there's no AE-lock, and I hate manual exposure on Nikons with LCD +/- indicators. In practice I only really notice the last one (mostly when using my 35 PC) and it's not that big a deal, and I appreciate the autoexposure modes. I also have a slightly easier time seeing the LCD with my glasses on than I do on my F3HP. A good little camera.

  3. #3
    BradS's Avatar
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    I bought mine used to take with me on a big trip to Ireland. I kept B&W film in one body and color in the other. After about three rolls through the FA, I simply fell in love. I left the other body (an FM3A!) in the bag except for the rare sunrise (needed color).

    I can't say enough good about the FA. I shoot mainly in aperature priority auto or manual exposure and have never had the thing screw up an auto exposure - even with a speed light. I've run it without battery (1/250 second and B are all you get). I've dropped it, used it in all weather conditions and it just keeps going. Never a problem. Just what you'd expect from a Nikon.

    The FA has even made me wonder why I ever sprung for a new FM3a (only the second new 35mm SLR I've ever purchased). And, the FA has certainly relagated teh FM3A to un-used status.

    If I had to pick a nit, I'd have to agree that I wish it had a match needle metering display instead of the in view finder +/- in the LCD.

    Incidently, I think Phil Greenspun has called the FA the best Nikon ever (but, that was a few years ago).

  4. #4
    Marc Akemann's Avatar
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    Nikon FA Opinions?

    I've been using a Nikon FA since 1995 and it may be my favorite Nikon. I actually have two black models with MD-15 motor drives attached. I have used them quite frequently over the years, shooting a wide variety of subjects,...even weddings for a couple of years. One of my favorite features with the FA is the ability to use mirror lock up (activated by use of the self-timer) in aperture priority mode. Not many cameras can utilize stepless shutter speeds with the mirror locked up, and I find this feature useful for when I shoot certain things like macro work or landscapes. I agree with gchpaco, in that using the FA in Manual mode is not as enjoyable as, say, a match-needle camera, but other than that, I have no complaints. I've used both of my FA bodies in sub-freezing weather, extreme heat, rain, snow, etc. They're tough, accurate tools and I hope I can use them for many, many years to come. -Marc

  5. #5

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    I don't own one, but my camera repiar guy, tells me to stay away from them. Not a bad rig, but when the main electronics board dies (and they do), that it's very expensive to fix, if, you can find the parts. I find my FE, FE-2, N90s and F100, to be very reliable.

    Kiron Kid

  6. #6
    snegron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiron Kid View Post
    I don't own one, but my camera repiar guy, tells me to stay away from them. Not a bad rig, but when the main electronics board dies (and they do), that it's very expensive to fix, if, you can find the parts. I find my FE, FE-2, N90s and F100, to be very reliable.

    Kiron Kid

    I tend to hear that alot from repair technicians regarding any type of camera with electronics. I wonder how many times do they really encounter a camera that malfunctioned due to faulty electronics vs. one that has been soaked in water and malfunctioned due to user neglect.

    I forgot to ask, are the top/bottom plates of the FA made of metal or plastic?

  7. #7
    Snapshot's Avatar
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    I own this camera and I think it's really nice to use. I has a lot of nice features, including a virtual mirror lockup when you use the timer. However, the camera has the feel of a high-end consumer model than a professional feel like the F3.
    "The secret to life is to keep your mind full and your bowels empty. Unfortunately, the converse is true for most people."

  8. #8
    Marc Akemann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snegron View Post
    I tend to hear that alot from repair technicians regarding any type of camera with electronics. I wonder how many times do they really encounter a camera that malfunctioned due to faulty electronics vs. one that has been soaked in water and malfunctioned due to user neglect.

    I forgot to ask, are the top/bottom plates of the FA made of metal or plastic?
    The top is plastic and the bottom is metal.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by FilmSprocket View Post
    The top is plastic and the bottom is metal.
    How odd. I was about to say the brassing on my top plate speaks to the contrary, but I looked at the brassing patterns again and apparently there's a thin plate of metal or something and it looks like some sort of very hard plastic underneath.

  10. #10
    BradS's Avatar
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    Yeah, I don't know about the top plate being plastic...mine's got a pretty nice dent in it that suggests otherwise. Maybe production switched at somepoint from metal to plastic?

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