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  1. #1

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    Nikon FE2 vs FM2

    Ever since I first came across a Canon AE-1P in a vintage store about a year back I've been in love with the idea of manual focus SLR cameras - they look great, they're nice to hold, they have all the features you really need and nothing more, and if you, for some strange reason would happen to be in the middle of Africa or some other remote location with nothing but a bag of film rolls you can shoot pictures for a year without even changing any battery (which isn't really a good reason since I'm a cowardly city slicker, but being a guy and all, we still love those hypothetical reasons).

    Being a digital Nikon user with a fair share of Nikkor lenses I've since then (and even before that) lusted for the FM2, among several reasons being that so many great photographers seem to like to be portrayed with this particular camera, and stories of how it used to be a kind of a press photographers favourite in the eighties and nineties.

    Now I'm off to spend the little money I have left (I'm a poor university student) on an FE2, first thinking - at least it's close, but after a bit of reading, this particular model seems even slightly better, as well as it also looks a bit like a classical Nikon in much the same way.

    So I'm asking, is the FE2 really slightly better? How are these two cameras, and is there any particular reason why the FM2 seems like such a historically important camera?

    (I'm sure this question has been asked once or twice before, but it wasn't all that easy to find just by doing a simple search so I thought why not make it a new thread anyway.)

  2. #2
    CGW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Top-Cat View Post
    Ever since I first came across a Canon AE-1P in a vintage store about a year back I've been in love with the idea of manual focus SLR cameras - they look great, they're nice to hold, they have all the features you really need and nothing more, and if you, for some strange reason would happen to be in the middle of Africa or some other remote location with nothing but a bag of film rolls you can shoot pictures for a year without even changing any battery (which isn't really a good reason since I'm a cowardly city slicker, but being a guy and all, we still love those hypothetical reasons).

    Being a digital Nikon user with a fair share of Nikkor lenses I've since then (and even before that) lusted for the FM2, among several reasons being that so many great photographers seem to like to be portrayed with this particular camera, and stories of how it used to be a kind of a press photographers favourite in the eighties and nineties.

    Now I'm off to spend the little money I have left (I'm a poor university student) on an FE2, first thinking - at least it's close, but after a bit of reading, this particular model seems even slightly better, as well as it also looks a bit like a classical Nikon in much the same way.

    So I'm asking, is the FE2 really slightly better? How are these two cameras, and is there any particular reason why the FM2 seems like such a historically important camera?

    (I'm sure this question has been asked once or twice before, but it wasn't all that easy to find just by doing a simple search so I thought why not make it a new thread anyway.)
    All you need to know about Nikon film SLRs is on this encyclopedic site:

    http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography...ries/index.htm

    And here:

    http://www.nikonlinks.com/

    FYI, the 80s PJ camera was the Nikon F3HP+MD4 motor drive. The FM2 just doesn't quite cut it if you're into retro fashion statements. Not in the same league, not even close.

  3. #3

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    Yes, I've read a few articles there, I'm just kind of curious as to your experiences.

  4. #4

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    The FM2 was the classic press photographers backup camera as it runs without batteries.
    Steve.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by perkeleellinen View Post
    The FM2 was the classic press photographers backup camera as it runs without batteries.
    But can't most of the manual focus cameras do just the same?

  6. #6

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    The FM2 has a mechanical shutter, the batteries only run the light meter. If the batteries go dead, you can still shoot all day long. The FE2 has an electronic shutter. It will only work with batteries, except for one mechanical speed 1/90. And of course, the FE2 has an AE mode, nice if you don't feel like setting the exposure yourself.

    For me, I sold my FE and kept the FM.

  7. #7
    CGW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Top-Cat View Post
    Yes, I've read a few articles there, I'm just kind of curious as to your experiences.
    What's to say, the FM/FE variants are sweet little compact cameras that sold strongly for years. For me, the only real advantage of the the FM2/n is the LED meter readout that's way easier to read in low/no light than the FE(2) match needle.
    Survivalist enthusiasms aside, the FM2/n mechanical thing is a bit oversold since, while operational, it's still meterless sans battery. Besides, the batteries are long-lived in all these cameras and not hard to get. Still, if you want the best MF camera Nikon made, get an F3(HP)--or an F4...

  8. #8
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    The FM2 will run without batteries, that is true, but if you keep a pair of spare batteries in your bag that will not really be an issue.
    The FE2 is a very good camera with size and layout the same as FM2. In my opinion you can use either one.

    In some instances with quickly changing light (i.e rock concerts) the FE2 will be a better choice, but if that is the case one of the models with matrix metering will be an even better choice.
    FM2 or FE2, either one is a good camera.

  9. #9
    Colin Corneau's Avatar
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    That's the difference - full manual vs. an aperture priority.

    Frankly the FM/FM2 is more durable and has a meter in it, also, if that's important to you. I had one as a backup camera during the film days at a daily newspaper, and still use it for my own stuff today.
    "Never criticize someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes. That way, you're a mile away and you've got their shoes."

    MY BLOG - www.reservedatalltimes.com
    YOU SHOULD LOOK AT THIS SITE - www.colincorneau.com
    INSTAGRAM: colincorneau

  10. #10

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    My first real camera was an FM2. LOVED that camera. It is what a camera is supposed to feel like. It was stolen. To make a long story short, I replaced it with an FM10 (what I could afford at the time) years later picked up an FM2n off ebay. Have since added a FE and FE2 (plus a bunch more, they are so cheap relatively speaking) The FM, FM2, FE, FE2 are all the same class and quality of build. They all look very similar. As others pointed out, the FM/FM2 are fully manual except the meter. I wouldn't worry about that though, the little batteries last for years, not a lot of drain.

    Out of all my cameras, film/digital/P&S/Rangefinder/Medium format/TLR, the FM2 is still the favorite and feels best. Guess it's just because that was where I started and all I used for years. I feel like I'm involved with the picture having to adjust the focus, set the focal length, adjust the aperture on the lens, dial in the shutter speed, then re-adjust and fine-tune focus and aperture before triggering the shutter.

    No reason you won't totally enjoy your FE2. Is it better? No. Different? A little bit. Sometimes the auto exposure is nice.

    Have fun.

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