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  1. #11
    CGW
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    Quote Originally Posted by erikg View Post
    It's a pro tool if a pro uses it? I don't think that's a good test. FM3A is a really nice camera and certainly very capable, but in terms of pro features and pro-level construction it fell short of the top of the Nikon line when it was released. Doesn't mean a lot in practical terms for most shooters.
    Who cares? The FM2N saw lots of action as a bomb-proof, battery-independent back-up camera to the F3 system in the 80s. It delivered the goods. All the fuss about
    "pro features and pro-level construction" meant more to house-bound amateurs than it did to pros who used, say, an FM2n as a dependable mechanical back-up camera.
    It's a bit of a conceit.

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by agfarapid View Post
    It probably falls into that in between class known as "pro sumer". It is certainly professional grade in construction and build quality. It takes the MD12 motor drive which was pretty fast for that time period as well as the full range of Nikor lenses. The Nikon FM10, for example, would definitely fall into the consumer category. It shipped with the series "E" 35-70 mid range zoom and it's build quality, while not the most robust, was certainly adequate for it's market--the occasional shooter.
    I don't want to say which is pro and which is not. Only that the FM3a, introduced around 2000, with the MD-12 it's very slow for its time. The F5 can do 8fps, The F100 5fps. Even the N80 is capable of about the same framing rate as the FM3a.

  3. #13

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    The difference between Pro and Amateur cameras often comes down to shutter mean actuations to failure design and resistance to handling, temp extremes or other factors.
    The FM3A is not a Pro designed camera as also evidenced by its use of the MD-12 Motor which had its start with the original Nikon FM, I believe.
    Now its a fine Motor but certainly not designed for very heavy use. I have 3 and two have experienced various problems over the years. I also have an FM3A, a fine camera but I purchased it for the hybrid shutter, which I thought was clever engineering and a logical progression to my Nikon FM2.-Dick

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by CGW View Post
    Who cares? The FM2N saw lots of action as a bomb-proof, battery-independent back-up camera to the F3 system in the 80s. It delivered the goods. All the fuss about
    "pro features and pro-level construction" meant more to house-bound amateurs than it did to pros who used, say, an FM2n as a dependable mechanical back-up camera.
    It's a bit of a conceit.
    You have to have a Nikon F or F2 fall down a mountain; and then keep taking pictures to know the difference
    " A loving and caring heart is the beginning of all knowledge " ~ Thomas Carlyle ~

  5. #15
    CGW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pumalite View Post
    You have to have a Nikon F or F2 fall down a mountain; and then keep taking pictures to know the difference
    After the fall, I doubt you'd be in a fit state to know. Silly.

  6. #16
    Pumalite's Avatar
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    Not silly. Facts.
    " A loving and caring heart is the beginning of all knowledge " ~ Thomas Carlyle ~

  7. #17
    CGW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pumalite View Post
    Not silly. Facts.
    Really useful. Will keep it in mind next time I want to fling my old F off a mountain...

  8. #18
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    The FM3a is a really nice camera (would love to get one myself at some point) that falls into the Prosumer category. Truthfully I think Nikon aimed this camera at advanced amateurs who love manual focus cameras, if Pro used this as a back up body, so much the better.
    "Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around once and a while, you might just miss it."
    Ferris Bueller

  9. #19
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    My first 35mm SLR, a Miranda Sensorex, had all the “professional” features I needed. However, due to it breaking three times within two years, I formed my current opinion as to the difference between an amateur and a professional camera.

    To me, the main difference is that the professional camera is built for heavy usage. It is built to withstand multiple exposures on a daily basis. It is built to perform flawlessly even though it may be banged around. Another difference is that the professional camera is usually part of a system that allows the user to reconfigure the camera, e.g. change the lens, viewfinder, view screen, and power source in order to meet the specific requirements of the assignment. A professional camera also tends to be expensive but is well worth it to those who make their living taking photos.

    I have never owned or used the Nikon FM3a. I have owned and used the Nikon F, F2, F3, and F4. However, when I needed another body, I considered buying a new FM3a because based on its specifications and user feedback, I determined that the FM3a was very reliable, accepted high-quality optics, and could withstand environmental extremes. Therefore, I classified the FM3a as a professional camera.

    By the way, the only reason I did not buy one was because I discovered that the digital revolution had caused used film camera prices to drop to such a low level that I could buy another F4 for less than a new FM3a.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pumalite View Post
    You have to have a Nikon F or F2 fall down a mountain; and then keep taking pictures to know the difference
    My FM really did take a tumble down a mountain in an unpadded rucksack pocket.
    It still has a small piece of Cordura embedded in a dent on the prism.
    (It goes without saying that it kept working).

    That said, I find the attachment to the term "Pro" a bit silly.
    I also rather have cameras which work wonderfully at taking pictures rather than substituting hammers...
    M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa

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