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  1. #1

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    Was the Nikon FM3A a professional camera or a consumer model?

    I heard 2 people arguing about this subject at the camera store. I thought it was a pro model, but what is your opinion. I did not say anything because I was not sure.
    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    agfarapid's Avatar
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    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.

  3. #3
    Newt_on_Swings's Avatar
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    Yea Id say prosumer too. the nikon F5/6 was the pro model at that time this was out. The F3 probably would be the last pro manual focus body.

  4. #4

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    the FM3a is a really really good camera

  5. #5
    eSPhotos's Avatar
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    It wasn't meant to be a pro camera.
    I don't think many pros would prefer MF camera for his/her work in the 21st centry.
    It is a good camera nontheless.

  6. #6
    Rol_Lei Nut's Avatar
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    If a "Pro" camera is defined as having the highest possible durability, reliability and being able to take the most advanced accessories, then no, it wasn't.

    The FM3a probably has a shutter life of "only" about 100,000 actuations compared to about 250,000 for the "F" models. This can be important if you shoot several rolls of film a day, day in and day out.

    Its absolute reliability was probably lower than the "F" models. Having to re-stage a wedding to recover lost shots probably wouldn't help a photographer's career.

    It wouldn't take "state of the art" accessories such as 5-6 FPS motors and 250 exposure backs, which, *if* you need them, then you really need them.

    So not "pro", but still a very, very nice camera.

    P.S. My favorite cameras and the ones I consider best also aren't "pro" cameras by the above definition.
    M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa

  7. #7
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    The FM series were often used by professionals because they were smaller and lighter than the F series, they'd now be termed Prosumer I guess.

    Where 35mm was the only format used then the F series was the better choice, but many professionlas shot mainly RF and LF with only a small amount of 35mm, and the FM's were ideal, specialist Nikon lenses were (still are) easy to hire if needed. FM's were alo used as back up cameras becuase of there much lower cost new.

    Ian

  8. #8

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    A pro decides what is a pro tool for the job. Steve McCurry used an FM2 for the Afghan Girl photo for National Geographics and he's as pro as a photographer gets thereby making the FM2 a pro tool. The FM3A is a continuation of the FM2 and would therefore also be a pro camera.

  9. #9
    CGW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Les Sarile View Post
    A pro decides what is a pro tool for the job. Steve McCurry used an FM2 for the Afghan Girl photo for National Geographics and he's as pro as a photographer gets thereby making the FM2 a pro tool. The FM3A is a continuation of the FM2 and would therefore also be a pro camera.
    Agree. N90s/F90x was used professionally by many during the mid/late 90s as a lightweight(and faster)alternative to the ponderous F4.

  10. #10
    erikg's Avatar
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    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.

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