Welcome to APUG and to the wonderful world of traditional photography.
The Nikon FE2 is a fantastic camera, provided you will be happy with manual focussing. It's relatively small and lightweight, but rugged and well built. It, and the closely related FM series (excluding the recent cheap plastic FE10 and FM10) have been the preferred cameras of many photographers who wanted to travel light but have a reliable camera. For example, Steve McCurry's iconic portrait "Afghan Girl" was taken with an FM2. The FE2 is essentially an FM2 with an electroniclly controlled shutter (hence the "E" in the name) to give it aperture priority automatic exposure. Jeff Widener's famous photo of a man standing in front of a line of Chinese tanks at Tiananmen Square was taken with an FE2 (from about half a mile away, which is why it's not competely sharp).
The F3P is a ruggedised "press" version of the F3, Nikon's top professional camera of the time. It's very capable, but heavier and more complex than the FE2. I also think it was optimised for the needs of press photographers, which may not suit you as well as a more general purpose camera like the FE2. As far as I know it does not have autofocus (The F3AF has autofocus, but the F3P is not compatible with the AF finder used in the F3AF). Personally I would pick the FE2 since it's smaller, lighter, almost as rugged and has everything one needs to take great photographs.
Both cameras taken Nikon F-mount lenses. Since they are manual focus cameras, you would be best off with manual focus AI or AI-S lenses. These are optically good, widely available, and not too expensive (for example, keh.com has a 50/1.8 in excellent condition for US$ 99 - ebay would probably be cheaper but is definitely more risky).
I must admit that I'm biased. I learned photography on a Nikon FM, and loved it. Of all the 35 mm SLRs in the world, the FE2 would be my second choice. (The later version, the FM3A, would be my first choice).
With respect to your other post about automatic film loading, note that the FM/FE does not have this. After loading as I described in the other thread, would would need to manually advance the film using the thumb winder until the frame counter shows you have reached frame 1. After cinishing the film, you would have to manually rewind it back into the cartridge before opening the camera back.
Last edited by andrew.roos; 05-06-2012 at 03:48 AM. Click to view previous post history.