Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Nikon Bodies I Haven't Owned


Nikon FE, Ilford HP5+, lens unrecorded but probably 55/3.5 Micro

The last post was about the Nikon bodies I've owned. Now I'm going to address the ones I haven't owned. I am restricting this post to manual focus bodies for the simple reason that I have no interest in AF bodies that I've not owned with the sole exception of the F6. 

Nikon F - The ur-Nikon. The original and still the most iconic Nikon SLR ever made. I'd love to shoot one, but given that plain prism F's are absolutely insane money and the Photomic heads are both huge and largely inoperative today this would be a large investment for not much beyond an interesting experience. If I get one, this would be a bonus body, ie I'd buy one with a work bonus as a reward.

Nikkormat FS - No meter, otherwise basically the same as the FTn that I've already owned. Kind of unique as it's the only Nikon body out there with no TTL metering capability (vs the F and F2 which can be configured either way).

Nikkormat FT - Averaging metering. Otherwise the same as the FTn which I've already owned.

Nikkormat FT2 - It's an FTn with a hotshoe and I rarely use flash.

Nikkormat FT3 - FT2 with AI coupling, would not mind owning this one at all as it's really a mix of old and new.

Nikkormat EL - Aperture priority AE and battery dependency on what's otherwise an FT2. Not really interesting.

Nikkormat ELW - EL with winder support, don't see myself ever buying one of these either.

Nikkormat EL2 - ELW with AI coupling and a better metering cell. Could be interesting. 

Nikon FG20 - Nikon's lightest 35mm SLR. Somewhere between a FG with no P mode and an EM with manual exposure. Could be fun and I'd totally pick it up if I found the right price or packaged with a lens I wanted.

Nikon F301/N2000 - First Nikon body with a built-in winder, first with AA/AAA batteries, first with DX coding, a lot of firsts for Nikon on this one. Essentially an F501/N2020 without AF, or more correctly the F501 is a F301 with AF stuffed in. I'd grab one if I ever tripped over one cheap or packaged with a lens I wanted.

Nikon FE10 - It's to the FM10 as the FE is to the FM or the FE2 is to the FM2(n). Wee cheap AE body with a UI I like better than the FG/FG20 UI. Not a body I'd hunt down, but would be interesting if I found it for the right price or with a lens I wanted. 

Nikon FM3a - I've written before about this model and how it's the single most predictable failure of Nikon's product team of the last 30 years. It's a very good camera, but there's a good reason the FE2 was produced for 6 years while the FM2/FM2n lasted 21+ years in production, and Nikon's FM2n successor model was nothing more than an improved FE2 with a battery-free mode and that meant that the FM3a was guaranteed to fail. Nobody was going to buy a new FE3m when you couldn't give away FE2's (which you couldn't at the time of release, they were selling for <$150CDN or so when FM2n's were twice that despite being far more common). Nikon missed a chance to improve upon a legend to instead squander the FM name. It's quite sad that the FM10 had more FM DNA in it than the FM3a. The FM3a is 100% FE2 UI aside from the relocated AE lock, and there was no appetite for a new FE. Nikon should have taken the FM2n, added selectable spot metering and maybe TTL flash support and left it at that. Pretty sure Nikon still doesn't understand why this camera failed in the market and that's left them struggling elsewhere (the Df failure is a direct relation to the FM3a failure, same mistakes plus a couple bonus errors). I'd still buy one if I got the right price, especially since FE2's got pricey and the FM3a is a better FE2 than the FE2 is. 

Overall, the FE10 and FM3a are the most interesting to me today as the only FE/FM/FA series bodies I've never owned. I've little interest in Nikkormats, but an original F would be a neat body to own.

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