Which Manual Focus Nikon body to buy
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I have decided I'd like to get back into shooting film with a Manual Focus SLR camera. Believe it or not, the first one I purchased was a Mamiya-Sekor 1000 DTL back in the early 1970s. I hadn't yet gotten into Nikons
After my children were older and I had more time for photography, I bought a Canon AE-1. Still not yet into Nikons
I've been shooting Digital the past few years with a D70S, but I'd like to get a Nikon MF camera so I can use Nikon lenses.
I've done some research and both the FE and FA were recommended for various reasons. The FE was recommended because it can use pretty much all Nikon lenses and the FA was recommended because the camera can use the batteries in the Motor Winder to power the camera, meter and all. To add to the mix, a friend uses and raves about his F3HP, which he has let me borrow before.
In the list of great MF camera bodies, I did not see the FE or FA mentioned very often and I was wondering why.
I am a very small woman and weight is one of my main considerations.
I just don't like carrying around a big heavy camera. That's one of the reasons why I like my D70S so much!
Do any of you have any thoughts on choosing either an FA or FE?
Would an F3HP be a better choice than the FA or FE? Lastly, do you have any other MF camera bodies you can recommend? I don't really want to spend a whole lot of money on this camera, so the newer and more expensive MF bodies are not in the list of cameras I'd consider.
Thanks for your thoughts!
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#1. "RE: Which Manual Focus Nikon body to buy" | In response to Reply # 0Chan Tran Registered since 04th Dec 2003Mon 03-Nov-08 07:51 PM
As I have posted many times in this forum that the Nikon F3HP is very much feminine and I believe it would suit a lady well.
The FE is a fine camera but most would opt for the FE2 as they are the same but the FE2 offers some more, like higher shutter speed, sync speed and TTL flash. Some members here love the FA but personally I think the FA is confusing to use. Besides what the FA offers which are quite advanced in its time but those features are the norm with more modern cameras. I don't think the FA can run on the motor drive battery though but I have to recheck.
The Nikon even the FE, FA are heavier cameras than the Canon AE-1 as they are made of metal. The F3 is a bit heavier still but not too heavy and although I thought the F3 is significantly heavier but side by side I don't think it's that much bigger than the FE.
#3. "RE: Which Manual Focus Nikon body to buy" | In response to Reply # 2fenris Registered since 30th Mar 2008Tue 04-Nov-08 12:09 AM | edited Tue 04-Nov-08 12:39 AM by fenris
Another vote for the F3HP however I'd also recommend an FM or FM2. I have the F3HP, the FM and an FE. I got the FE first (it was my dad's) and while it is a great camera I find myself actually liking the FM more for simplistic, drop dead reliable, can pull it out in the rain and shoot field camera. For a bit more advanced features and more flexibility I'll grab my F3HP. This camera is actually due for a cleaning then will also be used as a field camera.
Other pluses for the FM is that they can be had for dirt cheap first gens can be had for $40-70 a good FM2 for about $120 or so. Also they are fully mechanical the batteries are only used for the light meter.
#25. "Why is the FA confusing for you to use?" | In response to Reply # 1Fri 07-Nov-08 08:46 PM
> personally I think the FA is confusing to use.
I've been carefully considering which camera to purchase and I was wondering why the FA is confusing to use.
I pretty much had made up my mind that I was going to buy an FM2N, but then had second thoughts. I picked up my old Canon AE-1 (shame on me!) and fired away a few shots. All of a sudden I realized that I really like picking a shutter speed and having the camera select an aperture or vice versa, picking an aperture and having the camera select a shutter speed. I don't think the FM2N can do that, but the FA apparently can.
So, pray tell why the FA is confusing for you to use!
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#4. "RE: Which Manual Focus Nikon body to buy" | In response to Reply # 0
Punch out another chad for the F3HP. The style, flexibility, strength, there's not a better choice unless you want to spend more money. If you have the cash, the FM3A is an excellent choice, not quite as flexible as the F3, but very cool. Think of a FE automation with a manual FM shutter should your battery ever go. It's smaller than the F3, but much more cash.
#5. "RE: Which Manual Focus Nikon body to buy" | In response to Reply # 0
I'm going to dissent from the majority of votes and say the FM2n. It can be had at a reasonable price, if you don't mind not owning a mint example, has a finder that looks bigger, due to the magnification, than what the F3HP finder looks like, it's also smaller, which is what you're asking for. It's a pretty decent little camera. I've owned 14 of them over the past 17 years. I do recommend upgrading the focusing screen to the K3 focusing screen from the Nikon FM3a. Brighter, which makes it easier to use when focusing.
F5, F4s, F3P, F2A, F, FM2n, Nikomat FTn, Nikomat FT2 (x2) - John Laughlin Photography - nature photographer and NAS disease carrier
#6. "RE: Which Manual Focus Nikon body to buy" | In response to Reply # 5Tue 04-Nov-08 10:27 AM
Since size and weight are major considerations for you, I'd suggest you concentrate your search on either the FE or FA as they are both smaller and lighter than the F3, and either is a good, solid reliable camera that would serve you well. I owned an FE and currently use an FA and recommend either without reservation.
#7. "RE: Which Manual Focus Nikon body to buy" | In response to Reply # 0
My first SLR was a Mamiya/Sekor 1000TL bought around 1968. I moved to Nikons in 1980 and have never looked back.
It would be hard to argue against any of the recommendations given and the F3/F3HP is as good as they come. With the exception of the FA, I've owned all of the bodies mentioned at one time or another.
Since you mention that weight and price are considerations, I'm going to go outside the box a bit. If you're not familiar with it, take a look at the FG. It was one of Nikons attempts to capture their share of the "consumer" market.
In many ways, the FG is similar to the FE. Build quality favors the FE, but the FG also has aperture priority metering (manual as well) plus OTF TTL flash metering. It was also the first Nikon to offer Program AE and is somewhat lighter and smaller than the FE or FA and substantially lighter and smaller than an F3.
I had an FG for a few years and and I found it to be extremely versatile and reliable. If it has one shortcoming, it's the lack of DOF preview which may or may not matter to you. KEH has them in "EX" condition, with the finger grip, for $65.
#8. "RE: Which Manual Focus Nikon body to buy" | In response to Reply # 7Tue 04-Nov-08 12:24 PM | edited Tue 04-Nov-08 01:17 PM by rbsinto
I think that Depth of Field Preview is one of the essential features that a camera must have if it is to be used for serious and creative photography, and because the FG lacks it, I did not suggest it.
However, another small, light, inexpensive camera that you might consider is the Nikon FE-10 or FM-10. These cameras were produced for Nikon by Cosina and are based on a Cosina design that many companies have used as the basis for one of their SLRs for about the last twenty or twenty five years.
These cameras have shutter speeds from 1 second to 1/2000th, depth of field preview and multiple exposure capability. The FM-10 has only Metered Manual exposure but only uses batteries to power the light meter, while the FE-10 has Aperture Priority and Metered Manual metering but requires batteries to function. Both have a flash synch of 1/125th. Neither can accept an add-on motor drive.
While they are not as robust as the FE, FA or F3 bodies, depending on your usage, they may be suitable to your kind of shooting.
#9. "RE: Which Manual Focus Nikon body to buy" | In response to Reply # 8Kisatchie Registered since 27th Dec 2005Tue 04-Nov-08 03:04 PM
If you can live with the extra weight, I too would recommend the F3HP. As my second choice, I strongly recommend the FE2. Try to find one and handle it. See if you don't agree.
"We turn not older with years, but newer every day." Emily Dickinson
#46. "RE: Which Manual Focus Nikon body to buy" | In response to Reply # 7
Another prior Mammy/Sucker owner! I had one briefly, dim viewfinder and unreliable meter. I have owned a Nikon EL, FM, FE2, FA, FG, F2, F3; and presently an FM3a that I didn't plan to buy but couldn't let it go after handling it in the store. The FG is definitely the smallest and lightest of these, especially with an E-series lens. It has a lot of plastic but I never had a problem with mine...the only annoyance is that the shutter speed dial rotates too easily on any setting other than AUTO. (BTW avoid the similar FG-20). You might also consider the newer N75 too, another pretty good light & small consumer camera that you can get CHEAP.
#10. "RE: Which Manual Focus Nikon body to buy" | In response to Reply # 0
Keep in mind that adding a motor drive to any SLR is going to significantly increase its bulk and weight. You could drive nails with an F3HP and its motor drive. Unless you're shooting style relies on fast bursts of several frames, stick with your thumb. IMHO being able to use the batteries in the motor drive is a non-issue since, without the drive, your electrical consumption is minimal and replacement batteries are inexpensive, small and light.
You really can't go wrong with either choice so, if possible, try both the FE/FE2 and F3HP/F3 and see which one feels the best to you.
I have both the FE and F3HP. The F3 cameras are clearly of professional quality but I find the FE/FE2 more intuitive to use. For example, what one would think is the self-timer lever on the F3 is actually the manual shutter release. I also prefer the needle meter read-out to the 3-LED system used by the F3. On the other hand, an F3HP or F3 is likely to be more repairable if something goes wrong compared to the FE or FE2.
If you haven't already done so, read up on lens compatibility. If the lenses you have for your D70 are "G" lenses, they won't work on any of the film SLRs without vignetting since they were built to cover a sensor that's smaller than a 35mm frame.
#14. "RE: Which Manual Focus Nikon body to buy" | In response to Reply # 10Tue 04-Nov-08 05:53 PM
The F3's meter display is probably one of the least intuitive displays out there. Correct exposure is when the LCD displays "+-" in the finder. Takes some fiddling around to get an idea as to where 1/2 a stop off is. The FM series (except the FM3a, which uses the EL/FE/FE2 readout) and the F2AS use the 3-LED "+0-" readout, which is a bit easier to use.
This is where I think the AF pro bodies are better than the F3. Even though they're heavier, require the use of a motor drive, etc. The meter readouts are so much better.
F5, F4s, F3P, F2A, F, FM2n, Nikomat FTn, Nikomat FT2 (x2) - John Laughlin Photography - nature photographer and NAS disease carrier
#26. "RE: Which Manual Focus Nikon body to buy" | In response to Reply # 10zeppelin Basic MemberSat 08-Nov-08 07:02 AM
>If you haven't already done so, read up on lens compatibility.
> If the lenses you have for your D70 are "G" lenses,
>they won't work on any of the film SLRs without vignetting
>since they were built to cover a sensor that's smaller than a
i think bob meant to say the dx lenses don't cover the whole frame ,whilst the g lenses can be used on some film cameras , but not the ones you may be looking at though .
#11. "RE: Which Manual Focus Nikon body to buy" | In response to Reply # 0
While I like very much the FG (and for a 65 bucks is a steal) it's the F3HP that you should focus on.
Reliable, not much weight (heavier than the FG), with a option for Manual and AE when you feel like it.
If possible, a less macho look on a the F3/T in champagne....
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#12. "RE: Which Manual Focus Nikon body to buy" | In response to Reply # 0
An FE would serve you well, and it's not heavy or large at all. However, if you are feeling adventurous and want to go for manual rather than auto exposure, I would heartily recommend that you consider an FM instead. Same body size, same weight, beautiful to use and very satisfying when you get your negs/prints/slides/CD back from the lab knowing that you have done some real (manual, not auto) photography.
To the point of boring this forum by saying it yet again, I bought my FM2 back in 1989 and it's the nicest camera I have ever used. It just keeps rewarding me with every shot I take.
Buy an FM2 or Fm2n in preference to an FM and try to get some AI-S prime lenses with it. The Nikkor AI-S 50mm f/1.8 is a common option sold with FM2's and it's a peach - sharp, smooth and reliable.
An FM10 also exists, but it was a cheap re-badge job produced under licence in China (I think) by Cosina. It was sold so that enthusiasts in the developing world could own a Nikon, but the build quality is not especially good, which is why many of them have already worn out and been consigned to the junk yard. There are more FM2's available out there than FM10's.
Whatever your decision, let us know what you purchase.
Steve (Bedfordshire, England)
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#13. "RE: Which Manual Focus Nikon body to buy" | In response to Reply # 0
You may want to check out this site for some specific information on each model, its pluses and minuses, repairability, etc.
Keep in mind that this info is several years old but most of it isn't time-sensitive.
#15. "Thanks for the much appreciated input" | In response to Reply # 13Tue 04-Nov-08 06:55 PM
>You may want to check out this site for some specific
>information on each model, its pluses and minuses,
and thank you for posting the above link. It's very helpful.
I've been reading and re-reading all of the suggestions that everyone has posted and it's going to take some time to digest it all and figure out which one is the best MF Nikon for me to purchase. I hadn't really factored in to my decision the availability of parts and ease of repairability, which was pointed out in the above link.
Ideally, I would be able to hold all of the cameras in my hand to see which feels best and to figure out which features would best meet my needs. But, alas, it's not always possible to do this.
Some of you have pointed out some relatively lightweight cameras I hadn't really considered before (e.g. the FM, FM2 and FM2N, especially the latter with the K3 focusing screen. Also, the FM3A now seems a viable choice, even though it's more $$$. I like the fact that it's smaller than the FE. I'm going to take some time to investigate those cameras.
Finally, yes, I'm aware that I won't be able to use the G lenses I'm currently using in my D70S in most, if not all, of those cameras I'm looking at. I hope to purchase some lenses that I will be able to use in the MF camera body I eventually purchase.
I do have a question as to where most of you end up purchasing your MF bodies. I have been looking at KEH, Ebay (though I do have concerns purchasing a camera on Ebay from other than a camera shop),etc. but wondered if any of you have specific suggestions for good places to look.
Thanks to everyone for your input!
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#16. "RE: Thanks for the much appreciated input" | In response to Reply # 15Tue 04-Nov-08 08:52 PM | edited Tue 04-Nov-08 08:53 PM by bobcamarena
Personally, my buying preferences, in order, would be:
1. Nikonians - In general I'd be comfortable with buying from a fellow Nikonian, particularly someone who's been a member for a while and has participated in the forums (this is how I bought my F3HP which is on the ugly side but works perfectly). Prices tend to be good and return policies will depend on the individual seller. If you can find a local Nikonian seller, all the better. I'd be wary of someone who appeared to have joined just to sell something.
2. KEH - I haven't purchased from them but the reports I've read here and elsewhere have been excellent. Also, from the reports I've read, their condition ratings are conservative and they have a liberal return policy. B&H and Adorama also have good reputations. I wouldn't be hesitant to buy from any of these three dealers.
3. Traditional Camera Store - These are getting far and few between but some still have good, used equipment, often on consignment. Their prices tend to be high so don't be afraid to bargain. They may or may not have a liberal return policy so negotiate it up front.
4. Craig's List - The advantage this has over Ebay is that you can inspect the camera before you buy it. Returns will be iffy at best. In my opinion, most Craig's List sellers have unrealistically high opinions as to what their equipment is worth.
5. Thrift Stores, Flea Markets, etc. - These can be good sources but time-consuming unless you enjoy poking around. I picked up a pristine FM with two lenses, a small camera bag and a skylight filter for $65 at a local mega-flea-market. I'd rate this comparable to Craig's list except for the time factor.
6. Ebay - Caveat emptor, but it can be a good source. I generally use Ebay vendors only for inexpensive items, however there are several dealers who have good reputations, including KEH (KEHOUTLET). Here's another one (who I haven't used but have read good things about) who sells "professionally serviced" cameras with a warranty and decent return policy:
I'd want to do a bit more due dilligence but, if the reports are accurate, I'd prefer a dealer like KEHOUTLET or the Marmot Burrow over Craigs List.
Beware of Ebay sellers who say they know nothing about cameras and don't know how to test it or that it "sounds" OK.
Personally, I'm not adverse to a few signs of normal wear and aren't really too interested in paying a high premium for a camera in pristine, cosmetic condition. For example, the scuffs on migpower's F3T are minor and wouldn't bother me at all. Others are completely the opposite so decide your preferences, educate yourself as to what something is worth to you and stick to your guns when negotiating.
Good luck and keep us posted.
#17. "RE: Thanks for the much appreciated input" | In response to Reply # 16Captain Rich Nikonian since 25th May 2006Wed 05-Nov-08 11:17 AM
I've been really happy with my FA. It's a great landscape camera, and is small and lightweight to carry around. You can find them at really good prices these days.
#18. "RE: Thanks for the much appreciated input" | In response to Reply # 17Cadfael_tex Registered since 05th Apr 2008Wed 05-Nov-08 12:22 PM
I've bought a couple of lenses from KEH and they are very good. Condition ratings I would say are conservative and dealing with them has been easy. As far as using your current lenses, I wouldn't be afraid of getting some dedicated lenses for the MF body you get. Most of them can be had relatively inexpensively and it adds to the experience for me. There's something about the feel of my F2 and 105 2.5 that is totally different and very satisfying. 50 1.4's are plentiful, good, and thus pretty cheap. Got a beautiful 180 2.8 from KEH for about $200.
Tony, Army Nikonian
Danger: Exposure to Life can be Addictive
#19. "Where to buy" | In response to Reply # 15
Where I would look first is here on the classifieds list.
If you see something on KEH, call them and ask a sales person to get it (perhaps two different ones) and describe them to you. While they are always conservative with ratings this is the best way to make sure you know what you are getting and get what you want. It may take two phone calls but it's well worth it. I've purchased a few times from KEH and been very happy.
Another place I would look is www.rangefinderforum.com. While it is focused on rangefinders, there have been a lot of Nikkors listed there of late. While membership has grown a lot in the past year, most of the old timers (there over a year) are VERY honest. Membership is free and you can PM (private message) sellers to ask questions and get pictures. Prices there are usually below market and quality is pretty high. This is very much a hardware (camera, lens) sort of place so you see a lot of churning of stuff. Look for longer term members (you can tell by the number of posts they have) at RFF just like here.
Craigs List is great because you can do and see it before you buy. You can back out at the last minute and loose nothing but some time.
EvilBay has been very very good to me and very bad too, depends upon the transaction. There are some great sellers out there, problem is the feed back loop broke a few years back and has yet to be fixed.
Anywhere you buy, ask for extra pictures, phone numbers, ask, ask, ask before you send money. Scams can happen everywhere via the Internet so ask.
#20. "RE: Where to buy" | In response to Reply # 19Wed 05-Nov-08 04:15 PM
I bought a camera from KEH about five or six weeks ago and when I spoke to the sales person (a Prince of a fellow named Arthur, by the way) and asked him to check something for me on the body, he told me that the Sales Staff are not located at the Warehouse, so doing so was not possible.
However, he advised me to purchase a "Bargain" graded body rather than the "Excellent" graded one I was also considering, saving me about $300.00. I took his advice and the body I received is perfect for my needs. I cannot recommend KEH and Arthur too highly.
#21. "RE: Where to buy" | In response to Reply # 20Wed 05-Nov-08 04:54 PM
I think since moving to the new facility, KEH sales reps are no longer able to access in-stock items as I had a similar experience last week.
I've found that KEH "Bargain" grade can be all over the map. I've gotten really nice looking stuff as well as stuff that was pretty beat up. Either way, the items were fully functional. As long as one is willing to accept "cosmetically challenged" gear, Bargain grade can be a real money saver.
In any case, I've never felt the need to go beyond "Excellent" which pretty much looks like new.
#22. "RE: Thanks for the much appreciated input" | In response to Reply # 15
I don't think you will find the FM3a to be significantly smaller than the FE / FE3 / FM / FM2 / FA. All of these cameras backs are interchangeable and they are all roughly the same size and weight, the only size difference will be minor differences in the finder configuration. The F3 is wider and heavier, and the FG is considerably smaller and lighter. While each of these cameras have their pros and cons any of them can do a fine job for you.
The F3 is a true professional grade camera, and it is certainly the cream of the crop, but it is also by far the largest and heaviest of the lot (especially when fitted with the MD-4 motor drive).
The FA is simply the most technologically advanced manual focus film camera that Nikon ever produced, offering TTL flash, full manual control, aperture priority, shutter priority, and a program mode, plus the option of either matrix metering or center weighted metering, and it will function strictly off of the MD-15 motor drive batteries. This motor driven package is considerably smaller and significantly lighter than a motor driven F3.
I personally think the little FG is one of Nikon's most under appreciated cameras. It's extremely compact and more technologically advanced than any of the others except the FA. The FG offers all of the capabilities of the FA except matrix metering and shutter priority and it can be combined with the MD-E motor drive originally designed for the Nikon EM. The MD-E will not power the camera meter but the button cell batteries that power the meters in any of these cameras generally last for a year or more, and they are easy and cheap to replace, so I wouldn't consider this much of a draw-back. I believe the FG/MD-E combination is the most compact fully functional motor driven 35mm SLR Nikon ever offered. If small size and light weight are important criteria I believe this is your best choice, and as a bonus it will almost certainly be your least expensive choice.
#23. "RE: Thanks for the much appreciated input" | In response to Reply # 22Fri 07-Nov-08 01:22 PM
I agree that the FG is a fine camera. However as I said before, I'd never recommend a body that didn't have Depth of Field preview to anyone I knew was serious about their photography. It is simply too important a feature to do without in an SLR.
#24. "RE: Thanks for the much appreciated input" | In response to Reply # 23Fri 07-Nov-08 03:23 PM
I have to agree about the lack of a DOF preview feature on the FG being a problem. Even though I recommended the FG above, it was with a caveat that this feature is missing.
Due to that fact, I did not use my FG for landscape, macro or any other application where DOF preview is vital.
#28. "RE: Thanks for the much appreciated input" | In response to Reply # 23GratefulPhotog Registered since 25th Mar 2007Sat 08-Nov-08 02:54 PM
I agree the lack of a DOF preview feature is a drawback with the FG. However, despite the lack of DOF preview, I've produced a lot of pleasing photographs with the tiny FG body. The FG packs a lot into a light-weight compact body, but it is not the perfect camera. Then again I'm not aware of any that are. Choosing a body always requires some level of compromise.
Each of the bodies being discussed are very good cameras in their own way (after all they are all Nikons) and each of them have their own unique set of advantages and disadvantages. In the end the OP must determine what criteria are most important to her. She mentioned weight and cost as being significant issues and, given those as overriding criteria, I can not think of a better choice than the FG to meet her specified requirements. If she decides that DOF preview, build quality, interchangeable finders, match needle metering, or other some criteria take precedence over weight and cost, then other cameras will be certainly better solutions.
One final thought; We MF camera lovers are fortunate in that used MF film cameras can be had very cheaply these days. Many of us can now afford to own more than one body, or to trade our way through various bodies until we find the one that best suits our needs. Not too many years ago this would have been a cost prohibitive undertaking for most of us.
I wish Ellen good luck in finding the body that best meets her needs.
#29. "RE: Thanks for the much appreciated input" | In response to Reply # 28Sat 08-Nov-08 05:26 PM
>Each of the bodies being discussed are very good cameras in
>their own way (after all they are all Nikons) and each of them
>have their own unique set of advantages and disadvantages. In
>the end the OP must determine what criteria are most important
Very well stated. I was all set to go with the FM2N, based upon the recommendations and comments I've seen posted here. But then I realized I did want to have some degree of automation. For example, if I select a particular aperture, I would like to be able to have the camera select a shutter speed. That realization came to me after picking up my old Canon AE-1 for a few moments and seeing what it was able to do, which, to be honest, I'd forgotten since I hadn't used it for so long.
>I wish Ellen good luck in finding the body that best meets her
Thank you! It is turning out to be an interesting journey and I'm sure I will have had a great time along the way. Naturally, I will post here to let everyone know which camera I end up purchasing.
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#30. "RE: Thanks for the much appreciated input" | In response to Reply # 29Chan Tran Registered since 04th Dec 2003Sat 08-Nov-08 07:24 PM | edited Sat 08-Nov-08 07:27 PM by Chan Tran
Being a Nikonian, I always think that the Canon AE-1 and its big brother A1 don't really have a manual mode. Nikon and Canon took very different approach in designing their cameras. So if you like Nikon, you wouldn't like Canon and vice versa. Neither is really better just preferences. In recent years, they started to become more alike.
#40. "RE: Thanks for the much appreciated input" | In response to Reply # 15
>>You may want to check out this site for some specific
>>information on each model, its pluses and minuses,
>and thank you for posting the above link. It's very helpful.
Following feedback from customers, including a number from nikonians members, we have recently revised Adorama's guide to purchasing Used items.
N) New (Brand new)
All original packaging and manuals included.
D) Demo (Like New) 98-100% of original condition
Like New with little or no signs of use
E+) Excellent Plus 96-97% of original condition
May have slight wear, but only visible under close up inspection.
E) Excellent 90-95% of original condition
Lens Glass very clean - cosmetically may show slight wear and/or signs of use
E-) Excellent Minus 85-89% of original condition
Shows signs of moderate use - Lens Glass is perfect but may have some dust which will not affect picture quality
V) Very Good 75-84% of original condition
Appears well used and may include dings, brassing, scrapes and bruises but is in fully functional condition. Glass may have marks or haze that should not affect picture quality
G) Good 50-74% of original condition
Appears to have been used very heavily, with multiple dings, scrapes, scratches and heavy brassing. Glass may have fungus, excessive dust and/or scratches that can affect picture quality
F) Fair Item works with certain malfunctions. Read comments for exact malfunction details
X) For parts only
New – As Packaged by manufacturer
For all other grades – Instruction books, caps, batteries, cases, and straps are sold separately, except when specified
All digital cameras are packed with Battery and charger except when stated otherwise.
Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any queries or suggestions regarding our new rating system.
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#27. "RE: Which Manual Focus Nikon body to buy" | In response to Reply # 0
In my opinion, the 1971 F2 Photomic with the floating needle light system is rugged and fast to operate. It accepts most Nikkor lens, and mine has lasted for years.
#35. "RE: Which Manual Focus Nikon body to buy" | In response to Reply # 27ColColt Nikonian since 19th Aug 2008Wed 12-Nov-08 12:18 AM | edited Wed 12-Nov-08 12:19 AM by ColColt
I guess if it boiled down to it and I was still shooting film like I once did, I'd look for an EX+ F2AS-probably the finest most reliable camera Nikon made...IMO. No needles to have to deal with and the meter lasted longer. It was more like an FM on steroids
My goal in life is to be the person my dog already thinks I am.
#31. "RE: Which Manual Focus Nikon body to buy" | In response to Reply # 0
Hi Ellen, I always read the manual focus forums. Unfortunately I have had to list my F3HP & accesories on the "I want to sell" forum. Just check it out It was posted on Nov 8th. Maybe it's something that might interest you?
Sorry for putting this here, but at the end of the week I will put it on e-bay.
#32. "LInk to your post" | In response to Reply # 31
#33. "RE: LInk to your post" | In response to Reply # 32Darkroomdave Nikonian since 15th Oct 2006Tue 11-Nov-08 03:42 PM
Ellen, I don't know how to post a link to it.
If you look in the "I Want To Sell" forum it is now on page 2 with a 10-Nov-08 date. The listing is "IWTS F3 Systemas a package". If you scroll down and look at the author col. look for "Darkroomdave" that may make it easier to spot.
Take a look at the photos it's really clean.
#34. "RE: LInk to your post" | In response to Reply # 33Tue 11-Nov-08 06:18 PM
>If you look in the "I Want To Sell" forum it is now
>on page 2 with a 10-Nov-08 date. The listing is "IWTS F3
>Systemas a package".
Thanks. Looks to be a great package, but I didn't want to spend that much money.
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#37. "RE: LInk to your post" | In response to Reply # 34pqtrths Nikonian since 02nd May 2007Thu 13-Nov-08 07:43 PM
I recommend the F3HP.
This camera was so well received by amateur and professional photographers that its production run overlapped the F4. You can still fund examples in excellent condition on eBay. I saw one at the local camera store plus motor drive in mint condition. It lasted about two weeks. If weight is a question, remove the motor drive although it's a handy accessory to have for sports and racing photography.
Very versatile. Well balanced and solidly built. I've had mine going on 18 years, shot about 45,000 slides with it, and it has been incredibly reliable, the only times in the shop for a CLA every four to five years. Will support a variety of AIS and D series lenses. I understand that Nikon will still service the F3 although that may end sooner/later. Good shutter speed range although the 1/80th flash sync is a drag and a special flash coupler is required to use TTL flash metering with certain Nikon strobes.
#36. "RE: Which Manual Focus Nikon body to buy" | In response to Reply # 0
Get yourself a FA. I have both a F3HP (with MD4), and a (black) FA (with MD15). I find myself using the FA more often than my trusty old F3HP, as the FA has a higher shutter speed and flash synch than the F3HP does.
#39. "RE: Which Manual Focus Nikon body to buy" | In response to Reply # 38amjerez Registered since 21st Nov 2006Tue 25-Nov-08 08:53 PM | edited Tue 25-Nov-08 09:09 PM by amjerez
FA. No doubt. F3T forget it. Unreliable lightmeter!!.Please some one is trying to buy a reliable manual Nikon with a good dialog in between lightmeter and aperture. Period.
See if Peter has a body that will satisfy you or he will advise you which one to buy in ebay. 100% trustworthy: Mention my name or just say you found him in Nikonians. Enjoy your camera.
Peter Smith (owner)
3095 So. Military Trail #16
Silver Oaks Plaza
Lake Worth, FL 33463
#41. "RE: Which Manual Focus Nikon body to buy" | In response to Reply # 0
I used both the FM2 and FE2 back in the days. They are retired to the corner of the shelf now but are still working fine.
The meter of the FM2, and the meter and shutter of the FE2 are powered by the MD-12 when attached.
The FE2, like the FE, gives you semi auto mode. With the MD-12 attached, it frees you to concentrate on the subject.
On the FE2 you will be left with either M250 (1/250th of a sec) or B if there is no battery power.
If reliability is paramount you want to go with the FM2 as it does not need a battery other than for the meter.
That said, both my FE2 and the FM2 have been reliable. The F3HP was my dream camera back in the days.
The only inconvenience I can think of is that the viewfinder on the FM or FE series is not 100%.
#43. "I ended up buying the FM2 camera!" | In response to Reply # 41Thu 30-Jul-09 03:58 AM | edited Thu 30-Jul-09 03:59 AM by ornate_wrasse
I'd like to express my thanks to everyone that shared their opinions and experiences. I finally decided that having a small, light camera was of the utmost important so ended up buying an FM2 on the big auction site. It was actually listed as an FM2N, but after the auction ended I got a note from the seller that it was actually an FM2 instead of an FM2N. He knocked $25 off the price, too!
I will need to replace the battery but my local camera shop carries the batteries that I need to buy.
I'll probably soon be purchasing one or two manual focus lenses for the camera as the ones I currently own won't work on the FM2. I'm sure I'll have some questions
I look forward to receiving it. It will arrive just in time for me to practice with it before taking it to Buenos Aires Argentina in September where I hope to use it for some night shots.
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#44. "RE: I ended up buying the FM2 camera!" | In response to Reply # 43
#45. "RE: I ended up buying the FM2 camera!" | In response to Reply # 44Thu 30-Jul-09 09:21 PM
Shown is my previous chrome FM2n, which was in the same condition as my current FM2n. Two very tiny dings.
F4, F, FM2n, Nikomat FT2, FTn - John Laughlin Photography - nature photographer
My Flickr account
My Facebook page
"photoshop is somewhere you go to buy photo equipment."
Attachment#1 (jpg file)
#47. "RE: Which Manual Focus Nikon body to buy" | In response to Reply # 0
My contrary advice would be to buy an FE for the auto exposure and
the price performance ratio.
At the same time I would have suggested buying a used N80 to
gain autofocus and continuous shooting. it is a little bulky but not
much. the lighter body.
With this two bodies you would have been at $200 with a great degree of flexability with money left over for a lens. Than if you buy an FX AF lens you can use on your D70, manual focus, and auto focus bodies all at the same time.
I recently bought an FM2n and was about ready to get rid of my N80
when I decided to keep it around for candid people shots and possibly
some sports work.
#48. "RE: Which Manual Focus Nikon body to buy" | In response to Reply # 47lumos Registered since 27th Nov 2009Wed 16-Dec-09 04:40 AM
The first camera I bought was a Nikon FM. I wanted an F2 but couldn't afford it. I could get an FM and a lens for the price of an F2. I finally, years later bought an F2. I think they are the best all mechanical machine that Nikon has ever made. I have a couple of F2AS (DP12 head) cameras. I think they are fantastic cameras. I like the way they fit my hands and how I see. At some point give one a try. They are a little heavier than the FM2 but not more than a D700. I find the D 700 to be similar in some way to the F2's. The meter of the AS head is super accurate, and the shutter is fantastic. It is a professional body and will continue to function for a very very long time. Just wanted to put that out there. I have made some of my best images with those machines. Solid.
#49. "RE: Which Manual Focus Nikon body to buy" | In response to Reply # 48Wed 16-Dec-09 04:55 PM
The FM-2 is an excellent, rugged camera and has all the features a serious photographer needs. You made an excellent choice, and it should serve you well.
#50. "RE: Which Manual Focus Nikon body to buy" | In response to Reply # 0
Easy Choice IMHO. I would go with the FM3a if size is your real issue. Can't beat the combo of full manual control W/o need for batteries, aperture prioity AE, and TTL flash options. The FE2 is simply too old and hence unreliable for parts, repair, etc. The Fm3a is also built like a small tank.
The F3HP is a close second if size is not that paramount. The best pro MF camera ever made by Nikon. Only issue is the funky flash system.
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Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#51. "RE: Which Manual Focus Nikon body to buy" | In response to Reply # 50Sat 19-Dec-09 05:05 PM | edited Sat 19-Dec-09 05:05 PM by rbsinto
>Easy Choice IMHO. I would go with the FM3a if size is your
>real issue. Can't beat the combo of full manual control W/o
>need for batteries, aperture prioity AE, and TTL flash
>options. The FE2 is simply too old and hence unreliable for
>parts, repair, etc. The Fm3a is also built like a small
>The F3HP is a close second if size is not that paramount. The
>best pro MF camera ever made by Nikon. Only issue is the
>funky flash system.
I really wish people would preface their choices for "the best____ ever made by ______" with the words "in my opinion" rather than simply making blanket statements that may or very well may not be true. In my opinion the F3 was not the best Pro manual focus camera ever made by Nikon. In my opinion the F2 and the F4 (which has been called the best manual focus Pro Nikon) and even the FA (which in my opinion is a much better camera than the F3) had it been built to the same Pro grade standard as the F3 would have been in my opinion the Nikon Pro camera of its day.
#52. "RE: Which Manual Focus Nikon body to buy" | In response to Reply # 0
It goes without saying that whatever body we proclaim as the best ever made is a matter of opinion. With that said, I really don't think one can say that the FA beats out the F3. But whatever, to each his own. That is what make this all so much fun. And I agree that the F4 is a great camera. But is autofocus, afterall. Great thing about it is that it will matrix meter with AF and non AF lenses. Can also be used for self defense in a pinch.
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Visit my Nikonians gallery.