Long-winded opinion on FM3A
Let me tell you quickly and simply why the Nikon FM3A is one of the two best manual 35mm cameras ever made for ‘life’ photography. (Life photography as in light, daily, unhampered, spontaneous, fun, informative... I just don’t like the term ‘street’ photography). The other camera is a black M3.
I’d been reading about the FM3A and considering its purchase for three months, during which time my friend, pro photographer JL Laporte (www.interzonephoto.com), lent me two Nikon FMs. I tried to purchase one of his, but he doesn't want to sell them. I basically pondered buying every mechanical Nikon SLR since January, including a Photomic F.
I’ve owned a few wonderful Nikons in the past, a black Nikkormat FT2, an F, and an F2 Photomic. I’ve also owned a Leica M4-2 (1980) and an M-3 from the 60’s. I must also mention that I worked in a serious photo store during the late 80’s. One of the reasons I was considering the older models was a lower price point (so I could buy two bodies) and in some cases a 100% viewing screen. I gave up on that last one. The Fs are too big and cumbersome. I’m working the 7% difference in my framing. I’ll survive.
Why the FM3A?
In shopping the used cameras in the F to FM lineage, I was concerned by inaccurate shutters, tired meters, dusty viewing screens. Just getting my friend’s trusty FM’s meter calibrated, the door tightened and foam replaced for light leaks was about $200 CAN, around half the price of an FM in decent condition. For $910 CAN I can pick up a spanking new FM3A. A no-brainer if you ask me.
Was I attracted to Leica again? Of course. You still can’t beat a black Leica for discretion, speed and quietness. But... I need to see through the lens more than ever, unless I restrict myself to 35mm and 50mm lenses. Going to 24, or 20mm, and 85mm makes me need to see through the lens to really experience the perspective, magnifying and distancing according to the focal length. I need the thrill of feeling through the lens. It somehow helps me concentrate on the picture. Another important point here is that as a hardcore black and white user, I can somewhat deduce what the filters will be doing to a shot when I see through them. I reluctantly have to admit that rangefinder myth and glory stops here for me. The FM3A is now my tool.
I can make better photographs with a black FM3A, as long as I improve my reflexes and focus on the moment. That’s the interesting thing about living photography, you have to pay attention. You have to be where you are. Most moments I miss are because I’m not ‘there’. In that context, I just wish the FM3A was quieter, and I’m sure if Nikon tried, they could pad down the decibels. And finally, a Leica around my neck is just to darn outrageous. Sorry. I can buy a new Subaru for the price of a Leica kit.
Weight: The FM3A is light. Almost 1/3 lighter than a Nikkormat and F3, 20 grams lighter than an FM, quite lighter than an F and almost 1/2 the weight of an F2 Photomic with DP-1 prism.
Ergonomically, this camera has improved controls over the FM: larger shutter speed dial, AE lock button that falls under the right hand thumb, shutter lock integrated to the film advance, silky smooth shutter release button that will be friendly to slow speeds. All that’s missing is multi-stroke film advance for when you’ve got the perfect framing and even moving your thumb so far will displace you. But, I can live without that luxury.
As far as I’m concerned, magnificent optical quality for 35mm cameras of any make is NOT run of the mill. I tried four or five Summicrons on my M3 before I got one that was killer. The 35mm f2 on my M4-2 was soft. When I worked at European Camera, the way I would get a good lens was by trying some until I found one that hit the mark. Of course each make has its classics. Nikon has enough of these to keep me happy, and hopefully the ones I acquired will satisfy... Otherwise I will change them until satisfied. With so many photographers going digital, the used market is ripe with quality manual focus optics.
I didn't worry or have to think twice about the build quality of the FM3A. I knew Nikon and was never disappointed. I had also read the specs, and felt comfortable with the FMs I was loaned. When I opened the box I was pleasantly surprised: smooth contours, amazing finish, precision tooling. Upon closer examination I honestly believe this camera is much better built than the Canadian-made M4-2 I had in 1980. Maybe it’s not quite a tank like the F2 or an M3, but it feels like it’s in the same league.
As a manual photographer who’s getting back into photography with no interest whatsoever for computer-controled or digital photography, having an aperture-priority automatic mode is already a stretch. I was excited by the FM3A’s meter needles because they give gradual and complete information, contrary to lights that simply shut on or off. In use, the aperture-priority automatic mode is like a manual mode where the camera turns the shutter speed dial for you, making things faster, yet leaving you in full control as the selected speed is always indicated. Want another shutter speed? just change aperture! Want to lock a setting, squeeze you thumb! Sweet. You can also use the exposure lock in rare cases where extreme low light inhibits seeing the needle. By locking the meter, you just have to place the meter needle over a contrasting object in the viewfinder to monitor you shutter speed, and reframe once informed.
I guess you can see I’m quite happy after a week-end with my lovely FM3A. I do love the vintage Nikons and almost succumbed to a clean F... I’m glad I didn't, because the FM3A rolls in a whole lot of classic Nikon heritage to make it a perfect tool for me. Thanks to it’s engineers!
Now I’ve got to give my friend back his FM, which has become my second body... Hum, I wonder how long I’ll be able to keep it. I’m afraid when he wants it back I might have a difficult time controlling the urge to get a another FM3A...
#1. "RE: Long-winded opinion on FM3A" | In response to Reply # 0abe Charter MemberTue 09-Apr-02 05:38 AM
Welcome to the wonderful world of FM3A addicts... there are quite a few of us around here. I couldn´t have described the magic of this camera any better. While I love the raw power fo the F4s and the tank-like invulnerability of the F3 (whose HP viewfinder I miss on the FM3A), the FM3A is just the nicest camera for light, unhampered, right-that-moment photography.
Enjoy your FM3A, Montreal and its region surely give you enough opportunity (my brother lives in the Eastern townships, I´ve got to visit sometimess soon, if I just had the time)...
#2. "RE: Long-winded opinion on FM3A" | In response to Reply # 0henry Basic MemberTue 09-Apr-02 05:48 AM
happy to hear that. I've got meself a precious fm3a too.
About leicas. I don't think they are good discretion, anymore.
To tell you the truth, I have seen and recognize them way more than any cameras anywhere. A small thin camera with a red dot, leica m6. Everytime I shouted "M6" to the owner on the street, the photographer smiles and nodded. Today I saw an old lady with a Leica m6. Why? Because there's a red dot on her thin camera. I said, Leica. She said, yes, it has been with me for 20 years.
So last time a guy in central park holding a camera. Sure I almost couldn't hear the shutter. But the camera sold its identity. I said, Leica. He said, yes. Another time, a leica on a shoulder strap. I said, Leica. The photographer said, "thank you."
Why thank you? I guess it's because I recognized that he got an expensive camera, hehe
#25. "RE: Long-winded opinion on FM3A" | In response to Reply # 2T42 Basic MemberTue 14-May-02 01:44 PM
"To tell you the truth, I have seen and recognize them way more than any cameras anywhere."
Hello again Henry in New York.
That, as a seasoned photographer, YOU would recognize a fine camera on the street is no surprise. Tape over the red dot is probably a good idea, but would it fool you?
I think most folks on the street look at an M and think "There is someone with an old yardsale camera. I wonder why he does not have a modern camera like everyone else." I have noticed that folks are much more unsettled by my black F2 than they are by my chrome M3. In the Montreal airport I heard this from one of the security people examining my 1959 M3 "That's really old! Does it only take black and white?" "Most of the time," I replied.
Regards, Henry in Atlanta
"If I could only keep one it would be the F2."
A Certified Dinosaur
Nikons F, F2, D700, L35AF, Leica M3, & Kiev 4a
#3. "RE: Long-winded opinion on FM3A" | In response to Reply # 0
Yes, I've followed the same path too... Several years with a M6 then the usual too often job where you need three hands to reload... And the feeling that you are carrying a wealth target in some districts...
When I changed the FM3 wasn't yet there.. So I opted for a FM2.. With so many good manual focus lenses around for cheap... It was quite a difference...!
In fact I discovered I was optimizing my rolls better then with the F4S mostly because of the manual focus !
The other nice part is that the camera is so small versus the battery powered ones that almost nobody cares about the "simple minded" tourist with his "antique".. (And your shoulders are staight again at last)!
The next "upgrade" will be the FM3 for sure.... I'm just waiting a wee bit for the wear to show...
#4. "RE: Long-winded opinion on FM3A" | In response to Reply # 3Thu 11-Apr-02 10:10 AM
I have Nikons and Leica and Contax and Minolta CLE and digital Canon and what not... Sorry, it's not only photos that I love, it's the cameras themselves. I've owned an FM3A. Wonderful, for sure. I sold it (and a few other things) to get me an old dream of mine, a used Leica 6 classic. But I still have this other gem, the FM2n. I have a Nikkormat, an F 90X. I've had a F100, Contax G2, etc... And I have the ultimate ( for me, anyway) the F3. Now, I've traded a few cameras (including the M6) to buy a brand new M7. Wow! I went straight back home and the fisrt thing I did was to put two pieces of black electrical tape to cover the "red dot" and the word "M7" on the front of the camera, as I had done with the M6. Even more discreet that way, and no bragging. Anyway, what I wanted to say is that, for me, it all boils down to two names: Nikon and Leica (no dismissing of Contax, BTW.) Now, they both help you make great pictures, if you know what you're doing. I loved the FM3A and the F100, and all the others, but the only two cameras I ever actually fell in love with are the Leica and the F3. The...yes, sensual experience of shooting with those two works of art is almost indescribable, albeit so different from one another. If you ever cranked the lever on a F3 or heard the Leica shutter whisper "click" to your ear, you know what I mean. AF and auto-advance are nice, and often useful, but, to me, nothing beats manual cranking and focusing in terms of pure feeling while shooting, and nothing ever beat Leica and the F3. And I don't mind needing three hands to load the Leica. Maybe I do have three hands. I'll check it. And BTW the M7 is even quieter than the M6! Happy shooting everyone
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#5. "RE: Long-winded opinion on FM3A" | In response to Reply # 4Thu 11-Apr-02 10:40 AM
Great replies, folks!
Makes me want to escape with my camera!
Hammam, you really make that M7 sound sweet. And, BTW, we do the same thing: I've got electrical tape on my Nikon name, and used to do the same with my Leica.
Have to run, enjoy life through the lens, all!
#6. "RE: Long-winded opinion on FM3A" | In response to Reply # 5Thu 11-Apr-02 01:30 PM
Nice review and congratulations on your fine camera, but I wonder why you pointedly went for a black body. In my experience, a silver body is seen as less intimidiating by the average person you might photograph. Unless you like to elicit reactions to you and your camera, a black camera strikes me as much less stealthy than the silver body.
I know why black bodies are popular with many photographers. The black bodies are seen as more "professional" and serious looking. Precisely the reason why a "life" photographer might want to go with the alternative finish.
#7. "RE: Long-winded opinion on FM3A" | In response to Reply # 6ChgoMike Registered since 06th Apr 2002Thu 11-Apr-02 02:54 PM
I would think that black is more attractive because it's easier to make anonymous. A little electrical tape, which is a VERY smart move, makes a black Nikon look like a black Whatever.
However, I got my silver FM3a in the mail yesterday, along with the 45/2.8, and it's yummy. Can't wait to develop the first roll.
- Mike in Chicago
Visit my Smugmug gallery.
#24. "RE: Long-winded opinion on FM3A" | In response to Reply # 7coltrane Registered since 13th May 2002Tue 14-May-02 01:54 AM
I live in Chicago and just got my FM3A and the 45mm f2.8 and I love it. I cannot seem to go anywhere without it, All the shots I see are at night though and I have not ventured into the tripod purchase, yet. But still, even when I rest it on a stationary object at a 1/2 sec. exposure, I have gotten some of the most beautiful pics. So far just using 400 cn for convenience, but I am going to switch to tri-X and go to Gamma
If you would like to get together some Saturday for some some random Chicago photography expeditions, let me know!!
#9. "RE: Long-winded opinion on FM3A" | In response to Reply # 6Fri 12-Apr-02 10:47 AM
Isn't it funny that many comments are to the contrary of what you say: a black body is less intimidating than a silver one, for instance when snap or candid shooting in the street or at gatherings. This is why I guess many people (me, anyway) prefer black bodies, not because of the professional look. But if the professionals prefer black bodies, there's got to be a reason, right? Happy shooting,
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#11. "RE: Long-winded opinion on FM3A" | In response to Reply # 9Fri 12-Apr-02 05:47 PM
My experience is that if I'm not seen as being a professional, I draw less attention. As to why pros prefer black bodies, There are a lot of suspect rationalizations and it's more of a cultural thing. Pros who shoot with Hasselblads buy more silver bodies - go figure - probably the Hasselblad market's unique culture. White lenses have become "cool" with sports phototogs to the point that Nikon came out with its own pale grey ones. If that makes sense, why not white bodies? I've read many reasons one finish or color is better than another and I don't believe any of them.
Don't get me wrong, I personally like and own two black bodies so I can look macho and professional;-) But if I wanted to do some stealth people photography, I'd borrow my wife's silver N65.
All my blathering aside, if the FM3 came in a natural titanium finish there's no way I'd go for a black or silver one...
#12. "RE: Long-winded opinion on FM3A" | In response to Reply # 6marphoto Registered since 28th Feb 2002Fri 12-Apr-02 06:19 PM
I've always felt that bright chrome reflected sunlight a little too invitingly for a potential sniper. That's why sniper rifles are covered with non-reflective material and even the scope has a cover. Not an issue for wedding photographers (at least I hope not!) but it's something photojournalists doing human-conflict stories need to consider.
Years ago my colleagues and I used to cover our chrome bodies (this was before black bodies became popular) with black matte tape. The result looked like hell but we didn't care. Not sure how effective this really was though. After all, any camera can look like a gun at 500 yards so maybe black is actually counter-productive. And looking a little too much like one of the combatants could definitely be bad for your health.
#8. "RE: Long-winded opinion on FM3A" | In response to Reply # 3
Hello folks !
I have only one question. Why did you cover the "Nikon" title and the type of the camera with black electrical tape? Do you protect the camera against the stealing this way? Is it effective?
Jani (a Hungarian Nikonian)
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#10. "RE: Long-winded opinion on FM3A" | In response to Reply # 8Fri 12-Apr-02 10:53 AM
I do cover the Leica identifications on my M black body for two reasons: no bragging and, yes, maybe a little less interest on the part of potential robbers. Hopefully. Is it effective? Well, I've yet to be mugged and robbed of my Leica M, but that doesn't prove it works. When I do get mugged, I'l let you know and tell you it does not work. Happy shooting,
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#13. "RE: Long-winded opinion on FM3A" | In response to Reply # 10Sun 14-Apr-02 12:14 AM
Hi again friends,
That was a darn smart point about have a chrome body to draw less attention thru looking more like an amateur. Never thought about that. But it still bypassed the basic idea of not being seen at all. I've been doing people and street photography since I'm 15, (that was quite a while ago!) and chrome bodies catch the light, shimmer and are just plain visible. I've noticed the difference time and time again when I had a chrome or black body with me.
Of course there are a milion ways to interact with a subject and I will agree that the contact is probably friendlier with a chrome camera, less itimidating. The black is kind of 'mean looking' isn't it? (I try to compensate by smiling...)
The white Nikon name is taped up because it's too bright. The black body of the camera blends with my dark clothing, no one seems to notice the camera, or very few people in a gathering. My goal is to keep others from seeing it at all. Or those who notice it, to realize that I don't want to 'publish' the fact I'm taking pictures.
Beleive me, there's a huge difference: dangling chrome is seen and dangling black is not seen. I know because I've used both (and esthetically I prefer the chrome models).
The added benefits of the black electrical tape on the nikon name are:
it's just an old kodak, who cares about this guy?
who wants to steal a no-name 'Blacktika'?
strangers will not come up to you saying 'I have a Nikon too, wich one is that?'
slight stickiness on hot days. (I've not covered the FM3a letters tho!)
less advertising for Nikon!
#14. "RE: Long-winded opinion on FM3A" | In response to Reply # 13nkcllewis Charter MemberMon 15-Apr-02 03:05 PM
I have several Nikons, the most recent being a black FM3a. I am currently in StThomas, the US Virgin Islands on a business trip. There is some crime here so the first thing I did with both my N80 and my FM3a is put black electical tape over the Nikon logo and the camera designation. I think that the word Nikon blazing away at everyone is inviting thieves.
As for why I chose a black FM3a comes down to one simple thing, a black camera is less obtrusive. I was talking with a couple of pro photographers who work in the White House Press Office and one had a black Leica and the other had a black Contax G-2. I barely noticed their cameras as they both had on dark shirts and the camera blended in nicely into the shirt. I don't agree that a black camera looks more "professional" than a silver one; a silver one simply stands out more against dark clothing. Perhaps a black camera would stand out more against light clothing, who knows. A second reason to get a black FM3a is the resale value, black cameras are more desirable in the used market.
As for build quality, I recently had two FE-2s which had to be repaired because the film winding lever stopping mechanism started to slip. This meant that you could accidently wind the film even though you hadn't taken a shot yet. It cost me $125 to fix it and I had to send it back because it still slipped.
I find that I use my N80 more for "life" photography because of the built in flash feature. A flash makes such a difference in taking out annoying shadows, and making the colors pop out on a dull day. I find that I don't like walking around with a flash attached to my camera, so I don't. I have taken to walking around with the N80 with the 28-105 and the FM3a with the 20mm or 50mm. I just ordered a black 45P Nikkor and look forward to getting that for the FM3a.
Hope this helps,
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
"A poor worker always blames his tools" Anonymous
#15. "RE: Long-winded opinion on FM3A" | In response to Reply # 14Mon 15-Apr-02 05:29 PM
I might accept black cameras against business suits being less obtrusive, but what are you doing wearing dress suits in the Virgin Islands? The Men in Black aren't exactly dressed for street photography in the more temperate spots on the planet...
Against my typical attire, a silver camera is less contrasty. These comments on silver cameras make them sound like they're mirror chrome plated and flash brilliantly in the sun. The reality is satin chrome reads as grey most of the time and picks up the ambient colors the rest of the time.
The resale value argument is true if you keep your black body pristine, but black enamel also wears more easily and shows wear more than a chrome body.
I guess if I were as attentive to blending in as some people claim to be, I'd follow the example of urban riders of expensive bikes. Get out the paint and make the thing as drab and shabby looking as possible. A little masking tape, some flat primer gray paint, a new FM3a...voile! Change the color to match your surroundings and see how appealing a camera that looks like a Havana Chevy is to thieves.
#16. "RE: Long-winded opinion on FM3A" | In response to Reply # 15Laika Basic MemberMon 15-Apr-02 08:03 PM
I'll have to agree with the people here who tape over the Nikon logo, my black FM3a and F3 have a neat piece of matt black tape keeping things discreet.
As for why a black finish a couple of reasons - its more low profile, I wear my FM3a across my body (i.e. stick your head and one arm thru the strap) on a long strap and when its hanging it naturally sits just above my jeans pocket. When wearing a coat its mostly covered, and also when walking briskly it doesn't get that bounce happening, a chrome body would look like I was packing a pistol .
Second reason is black bodies retain there value better and are more rare (in any condition, older mint black bodies go for silly money), if you don't agree go check KEH.com and check out any of the used Nikon bodies. Another thing about the point of the black body finish not being as durable, that's a plus in the long run (unless you don't look after your gear). When you buy a used black body that's say 20yrs old and still looks near mint you know it hasn't had a hard life. Chrome will take the rough treatment and still look good but could be a real clunker, prices reflect this.
Speaking of being discreet I was taking a few photos around Notre Dame at Xmas, there were lots of stylish people around wearing dark toned clothes etc that fitted in with the whole French feel of the place. At one point I was about to shoot and I see something bright yellow walk into frame, this guy wearing a yellow "glow in the dark" puffy coat (north face?) plants himself in front a several people taking photos and starts blasting away with what looked like a F4 (inc big yellow Nikon neck strap). I stood back thinking he would move on given enough time, after working thru a few rolls and lenses from his esky sized lowepro bag this guy puts away his Nikon and drags out some medium format gear and starts setting up. If looks could kill this guy would be dead 10 time over ...hehehe I could hear people muttering unpleasantries from far off ... I still wonder how many blocks he made it before getting robbed.
I guess I've got off topic a little. My FM3a and fast primes have been getting almost daily use since I got it last year, its a stunning camera. I took it and some Velvia out today to try out my new (used) 85/2 AI lens ....
#17. "RE: Long-winded opinion on FM3A" | In response to Reply # 16nkcllewis Charter MemberSat 20-Apr-02 11:13 AM
BJ, I am not wearing a business suit here on the Virgin Islands when I am walking around. I wear appropriate tropical attire with lots of colors. The black camera blends in nicely.
I have been observing what all the cruise ship photographers are using on the docks. They are all using FM2s and FM3a; no exceptions. I have seen only two different lenses on those bodies, mostly being the 35mm prime or the 24-50 zoom; only nikkors. I spoke with these guys to ask them what other camera bodies where on these ships. I found out that in the portrait studios on the ships they mostly use F100s and N90s. They said that they don't want to use the F100s on the dock because it is easier and cheaper to repair an FM2 than an F100.
These cruise ships carry around 5000 people and these FM2s and FM3s shoot "thousands of rolls" a year. All stated that the FM2 was a real workhorse and far superior to anything out there. They don't even use batteries in the FM2s since everything is set on manual f/11 at 1/250 second flash sync. The FM3a are being used now and will replace the FM2as when they wear out. I found them to use the FM3a with TTL flash activiated so they are using batteries with the FM3a.
I just got my 45mm P in black from B@H photo and I am very pleased. I am glad I waited for the black lens to go with my black FM3a.
Hope this helps,
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
"A poor worker always blames his tools" Anonymous
#18. "RE: Long-winded opinion on FM3A" | In response to Reply # 17HTFoto Registered since 17th Apr 2002Sun 21-Apr-02 09:24 AM
My experience is that when I'm shooting, I bring my camera to my eye. When I bring my camera to my eye, I've blown my cover. When I've blown my cover, people are far less hostile and less likely to scurry away if I'm using an antique-looking silver camera. That's why my FM3A is silver although I personally prefer black.
You can try to be furtive all you want, even dress up like a ninja for all I care, but unless your idea of photography is to walk around with your camera permanently glued to your stomach, you ain't foolin' anyone. I'd rather be written off as an eccentric amateur, thanks!
#19. "RE: Long-winded opinion on FM3A" | In response to Reply # 18JPA Registered since 20th Apr 2002Sun 21-Apr-02 12:41 PM
Three weeks ago, I purchased my first Nikon: a new silver FM3A. I bought a used MF 50mm f1.2 lens as a "starter." These replaced a much-loved Pentax K1000/Takumar 135mm f2.8 that I spent 10 years learning to appreciate and enjoy.
I am just getting started with my new camera, and I like the fact that it basically looks like my K1000: old and quite frumpy next to the modern, sleek digital cameras most amateurs seem to have these days.
I found a used MF 24mm f2.8 lens at a camera shop in Osaka last week, and had some very good results with the first few shots. The 50mm has helped me capture some wonderful shots in the first two rolls! I mostly shoot in aperture priority mode.
This camera makes me feel like I had my Pentax "updated," but the salesperson at the local shop assured me that this camera was so much more than a 'Pentax with aperature priority,' as I suggested when I saw the FM3A in the case.
I miss my 135mm lens and hope to get a Nikkor equivalent. I also want to get a 'pancake' lens for the 'carry with me' default. A tripod seems like a good idea ... but I am having trouble knowing when I will use it.
I look forward to enjoying this web site and all the shared wisdom of the other Nikonians!
#20. "RE: Long-winded opinion on FM3A" | In response to Reply # 19henry Basic MemberMon 22-Apr-02 01:28 AM
hey welcome to the club the FM2n (now FM3a) and 50mm lens combo is sitll my favorite although now I shoot mainly with F100 plus 28-70 f/2.8.
If someone comes to me and tells me that I can only take one lens and one camera to just go anywhere and shot, I think this will be it.
And, gosh Nikon has a 50mm f/1.2 MF lens? That's awesome!
#21. "RE: Long-winded opinion on FM3A" | In response to Reply # 19JBish130 Basic MemberMon 22-Apr-02 11:11 AM
JPA, welcome to the club. With the exception of a candid photo, my logic goes like this: "It it's worth taking, there's value in a tripod." Of course, I'm usually shooting landscape, buildings, and portraits, plus I prefer slow film. The tripod allows me to use smaller aperatures and longer exposures.
”It’s light and nothing more…”
#22. "RE: Long-winded opinion on FM3A" | In response to Reply # 19gmatrix Registered since 21st Apr 2006Mon 22-Apr-02 07:44 PM
congrats. I have had my FM3a for about two months. Took it shooting to Paris with just a 35mm f2, and it was a perfect travel camera. I recently bought an ai'd Nikkor 135mm 2.8 at B&H for $100. The glass is perfect, and, of course, the old lenses were built like tanks. Mine feels like a solid chunk of steel. A great advantage of the FM3a is that you can pick up the great old lenses so cheaply. The NIkkor 2.5 105mm is legendary lens. Mounted on the 3a, it is extremely bright and just pops into focus. I bought mine back in the late 70's and still use it. Have fun.
#23. "RE: Long-winded opinion on FM3A" | In response to Reply # 22gregh15 Registered since 16th Apr 2002Mon 22-Apr-02 11:36 PM
I'm new to Nikonians and to this forum, but I also recently purchased a (black) FM3A and love it! I agree that the viewfinder is really bright (even compared with the FM2N I was previously using). I love being able to have access to old, fast, relatively cheap Nikkors, the lack of battery dependence, yet the conveniece of auto functions. I shoot a lot of architecture and the "A" setting is particularly useful for low-light long exposures. I've even gotten the camera's meter to time exposures over 60 seconds (past the quoted time of 30 or 32 seconds). I can use the TTL meter for my first shot and bracket from there for some insurance.
Just my 2 cents (or 10 cents, maybe)!
a Bostonian Nikonian
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