Home | Reviews | Cameras | Film Cameras | 35mm SLRs | Nikon

Nikon FM3A 35mm SLRs

4.76/5 (89 Reviews)


  • MPNnkfm3ab
    Product ID44021
    Depth2.3 in.
    Film Type35mm
    Width5.6 in.
    Height3.5 in.
    Battery Type1 x 3V Lithium Battery
    Release DateQ2, 2001
    Weight20.16 oz.
    Self TimerYes
    Shutter Speed8 - 1/4000 sec
    Camera TypeSLR (Single Lens Reflex)
    Focus TypeManual Focus
    ISO Range - Automatic SettingISO 25 - 5,000
    Viewfinder Frame Coverage93 %
    Frames Per Second3.2 fps
    Eye Relief14 mm
    Auto ExposureYes
    Lens MountNikon F
    Interchangeable LensesInterchangeable Lenses
    Viewfinder Magnification0.8X
    Bulb Shutter SpeedWith Bulb Shutter Speed
    WaterproofNo
    Manual Shooting ModesAperture Priority • Fully Manual
    Light Metering ModesCenter Weighted
    Max Flash Sync Speed1/250 sec
    Mirror LockupWithout Mirror Lockup
    ISO Range - Manual SettingISO 12 - 6,400
    Zoom LensWithout Zoom Lens

Product Description



Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating

Reviews 1 - 5 (89 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by dont forget a Intermediate

Date Reviewed: August 12, 2009

Strengths:    An upgrade FE2
A piece of art
Very easy to use
Fast match needle-you know exactly how far away you are from correct exp


Weaknesses:    none

Bottom Line:   
An upgrade FE2
A piece of art
Very easy to use
Fast match needle-you know exactly how far away you are from correct exp

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   11-20 years

Price Paid:    $300.00

Purchased At:   e-bay

Similar Products Used:   NIKON FE2,FA
PENTAX SP 1000,ES II,K 1000,KM,KX,K2DMD,MX


Type of photography:   Outdoor


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by darron.fenton a Expert

Date Reviewed: November 4, 2006

Strengths:    Superb build quality and reliability. Camera has a nice big film pressure plate which facilitates pin sharp images. A very accurate mechanical shutter which works without battery power. Allows you to take control of your photography.

Weaknesses:    None

Bottom Line:   
What can I say? I have been taking photographs for over 25 years and the Nikon FM3A is the best camera I have ever owned. I decided to purchase one when on a shoot in high altitude temperate rainforest. A sudden cold snap killed the batteries in my battery dependent Nikon. My spare batteries were back at base camp. By the time I replaced the batteries the light had changed and the mist in the forest had cleared. I missed a great photo opportunity. With my FM3A no more worries about batteries, she soldiers on without them.

The camera is built to last a life time and allows you to take complete control over your photography. In short, the best 35mm SLR ever made.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Price Paid:    $850.00

Purchased At:   Digital Rev

Similar Products Used:   Nothing else comes close

Type of photography:   Outdoor


Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:1
Submitted by ELK a Expert

Date Reviewed: February 18, 2006

Strengths:    Nice design and good light mete. takes great pictures when the camera is working properly

Weaknesses:    shutter problems are common so you are rolling dice if you take it on a trip

Bottom Line:   
Camera took excellent pictures for around 6 months
I invest a lot of time and money travelling to remote areas and taking pictures so I purchased this for reliability.
I recently travelled to South America and came back to find over 50% of my slides Burnt out in the center because the shutter wasn't closing properly. If you review this sight's reviews and reviews on other sights you will find that shutter problems are relatively common in this camera. I am sure Nikon will fix the camera but unfortunately since I require so much effort just to get where I am going to take opictures, I cannot rely on this camera again and cannot recommend it for important trips.
I guess I will have to invest in a Leica since I insist on a fully manual camera unless someone has some other suggestions.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   11-20 years

Price Paid:    $525.00

Purchased At:   b&h

Similar Products Used:   OM series

Type of photography:   Other


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Tommy G a Expert

Date Reviewed: December 16, 2005

Strengths:    Faster flash sync then the F3hp and EM, (1/250 opposed to the 1/60) Bright screen and matched needle. This seems to be quicker for me to comprehend then digital readouts, but again that is a matter of personal tast, and I use both systems. Put your FM3a on a tripod and shoot in total darkness using auto mode and get correct exposures without haveing to calculate exposure time in B mode. Double exposure easy to use and again challenges creativity. Very well built compared to some of the plastic cameras everyone seems to be making today. Not having to worry about battery power if that fails. Usually a battery will last for years in the FM3a becase it only has to work the needle in the viewfinder display. Go completely manual for insperation, or Auto when you don't want to miss that action shot. Very good exposures even though it's only center weighted, but I use a Sekonic light meter if I want spot readings for those difficult lighting situations.

Weaknesses:    It would have been nice if the matched needles could have been illuminated inside the viewfinder for dim or dark lighting like my F4 has, but I have survived without it for years with few negitive results. If its that dark you should be using a tripod anyway. No mirror lock up, but if time isn't an issue the mirror will lock up in 10 secounds using the self timer. Spot metering would have been a plus, but then again if Nikon kept adding, it would have required us to pay a lot more for the camera.

Bottom Line:   
My humble begining in photography started when I purchased a used EM camera with a 50mm E series lens from an older gentlemen in my town, and from that time on I was totally hooked on being a good photographer. That camera was my pride and joy for over a decade even though I knew it was very inexpensive and lacked many funtions that were available on the better cameras. Over time the camera had worn out and I was left with an assortment of manual lenses. Instead of purchasing a better manual camera, I foolishly decided to go with one of Nikons first fully automatic cameras. No longer were my old manual lenses of any use, but the new auto focus camera tried to make all the decisions for me. I parted with that thing after fighting against it for a year, and found another EM to fill in until I could afford something better. When Nikon finally introduced the FM3a it was so familiar to my past expirences with the EM. Better built, full manual control, dosn't require battery power if that fails, and simple to use so I could concentrate on my composition. Since that time I have aquired an F3hp that I had always dreamed about, and a Nikon F4 that has its place in my toolbox too. I could make comparisons, but all that aside, the FM3a is always along for the ride if not my primary camera for certain subjects. The FM3a shines for night photography simply because you do not have to make any calculations unless you want to. Both the EM and FM3a will make indefinate correct exposures in Auto Mode which is not common with other Nikons. Double exposures are easily done with the FM3a, and I'm not worring about other things to go wrong as you might find in the more complex cameras. I've photographed air shows, many action shots with a 300mm lens on the FM3a with great results. Over all I feel the bacic funtions of the FM3a can add to anyones creativity, and the FM3a was an unexpected blessing from Nikon for all those who really loved the older manual cameras. Nikon makes many fine cameras for many applications, and the FM3a can fit many of those needs too.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Price Paid:    $599.00

Purchased At:   B&H Photo

Similar Products Used:   EM, F3hp, F4 if placed in manual mode. Mamiya RZ67 for manual opperation.

Type of photography:   Outdoor


Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by normy a Expert

Date Reviewed: October 16, 2005

Strengths:    Very reliable. Not a single problem yet in lots of heavy use.
Great manual focussing speed and handling, especially with a plain matte B-screen.
Behaves beautifully with the 45mm AIP.
Shutter speed adjustment is very quick. Nikon added a couple of mm to the height of the shutter dial, compared with older FM/FE-style bodies and it makes a difference in speed of manual exposure adjustment.
Very good battery life - got about 18 months from my first set.
Half-depress to full-release of the shutter is very precise and smooth.
If you leave the ISO setting on DX and don't load a film, the flash and +/- LEDs in the viewfinder flash when the camera is turned on. Saved me from forgetting to reload film a couple of times.


Weaknesses:    It's a nicely handling camera, but not without some quirks:
Setting exposure compensation is very tricky one-handed. The button to release the dial is unnecessary.
I've always been annoyed with Nikon making me press the button in the center of the shutter dial to get away from 'A'. Both the FE and the FM3A have this and it's a bit of a pain in a hurry.
The ISO dial is plastic. It wears. The paint has worn from parts of the edges of mine and it's developed a little play that wasn't there when new.
For its size, this is a heavy camera.


Bottom Line:   
Lots of other people have discussed the strength and weaknesses of the FM3A. Undoubtedly it's the best of its type and an all around great manual focus camera. I'm a huge fan of mine and use it very frequently, so after four years, I thought I'd mention something about its longer-term use.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Type of photography:   Other



Reviews 1 - 5 (89 Reviews Total) | Next 15

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating


which manual 80-200 ???? for fm3a

HI, THANKS FOR TAKING THE TIME TO LOOK. I AM TRYING TO DECIDE ON A 80-200 FOR MY FM3A, BUT I AM CALLING ON SOME OF THE BRAINS OF THE SITE TO GIVE ME SOME ADVISE ON WHICH IS BEST?? I would like to keep it all manual focus and so far I am debating between the Nikon 80-200 {either the f4 or f4.5 ... Read More »

Fm3a's lens

I am getting a Fm3a i am wondering what will be a good lens to go with it..i am on a buget soo and all rounder will be nice...2 lens will be my buget's limited..i am aiming for nikon :) 35-200mm what u guys think?Read More »

Read More »



Holiday Gift Guide 2013

Check out our holiday gift suggestions for these categories!



See All Holiday Gift Guide coverage - Click Here »

 

PhotographyReview Videos

 

PhotographyReview on Facebook