Nikon FA 35mm SLRs

Nikon FA 35mm SLRs 

DESCRIPTION

Out-of-production Nikon SLR made from 1983-1989.

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 20  
[Apr 15, 2017]
hale
Intermediate

Strength:

Rugged Nikon build quality, relatively light weight, Feature set. Nikon lenses MLU with self timer.

Weakness:

No AE lock

I purchased my FA form Ffordes about 3 years ago to replace my FG which died, something of a common problem apparently. Sad because despite its short comings I was rather fond of the FG. Anyway back to the FA. Its a considerable step up in manufacturing quality over the FG. I already have an FM2n but the FA feels slightly lighter despite having a very similar body. The FA fits my hands better than the FM2n due to the detachable grip and the slightly swollen back and front plates. The shutter is slightly quieter and gives less slap than the FM2n, and for these reasons I prefer the FA, slightly.
Some don't like the metering display compared to the FE, FE2 FM3a, but I don't find the LCD in the FA a problem. In some ways I prefer it as it sits nicely out of the way when composing. It is harder to see in low light but I can live with that. In bright light its much easier to see than an LED display. The match needles of the FE etc, are probably better for most people but as I say for me the FA's display it just fine.
The FA offers matrix metering with its various automatic modes and defaults to CW in manual. You can select CW in the auto modes if you chose. I wish it had an AE lock but apparently Nikon was confident it didn't need one when using matrix metering or they were just too cheap to put one in! Again this is no big deal for me.
I like Nikons auto MLU feature when using the self timer.
I am forever losing or breaking cable releases so for me this is an invaluable feature.
Of all the various FE based Nikon bodies out there this is my personal favourite, despite its rather tacky 80's styling compared to the classic looking others, mostly due to the aforementioned grip and swollen body.
I paid £90 for mine from Ffordes in good usable condition. It was only £20 more expensive than an FG and cheaper than any usable FE2 by about £30. Prices are still competitive on Ebay compared to other FE/FM2 bodies but they are going up.
I would recommend one to anyone interested in a Nikon film body.

Similar Products Used:

Nikon FM2, Nikon F3, Nikon EL2, Nikon FG.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[Sep 02, 2004]
pgirvan
Intermediate

Strength:

Manual focus, Program, appeture priority, shutter priority, manual modes, matrix and cenerweighted metering, double exposure function, Minimal shutter slap, with an md-15 motordrive is attached it is very ready, viewfinder curtain,1/250 flash sync, 1 sec-1/4000 sec shutter speeds. I'm sure there are more!!!

Weakness:

could use shutter speeds down to 8 sec, but i think i am asking too much then!!!!

I purchased this camera because of its incredible versitility and because it was manual focus. This camera has proved invaluable in my books because I have never needed to do something that the camera couldn't do. I added an md-15 motordrive to my camera about 6 months ago and love it. I am very impressed with this camera and don't anticipate getting rid of it anytime soon.

Customer Service

none needed

Similar Products Used:

Nikon fm2n Minolta srt101x Fujica slr

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jul 25, 2003]
Steven Frey
Professional

Strength:

First of all,I like the FA's smooth and quiet performance.The shutter and mirror are very,very well damped and ballanced;1/30th second with 85 mm lens can deliver a sharp shot ( unless you drink a lot of black coffe ).Second,in spite of five-zone matrix metering,I found FA's very centered centerweighted metering far more usable for my needs.

Weakness:

Well,if you are a die-hard war reporter,or you just have to take that close-up of a football player getting a goal,forget this camera. I experienced a problem with the shutter;it got broken once,but I really pushed the camera far over it's limits

I purchased my very first Nikon FA back in 1987,and I have used it for a couple of years.The FA's ability to accept MD-12 motordrive really turns me on so far,because I also use it on my FM-2's.After a couple years I sold it for no reason at all,and that was a mistake.A few weeks ago,while walking in the street I bounced at my long lost pal and guess what-a beatifull,black Nikon FA with a 24 mm Nikkor was hanging off his shoulder.So,I've made decision-I'll get one pretty soon...

Customer Service

I never needed it

Similar Products Used:

Nikon F3,which is my favourite Nikon camera

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
[Dec 28, 2002]
Kyle Edwin
Intermediate

Strength:

manual and automatic, brand name, very nice lenses, multiple exposure, durable

Weakness:

minimal--less options than newer cameras

When I started looking for a camera of my own (I was borrowing an eighties Minolta for about a year), I wanted to get an older model. Early eighties cameras offered the old manual feeling with the then-new option of automatic (which i never use, but it's still nice to have). All the features I wanted (including a trustable brand) lead me to the Nikon FA, which has plenty of features--my favorite being the option of multiple exposure. This camera has been great and everything a need and want in an SLR.

Similar Products Used:

minolta (XG700?)

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Oct 07, 2002]
GAC
Intermediate

Strength:

Small and light. Matrix or Center Weighted metering. High speed program for prime and zooms (AIS type) 135mm or more. Silky smooth shutter and mirror operation. Shoot at 1/30 sec with a 135mm lens! Double exposures. DOF preview. Solid build. Long battery life. 1/250 sec flash sync etc.

Weakness:

Manual Mode uses Center Weighted exposure only...no Matrix. No exposure lock.

I find the FA to be a great little camera. You can use all the great AIS primes and zooms. The Matrix exposure seems like it can't be fooled. Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Program Mode and Manual settings...what more do you need? Some little known perks that are not in the manual are: 1) Night exposures - just set the aperture (using Aperture Priority), set the self timer (for mirror flip-up) and shoot with a tripod. The FA will automatically determine the correct shutter speed (up to several minutes)! Great exposures every time! 2) Outdoor Flash Fill - Use a TTL flash. Meter the background in Manual Mode with 1/250 sec shutter speed. Set your Aperture for correct background exposure. Now, set your Exposure Compensation Dial to -1 (or whatever you choose). Turn on your TTL flash and shoot. The Exposure Compensation Dial does not affect the ambient exposure in Manual Mode, but, it does affect the TTL Flash Exposure! The FA is a superb camera.

Customer Service

Not required.

Similar Products Used:

Nikon FG, FM, EM.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Aug 24, 2002]
Florian Hentschel
Intermediate

Strength:

Takes all those fine Ai and Ais lenses from my good old FM. Takes the MD-12 Motor, too. Built like a tank. 1/250 max flash sync. Depth-of-field-lever (I use this more often than I thought I would). Matrix metering / center-weighted metering switch (I use this less often than I thought I would because I have learned that matrix metering just does the job). 1/250 flash sync!!!

Weakness:

Flash. TTL-OTF and the automated modes (P,S,A) only work center-weighted at a fixed 1/250 and there is no indication of the aperture in these modes. That's quiet ok for fill-flash action in daylight, but if you want to mix ambient and flashlight at night, you have to go back to centerweighted manual mode.

Best no-flash MF camera I can think of. Matrix metering works wonderful for those tricky snow/backlit/high-contrast shots in full sun. I believe that with this body and a good AiS lens I focus faster than any AF except maybe for those expensive F5 / D1 machines...

Customer Service

Officially, parts are no longer avaulable. However, Nikon service Berlin (Germany) claim that they can exchange everyting but the Copal shutter.

Similar Products Used:

Pentx ME super, Nikon FM, Nikon Coolpix 9xxx, Canon Ixus digital (baah! jucky colours!), Minolta SLR digital (ok)...

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jun 05, 2002]
mcnik
Expert

Strength:

small and light-- if you need more ballast, screw a block of steel to the bottom; pretty, in black, in my eyes; and the shutter release sound and feels smoother than other SLRs,

Weakness:

skimpy viewfinder, (maybe?) no AE lock

I've been reshuffling the deck with my 35mm gear lately. I found a shop that wanted my well-used 8008, but not my FA. I'm now thinking it's a keeper, to back up the new F80 I've ordered. The FA can use my 2 MF Nikors a little longer, but always liked it somehow. One correction of a prior post, however-- there's no high-eyepoint to this viewfinder, which is small and dark, hard to see with glasses. After 15 years with this fairly simple camera, I should know it all. One question, though-- There's a button on the bottom of the right side of the lens mount, below the depth of field and lens release. Pushing it in does nothing apparent. I thought it might be AE lock, but I seem to remember it might be related to Matrix metering. Any insights?

Similar Products Used:

N8008, F3

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
[May 21, 2002]
glowbug
Intermediate

Strength:

Matrix metering, Multimode, takes ALL Nikon lenses (AI, that is), the original Matrix grand daddy. SOmething to be said for the originator of modern day Matrix- so much engineering WAY ahead of it's time. A masterpiece and a turning point in time- a very important Nikon.

Weakness:

Not of F3 build. Extensive polycarbonate use would have been good like a T90. Bottom plate still dents easily. I always disliked the strap mount locations, makes the camera stick out funny and loosens the eyepiece filter every time. No AE-L, but understandable- still has exposure compensation. This is a complete camera for the public(probably the last that Nikon made). The N80 is good, but loses the use of legendary Nikkors.

After using most AI Nikon manual bodies and the most N-AF bodies, I can safely say that the FA is my present favorite. I also have an F3HP, which is rock solid. In terms of build, the FA is built like the FE/FM series, but is more updated like the FE2/FM2. Actually, it is quite comparable to the FE2 in many ways, but then it is also like the FG and a bit like the F3 in certain ways. The handling is very good, but my FA's shutter knob doesn't spin with a finger roll- I need two fingers to spin it. Also, with the polycarb top, It doesn't dent easily as my FE(s) and FM(s) do all the time- believe me, it happens. What matters most to me is that the FA has Nikon's renown Matrix Metering, which puts it squarely above any camera in it's class. I trust it enough (also knowing it's limitations- read Ken Rockwell's Matrix Guide) that I can concentrate on composition while extracting all the detail possible from my superb Nikkor lenses. Matrix metering really extracts the maximum potential out of the lenses at hand. Even with today's modern AF bodies, it is primarily Matrix metering that shows up in the photos. Blue sky is blue and colors are within the ballpark for film. I trust it and it rewards me on every roll. Even though I also use a 3.4 MP camera, there is no replacement for scanned film right now. I can get up to 8MP of useable image pixel for fine tuning and the ability to blow up the image to large sizes without much fuss. Also, the FA is the only other Nikon (except the F4), which has Matrix metering on manual Nikkors. This is not a small issue. My all time favorite 20mm F4 never looked so good as when I took shots on it with the FA. Previously, on my F3HP, I thought that the lens was too contrasty, but with the slight advantage of Matrix metering, my outdoor shots are coming alive- almost glowing with detail. I didn't believe it until I saw it on several rolls. I don't have a 20mm AF, but if the f4.0 is any indication of greatness, the f2.8 must be outstanding. The FA also has P, S, A and M modes, which is more than enough for anyone. THe S modes has a special auto shifting program which lets you lock in a max aperature/shutter speed and then it will shutter shift according to light value (hey, doesn't that sound like A mode?). It uses LCD inthe viewfinder like the F3- in fact, the FA has a lot simlar to an F3HP- high eyepoint, eyepiece shutter, countoured

Customer Service

watchout for the stick foam- ruins most Nikon bodies not matter what- probably the cause for 90% of every Nikon body dysfunction.

Similar Products Used:

All manual AI bodies, all N-AF bodies.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[May 19, 2002]
bogrod
Expert

Strength:

Shutter Blind, Program Mode, TTL flash metering, ect..

Weakness:

No exposure lock for use with center weighted metering.

What a real nice camera! The previous MF Nikon camera I owned was the FE-2, and after not digging AF, I was going to go back to the FE-2. But I cannot say that I was dissapointed in my decision. Great features, more than the FE-2 has, including the Matrix Metering, but also the real neat addition of the shutter blind, which is a BIG bonus for us tripod users. I cannot see a reason to go back to the FE-2, considering that they use the same shutter system, and probably most of the inner workings. When my FA breaks down (which I don''t see happening any time soon) I plan on buying another one!

Similar Products Used:

Nikkor 50mm f/1.2, Nikkor 35-70 f/3.3-4.5, Sigma 75-300 f/4-5.6 (push-pull version), Nikkor UD 20mm f/3.5, Nikkor 60mm f/2.8 macro, SB-15, MD-15

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Feb 01, 2002]
Guido Tittoto
Intermediate

Strength:

Higly reliable camera that is easy to use. Matrix metering works well.

Weakness:

This camera never sold well and went out of production in 1989, so finding parts may be difficult.

I bought my FA in 1986. The camera has worked flawlessly ever since. I had Nikon Canada check the camera in 2000 and they reported it was working fine and did not need any adjustments. I shoot mostly print film and have never had a problem with improperly exposed prints. I should try slide film to check exposure accuracy. It is quite easy to use, has a solid feel and has a compact size (as compared to my F100). I use an MD15 motordrive and find that it works very well. I have used an MD 12, but found it to be slower and not as well balanced as the MD 15. Overall this camera has been a pleasure to use.

Customer Service

Never had a problem with the camera.

Similar Products Used:

F100 and FE2

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Showing 1-10 of 20  

(C) Copyright 1996-2018. All Rights Reserved.

photographyreview.com and the ConsumerReview Network are business units of Invenda Corporation

Other Web Sites in the ConsumerReview Network:

mtbr.com | roadbikereview.com | carreview.com | photographyreview.com | audioreview.com