Nikon FM3A 35mm SLRs

Available At:
FM3A

User Reviews (89)

Showing 1-10 of 89  
dont forget   Intermediate [Aug 12, 2009]
Strength:

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

Weakness:

none

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

Customer Service

NO NEED YET

Similar Products Used: NIKON FE2,FA
PENTAX SP 1000,ES II,K 1000,KM,KX,K2DMD,MX
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Available At:
darron.fenton   Expert [Nov 04, 2006]
Strength:

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.

Weakness:

None

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.

Similar Products Used: Nothing else comes close
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
ELK   Expert [Feb 18, 2006]
Strength:

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

Weakness:

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

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.

Customer Service

Don't know yet

Similar Products Used: OM series
OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
1
Available At:
Tommy G   Expert [Dec 16, 2005]
Strength:

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.

Weakness:

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.

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.

Customer Service

Never needed it

Similar Products Used: EM, F3hp, F4 if placed in manual mode. Mamiya RZ67 for manual opperation.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
normy   Expert [Oct 16, 2005]
Strength:

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.

Weakness:

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.

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.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Available At:
trebor   Intermediate [Jul 08, 2005]
Strength:

Full manual control and shutter. Compatible with most Nikon lenses (all except G and IX lenses).

Weakness:

Meter is hard to read in low light conditions.

I bought this as a backup to my backup (FE2). It's an upgrade to the FM2, prividing aperature-priority automation in addition to the standard manual control. If you're familiar with FE2, you should be able to pick this up and work without skipping a beat. Uses all of the FE2 accessories such as the MD-12. The camera seems just as rugged, it's nicely balanced, allowing me to focus on my work.

Similar Products Used: FE2, F3, D70s
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
MariaK.   Intermediate [Sep 13, 2004]
Strength:

TTL Flash compensation button Flash sync 1/250 Smooth hybrid shutter system bright viewfinder not too heavy, not too light Both mechanical operation in manual and electronic operation in automatic(Apature Priority Mode) Almost all the lens from 1970's can be used

Weakness:

Haven't had any problems. No auto focus????

The best all Around everyday solid camera. Such a joy to take make photographs Great feeling with 45mm f2.8p lens or any other lens Can be used with MD12 Great Value and Functions for it's purpose.

Customer Service

Good Enough

Similar Products Used: Most of Nikon's best SLRs, DSLRs, Lens and still use them for different ocassions. FM2n, F3HP, FE2, FA, FTN2, F601, F801, F4, F80, F100, D1H, D70
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Available At:
bevan.n.z   Intermediate [Aug 24, 2004]
Strength:

Build quality Fantastic lens options with f-mount Aperture priority helps the conversion over from a/f to manual. Pick one up and hold it and you'll see what I mean.

Weakness:

Hard to reach the d.o.f lever with the md12 motordrive on , and no spot meter but both of these are nit picking and can easily be worked around.

Well after starting photography on an autofocus camera it was a nervous jump backwards to a fully manual camera...but after picking this thing up and feeling reassured by the weight and feel of this camera I know 100% the decision was a great one.Its the kind of camera you know will outlast you and looks every bit as good as it sounds,the shutter has a lovely sound compared to the whizz of the modern a/f cameras and you know that its made to last with the fantastic build quality.Just take a look at some of the photojournalist books in the library to realise that some of the most powerful images over the last 50 years were taken by this cameras brothers and sisters {what pedigree!!}.You wont be dissapointed...I certainly wasnt.

Customer Service

Not needed.

Similar Products Used: Minolta a/f minolta lenses nikon lenses
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
azipuff   Intermediate [Jul 08, 2004]
Strength:

- Compact - Traditional interface - Full mechanical operation with the bonus of aperture priority - Full shutter speed range & fast x-sync

Weakness:

- I experienced compatibility problems with short focal length AF Nikkors - the shutter would fire intermittently halfway through advancing the film. This did not occur with manual focus lenses. The repairman went nuts trying to fix it and couldn't. - Can't see the metering needles & shutter speeds in the viewfinder with dark subjects or low light. - Next to useless exposure compensation dial which is hard to use on the fly. - Camera automatically chooses 1/60 when using A mode with dedicated TTL flash. You can't do slow sync / fill in A mode, and have to go manual anyway.

Nikon should have just continued making the FM2n, which was near-perfect. By adding new features they introduced new problems.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
Available At:
suziQ   Intermediate [Jun 22, 2004]
Strength:

Small, unobstructive size. AE lock wich I don't use it quite often but good to have it. TTL/Flash sync at 1/250 smooth film advance It's 60/40 center metering. Personally I have no problem with center metering since I use handheld meter most of times. Appature priority exposure, when I have to speed up. With 45mm f/2.8 lens it looks so handsome.

Weakness:

Center metering not spot. I thought with that Appature Priority Shutter system and a spot metering combination would be awsome. But again, for me center works fine. No mirror lock up. No secure lock for the film door Plastic dials for the ISO change Wish the shutter would be quieter

I bought Chrome finish FM3A with Silver 45mm f/2.8 about six/seven month ago and it has been my everyday and all day toy. It's such a attention graber too on the street. People look at it as if they've never seen a camera like it. I do documentary style photography and photography for the Film Set. It serves my needs very well and I have really good results from it. It just gives me such a joy and a pleasure that I can operate the camera all manually. I re-discovered that producing great photographs are not getting equiped with high tech gears but its all about photographer her/himself and one camera with one lens. And I choose Nikon FM3A with 45mm f/2.8. It's feel so good and simple to use with this camera. I feel like this camera will last fairly long time by how it's made. Very well built camera. It may have some weaknesses but they are very small issues that does not effect producing great photographs.

Customer Service

Not yet used.

Similar Products Used: Nikon AF cameras. Minolta MF.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 89  
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