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New FM3a vs used F3

polizonte

Active Member
There is a substantial price difference between these two cameras - I just bought a used (mint) F3T mailorder and 2 AIS lenses locally - For the price of the F3, I could have bought an FM3a and saved $400*US) Also I just realized that the module of my Sunpak 555 provides TTL only with an FM3a. As an amateur on a limited budget, I worry about the LCD's, etc. The only advantage of the F3 is the bright viewfinder- flash use seems easier with the FM3a. Any suggestions?
 

lnbolch

Well-Known Member
The main advantage of the F3 is that it is built for photojournalists who bang it around, put dozens of rolls through it each day and must absolutely rely upon it. The secondary advantage is that it can be reconfigured in many ways - viewfinders, screens, motor drive and so on, to meet very specific needs of the user.

For the amateur who is not shooting constantly and whose livelihood does not depend upon it, it offers little advantage.

larry!
ICQ 76620504
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narsuitus

Active Member
Tom,

As a professional, I shoot with three Nikon F2 bodies. If I were forced to replace my aging F2 bodies, I would much rather replace them with a brand new FM3a rather than a used F3. Compared to the F3, the FM3a would not give me a large choice of viewfinder screens, high motor drive speeds, bulk film backs, and the ability to change finders. However, I would have great peace of mind depending on a brand new FM3a rather than a used and possibly abused F3.
 

polizonte

Active Member
I returned the F3T, & my new FM3a arrived plus a credit of $280! I have not tried my old Sunpak 555 w/new NE-2D module yet! I am still looking for a 1:1 close-up lens - I sold the Micro 105mm AIS. Thanks again Tom
 

polizonte

Active Member
Thanks everyone - I ended up with a new FM3a and a mint 180 AIS - the macro survived an attempted carjacking 3/15/04 only to be sold to Jim Kuehl; I was actually sitting in my truck, talking on the
cellphone to the store where I had purchased the lens, when a guy opened the door, punched me,
broke my nose but only got my wallet w/ $14. In the ER they told me I had sustained a head injury -Does this accounts for my buying a D70 w/o lens? Now that I have come to my senses...
 
O

oskarb

Tom

Congratulations on the FM3A, they are IMHO amongst the best mechanical/manual cameras ever produced. I recon you will want to use it much more than the D70. Sell it and put the money to more good optics for your real camera. (LOL)

It sounds like you are putting together a rather nice versatile kit, have fun with your photography and report back on how both cameras are going.

Cheers Craig
 

hotrats49

Member
Tom

The FM3A is a great camera. I bought one last year to replace my old FE. In January, I took the FM3A and a 25-50mm f4.0 zoom to Alaska. Man it was cold, something like -30 degrees Celsius and I saw many newer auto focus cameras give up within an hour or two. With the FM3A I never missed a shot. It's simple, reliable, and fun to use. Definitely the way to go if you don't need the features of an F3 (which is a great camera in it's own right). Cheers.

Greg
 

polizonte

Active Member
Greg - Sounds like an amazing test!
Today I was about to buy a used 55mm 2.8 AIS from a store but thanks to the Bjorn Roslett/Ken Rockwell warnings, I turned the aperture ring and the lens did not stop down - it was stuck at f4....
Well there are still plenty of bargain optics for now -
 

hotrats49

Member
Tom,

No kidding, I almost froze and gave up well before the camera!

My wife and I have been using the various Micro-Nikkors for about 25 years. We both still use and love the MF 55mm f2.8 but the aperture in one of mine (20 years young) stuck wide open recently. I still have the older f3.5 AI version and find that I'm shooting with that more often. I can't see much difference between the two optically.

My FM3A almost always has the 25-50mm f4 attached for shooting out of doors. I also carry a 24mm f2 and 35mm f1.4 for lower light situations, a Micro-Nikkor, and the 180mm f2.8 as a basic MF kit for this camera. Have fun.

Greg
 

jeephead

New Member
I own a Nikon FG. My first real camera that was not a 1 button P&S. I do not care for AF cameras nor do I want to spend big bucks on a digital camera that takes 'Almost as good' pictures as film. I was looking at the FM3A and wanted to know if it will be a better camera noticeably compared to my FG? And will my FG lenses fit the FM3A? Want to get better at taking pictures while upgrading from a 20 year old camera. Thanks
 
F

ftslee

I am also interested in FM3A but I'm low on budget. What are the good and cheap lens that I could get with an FM3A? Heard that it is possible to mount some contax lens via adapter, any suggestion on this?
 

polizonte

Active Member
I found the FM3a viewfinder dark - I ended up buying a used N8008s which switched from auto to manual focus and worked fine with all my older AI lenses and newer AF's, ancient extension tubes, bellows, and my old Sunpak which still provided TTL flash even with enlarging lenses. The N8008s and the N90s are both nice cameras and use AA batteries.
 
C

ctueni

First of all, Hello!
I am Austrian and as well user of the German Version of the Nikonforum, but from my point of view it is more interessting to find the opinions of an international community. So please excuse any mistakes, my motherlanguage is German.

However, I love the whole FM/FE series. Of course I own a FM3a, but to be honest, I am a little bit scared to use it, because of scratches. So my most used camera is the FE2 from 1985.

Never the less, the FM3a offers some advantages. The biggest advantages are the improved TTL flash metering system, and the brighter viewfinder. Therefore I am very surprised about some complaints about the brightness.

what I have wished heavily, were the power supply system of the FA/MD15.

I wish you a nice weekend
 

hotrats49

Member
Dear Christian,

Good to hear from another user of manual focus equipment. Although I do use AF equipment, I also use an FE, FM2N, and recently purchased an FM3A basically to replace both cameras. I have an MD12 motor drive that I purchased with the FM2N. It also works with the FM3A. No worries. Great camera. I recently used it in Alaska (with 25-50, 50-135, and 180mm lenses) in January and it worked beautifully. We noticed a lot of people whose AF cameras were "dropping like flies" due to battery failure.

Cheers (und guten tag),

Greg Lumpkin
 
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