FM3A SLR Camera


Nikon

Categories: Reviews: Equipment : Cameras : 35mm Film Cameras : Manual Focus SLR Cameras

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From the manufacturer:
Nikon's FM3A, is a manual-focus, 35mm SLR camera featuring a special hybrid shutter control system enabling full mechanical exposure control range plus electronic shutter speed control. The FM3A is ideal for photographers seeking the quality and innovation of a 35mm camera with the freedom of personal control. For mechanical operation the shutter's control does not require battery power, allowing you to shoot in all types of conditions, including extremely cold weather, without having to worry about battery failure. When using the batteries, you can take advantage of the camera's built-in exposure meter, and Aperture Priority Auto Exposure Mode.

This Nikon series began with the classic Nikon FM2, which nearly two decades ago, was the first model to incorporate the then world's fastest shutter speed at 1/4000 second. The FM3A now inherits many of the FM2's features with some 21st Century improvements. The durable die-cast metal body is constructed of a rugged copper, silumin aluminum alloy chassis and metal outer body. The FM3A features Center-Weighted TTL (Through-the-Lens) full-aperture exposure metering with exposure compensation of -2 to +2 EV. The camera features a top shutter speed of 1/4000 second, plus a bulb mode for true exposure versatility. The electronic stepless shutter enables precise exposure control with the benefits of automatic performance. An advantage of the automatic aperture control is that it lends the ability to respond more quickly, when the photographer may not be able to do it manually; all without giving up what traditional photographers enjoy - full mechanical manual control.


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22 Reviews  

Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5

4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras
 
Jimmy Cheng 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 5/21/2007 8:44:23 AM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 5/21/2007 8:44:23 AM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 5/21/2007 8:44:23 AM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 5/21/2007 8:44:23 AM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 5/21/2007 8:44:23 AM
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Absolutely wonderful to use. Solid, reliable and accurate. Yet, handling could be better. I found that the grip egonomic is just old-fashion. Too thin and not as easy as the modern SLR.

I love this camera and it's an instant classic.

5/21/2007 8:44:23 AM
 
Koh B.K.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/15/2006
4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 6/21/2006 7:50:00 AM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 6/21/2006 7:50:00 AM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 6/21/2006 7:50:00 AM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 6/21/2006 7:50:00 AM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 6/21/2006 7:50:00 AM
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
probably the best classical looking manual camera out there

top grade built and finish
this camera has a "hydrid" shutter, with battries you can shoot on Nikon's proven "a" mode

if the batt dies on you, its fully manual with the full range of shutter speeds but you don't get metering without batteries :)

6/21/2006 7:50:00 AM
 
Bunny Snow
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
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2.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 4/9/2006 1:10:14 PM 2.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 4/9/2006 1:10:14 PM 2.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 4/9/2006 1:10:14 PM 2.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 4/9/2006 1:10:14 PM 2.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 4/9/2006 1:10:14 PM
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
I bought the Nikon FM3A, after my second hand Nikon FE died a final death and I was in the middle of a classical portraiture session at a local university. The FM3A is manual except for the light meter, which I liked because I could learn how to meter and how to light and create the desired effect myself without the assistance of the camera. I still like the awesome Nikkor lenses, especially the 105 macro. What I didn't like, as I grew older and could not see as well to focus, was no option for auto-focus. I would have liked that option.
4/9/2006 1:10:14 PM
 
Jake Trexel 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 4/4/2006 8:51:15 AM 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 4/4/2006 8:51:15 AM 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 4/4/2006 8:51:15 AM 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 4/4/2006 8:51:15 AM 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 4/4/2006 8:51:15 AM
Rating: 5 out of 5
It is the top of the line for an oldie like me. I use to use an OM-1 back in the 70's. Thanks to the answers that I received at your site, I bought the FM3a and could not be any happier. The same with the lens that were recommened to me. Thank to all of you that have helped me this past year. Jake
4/4/2006 8:51:15 AM
 
Jimmy Bhogal
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/21/2006
4 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 2/22/2006 3:24:44 AM 4 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 2/22/2006 3:24:44 AM 4 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 2/22/2006 3:24:44 AM 4 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 2/22/2006 3:24:44 AM 4 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 2/22/2006 3:24:44 AM
Rating: 4 out of 5
Light weight , rugged , reliable.
2/22/2006 3:24:44 AM
 
Jeff C. Hedrick 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 8/22/2005 5:15:52 PM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 8/22/2005 5:15:52 PM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 8/22/2005 5:15:52 PM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 8/22/2005 5:15:52 PM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 8/22/2005 5:15:52 PM
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Strong full featured will go anywhere. No complaints except price of film.
8/22/2005 5:15:52 PM
 
George Anderson 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 7/24/2005 2:27:09 PM 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 7/24/2005 2:27:09 PM 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 7/24/2005 2:27:09 PM 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 7/24/2005 2:27:09 PM 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 7/24/2005 2:27:09 PM
Rating: 5 out of 5
The introductory information is right on for the basic specifications of this wonderful SLR, so I'll just add a few details. This is an amazingly well-built camera in a day and age of cheap printed circuits and throwaway, battery-dependent technology.

Expensive? Not for what it is, once you know how it's made. They don't make small 35mm SLR cameras anymore like this one. The Nikon FM3a is NOT assembled in China or Thailand by semi-skilled workers, but still made in Tokyo in small manufacturing batches by trained assemblers.

The FM3a's best traits are its electronic/mechanical dual-use shutter, its durability and its high level of build quality. There is no hi-tech carbon-plastic body to shatter or crack, no large LCD panel to bleed or short out, no super-state-of the-art, untried electronics to go haywire. The body is high-strength silumin alloy. The film advance rides on ball bearings, the shutter transport is metal. The camera uses the tough AI/AIS metal manual-focus lenses with no autofocus ICs, motors, or plastic focusing gears to break. What electronics it does have are evolutionary, thoroughly tested, and well protected inside the metal body. In fact, the FM3a follows Nikon's old tradition of gradual evolution of tested design, the better to ensure its longevity and continued operation under adverse conditions.

Bottom line? This camera should never need anything more than new seals to keep working over the next 20-25 years, long after this year's autofocus wonder has bitten the dust (check the camera repair forums if you think modern AF cameras don't break). The FM3a is certain to be a collector's item as the last of the high-quality small Nikon SLRs.

7/24/2005 2:27:09 PM
 
Jake Stanton
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/15/2005
5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 2/22/2005 8:15:16 PM 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 2/22/2005 8:15:16 PM 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 2/22/2005 8:15:16 PM 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 2/22/2005 8:15:16 PM 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 2/22/2005 8:15:16 PM
Rating: 5 out of 5
I love Nikon better than any other kind of camera's. The Nikon FM3a is completely Manual (which i love) and is everything i have ever wanted in a camera. I love everything about it. The only bad thing i can say about it is that im always afraid to hurt it (cuz i love it so much) so i dont use it to it's full potential. Other than that i think all film photographers should have one or ten!
2/22/2005 8:15:16 PM
 
Thomas A. Carter 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 1/29/2005 2:12:54 PM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 1/29/2005 2:12:54 PM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 1/29/2005 2:12:54 PM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 1/29/2005 2:12:54 PM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 1/29/2005 2:12:54 PM
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Just bought this Nikon--will know more in a few months. Tom Carter
1/29/2005 2:12:54 PM
 
Chipper S. McWilliam 3.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 9/5/2004 7:49:41 PM 3.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 9/5/2004 7:49:41 PM 3.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 9/5/2004 7:49:41 PM 3.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 9/5/2004 7:49:41 PM 3.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 9/5/2004 7:49:41 PM
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
I have not had it long enough to judge it but its as close to the Canon AE-1 that i will get tese days and i loved that gem for over 20 years.
9/5/2004 7:49:41 PM
 
Veeky Liew 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 7/24/2004 9:32:22 AM 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 7/24/2004 9:32:22 AM 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 7/24/2004 9:32:22 AM 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 7/24/2004 9:32:22 AM 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 7/24/2004 9:32:22 AM
Rating: 5 out of 5
This is the best 35 mm manual camera so far for me....
7/24/2004 9:32:22 AM
 
Naser Aldeen B. Baqi 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 7/8/2004 1:37:38 AM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 7/8/2004 1:37:38 AM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 7/8/2004 1:37:38 AM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 7/8/2004 1:37:38 AM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 7/8/2004 1:37:38 AM
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
This working horse have served me alot. I find joy and excitement working with it. Its realy a teaching aid for mastering Exposure. It allows me to take more control over my situations that I face. Its Mechanical shutter is a wonder. No need for batteries any more. No suck complicated Functions that I use. Excellent camera for traveling.
7/8/2004 1:37:38 AM
 
Leroy A. Skalstad 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 6/18/2004 4:46:16 AM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 6/18/2004 4:46:16 AM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 6/18/2004 4:46:16 AM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 6/18/2004 4:46:16 AM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 6/18/2004 4:46:16 AM
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
I just love full manual control in the craft of creating images. Built quality adds to confidence and moral. I love my Nikon FM3a
6/18/2004 4:46:16 AM
 
Joy Dutta 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 5/28/2004 11:45:20 PM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 5/28/2004 11:45:20 PM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 5/28/2004 11:45:20 PM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 5/28/2004 11:45:20 PM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 5/28/2004 11:45:20 PM
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
I bought this gem after a long time of dreaming. I am absolutely happy with this, and get more pleasure shooting with this than my F80.
5/28/2004 11:45:20 PM
 
David Cantlin 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 5/18/2004 8:51:43 PM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 5/18/2004 8:51:43 PM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 5/18/2004 8:51:43 PM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 5/18/2004 8:51:43 PM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 5/18/2004 8:51:43 PM
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
I've owned my fm3 for a little over a year and I absolutely love it. I have an nikromat EL a EL2 and FE. I can interchange all my equipment and the operations are all the same. I love the appeture priority for night photography. It is a great camera for advanced and beginner.
5/18/2004 8:51:43 PM
 
David Cantlin 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 5/18/2004 8:51:27 PM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 5/18/2004 8:51:27 PM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 5/18/2004 8:51:27 PM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 5/18/2004 8:51:27 PM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 5/18/2004 8:51:27 PM
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
I've owned my fm3 for a little over a year and I absolutely love it. I have an nikromat EL a EL2 and FE. I can interchange all my equipment and the operations are all the same. I love the appeture priority for night photography. It is a great camera for advanced and beginner.
5/18/2004 8:51:27 PM
 
5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 4/28/2004 3:42:21 AM 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 4/28/2004 3:42:21 AM 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 4/28/2004 3:42:21 AM 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 4/28/2004 3:42:21 AM 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 4/28/2004 3:42:21 AM
Rating: 5 out of 5
It is beautyful and very professional camera thank you nikon for this P. Madhavan
4/28/2004 3:42:21 AM
 
Chelsea E. Morgan 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 1/12/2004 9:03:11 PM 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 1/12/2004 9:03:11 PM 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 1/12/2004 9:03:11 PM 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 1/12/2004 9:03:11 PM 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 1/12/2004 9:03:11 PM
Rating: 5 out of 5
This camera is perfect for me, small, compact, all manual options. It feels extremely sturdy (as far as the inside mechanisns go) and I have no problems with it whatsoever.
1/12/2004 9:03:11 PM
 
Sherri Crist 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 10/20/2003 3:20:00 PM 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 10/20/2003 3:20:00 PM 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 10/20/2003 3:20:00 PM 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 10/20/2003 3:20:00 PM 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 10/20/2003 3:20:00 PM
Rating: 5 out of 5
I love the total manual control I have with my Nikon. I love working in the darkroom and seeing my own pictures develope. I am really intersted in doing more with Macro photography.
10/20/2003 3:20:00 PM
 
Jennifer A. Okamoto
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/10/2003
4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 10/9/2003 2:56:31 PM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 10/9/2003 2:56:31 PM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 10/9/2003 2:56:31 PM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 10/9/2003 2:56:31 PM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 10/9/2003 2:56:31 PM
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
love this fully manual camera.
10/9/2003 2:56:31 PM
 
Eve  M. Stocker 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 8/17/2003 11:33:19 AM 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 8/17/2003 11:33:19 AM 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 8/17/2003 11:33:19 AM 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 8/17/2003 11:33:19 AM 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 8/17/2003 11:33:19 AM
Rating: 5 out of 5
I love the portability of it and the "old school" look of it (I chose the silver lens and lens cap to perpetuate that look). I also love that it forces me to think about what I'm shooting and how I am shooting it. I got this gem so that I could use it in cold weather without fear of the batteries running down constantly. It's a winner.
8/17/2003 11:33:19 AM
 
Debbi Koplen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/22/2002
4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 8/29/2002 4:44:20 PM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 8/29/2002 4:44:20 PM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 8/29/2002 4:44:20 PM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 8/29/2002 4:44:20 PM 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Cameras 8/29/2002 4:44:20 PM
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
I've been very pleased with this camera's performance. If you want a camera with mainly manual features, then this is a wonderful camera to own. Despite the fact that this camera body is metal, it's relatively lightweight and easy to handle. It's offered in two finishes-all black or chrome and black. The aperture priority feature is a real bonus with this manual camera, along with the 1/4000 second shutter speed. It also had AE lock, depth of field indicator, and exposure compensation features. I chose the camera because it is a solid, basic camera with just enough extras to give you everything you'd want in a manual camera, but not so much that you have to lug around the instruction manual with you on every photo shoot. The real beauty in this camera for me is the fact that there are now many used Nikkor manual lenses on the market that can be had at a fraction of the cost of what the new auto focus lenses cost. I didn't rate this camera a "10" because I am sure there is something it lacks, but I haven't figured out yet what that is!
8/29/2002 4:44:20 PM
 

22 Reviews