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Pfreddee
04-19-2015, 16:19
Out of idle curiosity rather than any real concern, I wonder about the reliability/longevity of the Nikon FM2n. What has been your experience with the camera? I am still learning my way around the center-weighted metering, but I really like the it, especially with the Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 AI-S lens (I've always wanted an f/1.4 50mm lens, don't have a single rational reason, except I like available-light photography). I have read that it is reliable, but I'de like to have some first-hand experiences, please.

Thank you to all who reply.

With best regards,

Pfreddee(Stephen)

antistatic
04-19-2015, 16:39
In 1999 I slipped on wet rocks while carrying my FM2n and 50/1.4 AIS. The camera and I fell from similar heights. I needed stitches over my right eyebrow and lost the skin off the knuckles of my right hand.

The Nikon didn't miss a beat. Still going strong today. You could hammer nails with it.

dave lackey
04-19-2015, 16:39
Out of idle curiosity rather than any real concern, I wonder about the reliability/longevity of the Nikon FM2n. What has been your experience with the camera? I am still learning my way around the center-weighted metering, but I really like the it, especially with the Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 AI-S lens (I've always wanted an f/1.4 50mm lens, don't have a single rational reason, except I like available-light photography). I have read that it is reliable, but I'de like to have some first-hand experiences, please.

Thank you to all who reply.

With best regards,

Pfreddee(Stephen)

Oh I am sure you will get some great discussion here. Oddly, I need one myself! After all these years. I love my compact F bodies, FE2 and FM3a. But I am addicted to them. They are very reliable in the long term.

Timmyjoe
04-19-2015, 16:46
Have had my FM2n for twenty years now, bought it new, doesn't get used that much anymore, but whenever it does, never skips a beat. Mine has had the MD-12 on it since about 2001.

Pioneer
04-19-2015, 16:49
Oh crimeny...here we go again!!

Everyone knows that Nikon cameras were designed as hammers first and cameras second.

If you really honestly believe all the drivel you read about the ability of ANY camera to withstand the abuse advertised then you probably deserve the repair bills.

Of course most of those who actually do these types of things don't repair them. They just sell them on E-Bay! :bang:

daveleo
04-19-2015, 16:53
I had the FM2n and have the FM3a. Wonderful mechanical cameras and you couldn't kill them with a stick.
Stop fretting about that.

Pfreddee
04-19-2015, 17:23
A big PS: I take care of my equipment, and use it but I don't baby it nor do I thrash it around. It is, after all, a mechanical/optical piece of equipment and needs the same care as a fine pair of field glasses, IMO. I try not to drop it and when I travel in my car, it's secured against being flung on the floor by a sudden stop.

Just an observation; not intended as a criticism of anyone. But I agree with Pioneer about the ludicrous claims of using a camera to drive nails, realizing that in most cases, this is a bit of poetic license intended to assert how rugged one's camera is.

With best regards,

Pfreddee(Stephen)

jarski
04-19-2015, 18:12
Weakest link are the meter and electronics. Had earlier FE, paid CLA to it and just few years later camera started to expose film wrong. Now would probably pay premium for FM3a just to avoid the same repeating again.

Archlich
04-19-2015, 18:37
My FM3a took a hit on concrete last year. After replacing the bottom plate it looked like new, but the nylon cord that pulls the meter needle was broken. It shoots well but there's no meter display anymore until a repair.

No camera is indestructible I guess. The FM/FE series cameras are simple in nature, crafted well but not tanks like the flagship Fs: you can't really drive nails with them...but given proper care they (the FM ones) certainly will outlast us.

drewbarb
04-19-2015, 19:06
I bought an FM2n in 1995, shot thousands of rolls with it, carried it everywhere for years (mostly with just a 50mm f1.4) and got to where I could nail slide exposure every time very quickly (that center weighted meter is solid, and very consistent). It got soaked when my basement apartment flooded in 2005, took a service/rebuild and still ticking. I haven't shot with it in a couple of weeks, but whenever I pick it up it just begs me to shoot with it. I have a positively embarrassing stable of gear, but the FM2n just might be the best and most reliable camera I've ever owned. It would be my first choice for a long trip or desert island camera. In short: don't worry about it.

Huss
04-19-2015, 20:07
I have had an FM2N for several years now. It is wonderful, and really nicely made. But compared next to my Nikon Fs and F2s, it is obviously made to a much more delicate/lighter standard. Which makes sense as it is much lighter.

All of these cameras would break if I tried to hammer nails, unless they were itty bitty little ones.

antistatic
04-19-2015, 20:54
Sorry about being the first to mention nails.

I stand by my anecdote as a way of conveying my impression that the FM2n is a rugged, reliable camera.

Now, where's my hammer?

Mojo
04-20-2015, 00:55
My FM2n is a last year made in Japan. It is my go to camera in less than ideal street environment. I have a MD-12 but prefer the GMP FM hand grip for the size. To provide a more positive grip, I wrap the grip with anti-slip pad--those used on car dashboards for mobile, etc. I have never dropped this camera but my did so with my S2 rangefinder in the few times when I did not use a wrist strap. The drop left a small dent on the base plate corner and slightly dented my lens hood but luckily no effect on performance.

p.giannakis
04-20-2015, 01:24
I never owned one but there are plenty of comments on the internet about how reliable it is. Any camera will be able to take good pictures and If you are lucky they could potentially survive a couple of bad accidents. I suppose the Nikon FM2n is one of them.
Having said that, my Practika BMS survived a fall from the first floor onto a sandy road and gave me a good service for the following 10 years. One day I picked it up to use it and the electronics were dead.

rbsinto
04-20-2015, 05:25
That entire series of cameras (Nikkormat EL, ELW, Nikon EL2, FM, FE, FM2, FE2, FM2n, FM3a) were relatively full featured, rugged and reliable.
Here in Toronto, at least one of the daily newspapers had FM and FM2 bodies in their Press Pool, and used them for years until they finally decided to switch to auto focus equipment.
I saw a great deal of it when it was put up for sale in a local camera store. The bodies looked like they had been sandblasted, with much of the black finish gone and dings and dents in the prism housings and top plates. But everything still worked.
And I do believe the stories about the abuse that these and the other Nikon film SLRs take and keep on working. I've got a few of them myself regarding my F, F2, and even FA bodies, so I know they're true.

Timmyjoe
04-20-2015, 05:54
As mentioned above, one of the really nice things about the FM2n is it's weight. I've been using a rebuilt F2 for the past few months, and it's just too darn heavy for my liking. May take the MD-12 off the FM2n and start using that again. I really do like its weight.

p.giannakis
04-20-2015, 05:59
Oh, by the way. In the mid-90's Practical Photography posted an article in which they had a Nikon FM2 run over by a Challenger tank (in a sandy road). The camera suffered a lot of damage (they provided a picture of it) but despite some light leaks, the camera worked ok.
I had the following issue that hosted some responses from readers and provided a picture of the battered FM2. I still have this magazine somewhere in my house in Athens....

Pioneer
04-20-2015, 12:37
That entire series of cameras (Nikkormat EL, ELW, Nikon EL2, FM, FE, FM2, FE2, FM2n, FM3a) were relatively full featured, rugged and reliable.
Here in Toronto, at least one of the daily newspapers had FM and FM2 bodies in their Press Pool, and used them for years until they finally decided to switch to auto focus equipment.
I saw a great deal of it when it was put up for sale in a local camera store. The bodies looked like they had been sandblasted, with much of the black finish gone and dings and dents in the prism housings and top plates. But everything still worked.
And I do believe the stories about the abuse that these and the other Nikon film SLRs take and keep on working. I've got a few of them myself regarding my F, F2, and even FA bodies, so I know they're true.

You wouldn't by any chance have copies of their repair bills?? :D

Seriously though. Cameras that get used regularly tend to keep working while cameras that are not used a lot seem to develop problems.

I have a K1000 that has gone around the world with me several times since I bought it in 84. It definitely suffered some abuse though I do use a case and try to take care of it. It has never required any service and has been very reliable. But I have also bought a couple K1000s that had been put away in a closet for years and years. They have always looked much better than my original one but they have always needed some attention just to bring them back to properly working status.

Huss
04-20-2015, 12:56
Weakest link are the meter and electronics. Had earlier FE, paid CLA to it and just few years later camera started to expose film wrong. Now would probably pay premium for FM3a just to avoid the same repeating again.

Akshully the FE was prone to that, while the FE2 is rock solid. And about 1/4 to 1/5 of the price of an FM3A!!

css9450
04-20-2015, 17:43
Hard to believe my FM2 will be 30 years old later this year. That just means I'm old too! Camera is probably more reliable though...

css9450
04-20-2015, 17:46
Here in Toronto, at least one of the daily newspapers had FM and FM2 bodies in their Press Pool, and used them for years until they finally decided to switch to auto focus equipment.
I saw a great deal of it when it was put up for sale in a local camera store. The bodies looked like they had been sandblasted, with much of the black finish gone and dings and dents in the prism housings and top plates.

When I was shopping for an F2 some years ago, I came across a bunch of well-used F2 bodies traded-in by one of the Chicago papers. They were WELL used! I probably should have bought one just because it had a lot of character.

kshapero
04-20-2015, 17:50
The FE/FM groupo are classics as tough beasts. Never owned an FM2n but I want to buried with my FE and FM3a if it weren't for grandson waiting for them.

kuzano
04-20-2015, 18:18
Numerous Nikon camera's gave their lives in VietNam taking bullets meant for the PhotoJournalist using them on the battlefield. Olympus did get a contract for using OM series bodies on the battlefield, but most of the photographers threw away the Oly's and went to the PX to buy Nikon's like they had before.

The Oly's wouldn't stop a bullet...in the front and out the back, just like the photo journalist carrying the camera.

The Nikons would stop bullets from AK47's. I don't know about the Nikon FM2n, but the story attests to the build quality of Nikon.

kshapero
04-20-2015, 18:23
Numerous Nikon camera's gave their lives in VietNam taking bullets meant for the PhotoJournalist using them on the battlefield. Olympus did get a contract for using OM series bodies on the battlefield, but most of the photographers threw away the Oly's and went to the PX to buy Nikon's like they had before.

The Oly's wouldn't stop a bullet...in the front and out the back, just like the photo journalist carrying the camera.

The Nikons would. I don't know about the Nikon FM2n, but the story attests to the build quality of Nikon.
Those were Nikon F's not the FE/FM series which did not start until 1978. I was photographing a demonstration on the top of the steps of the US Supreme Court in 1973 (my first year owning a used Nikon F). Got pushed and I fell down a bunch of steps. Broke my thumb and got 17 stitches on my hip. The F suffered a huge dent on the prism. Never fixed it and it works well even today.
:eek:

dave lackey
04-20-2015, 18:26
The FE/FM groupo are classics as tough beasts. Never owned an FM2n but I want to buried with my FE and FM3a if it weren't for grandson waiting for them.

+1 ^^^ !!!

Love it!:)

kshapero
04-20-2015, 18:34
https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7129/7724958556_00e0eb4292_z.jpg
Funny it seemed huge at the time. The dent does show up in the viewfinder but I have lived with it for over 40 years.

Dante_Stella
04-20-2015, 19:41
My FM2n is a last year made in Japan.

Where else was the FM2n made? I was only aware of a titanium-shutter version and an aluminum-shutter one, both made in Japan.

Dante

ornate_wrasse
04-20-2015, 22:02
I bought an FM2N about 5 years ago and have been very happy with it. When I went to buy a Nikon film camera, I wanted something light that I could carry around with me. I eliminated the FM3A as it was too costly and decided to go for the FM2N. It has served me well. The only problem I had with it was when I went to Buenos Aires Argentina. After a couple of weeks of shooting with it, something happened with the mirror and I was unable to take any more pictures. After I got back home, I had it repaired for something like $50 or so and I haven't had any problems with it since then.

Ellen

Mojo
04-21-2015, 01:24
Where else was the FM2n made? I was only aware of a titanium-shutter version and an aluminum-shutter one, both made in Japan.

Dante

Sorry, I did not recollect correctly. The last year production is my 50mm f1.4D brought at the same time as the FM2 and probably I am wrong again.

ChrisPlatt
04-21-2015, 17:55
Sure, and in some cases the bullets ricocheted off the Nikon and hit the shooter, knocking the gun right out of his hands...

Chris

Jan Pedersen
04-21-2015, 18:10
Ok, not a 2 but an FM, not sure about the difference but I bought a new black FM when they came out and it has been the only Nikon I have had that was to costly to repair when it broke down a few years later.
I don't remember what exactly broke but it would have cost almost as much to fix it as a new body.
They are very nice and small cameras. Good looking too.

burancap
04-28-2015, 16:30
I picked up an FM2n this past weekend. Lovely camera in all regards. My understanding was that the FM2 was titanium shuttered and the -n was aluminum shuttered and that was the only difference? Can anyone verify that and/or offer any other differences between the two?

Timmyjoe
04-28-2015, 16:38
I think you're right on that Jeff. Years ago I checked and my FM2n has the aluminum shutter.

Weird thing about my relationship with my FM2n, like I mentioned I've had it for twenty years, and for some bizarre reason, I have it in my mind that it is silver and black (like most of the ones Nikon made), but mine is actually one of the black on black ones. Every time I take it out of its bag I am surprised that it's black not silver. Never fails. Complete mental block. Maybe it's age.

Best,
-Tim

CMur12
04-28-2015, 16:51
Jeff, I believe the FM2 had a flash sync speed of 1/200, while the FM2n had it at 1/250.

- Murray

GarageBoy
04-29-2015, 07:46
Early FM2n had the Ti shutter
The FE2 is my favorite variant (hell, the F4- which is my favorite to use is basically a bulky FA/F3 hybrid), but the FM2 should last a long time

Everytime I use my FE2, I'm reminded that it's pretty much the perfect camera for me (down the focusing screen, which for some reason, is easier to focus for me than the F3 screens)

p.giannakis
07-23-2015, 05:06
Oh, by the way. In the mid-90's Practical Photography posted an article in which they had a Nikon FM2 run over by a Challenger tank (in a sandy road). The camera suffered a lot of damage (they provided a picture of it) but despite some light leaks, the camera worked ok.
I had the following issue that hosted some responses from readers and provided a picture of the battered FM2. I still have this magazine somewhere in my house in Athens....

Found the magazine... here is a photo...

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-swW3hjbbBos/VbDmr1r505I/AAAAAAAAGbc/OnJPdq3tU8s/s1600/fm2.JPG

jsrockit
07-23-2015, 05:15
This is one of those cases where you can afford a back up and a back up to the back up... the FM2n is relatively cheap these days.

robert blu
07-23-2015, 06:47
My FM2n is old, many years I even do not remember how many. Always worked well, I still use it.
robert

Huss
07-23-2015, 07:16
If I was honest to myself my FM2n would be the only SLR that I need.


But thankfully I am not and so have lots of others..

Pioneer
07-23-2015, 07:42
Numerous Nikon camera's gave their lives in VietNam taking bullets meant for the PhotoJournalist using them on the battlefield. Olympus did get a contract for using OM series bodies on the battlefield, but most of the photographers threw away the Oly's and went to the PX to buy Nikon's like they had before.

The Oly's wouldn't stop a bullet...in the front and out the back, just like the photo journalist carrying the camera.

The Nikons would stop bullets from AK47's. I don't know about the Nikon FM2n, but the story attests to the build quality of Nikon.

I read about a guy who was shot in the chest and his whiskey flask stopped the bullet.

I have faithfully carried my whiskey flask ever since. :D

@ p.giannakis - Even for someone who isn't a Nikon fan, looking at that picture is enough to make a guy cry. Some people have too much time on their hands.

Ljós
07-23-2015, 08:29
I'd say they have beyond proven themselves.
One thing to keep in mind, if you like your cameras to close around your film like a vault: when dropped, the camera back CAN pop open and expose your film to the light. Don't ask how I know... ;-) There is a springloaded lock around the rewind-knob-collar, but the way it's designed, it CAN pop open when you drop the camera.
The F2 etc. takes a bit longer to open and close, but there is not much of a chance that the back door will open in such a scenario.

Still, very reliable cameras, and the high shutter speed can be very useful with 400 speed film in summer!

Dwig
07-24-2015, 11:43
I have had an FM2N for several years now. It is wonderful, and really nicely made. But compared next to my Nikon Fs and F2s, it is obviously made to a much more delicate/lighter standard. ...

True. the FM/FM2/et al are not has rugged as the F/F2/F3 clan but they are still very well built. They'll take heavy serious use for a considerable amount of time.

Unlike their "big brothers", they rely on a foam seal on the back for both dust and light sealing, where with the F/F2/F3 any such foam or rubber is for dust sealing only. At an average of roughly 1/4 century in age, many FM2s will need to have the foam seal on their backs replaced if it hasn't already been done.

Huss
07-24-2015, 13:51
Unlike their "big brothers", they rely on a foam seal on the back for both dust and light sealing, where with the F/F2/F3 any such foam or rubber is for dust sealing only. At an average of roughly 1/4 century in age, many FM2s will need to have the foam seal on their backs replaced if it hasn't already been done.

Got the kit from ebay for less than $10, spent maybe 30 minutes removing the old foam (dental pic!) and applying the new.

Ade-oh
07-24-2015, 22:44
Numerous Nikon camera's gave their lives in VietNam taking bullets meant for the PhotoJournalist using them on the battlefield. Olympus did get a contract for using OM series bodies on the battlefield, but most of the photographers threw away the Oly's and went to the PX to buy Nikon's like they had before.

The Oly's wouldn't stop a bullet...in the front and out the back, just like the photo journalist carrying the camera.

The Nikons would stop bullets from AK47's. I don't know about the Nikon FM2n, but the story attests to the build quality of Nikon.

Don McCullin's Nikon F got hit by a spent round in Vietnam but that's the only one I ever heard of. Personally I wouldn't be reliant on any camera as an addition to my body armour!

Having said that, the Nikon FM2 is a well made and relatively simple mechanical camera and they seem to go on for ever if properly looked after. Having said that, I've got a couple of OM-1's which are still going strong and must be pushing 40 by now.

Dralowid
07-25-2015, 01:56
Wasn't there an urban myth about a Leicaflex SL falling out of a Phantom and still working?

leicapixie
07-25-2015, 03:57
Regarding planes and bullets.
David Hume Kennerly in his bio. "The Shooter" mentions a photojournalist, who was saved by his Nikon-F.
The Phantom Leicaflex did require a major re-build.
It sort of survived the miles of descent, then about 7 months on a desert floor.
A AK-47 bullet will rip thru a Nikon as well as bullet proof vests, of that time..
My bother in law had a special vest, with some sort of ceramic extra, within.
It weighed over 50 lbs, !
I stopped using my Nikon-F's and Leica-M3 as attacks for one's equipment, was a constant hazard, in South Africa.
I lost my 35mm Summicron and 90mm Tele-Elmarit in an attack on my car..
I used mostly my old and battered Pentax Spotmatics..
Reliable and expendable.