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Nikon FA [replacement]
Old 10-03-2018   #1
Hibbs
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Question Nikon FA [replacement]

Looks like the electronics have gone in my Nikon FA. My first inclination is to look for something like an FM of FM2 but the lenses I have are autofocus. A 50 1.8 and a 35 - 105 Macro.

Seeking advice about replacing the FA with something else like a F601 or F801 from around the period when I got the two lenses?

Thanks in advance...
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Old 10-03-2018   #2
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If those lenses worked on the FA, they'd do just fine on an FM or FM2. I assume they have an aperture ring?
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Old 10-03-2018   #3
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When I was looking for a body (years ago) I researched the FA then after comparing the FA to the F4s I bought the F4s...I was sold on the AF ability of the F4...
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Old 10-03-2018   #4
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So, do you want an autofocus camera this time?
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Old 10-03-2018   #5
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Only the F4 will offer the functionality of the FA with your lenses, plus autofocus of course.
But you can use those lenses on any Nikon that is Ai capable. An FM or any of its offspring will work perfectly.

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Old 10-03-2018   #6
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Complex electronics tend to die. Minolta cameras were notorious for an electrolytic capacitor that died, rendering the shutter inoperable. Not a hard fix, but nevertheless....

There are no circuit boards for the Leica M6TTL, or the Nikon F3 either.

For that reason, many of us have reverted back to the old reliables:
Nikon F, or F2.
Perhaps an FM, or Nikkormat.
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Old 10-04-2018   #7
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The two lenses that you have are fine lenses, but they are fairly common and, in my humble opinion, shouldn't dictate what you should invest in now that your FA has failed. The combined retail value of the lenses you have is in the $150-200 range. As they're Nikkor lenses, they are pretty easy to sell or trade in. Decide how you want to shoot and build a system around that choice rather than around a couple lenses that you happen to have. There are literally thousands of camera models to choose from.

If you really like the lenses that you have and want to keep and use them on an AF body, there are somewhere around two dozen Nikon AF film body models to choose from. Everything from the original AF model N2020 to the F6. The pro model variations, F4, F5 and F6 are more dependable and more expensive. With the exception of these and the F100, most any of the rest can be purchased for less than than $50, many in the $20-30 range. Dependability is more a function of how they have been cared for and/or stored than based on any particular model. Be careful of a the models that have rubber like coatings, particularly the N70, N80 and N90 varients. The coatings have often begun to deteriorate and are very sticky to the touch. Cleaning this off or trying to stabilize the material is a pain. The older models with the smooth finish do not have this problem.

The price range is so narrow that a higher end model with far more features can cost all of $10 more than the lower end model. For example, I would certainly purchase a N8008s over a N4004 for the few dollars difference in cost.

That's my two cents worth.
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Old 10-04-2018   #8
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Why not a N90s? cheap and powerful.
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Old 10-04-2018   #9
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I recommend the F801s, which has spot metering added to the other metering options. They're also known as the n8008s. Great cameras. Mine is used with manual focus lenses, but it's an AF camera. It's tons better than the N40 with it's small and dark viewfinder (in comparison) and its inability to manually meter with a lot of lenses. Paid $35 for mine and love it.

The N90s is a good camera, but considerably bigger and taller than the n8008s. The f801s has a high eyepoint finder too for easier focusing if you wear glasses. An F4 is like a medium format compared to the much smaller and lighter n8008s cameras. These cameras can be used in stop down AE and Program metering or manual metering modes w/ non Nikon lenses like the Leica R lenses w/ adapters.
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Old 10-04-2018   #10
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N90s or F100. Why not, excellent bodies, reasonable prices.
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Old 10-04-2018   #11
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Funny, I had an 8008, and I don't remember it as being any smaller than the n90s I have now. What I remember is that there were times when I would press the button, the lens focused just fine, but the camera would not shoot. And I wear glasses, and I feel I can see the whole finder screen easily on the n90s.

The F100 has a sticky back! But I do like the choice of three metering modes: center-weighted, multi-area, or spot!

If the OP wants an AF, I imagine either model might fill the bill.
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Old 10-04-2018   #12
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Thanks for everyone's comments. As TEZillman pointed out, the two lenses are nice but not anything out of the ordinary.

I am thinking that I may gift them to a friend in Saigon who has a new(ish) NIKON AF rig; just because I just have way too many cameras to excercise.
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Old 10-04-2018   #13
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Nikon F/F2 F3 block & pre ai, ai, ais, some afd is a powerful kit at a great price. Price is going up too
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Old 10-04-2018   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob-F View Post
Funny, I had an 8008, and I don't remember it as being any smaller than the n90s I have now.
I think any noticeable extra bulk in an N90/N90S is in its beefier top panel which has two angled "fillets" on each side of the prism which make it look fatter than the N8008. I doubt the camera itself is any taller or wider than the N8008.
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Old 01-07-2020   #15
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Just an update. Local craiglist had an 801s that I was going to get.

Before I did, I decided to clean battery holder in the FA and load fresh batteries.
Bingo!!!...meter came back to life. All modes working.

Originally I had thought the meter switch (under advance lever) had failed.

I am so happy to have the FA back. Gotta praise Nikon for these rigs from that era.

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Old 01-08-2020   #16
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Thanks for following up!

By the way, I just picked up a Nikon N90s (F90x to you, I think) on ebay. They're going cheap now, something like $30 for a nice one. The F90x was the successor to the F801s, I believe. A little bigger, but incrementally better in every way, esp. ergonomics.

It would be cheap to add one to the stable in addition to the FA.

Many cameras have been saved by cleaning battery contacts.

Side note: Don't put alkaline batteries in it. Use silver oxide (2xSR44) or lithium. (1/3N) That way if you forget about it for awhile, it won't wreck your baby.
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Old 01-08-2020   #17
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Thanks Smaug...I'll keep an eye out for a F90x. was the spot meter dropped after 801s?

I think I'd like to find some older lenses with character for my FA.

~ Hibbs
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Old 01-08-2020   #18
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If one is going to get an AF film Nikon and doesn't want to drop a cool grand on a used F6, just get the F100. Really. These goofy looking 90's 'plastic fantastic's may be "the deals of the decade" but the F100 is built to more solid spec.
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Old 01-08-2020   #19
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I think the F90 is better build than the F100.
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Old 01-08-2020   #20
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Just got an N8008, for less than a $2 roll of film...solid camera with a really great viewfinder, easy to focus manually, AF is quite sufficient for film use; accuracy is a priority over speed. Never paid any attention to AF Nikons below the F100 (have had a few of those) but the consumer models are fantastic bargains...
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Old 01-08-2020   #21
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All the AF wonders of the 90' are great but for one thing: there is no split in the finder.
Manual focusing can be problematic...
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Old 01-09-2020   #22
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Manual focus on the 8008 is easy. Not sure if other models have different screens or magnifications.
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Old 01-09-2020   #23
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Quote:
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Thanks Smaug...I'll keep an eye out for a F90x. was the spot meter dropped after 801s?
The F801s and the F90x both have spot meter.
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Old 01-09-2020   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hibbs View Post
Just an update. Local craiglist had an 801s that I was going to get.

Before I did, I decided to clean battery holder in the FA and load fresh batteries.
Bingo!!!...meter came back to life. All modes working.

Originally I had thought the meter switch (under advance lever) had failed.

I am so happy to have the FA back. Gotta praise Nikon for these rigs from that era.

~ Hibbs
When in hand - the FA has a much better build than many of the post 1990 successors. In particular, the F100 comes to mind. If only Nikon had included an exposure lock on the FA.

My favorite Nikon body from the same era is the FM2n - with only the basics, but a nice LED array in the viewfinder, which acts like an electronic match-needle light meter.
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Old 01-16-2020   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solinar View Post
When in hand - the FA has a much better build than many of the post 1990 successors. In particular, the F100 comes to mind. If only Nikon had included an exposure lock on the FA.

My favorite Nikon body from the same era is the FM2n - with only the basics, but a nice LED array in the viewfinder, which acts like an electronic match-needle light meter.
The FE2 has AE Lock by pressing the self timer lever toward the lens. Doesn't the FA have it too?

By the way, someone I know is selling an F100 for $250. Search on Facebook Marketplace to find it. She's good people. Canadian.

I'm thinking I'd rather have an F4 if I was going to splash out that kind of dough. Sentimental reasons, mostly, but I hear F4s are equally good with manual focus lenses, of which I have a few nice ones.
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Old 01-16-2020   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smaug View Post
The FE2 has AE Lock by pressing the self timer lever toward the lens. Doesn't the FA have it too?

Not if I recall.... I bought mine without a manual, and spent a lot of time trying to find an exposure lock. There's a button located just below the DOF preview but that's for something else.... Metering pattern if I remember right.
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Old 01-16-2020   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smaug View Post
The FE2 has AE Lock by pressing the self timer lever toward the lens. Doesn't the FA have it too?
No, Nikon were so confident about the new metering system that they designed the FA without an exposure lock.

Quote:
Originally Posted by css9450 View Post
There's a button located just below the DOF preview but that's for something else.... Metering pattern if I remember right.
Yes, it's the metering control button. The manual is here: https://www.cameramanuals.org/nikon_pdf/nikon_fa.pdf I am not affiliated with or profit from the site, but please consider sending the site owner a few $. Cameramanuals.org is an amazing service.

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Replace FA
Old 01-17-2020   #28
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Replace FA

I used an 8008S for years. It is much improved over the 8008, particularly the autofocus. I replaced it a few years ago with an F100 and gave the 8008S to a young fellow I'm trying to seduce into film photography. The F100, IMO, is the best balance of features, size and weight of any Nikon SLR ever made in the prosumer" class. I bought a mint 2nd body as backup for when the the first one fails me.
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