Film Camera 2019/8 – Nikon FG – Results

My first attempts to use this camera (without film) showed a few problems. I put a battery in and opened up the back. When I closed it again the frame counter didn’t reset. Ah well. Who needs a frame counter. I’ll know when the film stops that I’ve finished it. However, after opening and closing the back a few times the counter suddenly reset and has since worked as anticipated – at least for now. Second I couldn’t get the meter to work. This was more disturbing, but at a push I could use it in manual mode (with an external meter or “sunny 16”. Although I was getting a bit “down” on this camera I could still try it out although I was starting think that I probably wouldn’t be using it much. Then browsing the web I discovered that the meter won’t function until the frame counter reaches ‘1’. I tried this and sure enough this solved the meter problem. Another problem turned out to be related (I think). When I wound on and pressed the shutter release the mirror would stick in the up position. Setting the camera to ‘M90’ released the mirror. When doing the same thing after the frame counter reached ‘1’ the mirror did not stick.

After that it was all plain sailing. I set the camera in aperture priority mode and went out to take some pictures along nearby Peekskill Hollow Road. There were a few operator-related (i.e. me) errors e.g. not noticing that the camera was selecting too low a shutter speed for me to hand hold, but generally I was pleased with the results. Above the former Tompkins Corners Baptist Church (Now the Tompkins Corners Cultural Center).

Red barn with geese.

Old wooden shack on Peekskill Hollow Road.

Rusty, broken wheel.

Red Barn.

Porch at the Tompkins Corners Cultural Center.

Film Camera 2019/8 – Nikon FG

The Nikon FG is a compact 35mm Single Lens Reflex (SLR) Manual focus camera with an electronically controlled focal plane shutter. I bought it after my two attempts to acquire a Nikon EM failed. I like the look of the Nikon EM and its size, weight and aperture priority automation appeal to me. Unfortunately, neither of the two examples I’ve got my hands on work properly (at least I don’t think they do. However, I could be doing something wrong.) Luckily they don’t cost much and I was about to get a third when I read about the Nikon FG. Although much derided by hard-core Nikon users it sounded like a souped up EM i.e. increased functionality in a similarly small body. I found one at an attractive price and decided to give it a try. It came with a Nikon Zoom Nikkor 43-86mm F3.5 Lens (not shown. The lens in the picture is a Nikon 100mm f/2.8 Series E that came with one of the EMs).

Basic Specifications:

Lens Mount: Nikon F mount usable for AI/AIS/AF/AFS lenses (with some exceptions)

Shutter: Electronically controlled vertical travel, metal focal plane. Shutter release accepts AR-3 screw type cable release. Pressing lightly on the shutter release activates metering circuit, the meter remains on for approx. 16 sec. after removing your finger and then shuts off automatically.

Shutter speeds: Stepless from 1 sec. to 1/1000 sec. on P(Program) and A (Auto) mode; 11 speeds from 1 sec. to 1/1000 sec. on Manual mode; mechanical 1/90 sec at M90 (mechanical shutter setting, no battery required) setting and long exposure on B setting.

Exposure modes: P(Program) mode Light intensity feed-back; shutter speed and aperture set automatically and steplessly; A (Aperture priority); aperture set manually and shutter speed set automatically; M (Manual mode) Aperture and shutter set manually.

Audio Warning Signal: Warning sound activated when shutter release is pushed half way in if shutter is approx. 1/30 sec and below or above 1/1000 sec. Can be turned off via lever locared adjacent to film advance lever.

Viewfinder: Fixed eye-level pentaprism; 0.84 magnification with 50mm lens set at infinity; 92% frame coverage.

Viewfinder display: Shutter speed with LED display; exposure warning signal, flash ready.

Focusing screen: Fixed. Matte/Fresnel with split image rangefinder spot and microprism (K2 screen).

Reflex mirror: Automatic instant return.

Self timer: 10 second delayed; setting cancellable.

Flash: TTL; hot shoe provided; M90 setting for 1/90 second sync. Flash ready light provided within viewfinder.

Exposure metering: Through the lens, center weighted, full aperture with AI/AIS/AF/AFS and most (with exceptions, see above) AI modified lens. Auto and program exposure. Meter does not work in M90 or B and viewfinder LED’s don’t light.

Metering range: EV 1 to EV 18 at ASA/ISO 100 with 50mm f/1.4 lens.

Exposure compensation: +/- 2 EV in 1/2 increments.

Film speed: ASA/ISO 12 to ASA/ISO 3200

Film winding: Single stroke lever. Lever also serves as shutter release lock. Accepts MD-14 (3.2 fps-2fps) or MD-E (1.5fps) auto film winder

Frame counter: Additive, auto reset to S when back is opened.

Film rewind: By crank after rewind button is depressed.

Camera back: Interchangeable. Standard – hinged, swing open, removable, memo holder provided. Accepts data back MF-15.

Battery: (1) one 3V lithium or (2) two 1.55V silver-oxide or (3) two 1.5V alkaline-manganese batteries. Battery is used for shutter timer (digital quartz timing), audio warning and metering.

Dimensions: Approx. 136.0 mm(W) x 87.5mm(H) x 54.0mm(D)

Weight: Approximately 490g.

Functionality not provided: Memory lock; Multiple exposure; Mirror lock up; Depth of Field Preview.

For a more thorough review see Nikon FG on Casual Photophile.