Product review, the Nikon FE.

The Nikon FE you said? Is it a new compact? How many mega pixels ? (One day I'll write an article to explain how stupid that question is).

Well no, the Nikon FE is a superb machine, extremely reliable, trustworthy, with amazing ergonomics, and it looks like that:

Isn't it beautiful? It also exists in black, one of my friend has one in black...I must say I nearly bought a second one for the look of it. Oh yeah it cost $ 100 on any famous photo gear site's used section.

-"Wow thanks Ronan, we really needed a 1978 camera review"
Well maybe you do actually, because unlike hundreds of compact digitals that cost 500 euros for features that are just as useful as a spare tire on a horse, this my friends is a camera.

It is a manual focus SLR with built in metering and aperture priority mode. It means you can set the aperture and it will shoot at the right speed automatically. And that's pretty much it. It's fantastic, because you can shoot without even thinking: point, focus, shoot. No need to go thru a 7 layers menu to find the right presets.
The meter appears to be center weighted (gotta check but it behaves like it, the Nikon FA has matrix metering) and you can lock the exposure with a button conveniently center on the side of the lens, falling under your right fingers. If you know the zone system well, you can expose perfectly with this little monster, it is a brilliant meter.

What else, the battery lasts forever (years...), it's built out of metal, and nicely, you won't have the battery clip duck taped after it fell from a chair, oh no.

Lenses? Well it takes everything Nikon has ever produce as far as I know, even the most recent. I use it with the 35f2 full frame and the 85f1.8.

I already explained why I shoot film, so I'll explain why I shoot the FE:
  • It is small, doesn't rely on batteries and if it gets stolen I can get an other one for 100 bucks. That makes it a great travel friend.
  • It meters brilliantly.
  • With the $100 50mm f1.8, it is the cheapest package for someone to start film photography (or simply photography with a taste for grain and black & white)
  • Wear it with a leather jacket and beige kakis, and I swear you'll feel like Indiana Jones.
  • It takes great pictures even if, has always, that highly depends on the lens.
  • Vintage look of color 35mm film
  • Beats digital B&W easy.
Weather you want to give film a serious but cheap try, or if you like to collect vintage but still great cameras, or...well just get one. Those are low rez scans, ask me if you want a large file to make up your mind.

Neopan 400, Budapest, 35mmF2.

Hilford HP5, Barcelona, 35mmF2.

Portra VC, NYC, 35mmF2.

1 comment:

  1. Great review! I own a FG but I will buy a FE in the next few days and you helped me to make my mind. I will use it with my current 50mm 1.8 Ais, 35-105 Ais and a suberb 180 2.8 Ais... Thank you for writing this! Paulo Silva / Portugal