Nikon FE, SLR Film Camera

Nikon FE

Nikon FE Overview

The Nikon FE was my second SLR film camera and I bought it in about 1984. I sold my Yashica TL Electro X and moved to Nikon – where I stayed till 2018. I remember some careful research on the other options available, but to be honest I always knew that I wanted a Nikon. I can not remember buying the camera but I can remember using it and enjoying the results. I still have many of the photos I took and I do not remember any disasters. I invested in new lenses and filters and took it with me on holidays and the like.

However, I also recall that for some reason photos with Yashica often had better composition and therefore results….

Rw Jemmett with Nikon FE 3090001 3 Nikon FE, SLR Film Camera
Loading film into my Nikon FE mid-80s

The FE was the replacement for Nikon EL2 of 1977 and is a member of the classic Nikon compact F-series. It is now considered a great second hand buy – see below for examples on eBay.

The FE is a manual-focus SLR with manual exposure control or aperture-priority autoexposure, and electromechanical components. As such, the FE requires batteries (two S76 or A76, or LR44 or SR44, or one 1/3N) to power its electronically controlled shutter. The batteries also power the FE's “match-needle” exposure control system. This consists of two needles pointing along a vertical shutter speed scale on the left side of the viewfinder. In manual mode, a black needle points out the shutter speed recommended by the built-in, open aperture, through-the-lens (TTL), silicon photodiode (SPD) light meter, with 60/40 per cent centre weighting, while a translucent green needle shows the actual camera-set shutter speed. The photographer adjusts the shutter speed and/or the lens aperture f-stop until the needles align.

The viewfinder of the Nikon FE showing the ADR (Aperture Direct Readout) on top and the match needle exposure indicator on the left.
In automatic mode, the FE's black needle indicates the shutter speed automatically set by the electronic circuitry in response to the light reaching the meter. The green needle is used to indicate that the FE is in “A” mode. This system can be traced back to the Nikkormat EL (in the USA/Canada; Nikomat EL, rest of the world) of 1972 and continued until 2006 with the discontinuation of the Nikon FM3A.

Lens Compatibility

The FE accepts all lenses with the Nikon F bayonet mount (introduced in 1959), with certain limitations or exceptions. Full lens compatibility requires support for the Aperture Indexing (AI) feature (introduced 1977), and thus the majority of Nikon lenses manufactured in recent decades will work. During the late 1970s, Nippon Kogaku manufactured approximately 55 Nikkor non-AI and Nikkor AI type lenses. They ranged from a Fisheye-Nikkor 6 mm f/2.8 220˚ circular fisheye to a Reflex-Nikkor 2000 mm f/11 super-long mirror telephoto. This was the largest and widest-ranging lens selection in the world at the time.


View and buy a Nikon FE and accessories on Etsy

RW Jemmett Business Directory Camera a Lens Suppliers

RW Jemmett Business Directory – Film Processing and Supplies

Wiki – Nikon FE



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