Nikon FA Review: A Hidden Gem for Film Enthusiasts

Today, we dive into the world of Nikon film cameras, specifically focusing on the underrated Nikon FA which is a great camera idea for film enthusiasts as well as seasoned film photographers! We’ll explore why the Nikon FA might just be a better choice than its well-known counterpart, the Nikon F3.

Comparing the Nikon FA and F3: The Nikon FA stands tall against the popular Nikon F3, offering not only comparable but often superior features. Despite being more budget-friendly, the Nikon FA outshines the F3 in several aspects.

Nikon FA vs. Nikon F3

TDR Film Developing
  1. Newer Technology: The Nikon FA boasts four exposure modes; manual, aperture priority, shutter priority, and program compared to the Nikon F3’s two modes; manual and aperture probity.
  2. Max Shutter Speed: The Nikon FA boasts a fast 1/4000th of a second max shutter as well as 250th flash sync compared to the F3’s 1/2000th max shutter and 60th flash sync.
  3. Advanced Metering: The FA features a matrix meter and an optional spot meter, providing photographers with more control over exposure.
  4. Built-in Hotshoe: A built-in hotshoe simplifies the process of attaching external flashes, making the Nikon FA a versatile choice compared to the Nikon F3 which doesn’t have built in hotshoe meaning you’ll need the relatively rare hot shoe adapter or a flash sync cable.
  5. Weight and Size: The Nikon FA is lighter than the Nikon F3 and since the Fa doesn’t have a removable viewfinder, it is also slightly smaller and more compact.
  6. Bright Viewfinder: Both have bright and very big viewfinders and while the Nikon F3 has a variety of interchangeable viewfinders, we find that we rarely use that feature and the removable viewfinder often results in much ore dust in the finder compared to the Nikon FA’s sealed viewfinder which doesn’t allow nearly as much dust to get in.

Below are some images from a roll of Portra 400 taken with the auto program mode on the Nikon FA which shows how accurate the matrix meter is!

AI-S Lenses Compatibility: The Nikon FA is one of only four cameras truly utilizes AI-S lenses, offering matrix metering capabilities. This feature distinguishes it from the Nikon F3 which can use AI-S lenses but since the F3 doesn’t have matrix metering there is no point in getting AI-S as AI and AI-S lenses are basically the same – the only difference is that they allow for matrix metering on certain Nikon cameras.

Affordability: The Nikon FA proves to be a cost-effective alternative, often available at half the price of the Nikon F3. If the F3 is beyond your budget, the FA, along with the Nikon FM and FE, presents compelling alternatives.

Nikon Film System Advantages: Nikon cameras are reliable, built well, and offer extensive lens options. Nikon’s commitment to the F mount lenses over the years means a wide selection of lenses choose from, both from Nikon and third-party manufacturers.

Recommended Platform for Used Gear: Explore for your used camera gear needs. As a trusted source, they offer a variety of Nikon bodies and lenses, providing quality options for film enthusiasts.

In Conclusion

The Nikon FA is defiantly a hidden gem, not only in the realm of Nikon but all film cameras. Its advanced features, affordability, and compatibility with a wide variety of F mount Nikkor lenses make it a worthy companion for photographers of all levels.

10 replies on “Nikon FA Review: A Hidden Gem for Film Enthusiasts”

Nice review. One question though, do you lose matrix metering with AI lenses? So all metering is center weighted?

No, you don’t lose matrix metering with AI lenses; using AI-S lenses improves P and S modes, since AI-S lenses catches a bar inside lens mount so camera can tell whether you use shorter or longer focal length (135 mm or above, to be precise). Pretty clever, and it’s all mechanical; you don’t want P or S mode to choose , say, 1/15 sec. with 200 mm lens attached to a camera 🙂

Reviewing Nikon FA; in reality, comparison with older F3. I don’t mind at all because I found something really helpful here. Though I love to play with kids with polaroid cameras mostly, but as older got some extra clue here. Thanks BAD Flashes for YT Vid!

When comparing the Nikon FA to the Nikon F3, a number of key differences between these cameras can be noted. The Nikon FA features the latest technologies, such as four exposure modes (manual, aperture priority, shutter priority and program mode), giving photographers more flexibility in choosing shooting settings. By the way, buy discussion board post I can here . At the same time, the Nikon F3 offers only two modes: manual and aperture priority.

The Nikon FA was one of the first SLR cameras to feature Nikon’s advanced Matrix Metering System. This innovative metering system analyzed light across the frame and provided more accurate exposure readings, ensuring well-balanced and properly exposed images even in challenging lighting conditions.

The Nikon FA is a hidden gem for film enthusiasts, offering advanced features and exceptional performance. With its sophisticated metering system and versatile exposure modes, including aperture-priority and manual, it provides precise control over exposure settings. The FA’s durable construction and sleek design make it a joy to use, while compatibility with a wide range of Nikon lenses expands creative possibilities. Its innovative Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill-Flash system ensures accurate flash exposure, even in challenging lighting conditions. For photographers seeking a reliable and capable film camera, the Nikon FA stands out as a timeless classic that delivers outstanding results.

Hi, as a former user of Nikon FA cameras (1988 to 2000) I can say this: Nikon FA is a wonderful camera, with an excellent light metering system , and a quiet shutter/mirror mechanism. It’s lightweight, small grip on the right side improves ergonomics pretty much; also, it has a nice bright viewfinder. But do not use motor drive; the inner camera mechanics is to soft for it, and MD’s will almost certainly damage the camera if used extensively. All written here comes from personal experience. Nice review, by the way; it brought back pleasant memories, I think of getting one FA … cheers!

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