Nikon EM, 1979 - Other Info
Nikon Super Compact Bodies EM, FG & FG-20

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Using Flash
with the EM.

(More info: Nikon SB-1 to SB-21 Speedlight/Flash Units) all workable with the Nikon EM

The EM has a standard ISO type hot shoe on top of the fixed viewfinder prism. Even if the mode selector is at the green AUTO position, the proper electronic flash synchronization speed of 1/90 sec. is automatically set on the camera as soon as you turn on any Nikon dedicated flash, the EM has its dedicated compact flash unit in SB-E. Although the meter needle continues to move, 1/90 sec. is still set electronically. The SB-E couples directly to the Nikon EM's hot shoe making positive electrical connection without the use of a PC cord (The EM does not has a PC terminal provided - but I doubt many photographers use it nowadays).

Nikon SB-E electronic flash/speedlight front view Nikon SB-E electronic flash/speedlight rear control panel view
EM with SB-E.jpg

Backview SB-E.jpg
On the back of the SB-E is a red LED ready-light which comes on as soon as the flash unit is recycled and ready to fire. Recycling time with a fresh battery set is up to approx. 9 seconds. An additional ready-light inside the EM's viewfinder comes on as soon as the SB-E is ready to fire. Thus, you don't have to remove your eye from the finder when taking flash pictures. As a warning, the ready-light blinks if the correct aperture is not set on the lens.
Ready light.gif

Note *: With SB-E, the ready-light "blinks" to signal incorrect ASA/ISO aperture combination; M90 shutter mode-selector setting used with other electronic flash units, providing flash sync at 1/90 sec

Note **: You DON'T have to specifically look for the SB-E illustrated here to enjoy all these benefits such as ready light etc.. most original Nikon flash unit (Even the AF flash units- of coz' minus the AF function and some required you to remove function index away from the AF setting to auto instead) will work with the EM, third party will work as well - except in most cases, it will not set to auto sync speed or provide flash ready/warning light.

Specifications on Nikon SB-E Flash

Light output control: Automatic using silicon-controlled rectifier and series circuitry
Guide number: 17 (ASA/ISO 100 and meters)
Angle of coverage:
56° horizontal, 40° vertical; covers angle of 35mm lens
Recycling time:
Up to a maximum of approx. 9 sec. with a fresh set of batteries. Four 1.5V AAA-type alkaline-manganese batteries (manganese batteries may be used)
Auto-flash range:
0.6-6m (2-20 ft)
Ready-light contact:
For Nikon camera's built-in ready-light
Number of flashes:
More than 80 with a fresh set of alkaline-manganese batteries when used at approx. 20°C (68°F)
Mounting foot:
Dimensions: (including mounting foot):
55mm(W) x 110mm(H) x 33mm(D)
Weight: (without batteries):
Approx. 130 g

Auto Winder MD-E for Nikon EM/FG/FG-20

The EM/FG/FG-20 has a few options in automatic film advance. The first of such device was a very compact, but handleless MD-E winder, designed originally and specifically for the EM when it was introduced. It attaches to the bottom of the camera in seconds and provides a handy grip. To take a picture, push the camera's shutter button (Yes, the draw back for MD-E and even the hand griped MD-14 has no shutter release button on the grip, you have to use the camera shutter release button to fire). Anyway, these devices provide a convenient method that automatically advances film to the next frame. When hold the shutter button down, you can shoot action sequences at up to two frames per second (2 fps). An LED on the back of the MD-E lights up each time the camera fires and glows continuously when the film is at an end and needs rewinding. For reduced weight, the MD-E uses six light AAA-type batteries. With a fresh set of alkaline, you can shoot approx. 50 rolls of 36-exposure film.

Note: The MD-14 introduced after the FG which comes with a hand grip (But omitted the shutter release button) is also usable on the Nikon EM.


The red LED pilot lamp on the back of the motor drive lights up each time you take a shot and glows continuously to indicate when the film is at an end and needs rewinding.
Notes: ON/OFF switch Conveniently located on the left end of the MD-E, the ON/OFF switch turns the motor drive on and off. With the Motor Drive MD-E attached, the camera's shutter button controls the operation of the motor drive. Push the button once for single shots or hold it down for continuous sequences of up to two frames per second.

MD-E Main reference Map.jpg
Technical Specification for Nikon MD-E Power Winder

Shooting control:
Camera's shutter release button
Firing rate:
Approx. 2 frames per second at shutter speeds of 1/90 sec. - 1/l000 sec.
Shooting modes:
Single frame or continuous
Usable shutter speed range:
1 sec.-1/1000 sec and B
Operation indicator:
LED pilot lamp "blinks" when motorized shooting is in progress; lamp remains continuous lit when roll of film is exhausted, and motor automatically stops
Power source:
Six 1.5V AAA-type alkaline-manganese batteries installed in built-in battery chamber (manganese batteries may be used)
Number of rolls:
More than 50 rolls of 36-exposure film per fresh set of alkaline-manganese batteries when used at approx. 20°C (68°F)
133mm(W) x 32mm(H) x 46mm(D) motor drive grip 82mm(H)
Approx. 185g (without batteries)

EM.jpg Battery Check.jpg
Without the winder, a standalone EM with a E series optic attached is very compact indeed, great for mobility. If you have not been using the camera for a while, just remember always check this button for battery status before take the camera for a long trip.

Camera Specification for Nikon EM
Instruction Manual for Nikon FG (Extenal link) 2.6MB in PDF Quality of the User Manual is is less desirable, but still - it is a Manual in PDF format. If you wish, you can try the HTML version for the Instruction Mnaual in my site.

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Nikon EM, 1979 | Nikon FG, 1982 | Nikon FG-20, 1984
Additional info available on :
MD-14 | MD-E | SB-15 | SB-E
Specifications :
Nikon EM, Nikon FG, Nikon FG-20
Instruction manual for Nikon EM :

EM.gif FG.gif FG-20.gif
| Nikon EM, 1979 | | Nikon FG, 1982 | | Nikon FG20, 1984 |

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Credit: My nephew, EeWynwho has helped to convert the Owner's Manual of Nikon EM into HTML format. Also to a smart friend of mine who has just spent US60-00 for a EM body. A contributing site to a long lost friend on the Net. Made witha PowerMac