The Nikkormat EL-W SLR Camera
Part III


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Loading a film

(1) To open the camera back, slide the safety lock backward (1) and lift up the film rewind knob as far as it goes (2), and the hinged camera back will pop open (3).

Make note that this is a different from opening film back of any mechanical Nikkormat FT series body where the camera back latch at situated at the bottom section of the camera. Well, this design is far more superior than the FT models and permits a single hand operation.

Drop a film magazine into the film chamber with the film leader pointing toward the takeup spool. Push the rewind knob down to hold the cartridge in place and insert the end of the film leader into any one of the three slots in the take-up spool. Stroke the film-advance lever (or turn the take-up spool clockwise) slowly to make sure that the film perforations mesh with the sprockets and that the edges of the parallel to the film guide rails. Close the camera by pressing the back until it snaps into place.

WARNING: When you pull the film to another end of the camera body, MAKE SURE you are aware the central part is the metal blades for the shutter curtain, which is very delicate parts and avoid letting your finger or even the film leader touching it.

Fold out the rewind crank on the film rewind knob and turn it gently in the direction of th~ arrow until you feel a slight resistance. This takes up any slack in the film cartridge. Then fold back the rewind crank.

* Do not load the camera in bright sunlight. If no other shade is available, shade the camera from the sun with your body while loading. I his will reduce any chance of spoiling your first exposures due to fogging.
* Make two blank exposures to dispose of the first few inches of film which were exposed during loading. When advancing the film, make sure that the rewind knob rotates in the direction opposite the arrow. This indicates that the film has been loaded correctly and is being advanced. The frame counter should now indicate "0" exposure. Advance the film one more frame and you are ready to take the first picture.

* Reminder: At the end of a film, the film-winding may stop half-way between frames. The AW-1 may not function furthermore. In such a case, turn the AW-1 power switch off. Take the film out and load a new film. Advance the film manually one frame The AW-1 should then function normally.

Setting the ASA film speed

ASA Illus.gif TurnASAdial.jpg

The ASA film-speed dial has a scale calibrated from a relatively low ASA 25 to a fair film speed of 1600 with two dots between numbers to indicate intermediate settings, such as 32 and 40. Press the film-speed dial lock inward and turn the milled ring around the film-speed scale until the red dot appears opposite the speed of the loaded film, and the exposure control system automatically adjusts itself to match the selected film speed.

Setting shutter-speed dial at A (Auto)

This is the original design of the Nikkormat EL series bodies where the later Nikon FE in 1978 and even the FE2 in 1983 were still using a similar design. However, there is some differences in term of controls and the available number of shutter speed settings.

Shutter Dial.jpg
The shutter-speed dial sets the Nikkormat ELW for either automatic or manual exposure control. To set the dial at the green A (Auto), turn the shutter-speed dial clockwise until the "A" is opposite the dot.

The automatic exposure control locks the shutter speed dial to prevent accidental shifting of the setting (the button at the centre of the dial, just press down to shift out from the AUTO setting).

Winding the film

When advancing the film manually, keep the filmadvance lever pulled out at a 30° clearance angle so that the red dot is visible while pictures are being taken. This turns the exposure meter on. The light touch and activate feature was not make available until the Nikon EM in 1979 - so does the auto power-OFF feature, so make sure the film advance lever is set to off if you are not using the camera (Press against the camera body to uncover the red dot).

Red dot.jpg   Filmadvance.jpg

The shutter button lock should be set at its locked position (Left fig). (Where the red dot cannot be seen.)

Apply the right thumb to the film advance lever and swing it clockwise to the right until it stops. This advances the film one frame and cocks the shutter. Always swing the lever with one stroke, otherwise it may spring back to its original position without fully advancing the film.

* Note: When the roll of film has been exposed and the film-advance lever resists, do not attempt to force the advance lever. It will tear the film out of the magazine.

When the film is being advanced automatically by the AW-1, turn the shutter button lock to the left (counterclockwise) until it comes to a stop so the red dot is visible. This turns the exposure meter on.

In this case, set the film-advance lever at its locked position, flush against the camera body. After that, the film is automatically advanced by one frame everytime the shutter is released.

Blank exposure

The blank exposure is to release the shutter disposing of the first few inches of film which were exposed during loading, not to take pictures.

After loading the film, make two blank exposures and the frame counter indicates "0". Stroke the film-advance lever once more, and you are ready to shoot

When making the blank exposures to intercept the light, better use the shutter speed of 1/1000 sec. Keep pressing the shutter-speed dial lock and turn the shutter-speed dial from A (Auto) to the 1000 (1/1000 sec.). Make the blank exposures, and return the shutter speed to A.

Why ? When making the blank exposures at A (Auto) to intercept the light, the shutter will be kept open - especially when you are pointing the camera to a dark spot (Or more commonly with the lens cap still on the lens). In such a case, return both the shutter-button lock and the film-advance lever to the locked position flush against the camera. The shutter will be released and ready for normal operation. The ELW was not provided with the familiar "M90" or the "M250" mechanical setting found on other popular Nikon FE, FE2, AMP's powered metering Nikon FA or even the EM and multimode Nikon FG etc.

Frame counter

Counter illus.gif Counter.jpg
The 36-frame counter automatically shows how many frames have been exposed. It is calibrated in even numbers, with the figures 0, 20 and 36 in red, and odd numbers by dots. The counter stops just past the 36-frame mark and resets itself automatically to "S" (start), two frames before 0, when the camera back is opened for reloading.
| Previous | Mount & unmounting a lens, Maximum Aperture Indicator, used with AW-1 Winder
Next | Setting Aperture value, focusing, prefocus, rewind and unloading film with ELW (4/8)

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* Credit: A Great thanks to Mr Denis Pleic for his volunteering effort to reedit content and and patching some grammatical mistakes found in this section of the PIM site. Miss Rissa (Marketing) & Edward (Techical) of Shriro Malaysia, distributor of Nikon cameras in Malaysia, in providing so many useful inputs to make this site possible. Mr Hong, Ipoh for lending me his FT2 to take some of the images used in this site. This site is created for his eldest son, Yuen who has picked up his father's hobby and the FT-2. My friend, John Walls from Florida, US for his images of the FTn body and the Zoom Nikkor 43-86mm.

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