Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Nikkormat EL Series by Nikon - Preface


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Nikormat EL.jpg (12k)

The Nikkormat EL, 1972

The EL is the first Nikon that incorporated an electronically controlled vertical travel shutter. The shutter speed dial was moved to the camera top panel. Stepless shutter speeds from 4 sec to 1/1000 sec. Flash sync for electronic flash at all speeds up to 1/125 sec and for FP, M and MF type flashbulbs at all speeds from B to 1/1000 sec. Mirror Lock Up, Exposure (Memory) Lock, EV range EV1-EV18 (ASA 100), film speed from ASA 25-1600. TTL center weighted metering with manual exposure control. Produced in white/black chrome versions.

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Nikormat ELW.jpg (11k)

The Nikkormat ELW, 1976

Major changes are located at the bottom plate, with specifics the same as the EL, but it came with a dedicated Motor Winder support, the AW-1.

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Nikon EL2.jpg (11k)

The Nikon EL2, 1977

The name has been changed to Nikon. The last of the Nikkormat series in May, 1977 (FT3 was launched a few months earlier in March of the same year). Officially discontinued in 1979, a year after the debut of the more compact FE in 1978. It is essentially the Automatic Indexing (AI) that made the difference - note the lens coupling as compared to the EL and ELW.

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W A R N I N G: The New G-SERIES Nikkor lenses have no aperture ring on the lens, they CANNOT ADJUST APERTURES with the AI-spec Nikon EL2; please ignore some portion of the content contained herein this site where it applies.

What made Nikon produce an electronic auto exposure (AE) camera? Market trends and competition, probably.

Nikon was riding high on their highly successful Nikon F (1959) and Nikon F2 (Launched in 1971) in the professional camera market, and the mid-range Nikkormats. But its main rival, Canon, introduced a relatively unconventional model - the EX EE - in 1969, which had an unusual feature such as shutter speed-priority AE and other popular features like maximum-aperture TTL metering and AE on a focal-plane shutter. Its improved version, the EX AUTO (February, 1972), which also had maximum-aperture TTL metering and shutter speed-priority AE was gaining popularity with beginners who previously had difficulty understanding SLR cameras. Logically, Nikon had to answer with an auto caliber body to satisfy its users with such needs - the only difference was that it was an aperture priority AE camera as opposed to Canon's shutter priority AE. (Nikon, on the other hand, had a "converted" shutter priority AE in its F2 Photomic S with the use of an EE Aperture Control Unit DS-1 a year later in 1973).

That was the competition from Canon. But in 1972, a new breed of SLR also appeared, spearheaded by Olympus Kokagu with the debut of the original M-1 (later changed to OM-1 due to Leica's protest on the similarity of trademark in their rangefinder camera, Leica M-1). It was a full-featured SLR, including motor drive capability, flash, macro accessories, etc., but all packed within a small, compact and lightweight body. Let us compare the dimensions & weight: the OM-1 measures 136mm x 83mm x 50mm and weighs just 510g. The Canon EF with 147mm x 96mm x 48mm weighs 760g, while theNikkormat FTn measures 148 x 95 x 54mm and weighs 765g. This wasn't the only reason for its success, but the comparison says enough. As one would expect, when it turns AE, it would be a killer. The Olympus second model, a revolutionary auto-exposure OM2 eventually launched in 1974, three years after the debut of the OM-1 (Both the OM1 & OM2n will be featured later in this site).

Well, looking backward, we have to admire some of those visionary brains behind Nippon Kokagu for realising the threat and potential posed by auto-exposure camera to the future and direction of camera design. Why? Because it is very hard to convince traditional hard core users to change, especially to a camera that depends solely on tiny button power cells to function. Whether you like it or not, this culture still persist today - with a compromise (like me), please give at least a single back up mechanical shutter speed, just in case.

Although the EL series was branded with the same Nikkormat name as the Nikkormat series (with the exception of the last model, the AI (Auto Indexing) equipped EL2 - it was called the Nikon EL2), due to its body configuration and specifications, the EL series bears little resemblance to the all-mechanical models of the Nikkormats. These two Nikkormat types are not easily confused. These electronic versions of the Nikkormat EL series all bear an "EL" emblem on the pentaprism. As said earlier, it will be much easier to use the first model, in this case, the Nikkormat EL to go through all the basic features/specifications and see the differences in the later upgrades. The EL2, although it still has the trade name, Nikkormat/Nikomat, has changed the emblem to "Nikon" instead. It remains as the only Nikkormat model that came with a Nikon tag (May, 1977). Since then, ALL subsequent models from Nikon are using the "Nikon" name in front of the camera.

AW-1 Winder.jpg
You may have to select your preference, the Nikkormat EL or Nikon EL2. (ELW was not featured, because it was essentially an Nikkormat EL in nature, but with an additional a motor coupling to accept the use of a dedicated Motor Winder, the AW-1).

Nikkormat EL (1972) Nikon ELW (1976) Nikon EL2 (1977)

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History & Backgroundof Nikkormat Cameras
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Outline the
major key features and differences of various models

The Camera Bodies | FT | FS | FTn | EL | FT2 | ELW | FT3 | EL2

| Main Reference Map |
HTML Format: FT | FS | FTn | EL | FT2 | ELW | FT3 | EL2 | AW-1 Motor Winder
PDF Format:
FT | FS | FTn | EL | FT2 | ELW | FT3 | EL2 | AW-1 Motor Winder
| Specifications |
FT | FS | FTn | EL | FT2 | ELW | FT3 | EL2

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The Eyes of Nikon:-

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Fisheye-Nikkor Lenses - Circular | Full Frame | Ultrawides Lenses - 13mm15mm18mm20mm | Wideangle Lenses - 24mm28mm35mm |
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Lenses - 300mm 400mm 500mm 600mm 800mm 1200mm |
Special Application lenses:
Micro-Nikkor Lenses - 50mm~55mm -60mm 85mm -105mm 200mm Micro-Zoom 70-180mm
Perspective Control (PC) - 28mm 35mm PC-Micro 85mm
Dedicated Lenses for Nikon F3AF: AF 80mm f/2.8 | AF 200mm f/3.5 EDIF
Depth of Field Control (DC): 105mm 135mm
Medical Nikkor: 120mm 200mm
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Others: Noct Nikkor | OP-Nikkor | UV Nikkor 55mm 105mm | Focusing Units | Bellows-Nikkor 105mm 135mm
Nikon Series E Lenses: 28mm35mm50mm100mm135mm | E-Series Zoom lenses: 36~72mm75~150mm70~210mm
MF Zoom-Nikkor Lenses: 25~50mm | 28~45mm | 28~50mm | 28~85mm | 35~70mm | 36~72mm E | 35~85mm | 35~105mm | 35~135mm |
35~200mm | 43~86mm | 50~135mm | 50~300mm | 70~210mm E | 75~150mm E | 80~200mm | 85~250mm |
100~300mm | 180~600mm | 200~400mm | 200~600mm | 360~1200mm | 1200~1700mm

Tele-Converters: TC-1 | TC-2 | TC-200 | TC-201 | TC-300 | TC-301 | TC-14 | TC-14A | TC-14B | TC-14C | TC-14E | TC-16 | TC-16A | TC-20E


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Recommended links to understand more technical details related to the Nikkor F-mount and production Serial Number: by: my friend, Rick Oleson by: Hansen, Lars Holst

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Copyright © 1998. HIURA Shinsaku ® ; Nikomat ML, Japan,
in collaboration with
leofoo ®. MIR Web Development Team.

* 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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