The Nikorrmat/Nikomat FT-2 SLR camera
Basic Camera Operation - Part I


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The Nikkormat FT2 offers a high quality performance and durability common to many older Nikon cameras, but with the basic simplicity of design that has made the Nikkormat camera popular with amateur and professional alike.

Nikkormat FT2 Front.jpg (19k)
Systematically-positioned controls for picture taking ease, a convenient hot shoe flash unit mount for simplified flash photography and the extensive possibilities of the Nikon photographic system to further enhance the capabilities of the Nikkormat FT2.

Credit: Mr Hong, Ipoh for lending his FT2 for me to capture some of the images in site

I was always been cursed by some visitors that why am I spending all these time constructing old and un-interesting sites of yester-years' SLRs. I was telling a friend of mine the logic of why am I doing it - there could be hundreds of thousands websites around thye Network leading you to understand how difficult it is not to take a good pictures with latest technological advancement in a modern multi-features AF SLR camera and I don't intend to create one more extra (In time, may be I will - one by one).

But photography is
NOT all about autofocus. That was the theory where camera munufacturers want you to think it is so. A basic barebone mechanical camera such as the FT-2 featured here can provide more than sufficient basic features to help you to capture and express how you feel about the something in the viewfinder - In fact, most of the time, it requires you to think more before you trip the shutter release button than a autofocus camera where the AF cursor(s) command.

For those who are strangled with budget, there could be thousand or even millions of such oldies around to help you get an easy and economical path to production and creative photography. Just like the incorporation of automation in camera design during the mid-seventies, autofocus is a convenient feature and it is
NOT an essential component for absolute basic photography. (That is what the usage of our eyes and the vision behind the eyes are for...) - I hope those of you who are still not convinced and agreed with what I feel please don't mail me anymore. I don't want to raise any topic for hot debate, just go to any other Nikon websites and find your favourite topic or subject. As I have stressed many times, I am here to assist and not to compete. Worst still, I am doing all these for free, Errr...(Construction and further development of this site will carry on while my interest and desire to help is still around, but frankly, I don't know how long it would last. Thus, while I am still considered quite productive constructing sites as such - enjoy and please don't complaint so much).

Loading the Camera (You are always encouraged to use the Main Reference Map or the Glossary section for cross references in this site)

Differ from most camera bodies in the eighties, the film rewind crank does not has a safety lock, you have to locate to the bottom section at the side of the camera, press down the camera back latch on the side and the fixed hinged back will spring open.

Fig1.jpg  Fig2.jpg
Pull up on the rewind knob (1) and drop a film cartridge into the film chamber with the film leader pointing towards the take-up spool. Now, push down the rewind knob to hold the cartridge in place (2) and insert the end of the film leader into any one of the three slots in the take-up spool. Rotate the take-up spool as shown in the illustration so that the film passes under the spool with its emulsion side (dull side) facing out (See picture at the left hand side below).

Make sure that the perforations along the edges of the film mesh with the sprockets.Close the camera by pressing on the back until it snaps into place. Fold out the rewind crank and turn it gently in the direction of the arrow until you can feel a slight tension (illustrated below). This will take up any slack in the film cartridge.

Fig3.jpg Fig4.jpg
Be careful NOT to exert too much pressure on the rewind crank. Yes, you have to perform all these steps manually, as the Nikkormat FT-2 is a Non DX coded SLR camera and lacks the auto loading/film advance/rewinding and film indexing feature commonly found on most modern AF SLRs.

Loading exposes the first few inches of the film. To dispose of this exposed film, wind the film advance lever and make two blank exposures. Watch the rewind knob to see if it rotates in the direction opposite the engraved arrow while the film is being advanced. This is the only way to indicate that the film has been loaded correctly and is being advanced. The frame counter on top of the camera should now rest at "0". Advance the film one more frame (the numbers before S are marked in red as a reminder) and you are ready to take the first picture.

Caution: 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.
After you have finished shooting the film roll, to unload, press the rewind button on the camera baseplate, unfold the rewind crank and turn it with a constant, gentle pressure in the direction of the arrow. Avoid uneven or excessively fast rewinding. When no more tension can be felt and the crank turns loosely and freely, the film has left the sprockets and the camera may be opened. Pull the rewind knob up slightly and the film cartridge will drop out.

Note: The rewind button will pop out again automatically as soon as the film advance lever is stroked.

Film-Plane Indicator

The mark on top of the camera body shows the exact position of the film plane. Those days, this is important to know when measuring the film-to-subject distance, especially in close-ups and macrophotography, but with today's modern accessories designed and made available for macro-photography make this a less important feature. Anyway, this film plane indicator is still a common feature presented in any modern SLRs bodies.

Film-Advance Lever

The film-advance lever simultaneously advances the film cocks the shutter and operates the frame counter. It also serves as an on-off switch for the exposure meter.

Stroke the film-advance lever with the right thumb in a single stroke. A built-in locking device prevents the shutter from being released unless it is fully cocked and the film has been advanced a full frame.
ON/OFF Sw.jpg
The film-advance lever springs back to its original position, with ample clearance for the thumb, after each stroke. However, the meter will remain in the "on" position until the lever is pressed flush against the camera body. to conserve battery power, lock it while you are not using the camera for an extended time.

Caution: Be careful not to push the rewind button (on the camcra's baseplate) during film advance operation. Should this occur, temporary stoppage of film transport and un intentional double exposures on a same negative may result.

Previous | Next | Part 1/5

| Back | to Index Page of Nikkormat FT-2| Back | to Main Index Page of Nikkormats

History & Background of Nikkormat Cameras

"Nikomat" Picture Library of Japanese local version

Outline the major key features and differences of various models

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

This site is made out 15.5MB with 478 items (Jpeg, Gif, PDF & HTML files) (Last Update: 25th May 1999)

| 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

History & Background of Nikkormat Cameras
Nikomat" Picture Library of Japanese local version
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 |
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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

About this photographic site.
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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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