Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Nikon FE - Basic Operations Part IV

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Depth-of-Field Preview Lever Locating just next to the lens mount and above the self timer lever is the depth-of-field preview lever (1). One of the two most frequently used lever for seasoned Nikon users. This is especially true where the FE is a aperture priority AE camera where it places creative depth of field control a top of shutter priority automation (It is much complicated than that, involves with changes in lens and body mechanism and communication method.

DOF.jpg (13k)
Among the top few Japanese camera producers, only Canon and Minolta lenses permits shutter priority automation prior to the Nikon FA, first few multimode SLR were Minolta XD-7 and Canon's A-1 (As early as the early mid '60, Canon has a few of their model only work in 'mechanical' shutter priority, the Canon AE-1 in 1975 was the first true computer control shutter priority AE SLR camera). Nikon eventually upgraded its mount to AI-S mount in 1983 for the Nikon FA to offer shutter priority automation.

What is the purpose of a DOF preview lever ? When you view through a viewfinder, with your aperture selection set at say, f5.6 on a 50mm f1.4 lens, the image is still present you with a bright image for the purpose of easy composition and focusing (The lens iris will be trip open by the diaphragm coupling lever (2) to wide open to f1.4 in your 50mm lens in order to create the brightest possible viewfinder image, works only with lenses that have automatic diaphragm, as most Nikkor lenses are "automatic." The aperture diaphragm remains open at its widest while you are viewing, focusing and metering (You can referred to this section for cross reference: Automatic Indexing). When you press the shutter release button, the camera automatically "stops down" the diaphragm to the aperture which is set on the aperture ring). The user selected f5.6 will only be stop down during the instance during an exposure process. However, you may not able to accertain whether adequate depth of field is achieved since it is an full aperture viewing at f1.4 (f1.4 has a shallower depth of field than f5.6, given the same subject distance). There are two ways, one on the camera (DOF preview lever) and next is on the lens barrel (The engraved color coded lines just next to the focusing index, check the colored aperture value on the lens, virtually every Nikkor lens comes with three scales which can be used for determining the depth of field. The first is the lens aperture scale, with the f/numbers color-coded. The second consists of two sets of colored lines, the colors corresponding to the colors of the f/numbers. The third is the focusing scale which is calibrated in meters and feet).To determine depth of field, note the color of the f/ number in use. The depth of field at the taking aperture is indicated by the numbers on the focusing scale which are adjacent to the colored lines that correspond to the color of the f/number set. : This is going to be very difficult if you don't understand the relationship between apertures, shutter speed and depth of field to use a camera or enjoy photography. Please check this separate article relates to pick up more info). By using the depth-of-field preview lever, one can view the depth of field of a scene at any given aperture. It will keep the lens stopped down as long as the lever is depressed. Although the viewfinder image is dimmer (Other than the maximum aperture f1.4 , for example) but you can have a preview on the extended depth of field that corresponding to your aperture value set.

Another graph here will be easier for you to understand about exposure. Note: Correct "automatic" exposure cannot be obtained if the lever is depressed when the shutter is released when you are using newer series of Nikkor lenses like the AI, AIS lenses. The stopped down metering is meant for older Nikkor lenses that doesn't came with a ridge on the lens. So even if you are using stopped down metering for those lenses or accessories that require stopped down metering, after taking a stopped down meter reading, you can release the shutter with the depth-of-field lever depressed, but it must be depressed all the way. Otherwise, the shutter may not open. Check here for more info

Shutter Release Operation There are two more controls on the right portion, the shutter release button and double exposure lever. First, the shutter release button. The earlier batches of the Nikon FM's shutter release button has two setting, for manual or motor driven film advance, the later FM bodies removed that feature when the MD-12 was introduced. The FE 2/FE10/FM2(n) and the FA have their shutter release button designed to perform other additional function, like meter activated switch. The fact is, all these mid compact Nikon lack a Time Exposure feature as have in the Nikon F2 bodies (F2 has a T-L (Time/Lock) around the shutter release button, the L for 'Lock' and the 'T' is meant for Time exposures (F3 and F4 has moved it as part of the shutter speed setting), it work as long as you want in a battery independent operation. While the Nikkormat FT series' shutter release button is threaded deeper in to take in soft release button accessories like the AR-1 or for cable release operations. The FE2/FM2(n)/FA design as compared with the FM/FE are illustrated bellow. The F3 was the second Nikon which has a totally different designing concept. The shutter release forms an integral part of the multi purpose film advance lever - just for comparison. Oh, have I told you, the EM was the first Nikon designing that way ?

The EL Series has quite an unusual shutter release button. Surrounded by a additional lever to act as an on off switch when use with the AW-1 Winder (Note: the Film advance lever MUST be flush with the body, why ? The winder has no shutter release as with the MD-11 or MD12).


FE/FM2.jpgFE2/FM2/FAF3 Advance lever.jpgFM/FE.jpgFE

The FM/FE release button may not be seen very well from an upright position, I laid a slight tilt image for you to see clearer at the bottom. Threaded in the middle to accept accessories like cable release or soft cable release. Which is indispensable at times for some extended long exposure or absolute vibration free macro or general works that demand still sharp pictures (Remember earlier we mention the self timer's mirror flip feature ? Works very well in combination).

EL on/Off
Note: Operation of the EL2 with the Auto Winder attached requires that the film-advance lever be left flush with the body. Thus, the collar around the shutter release button has a second meter ON/OFF switch and shutter release lock. The meter is switched on and the shutter release button unlocked when the collar is turned to the left, uncovering the red dot. This switch' is also useful when wearing spectacles or for left-eyed users. This feature is left out from the FE/FM series. As the FE series has a better motor drive in the MD-11 and a even better MD-12 later.

Multiple Exposure Lever The Nikon FE and FM series has a very considerate, yet functional double exposure lever design. It permits single hand operation, works even in combination with motor drives for virtually unlimited double/multiple exposures (You need to do some form of exposure compensation for exposure more than one). The lever is a joy to use and very reliable as compared with even the professional F and F2 (Reliability issue may be the same (See below between Hiura& me, the Nikon F2 models patched up a lot compared with the earlier F and offers a more precise registration on multiple exposure), but not as convenient for the bigger brothers), which require you to activate and disengaged the rewind button located at the base of the camera body. Just for reference, the Nikkormat FT series are the first few Nikons that have moved the multiple exposures button to the top panel of the body. While the Nikon F3 is the first in the Nikon professional camera to shift to that position as with the FE/FM series, i.e. just next to the film advance lever.

> How do you perform double exposure in EL ?
Press rewind button at the base ?

Oh, it is difficult problem, .. You know, all Nikkormat/Nikkormat series have no double exposure function.

In case of using Nikon F, we can know the proper quantity of rewinding by the film advance indicator (at the center of the shutter dial. black point rotates). So if you want to make double exposure shot by F,

1. set A-R dial to "R"
2. turn the rewind crank to rotate the "film advance indicator"
at one and a little revolution,
3. set the A-R to "A"
4. then wind-up.

The first wind-up operation charges the shutter incompletely, so we can operate the winding-up again. the film also returns to the right position because of the mechanical backlash (the same key on the sprocket always at the same position when the film is advanced completely.)

I do not know if the EL has the same characteristics in the mechanical construction, so the possibility remains to set the frame right by operating the way above. If so, the main difficulty is how to rewind the film at one and a little frame. It is hard, but practice may make it possible :-)

the double-exposure photo taken by F is not good because the film is rewind and then advanced, so the application of that photo is limited. It is usable to composite the fireworks and moon, but it is not feasible to show the travel of the shift-lever of the car, because the still object (dashboard, etc.) is blurred a little.

HIURA Shinsaku-
Hiura co-developed and maintains the
Nikkormat Site in PIM with me
and he is the manager for the Nikomat ML in Japan. Handsome fella...ha!

The multiple exposure lever functions the same way as in the FE, FM series and so does in the FA. Just notice the frame counter to confirm the exacting frame is not moving. You need to do this and with a few practices, you will appreciate the convenience it provides. This feature was even retained in the current FE-10.

This section covers:
Depth of Field Preview | Shutter Release Operation | Multiple Exposures Lever | Related Multiple exposure info on the EL
Previous section : Film-Advance Lever | Frame Counter | Self-Timer | Memory Lock

| Next | section covers: Exposure Compensation | Film Plane Indicator

Additional supplements: Technical Information relating to Nikon FE(7 parts)

| Back to Nikon FE Main Index Page |
| Back to Nikon FE Series Main Index Page |

An External Link for Instruction Manual on Nikon FE prepared by Mr. Stuart Willis
Main Index Page of: FE Series | Nikon FE | FE-2 | FE-10

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Others:- Nikon AF-TTL Speedlights | SB-20 (1986) | SB-22 (1987) | SB-23 | SB-24 (1988) | SB-25 (1991/2) | SB-26 (1994) | SB-27(1997) | SB-28 (1997) | Nikon SB-29(s) (2000) | Nikon SB-30 (2003) | Nikon SB-600 (2004) | Nikon SB-800 (2003) Nikon AF-TTL Speedlight DX-Series: Nikon SB-28DX (1999) | SB-50DX (2001) | SB-80DX (2002)

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Index Page
  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
Reflex-Nikkor Lenses - 500mm 1000mm 2000mm
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

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

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 any of these manual focus Nikon FE series SLR camera models; please ignore some portion of the content contained herein this site where it relates.

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A contributing effort to Michael C Liu's Classic Nikon Site.

Credit: Chuck Hester for some of his beautiful images used in this site; Ted Wengelaar®, Holland for his continuous flow of input; Lars Holst Hansen, Danish 'Hawkeye' who shares the same passion; Mr Poon from Poon photo for their input; Ms Miss Rissa (Sales Manager) & members of the Technical Service dept. of Shriro Malaysia, local distributor of Nikon cameras in Malaysia & Singapore, in providing so many useful input to make this site possible. Special thanks to Mr MC Lau, who has helped with his images of the MF-12 databack. Michael Tan, Pertama Photo (603-2926505) for lending his original Titanium Shutter Display Unit. Dave Hoyt who has prepared the introductory page and offer some images of his FE2 in this site.. Hiura Shinsaku, Nikomat ML, Japan for his contribution on all the various images; A contributing site to a long lost friend on the Net. Note: Certain content and images appeared in this site were either scanned from official marketing leaflets, brochures published by Nikon and/or contribution from surfers who claimed originality of their own work to publish in this site based on educational merits. The creator of this site will not be responsible for any discrepancies that may arise from such possible dispute except rectifying them after verification."Nikon", "Nikkormat", "Nippon Kokagu KK" & "Nikkor" are registered tradename of Nikon Corporation Inc., Japan. Made witha PowerMac.