Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Nikon FE - Features and Technical Notes Part III

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Exposure Compensation Ring All exposure meters are calibrated to deliver proper exposure for scenes of average reflectance, that is, ones that reflect back 18 percent of the light falling upon them. The ONLY exception is the Nikon F5, where most photo sensitive diode reads brightness in gray scale, the Nikon F5 takes into calculation on colors that could provide a more accurate reading in exposure measurement by mean of a RGB sensor. But prior to this breakthrough, all cameras photo cells are reflective meter and react based on such theory as 'standard'. But it is all right to shot an overall picture angle filled scene that, say - trees and field that are primary green - which is having such reflectance of around 18% gray and your built in meter will suggest a rather safe suggestion in exposure reading. But there are times or places when you have to handle situation like shooting snowscapes or the proverbial black cat in the coal bin-scenes reflecting substantially more or less than 18 percent of the light - then the FE's (Or for that matter, ALL automatic SLRs - except those came with evaluative metering e.g. Matrix metering if you are comfortable with them) automatic exposure setting must be modified to produce the correct exposure. For this purpose, the knurled exposure compensation ring provides the photographer with compensation values from -2 to +2 EV (two stops underexposure to two stops overexposure) in half-stop increments. Prior to this provision of exposure compensation ring or AE lock in an automatic camera, seasoned photographers use the film speed adjustment to fool the camera's metering cell to perform compensation. The FE's dial has only +- 2 stops in half stop for adjustment, you can combined the ASA adjustment to certain limit to extend its capability (When used in conjunction with the exposure compensation ring, ASA settings all the way from 6 to 8800 are possible). The FE2 has a more refined adjustment in 1/3 stop instead of 1/2 stop approach in the FE.

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Manual Exposure Control As you would expect from a professional-quality camera, the FE allows for full match-needle manual control of the shutter speed for "freezing" fast action or for creating intentional blur. To set the shutter speed manually, simply push the button in the middle of the shutter speed dial and rotate the dial off "Auto" to any one of 14 discreet shutter speeds from 1/1000 second down to 8 full seconds, each electronically timed for outstanding accuracy.

In the viewfinder, the green needle indicates the shutter speed set by rotating the shutter speed dial, whereas the black needle indicates the shutter speed for correct exposure.

There are also two mechanical speeds: "B" for time exposures and "M90" (1/90 second) for shooting with electronic flash over extended periods. These settings do not cause any drain on the meter batteries whatsoever; in fact, they can be used even when there are no batteries in the camera. The "M90" setting can also be used as a known shutter speed with a separate light meter in the event of battery failure. But as any experienced Nikon FE/FE2/FA user - the mechanical back up speed is useful when you your shutter/mirror 'mysteriously malfunction. Turn to this speed will resolve 90% of the problem. Most are originated poor electrical contacts related issue, although not very frequent. But sometime could be mechanical shutter relates problem. Well, as I said, the FE is a very reliable camera, chances are rare to experience this.

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LED Battery Check Because the FE relies solely on two 1.5V silver-oxide batteries to power its electronically controlled shutter and metering circuit and neither it came with a design like the FA/MD-15 or F3/MD-4 where the motor drive will automatically take over the power supply when mounted with such dedicated device, a battery check lever and lamp are conveniently located just to the left of the eyepiece. Check the condition of the batteries by pulling the lever down.

If the red LED lights up, then battery power is sufficient; if it fails to glow, the batteries must be replaced with new ones. Personally, I like the FE's design than the FE2 or the FA. Don't worry, those days camera's power with a set of such cells usually and generally can last you for about a year or slight more (Again, depends on usage).

As is the tradition with all Nikon cameras those days in the seventies and even before mid eighties, the meter switch is built into the FE's film advance lever. By pulling the lever out to its standoff position, the metering circuit is automatically switched on and the shutter button unlocked. Thus, the photographer can position his right thumb behind the advance lever and always be ready for the next shot, while at the same time continuously metering the subject. Of course, when the lever is pushed back in flush with the body, the meter is instantly turned off and the shutter button automatically locked to prevent the shutter from being accidentally tripped. When the accessory
MD-11/MD-12 Motor Drive is attached to the FE, simply turning on the motor drive switches on the camera's metering circuit. As there are some slight operational differences between MD-11 and MD-12 when use with respective body(ies), please refer to the respective motor drive section for more. Both of this film advance device will fit and workable in FM, FE, FM2, FM2n, FM2-T, FE, FE-2 and FA. Performance varies with respective models.

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Lens/Meter Coupling

The FE's bayonet mount is fitted with Nikon's Automatic Maximum Aperture Indexing (Al) system. IF for any reasons, you possess a good mix of older Non-AI or the most advanced AF Nikkor lenses, other than the FT3, EL2, the F2A, F2AS, F3, F4 (Or the F5 with modification to lens mount) - the Nikon FM and the Nikon FE are the two compact models that can be very 'flexible' to 'live' among these lenses.

The difference is a small adjustable meter-coupling lever (2) whose purpose is to connect the lens aperture ring to the camera's metering circuit. This system, when used in conjunction with a lens fitted with a meter coupling ridge, automatically indexes the maximum aperture of the lens in use without having to rotate the aperture ring back and forth. Other than the pro F-series models (The F5 comes with a new 'mount' and modification can be done to revert back to standard mount to accept older and non-AI lenses) and the Nikkormat, the FM and FE are the only two compact Nikon models that can bridge the AI and non-AI Nikkor lenses. The FE's mount has a adjustable meter coupling lever that can be raised by pressing the lock (1) to accept non-AI Nikkor Since we are here, the ADR (Aperture Direct Readout) window in the finder is by means of transmitting the reading of the aperture value (Engraved on the aperture ring of the lens in tiny f-stop numerals) on AI lenses through this viewing path (3). You can check a optical path diaphragm (The yellow path) of the Nikon F3 which has employs same principle.

Stopped-Down Metering If you intend to use a non-AI-type Nikkor lens on the FE, it's imperative to lock the meter-coupling lever up out of the way before mounting the lens on the camera. Just push in the small button and lift up the lever. With a 500, 1000, or 2000mm Reflex-Nikkor lens mounted, the FE is a joy to use, because the camera sets its own shutter speed for you automatically and steplessly over its entire range. No other step is necessary, except having the shutter speed dial set to "Auto." When using a preset lens, such as a PC-Nikkor, or a lens mounted on a bellows unit, the lens diaphragm must be stopped-down manually to the desired f/stop to get the correct exposure. For non-AI-type Nikkor lenses (the older types without a meter coupling ridge), it's necessary to push in the depth-of-field preview lever and to hold it in until after the picture is taken. Of course, adjustments in the shutter speed can be made (while the preview lever is depressed) by rotating the aperture ring until the black meter needle indicates the desired speed. Because this is a a time-consuming process, Nikon has recommended that users have their older lenses AI-modified by Nikon, although Nikon terminates such request now for over 20 years, there are still a couple of external independent service center still offering such modification. Virtually ALL Nikon cameras need a minimum automatic indexing to work. In fact some AF bodies cannot 'communicate' with a modified AI Nikkor now. Time changes for the last twenty years, so does development of SLR - unfortunately, prices spike and spiraling up too - but not interpreting into equal amount of quality products ...a sad state for users like us.

Self-Timer The FE's self-timer is used to trip the shutter after a delay of approximately 10 seconds. To take a picture using the self-timer, first cock the shutter, then rotate the lever counterclockwise until it stops. When the shutter button is pushed, the reflex mirror immediately flips up, the lens diaphragm stops down to the f/stop set on the aperture ring, and the self-timer lever starts to move. Ten seconds later the shot will be taken. Not only is the self-timer useful for taking self-portraits,or including yourself in group shots, but you can use it in line with of a cable release. It's perfect for critical close-up situations, because the vibrations created by the movement of the reflex mirror have ceased by the time the shutter actually opens. A handy feature of the FE's self-timer is that its action can be canceled either before or after the shutter button is pushed. Suppose you cock the self-timer, but then decide not to use it. By simply turning the lever back to its upright position and pushing it in toward the lens automatically uncorks the time setting without wasting a frame. You can also terminate the self Timer's action prematurely before the 10 seconds is up by pushing the lever in toward the lens to release the shutter. This is useful if you wish to trip the shutter before 10 seconds countdown.

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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

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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Shared Resources: MD-11 | MD-12 | 3rd Party Power Winder Only for FM2(n)/FE2/FA | Focusing Screens | Titanium Shutter | Flash Units - | SB-15 | SB-10 | SB-16B & Other Options | Databack | Nikkor lens mount (related info)

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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Nikon Auto Focus Nikkor lenses:- Main Index Page
Nikon Manual Focus Nikkor lenses:- Fisheye-Nikkor Lenses - Circular | Full Frame | Ultrawides Lenses - 13mm15mm18mm20mm | Wideangle Lenses - 24mm28mm35mm | Standard Lenses - 45mm 50mm 58mm | Telephoto Lenses - 85mm105mm135mm180mm & 200mm | Super-Telephoto Lenses - 300mm 400mm 500mm 600mm 800mm 1200mm |

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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.