Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Nikon FE - Flash Photography with the FE

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Although the FE is an automatic exposure camera and its metering sensitivity is fair enough to tackle even in dim light, there are certain situations which can be improved by using flash. For instance, a flash unit is the best way to freeze the action. Or, when shooting under artificial illumination with daylight-type color slide film, electronic flash is perfect for eliminating any unnatural color casts which might arise otherwise. Although there are no clear rules and definition to present the best possible creative measures or fixed rules in photography, but undeniably flash is the conventional way to deal in the dark. Nikon makes a wide variety of electronic flash units, including the early days of SB-5, 6, 7E, and 8E, all of which may still usable successfully with the FE. In addition, there is a special companion unit during the era of the FM and FE, the SB-10, which has been designed exclusively for the FE to make shooting with flash easier than ever. Don't get me wrong, virtually all electronic flash units will work on the FE - difference is merely the functions, whether dedicated or require you to control them manually. But flash units made by Nikon do have their advantage for being dedicated (Sounds technical, but all arose from the tiny contacts beneath the shoe of the flash and a top of the hot shoe on the camera body to communicate for some specific function to activate). The FE's built-in accessory shoe offers a convenient place to mount a flash unit, like the SB-10. The main electrical contact in the center of the shoe provides for direct synchronization with all electronic or bulb flash units having an ISO-type "accessory shoe" contact.

Hote Shoe.jpg (8k)
Simply mount the unit and it's ready to go. A secondary contact links the SB-10 Nikon Speedlight Unit directly to the FE's metering circuit for automatic setting at 1/90 second on "Auto.", it is much simpler compared with today's AF flash contacts which usually has more than 4 contacts to relay other essential data between the flash and camera.

Such as ? When the SB-10 is mounted in the FE's hot shoe and the flash unit turned on, the correct flash synchronization speed of 1/90 second is automatically set with the shutter speed dial set on "Auto" (When manually set, shutter speeds up to 1/125 second are usable.) The SB-10 offers a choice of two f/stops on automatic (f/4 and f/8 with ASA 100 film) and has a manual guide number of 25 (ASA 100 and meters) or 41 (ASA 25 and feet). Recycling time is almost instantaneous when shooting subjects at close range, because the SB-10 utilizes an energy-saving, thyristor circuit. Four alkaline-manganese AA penlight batteries, housed in a quick-change clip, provide enough energy for approximately 160 flashes on manual and many more on automatic. Coverage is fair by modern standard, just wide enough for a 35mm wideangle lens.

SB9.jpg (10k)

(More info: Nikon SB-1 to SB-21 Speedlight/Flash Units)
it looks very much like the SB-E launched with the EM in 1979, huh ? This is the SB-9, a simple automatic flash control with two way light intensity output. Such older auto flash can also be used with the FE. Other high power hand mounted flash units like the older SB-5 in the late '70 or the SB-11 or SB-14 in the '80 still work perfectly with the FE.SB10.jpg (13k)The SB-10

Further, a red LED is built into the top of the FE's eyepiece and is activated when the SB-10 is mounted in the hot shoe and turned on. As soon as the Speedlight is fully charged, the LED will begin to glow. It goes out immediately after a shot is taken and comes back on again when the flash is recharged. In addition to its ready-light function, the LED also serves as a blinking warning signal, when the FE's shutter speed dial has been set manually to a speed higher then 1/125second.

PC terminal.jpg
Apart from the shoe mount flash units that can mount directly to the hot shoe, the FE does have another way to connect cable to the flash. It has a threaded sync terminal on the front of the camera just below the rewind knob. When using a bracket mounting flash unit like the Nikon SB-5, SB-11, SB-14 etc., or if you want to use the SB-10, SB-15, SB-16B etc. off-camera, then a separate sync cord must be connected between the camera and flash.

Reminder: the FE is not provided with TTL flash exposure control, thus, it is only provided with normal automatic flash and as well as manual flash control, check your flash connecting points before purchasing the right cable). As an added safety feature, the accessory shoe is automatically disconnected from the synchronization circuit to avoid the possibility of electrical shock to the photographer. Through the incorporation of a compact Copal Square shutter, whose metal curtains run vertically from bottom to top in approximately 7 milliseconds (The FM2(n) cut this down to 3.3 milliseconds, and the flash sync has boosted to 1/200 and 1/250 sec in the later models), the Nikon FE is able to synchronize with electronic flash at all speeds up to 1/125 sec. including the M90 setting (1/90 sec.). For flashbulbs, see the chart below.

Chart.jpg (12k)

Note: For any FE user that frequently has flash misfiring problem, click here.

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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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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.