Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Nikon FE2 - Basic Operation Part X

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During the early days of introduction, TTL automatic flash metering was very popular and hailed as the 'ultimate' solution in flash photography. Unfortunately, this was a proprietary technology by Olympus as early as way back in 1976 (Olympus OM2(n)). It was adopted but modified in the Nikon F3. Other than the Olympus, out of the few professional camera models available during the early and mid eighties, Pentax LX is the most innovative, while Canon New F-1 was the only body that did not use the TTL OTF metering for flash. Naturally, popular commercial models after the Nikon F3 like Nikon FE2 and FA also adopted this as standard feature. This system is superior to conventional way because now light is directly measures at the precise moment of exposure where it measures the amount of light striking the film and regulate the power output from the flash unit for an 'optimum' exposure.

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Main advantage being, regardless of type of the lenses mounted or accessories like special filter used that may need compensation previously with normal automatic flash system because the light sensor is not through the lens, the exposure remains accurate. With TTL OTF flash metering, most of these technical problems can be resolved. The peak 1/250 sec. sync speed allows both bodies selective focusing even in syncro-sunlight photography. This was extremely difficult to achieve before with maximum sync speeds of 1/125 sec. because you had to stop down to f/5.6 or f8 when shooting with flash in bright sunlight. The titanium shutter designed for the FM and the updated version used in the FE2 and FA, you can have a wider range of lens apertures to shoot with - selective focusing or even allow you to handle action related flash photography in daylight. The SB-15 was weaker in the sense the guide number is limited. Nikon has produced another more powerful flash in the very interestingly featured SB-16 later.


The SB-16 has two versions, differentiated by its shoe mount, but specification remains the same. The SB16A has a Nikon F3 flash coupler and offers a better, less bulkier alternative to the handle flash in SB-11 and SB-14. The SB-16B is made for Nikon cameras that has standard ISO-type hot shoe. It fact, it was generally believed to be a tailor made flash unit for both FE2 and FA to expand its TTL flash capabilities. With the FE2/SB-16B combination, synchro-sunlight shooting becomes easier, more creative than ever. I believed the SB-16 was originally designed as a system flash. But may be the autofocus revolution started sooner than expected and we may have missed many other commercially potential accessories for the SB16. Anyway, the SB16 is still available as new to supplement the current FM2n or the F3 (Not so much for this, as the Nikon F4 or the F5 has gone back to the standard ISO type hotshoe - businessman is usually very realistic. The SB16B still can serve virtually ALL Nikon cameras (Some may need to use the PC terminal or flash coupler in the case of Nikon professional F series prior to the Nikon F4). What is so special about the SB16 - that can made it last for 20 years in production ?

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The SB-16 comes with a rather powerful guide number of 32m or 105 ft,, combined with a horizontally and vertically adjustable head and the FE2/FA's TTL automatic flash output control to make an ideal tool for bounce flash photography. You can thus use varying degrees of "bounce" to soften and diffuse your lighting. Also, in front, there is a secondary flash fills in the dark shadows for more realistic bounce-flash. In addition, the SB-16B covers the picture angles of lenses from 24mm (with wide flash adapter SW-7) to 85mm or longer.

INSTRUCTION MANUAL FOR Nikon SB-18B and Nikon SB-15 speedlights

IF I can still recall clearly, the many strobes that Nikon has ever produced over these years, the secondary 'mini' fill in flash on the SB-16 was the first and the last of such flash from Nikon. Complaints ? Yes. Physically, very weak in human engineering when mounted on a camera. You can say, slightly on the out-of-proportion side. As I said in the Nikon F3 site, the original concept was good (Around that time, Sunpak came with a conceptual system flash that can do like interchangeable flash heads). I wasn't sure whether Nikon has that in mind, thus, even though the SB-16 has that feature (You can detach the flash head), but we never seen any innovative add-on accessories being developed for that purpose. Secondly, its price made it a real pain 'somewhere' in your body. Think of it, some third party option has more flexible options. But the secondary fill flash is hard to find and it was a pure Nikon dedicated unit, Errr.... Why Nikon makes life and pocket so 'in-compatible'.

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The zoom setting for the SB-16 is a very well and considerate design. Although it was not an original idea from Nikon, but the popularity of the zoom lenses has been mushrooming during the early eighties. The zoom feature was logical enough even for those who doesn't use zoom lenses. Further, at its longest zoom setting, the SB-16 is the most powerful flash shoe-mount flash within the Nikon SB-series. Outclassing most of the similarly featured flash units, but slightly weaker than the SB11 but stay on par with the SB-14.

I have tried on the zoom set at 'T' for the 180mm ED Nikkor, and use it for a fashion shot for a model in a street middle of the night, all came out perfectly exposed at full length - that was sixty feet away ! In addition to the dedicated hot shoe (F3 or standard ISO hot shoe), the SB16 has a PC flash terminal. This terminal will accept any standard PC cord or Nikon-threaded PC cord. It is an X terminal through which only electronic flash units (and some rare types of flash bulbs) synchronize. You can setup your camera to do multiple mix of lighting effect. Warning: DON"T attempt to use the PC terminal on your flash for flash bulb, use the camera body's one instead. There is NO such TTL flash control in Bulb or flash tube. The PC terminal just creates contact between camera and flash. The flash functions properly via its PC cord only when it is set in either Automatic or Manual mode. TTL functions will not operate with the cable link from the PC Terminal (Neither from the FLASH or CAMERA BODY). What can I shared with you in SB16 ? Not much. Because, I have long given all my flash units away. May be I would need a SB-28 to explore if the new 'tough-made-easy' for flash photography features embedded in a latest F5. Nikon may not lead in the AF lens technology, but it is still very far a head in term of metering and flash capabilities than any of its competition. As far as SB16 is concerned, I am glad it is still around to serve the many devoted Nikon Fans out there. It can easily claimed as the BEST manual operated flash around: flexible and versatile (But I still insist Nikon can made it more compact). Features like tilt, zoom, rotate, simple Auto mode (f4 & f8 - if you don't want to remember too many things), TTL, MD, ready light, blinking light after exposure, flash adapter, color gel, inter changeable heads, accepts few power source (Quantum has a spare battery pack during early days). Free personal advice: Too many features mean level of complication also doubles. Always check the film speed ISO/ASA and exposure compensation setting(s) on your camera (Especially the SB16A on the Nikon F3) AND ALSO ON THE FLASH!
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Nikon Speedlight SB-16A & B
(Model 16A with F3 flash Coupler, While Model 16B uses Standard ISO accessory shoe)
Light output control   Silicon thyristor-controller rectifier and series circuitry; TTL automatic flash output control with Nikon FE2, Nikon FA, Nikon FG etc.
Flash unit coupler   AS-9 Flash Unit Coupler
Guide number   32 (ASA/ISO 100 and meters) at full output: 8 in MD (motor-drive) mode.
Bounce flash   Possible by vertically-horizontally adjustable main flash head.
Recycling time   Approx. 11 sec. with alkaline-manganese batteries at full output, Approx. 8 sec. with NiCd batteries at full output.
Number of flashes   Approx. 100 with alkaline-manganese batteries at full output, Approx. 40 with NiCd battery at full output.
Angle of flash coverage   Cover's picture angles of 85mm, 50mm, 35mm, 28mm, 24mm (with SW-7) lenses by extending main flash head
Power source   Four 1.5V AA-type penlight batteries
Mounting of AS-9   Standard ISO-type foot
(W x H x D)
  Approx. 154 x 189 x 53mm (excluding mounting foot)
Weight   Approx. 470g (excluding batteries)

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Additional Technical Info relates to the Nikon FE2 (7 Parts)

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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.