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

 
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With the film you intended to use correctly inserted in the film chamber. No hurry to start shooting. Next you need to double check the film speed is correctly set with the camera film speed setting, because if you have set it incorrectly, all the exposure will be deviated from the indented result. Most of the latest SLR cameras have DX coding which will auto read the DX codes printed in the film canister, however, most cameras up to the mid eighties are still require you to manual set the film speed (If I can still recall, Nikon F-301 was the first Nikon that provided with auto DX code sensing and it was also the first Nikon that has a integral motor winder built-in the camera body). How to set or check the film speed setting in the FE2 ?

ASA setting.jpg (14k)
It is a through a large dial, just housed beneath the film rewind knob. It has a safety feature built-in to prevent unintended shifting of the ISO/ASA setting. You have to lift surrounding the dial before you can turn the dial to move to other film speed position. Of course, I have to assume that you know what film speed is : Just refer to the film speed that printed on the film carton and the cartridge e.g. ASA 100, 400 etc. When you have determine the film speed of the film in use, lift up the ASA/ISO film speed ring (1) upward and rotate it (2) in the appropriate direction until the index dot (3) is opposite the film speed in use. Make sure the exposure compensation dial (Opposite of the film speed setting, those numerals in 2..1..0..1..2) is set at 0. These actions are essential to activate the camera's exposure meter for correct exposure of the film in use.

The film speed range for the FE2 is generous enough but it has not been improved from the previous FE. It can handle from ASA/ISO 12 to ASA/ISO 4000. The most frequently used setting of 100, 400 are in marked in red while an additional red dot for '64' is there for easy reference and setting.
Film Speed Dial.jpg (7k)

After this process, your FE2 is ready for action. There is some slight differences between the FE and FE2 in term of unlocking the shutter release button and activating the meter on. The film advance lever in the earlier Nikon FE acted both as a meter switch on/off lever and unlocking the shutter release button - first by pulling out the lever from the flush in position to standoff, you will see a red dot that hide under the lever to indicate the shutter release button is free and so does the computer circuitry. In the upgrade of FE2, the lever is only acted as a shutter release lock. Meaning, if the lever is flush with the body, you cannot trip the shutter release button to take any exposure. Therefore, you have to pull the lever to a standoff position (1) first to unlock the button. Where is the meter on/off then ? This is another improvement done with the FE2.

The shutter release button has triple functions. It was made more rounded then the FE, threaded in the middle to accept cable release for vibration free photography in close up photography etc.. Next, apart from being a shutter release button, it acts as the meter on/off switch as well. By just lightly press on the button (2), it will instantly activate the exposure meter. Look through the viewfinder and you will see the needle on the exposure scale will react immediately The meter will stay for approx. 16 sec after you have taken your finger off the button to conserve batter power.
Shutter release.jpg (12k)

Lastly, all 'serious' automatic cameras have, one way or another a mean to check the 'live wire' - the battery power, for all its automatic operations. I don't know who were the smart cookies in Nikon who had designed the battery check feature in the FE2. I cannot say I enjoy it very much. The earlier FE way of battery checking is very much easier and friendlier (It has a lever and a LED pilot lamp just behind the camera). The FE2's way of checking the condition of your battery level is by looking through the viewfinder after switching the exposure meter on, if the black meter needle swings into the shutter speed scale range when you lightly press the shutter release to activate the meter, this indicates that the exposure meter is working properly. I don't quite enjoy this as I said earlier because, somehow the procedure is quite similar to actual camera operation and it is hard to make certain the actual condition (The Canon AE-1 in 1975 has similar feature, but it was aided with a mark in the scale as a reference point). Fortunately, the FE2 has two mechanical speeds that work independently even if the battery drained dry or fail to function normally in extreme change of temperature. The M250 on the shutter speed ring works as indicated 1/250 sec on the higher speed scale, while the 'B'(Bulb) is for user determined 'long exposure time ' manually calculated if such situation arises.

Viewfinder.jpg (13k)
Notes: When the shutter speed dial is set at B (Bulb) or M250 (1/250 sec.), the black meter needle will not move; therefore you cannot check the batteries condition. Be sure to set the dial to another position. If the black meter needle still doesn't move, either the battery is improperly installed (in which case you should install it properly) or battery power is not sufficient (in which case you should change the battery). Further, You cannot check the battery power until the frame counter reaches "1."


| Next | 3/11 Shutter Speed Scales Explained
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11

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

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Index Page
  Special Application lenses:
Micro-Nikkor Lenses - 50mm~55mm -60mm 85mm -105mm 200mm Micro-Zoom 70-180mm
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Dedicated Lenses for Nikon F3AF: AF 80mm f/2.8 | AF 200mm f/3.5 EDIF
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Recommended links to understand more technical details related to the Nikkor F-mount and production Serial Number:
http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-153.html by: my friend, Rick Oleson
http://www.zi.ku.dk/personal/lhhansen/photo/fmount.htm by: Hansen, Lars Holst
http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/nikonfmount/lens2.htm
http://www.photosynthesis.co.nz/nikon/serialno.html

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.