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

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The shutter speed ring is some sort of a command centre. It provides you to set, lock the camera in automatic exposure mode and turn to the appropriate desired shutter speed in manual mode. There are a total of 19 steps (If you count the green coded 'A' (Auto mode) in). The numerals in orange indicating in second(s), i.e. '1' means one second, '8' means 8 seconds exposure time. While the numeric in white are in fraction. i.e. '4000' means 1/4000 sec., while a '4' means 1/4 sec. The red '250' is the maximum sync speed (When work with flash) allows for flash photography (Flash will work at any speed below 1/250). The the M250 (- 1/250 sec.) is mechanically operated and B (bulb) settings for long time exposure, is also mechanical.

I have mentioned earlier, the FE's shutter speed ring has a safety lock. You can set the shutter speed dial to "A" (for automatic operation) for a try out. Rotate the shutter speed dial until the "A" is opposite the shutter speed/mode index. The built-in locking mechanism ensures that the dial cannot be accidentally shifted from the "A" (auto position) during shooting. Now, your FE2 has transformed into an automatic exposure camera. All you need is to select an aperture value on your lens and the camera will react by setting the corresponding shutter speed to match your selection. This kind of automatic exposure (AE) control is called 'Aperture Priority AE'. The Nikon FE2 offers aperture-priority automatic exposure and manual control. The marked shutter speeds from 8 to 1/4000 sec, are for manual exposure mode and all speed are quartz control. Once you have lock in the green 'A' setting (Locked because to prevent accidental shifted out from the Automatic Exposure Mode), you are in aperture priority AE mode. You select the aperture and the camera will select the appropriate shutter speed to match your aperture value selected for a theoretical optimum exposure. The speed in auto mode is electronically timed STEPLESSLY. Meaning, if your have set a variable aperture value (Yes, Nikkor lenses can be set mid between the respective aperture value e.g. between f5.6 and f8).The FE2, based on the light level measures from a given scene, may set the shutter speed to 1/168 sec - if it demands. This is not new in a Nikon, the earlier FE has that, and even the Nikon F2 models ! Note: that shutter speeds between engraved numbers (i e., intermediate speeds) cannot be used. Since you can see the shutter speed in use inside the viewfinder, it's not necessary to look at the shutter speed dial as you turn it.

The shutter speed dial has the following settings: A (Auto): Used for aperture-priority automatic mode shooting. You manually set the f/stop first; then the camera automatically selects the matching electronically controlled shutter speed steplessly between 8 and 1/4000 sec., depending on the scene brightness and the film speed in use. Why Nikon preferred Aperture Priority AE and not Shutter Priority ? This issue has long been debating among many users but based on sophistication of modern cameras, it is not an important issue anymore. No doubts technicality involves with shutter priority is more sophisticated as it needs a mechanism to stop down aperture to preset value determines by the camera. Those days, generally, it would be very much easier for any user to believe the concept where, shutter speed since be can timed steplessly corresponding to any mid values of aperture selected, aperture priority AE may yield a more precise result in exposure measurement Canon's revised FD lenses has half stop values engraved on the lens aperture ring, but I am not so sure it can perform like the current EF AF lenses to such precise level. But whatever it is, if your kind of photography demands absolute more than 1/3 stop fine tuning of exposure, you can refer yourself as rare few 'species' of shutterbugs, and you are my hero...

114000 - 8 sec. (Manual):
Press the center button of the shutter speed ring while turning it at anti clockwise will unlock from the 'A' (Auto). You are in the manual speed setting then. These speed values are for full manual control of both f/stop and shutter speed. All sixteen speeds indicated on the dial are available with timing accuracy assured by a quartz oscillator (except the M250 and B). Orange colored numbers on the dial indicate actual shutter speeds, while white ones are reciprocals, i.e., 2 means 1/2 sec., and 4000 means 1/4000 sec The 250 is indicated with red which means the fastest sync speed for an electronic flash unit. A one-stop change will either halve or double the exposure; e.g., a shutter speed of 1/125 sec lets in twice as much light as a setting of 1/250 sec. and half as much light as 1/60 sec. This is really one strong point of automatic camera in the timing accuracy as compared with a mechanical camera. It is no doubt that an electronically timed shutter is more accurate as mechanical camera needs periodical maintenance to keep its accuracy. The FE2's manual speed uses a quartz oscillation circuit. It will activate (and draw battery power) as long as a battery is installed, this means, even if you have turn your camera off, the oscillator will still drain the battery power. Well, there is no cause for concern, as many of my FE2's friends has confirmed there is no significant or noticeable increase in the battery consumption. Most of them claimed more than a year's use.

This is a minor trade off, but it really excels in timing accuracy performance, because ALL manual speeds (except the mechanically operated M250 and B) in the FE2 are having a oscillation frequency of 32,768 Hz to assure monitoring such timing in these speeds.

As everyone of us aware in a mechanical camera, the lower shutter speed range below 1/30 sec. are the 'trouble' speeds. In this case, the quartz timing provided in the FE2 really provides unsurpassed accuracy.. M250 (Mechanical - 1/250 sec.): At this setting, the shutter operates mechanically at 1/250 see; this is used when the battery is exhausted and other shutter speed modes are not operable. When the battery(ies) run dry, if the lighting is permissible, the higher speed of M250 as compared with previous FE's M90 should be more functional. This higher speed is easier to calculate exposure based on experience and further, a higher film speed can be safely keep in place. B (Bulb): At this mechanical setting, the shutter curtains remain open as long as you depress the shutter release button. B is especially useful for making long time exposures with a cable release and a tripod. In a situation where the battery is out, the B setting can tackle in low or unfavorable light situation. Any complaints ? Yes, the shutter speed ring doesn't has an mechanism as with the Nikon F3, where it can be rotate freely clockwise or anti-clockwise. The FE2's ring is one-way and it has to turn and rotate in single direction to reach for a specific setting. Well, this is minor flaw, just being fussy to pick on something, that is all.

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

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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.