Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Nikon FE2 - Part V

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A new frame counter

FE2 Map topview.jpg (21k)

Frame counter in camera design is usually placed close to film advance lever or to be more appropriate, near the shutter release button for easy reference. Naturally, you eyes will locate the exposures taken and always being informed on the latest status for frames taken and the remaining frames available. Well, at the initial few frames before the camera is ready for exposures with the film loaded, few blanks shots are for 'throwing' away the exposed negative/positive during the process of slotting the film leader into the film take up spool. This is to make sure unfogged film is in position behind the shutter.

I can't remember which camera was the first to start with "Intelligent" frame counter (Canon A-1 has that feature way back in 1977 when mounted with a dedicated flash in auto mode, the Nikon FE 1978 and Nikon EM (1979) will work in the same manner only (1/90 sec) if you used the dedicated SB-10 (SB-E, SB15 etc.) - but none has tackled the issue in mode other than in the flash mode). The Nikon F3 in 1980 with 1/80 sec was the first Nikon has that "Intelligent" frame counter feature incorporated in manual or in auto mode.

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What it means is: Until the frame counter reaches the first frame, the shutter automatically fires at 1/250 sec. even with the camera set on Auto. This ensures there will be no unduly long exposures when making those first few blank shots during film loading. What it means is, the FE2 will operate in Manual Mode until the film counter reaches frame number 1. The light meter in the camera also deactivates and rest at the M position) until frame "1" shows in the counter window (The F3, a numeral of '80' (1/80 sec.) will be shown in the LCD window).

Remember those days where accidentally putting a lens cap on or firing a shots in dark surrounding ? You have to manually unlock the shutter speed ring to M90 (FE, EM), 'T' or use the mechanical lever on the F3 to release the shutter. Although a seasoned photographer will know how to 'steal' additional two frames from the earlier design and may not appreciate so much, but nevertheless, this feature is welcome by most users in general.

Double Exposure Lever Prior to the Nikon FM in 1977, I wouldn't say double exposure operation in Nikon camera is enjoyable to used. Confidence level is another thing. As most cameras during those period were utilizing the rewind button to disengage the film advance mechanism. The Nikkormat models, don't even mentioned this in their spec sheet). The Nikon F2 improved a lot in terms of accuracy and registration of overlapping frames.

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The FM, changed that by design and relocated a new dedicated lever on top of the body (Not at the familiar position near the film advance lever as with today's FM2 or FE series models, but just beside the pentaprism). The FE in 1978 changed the design to that position as it allows a photography to handle this task in a single hand operation - even work in conjunction with motor drive for rapid sequential shots in succession

The FE2 (FM2 series and FA) has retained this unique and very functional design. To operate, take the first shot. Then, pull the multiple exposure lever with your index finder (
1), use your thumb to advance the film (2). Before you perform this task, ALWAYS take a look at the frame counter and remember what is the current frame number first, you will notice that the frame counter does not advance as you advance the film. Now the second exposure can be made on the same frame, and should additional multiple exposures be needed, simply repeat the above procedure (But keep an eye on the frame number to confirm if you had done it in the right manner). Note: Some compensation on exposure must be made if you intend to use multiple exposure operations because the amount of light striking the film more than once is additive but not as in mathematical sum 1+1 = 2. Because the subsequent exposure is less than dominant, just compensate a little in addition to normal exposure settings are probably adequate. While there is no definitive guide, experimental calculations is essential to achieve more desirable results.

Film Advance Lever Speaking about the film advance lever, the FE2's advance lever completes a film advance to the next frame by a 135° stroke. A safety feature built in is: The shutter will not trip unless the lever is fully being advanced or cocked. Nikon cameras are always famed for their silky-smooth film advance and transport.

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The FE2 has four clusters of ball bearings which has reduced film winding torque that has helped the winding of the FE2, apart from providing that smooth operation and also make it possible to work in short-stroke film advances.

When the film advance lever is in the 30° "standoff" position, the shutter release is unlocked, (This action is very straight forward in the earlier FE where, apart from unlocking the shutter release, the light meter is also activated). On the FE2, pulling the lever out from the flush-in position will unlock the shutter release, but the meter will not activated yet, it will only be activated when shutter release is pressed down halfway. Furthermore, the mechanical action is at 1/250 sec, the meter needle will rest at the bottom until it reaches frame number '1'. As for all the various shutter speed scales presented in the shutter speed ring and their related functions, exposure control methods, these have been discussed in the camera operations section. You may cross over to that section for cross reference.

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The last undisclosed feature provides on FE2's right portion on the top panel is the film plane indicator (the symbol of a circle bisected by a short line).

Film Plane.jpg (8k)
It is precisely engraved at a distance of 46.5 mm from the front of the lens mounting flange. While today's Nikon's system accessories for macrophotography, it was a hardly used feature. But for those whose works demand a exacting measurement this feature is placed for that reference. Hey.. how about the camera servicing reference ?..

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Basic Camera Operation and additional info available in 11 parts

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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
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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.