Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Nikon FM - Camera Operation Part I - Viewing Section

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Relative info: Fundamentals of Exposures; Depth of Field; Shutter Speeds and Aperture Values. Other reference site you can make use to broaden your scope of knowledge are: Nikon FM10, Instruction Manual for Nikon FM2n. You may also download or e-mail me for a copy of the User's Manual of the Nikon FM in PDF format (636k).

Reflex Viewing : The Nikon FM utilizes a through-the-lens or TTL viewing system. This simply means that the image the photographer sees through the lens, through the viewfinder eyepiece, is the image that will be recorded on the film. A principle that has made the SLR so popular as compared rangefinder system. Accordingly, the image changes every time the lens is angled differently and, indeed, every time a lens with a different focal length is used with the camera.

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The image itself appears erect and un-reversed through the FM's fixed eye-level pentaprism viewfinder; the picture area covered is approximately 93%, which corresponds to that of a mounted transparency. To compensate for the difference between the more superior viewing system had in the rangefinder camera system, SLR manufacturers has spent a lot of development effort in the viewfinder system to bridge the gap. The FM's image brightness is enhanced by the use of silver coating on the viewfinder's pentaprism and some special treatment applied on the viewfinder screen to make the most of TTL viewing at full aperture.

Viewfinder Screen This is similar to the Type K which is the standard screen for Nikon F2 (but remains as a standard screen for all manual focus Nikon bodies). To outline the standard Type K screen in details, there are three focusing "aids" available: (1 ) a Split-image rangefinder spot with a diameter of 3mm, (2) a 1mm wide annular microprism grid, and (3) a fine, matte Fresnel outfield. You will note that the main focusing"aids" - the spot and the grid - are placed centrally in the screen, which is often where the main subject is positioned. This makes focusing considerably fast and easy for the vast majority of subjects. The split-image rangefinder spot is especially invaluable for precise, pinpoint focusing. All that is required is to turn the focusing ring of the lens until the two halves of the portion of the image framed by the spotcoincide perfectly to form a single, "unbroken" image. The microprism grid, on the other hand, is best for focusing rapidly on subject outlines, such as in sports or fast-action photography; image breakup is quickly noticeable even when the subject is only fractionally out of focus. In this case, the focusing ring is turned until the portion of the image seen through the microprism pattern appears crisp. As for the fine matte outfield, it is particularly useful when shooting with telephoto lenses that have small aperture, or when doing close-up or microphotography Although the focusing screen has no condenser, Nikon applied some special treatment on the matte Fresnel outfield assures the brightness of the entire view field. In conclusion, the screen of the original FM may not be the brightest among the lots but its viewfinder screen is adequately makes for fast, simple focusing for most of your needs. The FM viewfinder came with a fixed eye-level pentaprism type with built-in TTL exposure meter. Essential key information pertaining to shutter speed, aperture setting indicated in the finder when lens in use is fitted with an aperture-direct-readout (ADR) lens aperture scale (See the red optical path in the illustration above), LED display indicates five exposure graduations through combinations of three symbols (+ & - );

The finder coverage, approx. 93% of the picture field; viewfinder magnification, 0.86X with 50mm lens set at infinity. Matte fresnel field with central split-image rangefinder surrounded by micro prism ring; 12mm-diameter reference circle indicates area of meter center-weighting in the 60/40 composition.

So much for the bright side of the viewing system in the FM. However, the main drawback is, the focusing screen design works a little weak in some small aperture lenses. Since the focusing screen is not interchangeable type as with the FM2n or the FE and you can only have the same screen to work. The center split image tends to darken. In this case, you ought to use the outer fields for focusing - especially when you are shooting vertically. Focusing screen design were eventually enhanced further in later years to brighten the viewing by almost a full stop with the introduction of the newer type 2 screen when the FE2 launched in 1983.

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The early batch of the Nikon FM upgrade, the original FM2 in 1982, which came with focusing screen interchange ability were sharing with the type 1 screens which the FE uses.

All other FM series models (Except the FM10 and the original FM we are discussing right now, unfortunately the Nikon FM was not able to enjoy that extra benefit, because it was designed with a fixed, non-interchangeable standard type K screen mentioned above. You may check the focusing screen section for further info.

| Next | Part 2/7

Index Page | Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5 | Page 6 | Page 7 | Specification | Main Reference Map

Earlier section : Basic camera setup
Next Section covers: Viewing Mechanism
Depth of Field Preview | Reflex Mirror Mechanism

| Back to Nikon FM's Index Page |
Back to Nikon FM Series Main Index Page |

Detailing its Basic Camera Operations (Instruction Manual)
Detailing its Technical Application of its features (6 parts)

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Standard production Nikon FM Series models:- Nikon FM | Nikon FM2 | Nikon FM2n | Nikon FM10 | Nikon FM3a |
Known variants:- Nikon FM Gold | Nikon FM2/T | Nikon FM2N Tropical Set | Nikon FM2/T Limited Edition | Nikon FM2N LAPITA | Nion FM2n Millennium 2000

Shared Resources: MD-11 | MD-12 | Focusing Screens | Titanium Shutter | Flash Units -SB-16 | SB-15 | SB-10 or 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)

Nikon BC-flash Series | Original Nikon Speedlight
SB-2 | SB-3 | SB-4 | SB-5 | SB-6 | SB-7E | SB-8E | SB-9 | SB-E | SB-10
| SB-12 | SB-14 | SB-140 UV-IR| SB-15 | SB16A | SB-17 | SB-18, SB-19 | SB-21A (SB-29) Macro flash | Flash Accesories | SF-1 Pilot Lamp

Instruction Manual: Nikon FM (HTML | PDF) | Nikon FM-10 (HTML) | Nikon FM2n's User's Manual available only in HTML format (6 parts) | Nikon FM3A (HTML)
Nikon FM, FM-10, FM2, FM2n and FM3A / Main Reference Map: (HTML) Nikon FM, FM2, FM-10, FM2n (Applicable to FM2T, FM2 "Year of the Dog"; Millennium 2000") and Nikon FM3A

weblibrary.gif   Nikon F | Nikon F2 | Nikon F3 | Nikon F4 | Nikon F5 | Nikon F6 | Nikkormat / Nikomat | Nikon FM | Nikon FE/ FA | Nikon EM/FG/FG20 | Nikon Digital SLRs | Nikon - Other models

Nikon Auto Focus Nikkor lenses:- Main Index Page
Nikon Manual Focus Nikkor lenses:- Fisheye-Nikkor Lenses - Circular | Full Frame | Ultrawides Lenses - 13mm15mm18mm20mm | Wideangle Lenses - 24mm28mm35mm | Standard Lenses - 45mm 50mm 58mm | Telephoto Lenses - 85mm105mm135mm180mm & 200mm | Super-Telephoto Lenses - 300mm 400mm 500mm 600mm 800mm 1200mm |

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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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Credit: To all the good people who has contributed their own experience, resources or those who are kind enough granting us permission to use their images appeared in this site. Mr. MCLau®, who has helped to rewrite some of the content appeared this site. Chuck Hester® who has been helping me all along with the development of all these Nikon websites;LarsHolst Hansen, 'Hawkeye' who shares the same passion I have; Ms Rissa, Sales manager from Nikon Corporation Malaysia for granting permission to use some of the official content; TedWengelaar,Holland who has helped to provide many useful input relating to older Nikkor lenses; Some of the references on production serial numbers used in this site were extracted from Roland Vink's website; HiuraShinsaku from Nikomat Club Japan. t is also a site to remember a long lost friend on the Net. Note:certain content and images appeared in this site were either scanned from official marketing leaflets, brochures, sales manuals or publications published by Nikon over the years and/or contribution from surfers who claimed originality of their work for educational purposes. The creator of the site will not be responsible for may discrepancies arise from such dispute except rectifying them after verification."Nikon", "Nikkormat", "Nippon Kokagu KK" & "Nikkor" are registered tradename of Nikon Corporation Inc., Japan. Site made with an Apple IMac.