Additional Information on Nikon FM-10
Various Camera Controls and Functions

 

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The FM-10 has a very attractive but not striking outlook. Mainly because it has an anodized Champaign titanium finish as with the Nikon F3T - but underneath the shinny coating was polycarbonated casing. The right hand side of the camera is slightly contoured to provide a grip, it looks very much like the Nikon F3 but the grip is too shallow to provide a firm hand grip.

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The center portion of the camera body is dominated by a huge diameter bayonet lens mount - perhaps that could be the sole reason why the FM-10 can still be that popular despite all the hiccups easily pick up by any seasoned Nikon user. In fact, other than a exposure meter-on button and the self timer, all other gadgets locate in front of the body are related to the lens mechanism or functional control. Apart from the button mentioned earlier, the left hand side of the camera has a lens release button for changing lenses, a white index dot near the flange for you to align and mount a lens onto the camera. Between the camera body and the lens mount is a spring lever which is use to provide full aperture metering once a minimum AI (Maximum Aperture Indexing)_lens is mounted on to the FM-10.

Other than the hand grip, there is two levers that may be quite useful at times. The top is referred as the "Depth of Field Preview" Lever while the lower one is commonly known as "Self Timer" lever. We will discuss their respective functions one at a time. But prior to that, you have to learn how to mount and change lenses in the FM-10. After all, this is one very good reason why you are investing into a 35mm SLR camera, where one of its strongest asset is its ability to change different kind of lenses to suit your personal requirement. If you have bought your camera new from a shop, chances could be high that it already came with a lens mounted. But if it is not, then you have to mount a lens onto the camera body. Firstly, by making sure you have bought a lens came with a Nikon mount, Nikkor is their trade name for their lenses.

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When mounting, just take note that the FM-10 requires a lens that has minimum AI (Automatic Indexing) feature, regardless it is an original or an modified lens. The meter coupling ring in the FM-10 is a fixed and non-removable type for you to work the camera only with such feature. How to distinguish if the lens you intend to buy is a Nikkor with AI feature ? You may referred to another section in this site specially focuses on this issue.

To mount a lens that has the normal Al facility, just seat the lens in the camera's mount with the lens mounting / distance / aperture index aligned with the corresponding index on the camera body (d), then twist the lens counterclockwise until it clicks and locks into place. The lens release button (e) is for un-mounting a lens from the camera body, just depress and turn clockwise will release a lens from the mount. What is the protruding pin on the lens mount ? That is just the lens locking pin when a lens is mounted, when you depress the lens release button, it will unlock the lens and thus a lens can be removed from the camera body.

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On the right hand side, just next to the lens mount are the levers we mentioned earlier. The upper lever is called "Depth of Field" Preview lever, and the lower lever which can only be sliding side way downward is the self timer. Most of the manual focus Nikon cameras since the Nikon F in 1959 has both of the control locate at this location. The electronic Nikkormat EL in 1976 has also used this way for both self timer and DOF control (The Mechanical Nikkormat has the DOF lever on the top of the camera where most camera has the shutter speed dial located). Those days and until recently, the professional F series models are still using such arrangement. The Nikon FM in 1977 and the FE in 1978 were the first two models that have these controls in levers instead of button/Lever combination.

But first of all, why are all those Nikon bodies have that as standard feature and what is so important about depth of field preview ? Earlier we have discussed about the respective effect that aperture value and shutter speed settings will have on a photograph. In many ways, people tends to have more application with depth of field controlling general photography rather than action related photography. Portraiture, macro, products, scenic, travel are mainly depth of field related. Other than using the depth of field scale engraved on the lens to mentally determine the depth of field, it is more practical is to use the lever to preview visually the actual zone of sharpness in the viewfinder with the preselected aperture value.

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How ? Okay, make a note, virtually ALL modern SLR will have one way or another proprietary design to establish communication between camera and lenses. Previously, unlike modern AF multimodes SLRs, such communication is only restricting to automatically set to the maximum aperture of the lens in use whenever a lens is mounted onto the camera body (Advantage is being, with maximum aperture it is easier to focus and compose with maximum brightness in the viewfinder). Virtually regardless of method used, all are of mechanical means unlike today's SLR that require both mechanical and more leaning towards to electronic communications to handle the enormous task of various data exchange for autofocusing, metering and even distance information. Since the advent of * TTL (Through the lens) metering, a huge advantage presented by an SLR over rangefinder cameras is its ability to focus and meter precisely even with different kind of lenses or accessories mounted in between or directly onto the camera body.

*TTL exposure metering was first introduced on a Pentax spotmatic camera around in 1963-4. Metering is carried out through the lens, with an exposure meter built into the camera body that was aimed at the subject through the lens. This became known as 'Through The Lens' metering. Today's modern SLR cameras can offer even higher and unimaginable metering capabilities, not just meter the exposure within the center area for 'trusty weighted metering, it can handle right up to 6-10 multi-spot areas and more than 10 segment multi pattern across the picture frame just to provide a more precise measurement in metering. This kind of capabilities have now extended to flash metering and the latest technology offered by Nikon on their awesome flagship model, F5 there is even a RGB sensor where color temperature was also being inclusive into calculation of exposure !

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Nikon FM's TTL optical path (green line), red line is the ADR (Aperture direct readout) which has been omitted in the FM-10).Blue dot is a rough location near the eyepiece of which the metering cell that reads light TTL.
When TTL metering was first introduced, stop-down metering was still commonly used. In theory, stopped down metering should be a more accurate way of metering than open aperture metering. What is stopped down metering ? In this method the aperture value to be used is selected on the aperture ring and to carry out the measurement the iris diaphragm in the lens is closed to this value. The disadvantage of this method is that the viewfinder image darkens, particularly with very narrow apertures where neither you nor the exposure meter get to see much light from the subject. The FM-10 with the companion zoom of 35-70 f3.5-f4.8 has similar problem at its 70mm focal length setting where the lens has only f4.8 maximum aperture, you really have to leech your eyes close to the eyepiece to avoid the split image rangefinder from darkening.

Open-aperture metering, offers some clear advantages in this respect. The iris diaphragm remains open while the exposure measurement is carried out and is only closed to the value set on the aperture ring when the exposure is made. But there is one problem, the aperture to be used for the exposure has to, in some way, be taken into account. So for open-aperture metering, camera and lens have to be equipped in such a way as to be able to take the aperture value set on the aperture ring into account for the exposure measurement, but without actually closing the iris diaphragm. This means that the viewfinder image in the camera will stay bright and clear until the moment of exposure. The exposure meter registers the light entering through the fully open iris diaphragm, but the value selected on the aperture ring is taken into account and the result is reduced accordingly. The Nikon has the meter coupling ring (the movable ring between the lens mount and the camera body) and some mechanical pins, levers and notch to carry out the maximum aperture indexing once a AI-spec lens is mounted.

TTL METERING 'Through The Lens' (TTL) exposure metering allows the photographer to select a specific aperture on lens without the iris diaphragm in the lens actually closing to the actual value (opening). But the preselected aperture is one of the parameters used for correct exposure metering and control. It therefore needs to be fed into the exposure meter, and this means that lens and camera need to be equipped with the necessary method of communication either mechanically or electronically. Okay, since other than the maximum aperture is used, the effect of the depth of field is virtually similar as seen through the lens in used, however, if you are selecting an aperture value, say, f16 on a standard zoom lens of f3.5-f4.8, what you are seeing the 'effect through the lens is actually the maximum aperture of f3.5 (depending on the focal length since the zoom is a variable aperture zoom lens - meaning that: at 35mm the maximum aperture will be at f3.5 and when you zoom to 70mm, the effective aperture at that focal length is only f4.8 - a general designing trick to keep the zoom lens "light and compact"..after all, a novice will never know the difference). Thus, to help the photographer to find out how is the depth of field (zone of sharpness) covered in the focal length and aperture used, there are generally two methods used in providing as an alternative way of checking DOF. Older cameras and lenses were usually provide with a well illustrated and colour coded depth of field scale engraved on the lens' aperture ring to give a rough estimation of the zone of sharpness covers. The other method is to make use of the depth of field preview button/Lever. Once you depress the button (other than the maximum aperture of the lens is sued) the image in the viewfinder should dim or darken (The smaller the aperture you use, the darker it will be), you have to train yourself to to identify the differences inside the dimmed image where the clarity of the image improves accordingly with the increase of depth of field with the aperture used. Check the degree of blur at fore and background, with a smaller aperture or with a larger one, it should be clearer and depth of field will increase considerably with smaller aperture used. So don't be fooled by the open aperture method and this is one of the reason sometimes why an eventual processed image can be so much different from what you envisioned an image would look like after processing. The lever underneath the Depth of Field Preview lever is the Self Timer. Often being regarded as an amateuristic feature like including the photographer in a group of self portrait. It can be operated by sliding the lever downwards and the operation should commence when the shutter release button is being depressed. Duration is around 12 seconds after the operation started. However, once the lever has been set to ready position, the self timer operation is NOT CANCELABLE You have to trip the shutter to release a frame. But the self timer in any of the Nikon cameras after 1977 has more function than just being a self timer. This has a little got to do with the omission of mirror lock up features found commonly in a Nikon SLR before 1977 (Last two mid range camera models were the Nikon EL2 and Nikkormat FT3 that year where the compact Nikon FM was born).

As you can notice, once you have activated a self timer operation, the first mechanical reaction of the camera is to flip the mirror upward and started the count down process of the 12 sec operation. This design has the same effect as mirror lock up where the minute mirror bounce action could magnify in extreme close-up, super telephoto or astro photography. With the self timer, you can eliminate such possibility.


Note: Mirror lockup feature is still available in the Professional Class F-Series bodies. It has more applications than mentioned earlier, there are some lenses like the 6mm Fisheye Nikkor and the aspherical 10mm OP Fisheye Nikkor that has a protruding back which requires mirror lock up and in some cases, external optical finder to operate.

Shit.. am I too long-winded ? I guess so. But since most FM-10 buyers are new to photography, might as well spend a little more time to explain - hey, I have been through all those 'dark hours' during my early days and I know where are the confusing areas. Anyway, based on some of the initial feedback on the FM series Message Board, I don't expect a seasoned Nikon photographer will have the patience to read until this page on a ERRR Hmmm... FM-10. So these are not for you. So why am I doing all these ? Because I don't have a choice, because Nikon does not value the idea of cherishing a new pool of SLR users with a reasonably priced and spec entry camera model. But I think it is more important in the possible further development of 35mm SLR photography and I don't think photography should be made as an exclusive proprietary hobby belongs to the rich and buried all the potential of talents in poorer economies.

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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-11
| 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)
Specifications:
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

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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:
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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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.