FE vs FM

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nwilkins

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Hi everyone,

I am looking at buying an FM or FE as a second 35mm body. My primary 35mm camera is an FM2, but there is an FE and FM for sale locally for essentially the same price.

I'm just wondering if anyone can chime in on some advantages/disadvantages of both, mainly in terms of functionality. Here is what I know:

FM screen not interchangeable but I don't care too much about this - is it essentially the same screen as my FM2?

FE is (obviously) electronic - I will be shooting in manual pretty much always so this may actually be more of a pain (battery required for full range of shutter speeds). I assume the batteries will drain much much faster than in the FM?

Metering - FE has match needle and FM has same LEDs as FM2, correct? LEDs are better for low light and I am used to them, so maybe a slight advantage, although needle would be slightly more precise.

In terms of handling - does the FM shutter button not lock when the wind lever is pushed in? Seems like that might be a bit of a pain.

Also any difference in shutter vibration and mirror slap between the two?

And is there anything else I should be taking into account?

Thanks!
 
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KennyMark

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The FE and FE2 have been my favorite bodies for a long time (although I should include all of the EL family as they have the same attribute). The analog shutter speed scale in the viewfinder is a very easy to use gauge of the number of stops of over or under exposure, and I no longer need to look directly at in order to know if my shutter speed is fast enough. Shooting any subjects that move, while handholding the camera benefits me with such information always available. If I use any other body, I constantly have to stop and think in order to judge the effect of the lights and numerals on the exposure. While the FM is easy to understand if the shot will be over or under exposed, it doesn't tell me by how many stops.
There are a couple of other differences, one of which you have identified regarding the shutter release lock, but the viewfinder exposure information is paramount for the way I shoot.
I do agree that if you're familiar with and enjoy using the FM2, you will be better off standardizing on it and not losing that 1 second of time recognizing which body is in front of you when you raise it to shoot.
 

Aja B

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The FM is pretty redundant in light of your FM2. Don't worry about batteries - they're cheap, light and small. Shutters lock when the advance lever is closed.

Unless you have a pressing need for another body now I suggest waiting for an FE2. Why? Two extra stops of shutter speed (to 1/4000), TTL flash (!), flash sync to 1/250 (vs. 1/125 for FE), flash compensation is a breeze. I have all these bodies except for the FE, which I gave away - much prefer the FE2. Prices are comparable. I've never noticed differences in shutter vibration but the FE2 has improved mirror dampening vs. FE. FE2 is the 'new and improved' FE!
 
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Xmas

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If you don't need auto dont get an auto.
If you do need auto an FG is cheaper they appear in charity shops.
 

Chan Tran

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Not that important but the LED in the FM/FM2 are more precise than the match needles in the FE.
 

momus

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The FM I know nothing about. I used to have an FE though. Nice camera. But one day it up and died for no reason whatsoever. So I bought an FG for $10, since I had owned one once and liked it. The FG is small and light w/ a nice sounding shutter. I don't much like those LED readouts for the shutter speeds though. I much preferred the FE's analog swinging needle meter. In bright sun those LED's are darned hard to see.

How do you buy one for 10 bucks? You look for those ads that say that the camera doesn't work, and if the seller gives you a pic that shows that the mirror is jammed up, that's your camera. In all likelihood all you'll have to do is put fresh batteries in it, set the shutter speed dial to 'B', and try to fire it. Then put the dial to 'A' and it should fire. Replacing the foam on the top where the mirror hits is a good idea at this point, but not absolutely necessary. This little drill has worked for the last 3 FG's I've owned. Very nice (and cheap) little camera. The FE2 is a lot better, but it's a lot more money, and I also had one of those that just stopped working for no reason.
 
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bob01721

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Not that important but the LED in the FM/FM2 are more precise than the match needles in the FE.

Dunno about Nikons -- I shoot manual Minoltas -- but I've had both LEDs (Minolta XGs) and match needles (SRTs). I personally prefer the match needle. As you imply, the LEDs seemed more accurate (or seemed like they oughta be more accurate), but I still prefer the swinging needle.

I guess it's one of those "personal preferance" things.
 

Chan Tran

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Dunno about Nikons -- I shoot manual Minoltas -- but I've had both LEDs (Minolta XGs) and match needles (SRTs). I personally prefer the match needle. As you imply, the LEDs seemed more accurate (or seemed like they oughta be more accurate), but I still prefer the swinging needle.

I guess it's one of those "personal preferance" things.

Didn't say more accurate. I said it's more precise. It's accurate if it's in good calibration and depends more on the sensor/circuitry than the display. But any how when the FM indicates the 0 it's within 1/5 stop. But then I didn't say which I like better either.
 

KennyMark

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Didn't say more accurate. I said it's more precise. It's accurate if it's in good calibration and depends more on the sensor/circuitry than the display. But any how when the FM indicates the 0 it's within 1/5 stop. But then I didn't say which I like better either.

Chan, when the meter needle is splitting the shutter speed indicator right down the middle in an FE or FE2, what is it's precision? You've made me curious now.
 

trythis

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The nice thing about the FE that cant be possible in an FM is the Auto exposure works way beyond the 8 second max exposure and sets the time to the analog time it thinks it should be instead of hard stops. If it needs 5 or 5.3 seconds, it uses that instead of 4 or 8. So that would be a benefit in my eyes.

B does not use batteries if you are into long manually held exposures.
 

f8&bthere

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The FEs exposure memory lock is also a very useful feature to have; meter, lock, recompose.
 

Xmas

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The FM I know nothing about. I used to have an FE though. Nice camera. But one day it up and died for no reason whatsoever. So I bought an FG for $10, since I had owned one once and liked it. The FG is small and light w/ a nice sounding shutter. I don't much like those LED readouts for the shutter speeds though. I much preferred the FE's analog swinging needle meter. In bright sun those LED's are darned hard to see.

How do you buy one for 10 bucks? You look for those ads that say that the camera doesn't work, and if the seller gives you a pic that shows that the mirror is jammed up, that's your camera. In all likelihood all you'll have to do is put fresh batteries in it, set the shutter speed dial to 'B', and try to fire it. Then put the dial to 'A' and it should fire. Replacing the foam on the top where the mirror hits is a good idea at this point, but not absolutely necessary. This little drill has worked for the last 3 FG's I've owned. Very nice (and cheap) little camera. The FE2 is a lot better, but it's a lot more money, and I also had one of those that just stopped working for no reason.
It is best to replace the foam on mirror box and back door ASAP a bit getting to shutter could be instant origami in metal. None of the vertical metal shutters are good at digesting foreign objects.
Better? for better I hear nicer male jewelery or pretty girls.
The EM, FG and FG-20 are ok cameras their kit E lens ok when you strip it to relube, they will take hard use my three FG have dinked metal showing and split plastic panels held together with glue.
 

Trask

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I do agree that if you're familiar with and enjoy using the FM2, you will be better off standardizing on it and not losing that 1 second of time recognizing which body is in front of you when you raise it to shoot.

My only concern in having two of the same body is that the OP may wind up confusing which camera holds the Ilford Pan F and which holds the Delta 3200 -- or which holds the color or the B/W film. I kind of like having two different cameras to help keep the film issue straight. Of course one could simply color code each body with tape on the back or across the prism.
 
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My only concern in having two of the same body is that the OP may wind up confusing which camera holds the Ilford Pan F and which holds the Delta 3200 -- or which holds the color or the B/W film.
That's why the FE/FM series have a nice holder on the back for the end box bit. You'll only need to look at the back to find out which is which.
 

Xmas

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Well the FM3s also have a transparency in the back door and their back will swap into FM2ns...

But fair dos they all have ISO selectors and 64 is different from 3200 so tearing up boxes is only useful for film type

Even FG has an ISO selector and film box tab holder...
 

jochen

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Hello,
for me the FE/FE2/FM3a needle instrument ist the ideal system, especially when working in manual mode. You can immediately see the time the camera would choose and with the green marker the time you have set on the dial (and the f-stop off course). To make an over- or under-correction is much faster than with the exposure correction dial.
 

GarageBoy

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The FE needle system is nice, albeit, hard to see in the dark (no worse than the LCD on the F3)
I wish Nikon did the LED next to the shutter speed method
 
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