Nikon FA vs FE2?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by LyleB, Feb 5, 2010.

  1. LyleB

    LyleB Member

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    Been keeping my eyes open for an auto exposure sister to my FM2. My understanding is that the FA is the more sophisticated of these two, and will, in fact, meter even with Manual focus lenses. The FE2 will not. That would be a big advantage for me.

    On the other hand, the FE2 seems more popular. Also, I've read that, due to the more complicated electronics, and lack of parts since 2000, the potential for something to go wrong, and not be able to be readily fixed is more of a possibility with the FA.

    What's everyone's collective or individual experiences?
     
  2. rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    Both the FE2 and the FA will meter with manual focus lenses (AI or AIs), as well as AF lenses other than the G series. Both cameras have control layouts and shutter speed ranges that are comparable with the FM2. The chief difference with the FA is it has shutter-priority and program autoexposure, in addition to the aperture-priority mode that it shares with the FE2. It also has a 5-segment matrix meter (the world's first in a 35mm camera, in fact).

    All of the FM-series cameras offer full manual exposure; the full range included the FM, FM2, FM2n, FM2T, FE, FE2, FA, FM3a, as well as the Cosina-made FM10 and FE10; these last two aren't entirely compatible with the rest of the series.

    Also, the FA can draw power from the MD-15 motor drive for the camera's meter and shutter, something the FE2 can't do with the MD-11/12. You can use an MD-11 or MD-12 to drive the film wind on an FA, but you can't use the MD-15 on an FM or FE camera.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2010
  3. Kiron Kid

    Kiron Kid Member

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    The FE-2 is the beter built camera. The FA also has a circuit board, that when it goes bad, is next o impossible to find a replacement. It's cheaper to purchase another FA. The FE-2 is very well designed and built. I vote for the FE-2. My FM's, FE's and FE-2's haved always performed flawlessly.

    Kiron Kid
     
  4. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

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    rthomas summed up the differencies well.
    I have one of each and the matrix metering and MD-15 of the FA makes it my first choice.

    There is no difference in build quality between the two and both are good cameras with more similarities than differencies (same shutter etc).
     
  5. Ap507b

    Ap507b Member

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    I own both as well. I haven't personally found my FA to be fragile. I picked it up new in 1986 & apart from needing a refoam, it hasn't missed a beat. I normally shoot in A & M modes so apart from the matrix metering it doesn't do anything more than a FE2 could. The matrix metering is a bit primative by todays standards & supposedly can be fooled by turning the camera on it side to shoot a portrait, although I haven't had this happen to me. You can turn the matrix off & use the same 60/40 CW as the FE2 has though.

    One thing that the FE2 has that the FA doesn't is an exposure lock.

    Both are good cameras IMO. Viewfinder wise I prefer the FA's LCD display to the needle of the FE2. I shoot with the FA a lot more than the FE2.

    Both have been OOP for ages & spares may be a problem for both? I asked Nikon Spares in the UK about getting a replacement top cover for the FE2 a couple of years back. No longer available.
     
  6. Pumal

    Pumal Member

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    I have them all and choose them according to ocations I think they are all equally good. Prefer FM and FE.
     
  7. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    You said "Been keeping my eyes open for an auto exposure sister to my FM2". It must be the FE2, the FA doesn't look like the FM2.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    LyleB

    LyleB Member

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    sisters

    Yeah, the FE2 is a closer sister, maybe the FA is a stepsister. From what I read they are based on the same chassis design, but the FA was modified to accommodate the increased electronics.

    Thanks everyone for your opinions. I think I'll concentrate more on a FE2, but won't pass up a great deal on a FA.

    How's that for decision?
     
  9. Carl V

    Carl V Member

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    You could also consider the FM3a, although this will be much more expensive as it's a more recent camera than the FE2. I think Nikon ceased production in around 2006. The advantage with the FM3 is should the batteries fail, you will still have full use of all your shutter speeds just like on the FM2. Basically, it reverts to mechanical operation, and is a really nice camera.

    Other than that, I'd agree with all previous comments regarding the FE2. To be honest, I'm more familiar with this one than the FA.
     
  10. Henry Alive

    Henry Alive Subscriber

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  11. BobD

    BobD Member

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    The FA also has a digital type LCD display in the viewfinder whereas the FE/FE2
    cameras have an analog meter needle display.

    Personally, I prefer the analog needle of the FE/FE2. I find it more instantly
    readable than an LCD with changing numbers/symbols.
     
  12. Talbert McMullin

    Talbert McMullin Member

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    I have them both. The FE2 is much easier to use due to the match needle metering. The FA is heavier...much heavier and likes to be used in program mode. I prefer manual mode which is clumsy with the FA.
     
  13. George Mann

    George Mann Member

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    The FA can mount and fully meter with non-Ai lenses.
     
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  15. George Mann

    George Mann Member

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    It seems to work best in aperture priority.
     
  16. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    At the time of introduction the FA is a much more expensive camera than the FE2. But the FE2 is a much better camera. User interface of the FA is very clunky.
     
  17. Talbert McMullin

    Talbert McMullin Member

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    I do not know a soul who uses non AI lenses. Not one.
     
  18. Talbert McMullin

    Talbert McMullin Member

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    I think the way you work determines which is better. If you love to work in manual mode like I do, the FE2 is better IMHO. If you prefer to shoot sports or just like the camera to do most of the work, the FA is better. I like my FA, but I do tend to favor the FE2. Just came back from a trip to the Petrified Forest National Park and am glad I relied on my FE2.
     
  19. NB23

    NB23 Member

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    That's because the souls you know do not use a FA.

    That was easy.
    Tadadaaa!
     
  20. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    I had the FA for a week and sold it. I hate it. I have now 1 pre AI lens. But my other camera can handle the pre AI lenses. FM, FE, F3, and the Df.
     
  21. Talbert McMullin

    Talbert McMullin Member

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    Kinda hard to know someone with an FA when most of them are on eBay!

    That was easier!

    Taa Daa!!!
     
  22. Talbert McMullin

    Talbert McMullin Member

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    Can't say I blame you. I'm thinking about selling my FA. I don't use it much. When I first bought it, it looked nice. In fact, it's a beautiful looking photographic instrument. But it's clunky. It didn't work any better than any other Nikon in spite of all the raving reviews. It's been somewhat of a disappointment. I've never been into automation on cameras anyway. I started out with an all-manual camera and loved it. I also have an old beater Nikon FM that I carry everywhere. Not fancy, but soooo easy to use.
     
  23. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Subscriber

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    No, it cannot. The aperture indexing tab on both the FA and FE2 will not flip out of the way as it does on the FE.

    http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/compatibility-lens.htm#e

    People here, including myself, use them. I have about a dozen pre-AI, a dozen AI, AIS, and the rest are AF lenses - they all get used. I know other photographers (hobbyists) who use them.
     
  24. rrusso

    rrusso Subscriber

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    So LyleB started it, and then you all really ran with it...

    Never paid much attention to the FE2 until recently, had been planning for quite some time to pick up an FM2n...but the FE2 was kind of calling to me more after comparing them. So, a bargain condition from KEH* should be arriving tomorrow. Wasn't supposed to happen for a while yet, but you know how it goes...

    So thanks guys, now I have to buy the wife something nice to keep the peace...

    *I've only bought from them a couple of times, and the only bargain condition item I've gotten so far was a disappointment. But I'm hoping that was a fluke that slipped through their inspection process, as I've mostly heard rave reviews about their very conservative rating policy.
     
  25. Talbert McMullin

    Talbert McMullin Member

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    That's fine. I've just always preferred manual photography. I also have a 4x5 and love it! Maybe I'm just getting old.
     
  26. Bud Hamblen

    Bud Hamblen Subscriber

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    The button to switch from center weighted to matrix metering on the FA is a little mysterious, but the rest of the controls are just dials. The FA might be more fragile than the FE2, what with the microprocessor and LCD.