The Nikomat FtN: a camera review
The Nikomat FtN (or Nikkormat for the U.S. market) is kind of the Nikon F2 little brother made for the amateur photographers. However, this camera is a true workhorse. My two FtN’s are in there 50’s and they still work perfectly. But let’s get more into the specs.
The Nikomat FtN: some features
First, the Nikomat FtN is a fully mechanical camera. Even if there’s a battery, it is only used to power the light-meter. What does it mean ? Simply that you don’t care if you have a battery or not, you can shoot even if it dies. It will work at every speed, every aperture etc. If you really need a light-meter, you can still use an app on your phone, they work quite well ! However, be careful with the battery you use, modern batteries don’t have the same voltage as back in the days. This little difference affects the metering system of your camera, try to test it with your phone before shooting to know how big of a difference it is !
Second, the Nikon F mount. It means, you can use almost all the Nikon Lenses. However, if you need the light-meter you will need a non-AI lens with the small rabbit ear to synchronise the lens and the camera. It also introduced the Nikon Shuffle to synchronise the lens and the metering system.
Third, the shutter speed selector. This is probably my favourite feature of this camera. Unlike most cameras, the shutter speed selector is located not on the top plate of the camera. It is actually located around the lens mount. The ring is actioned by a small knob on its left side and the speed can be seen at the bottom of the viewfinder. I love this feature so much because you don’t need to look outside or move your hands to change the speed or the aperture, everything is at the same place.
The Nikomat FtN offers other features such as a self-timer and a mirror lock-up switch. Those two features are ideal for photographers who do studio or shoot long exposure on tripods. Nikon produced this camera for few years and upgraded it few times. Thereby, the early Nikomat FtN have a central focusing patch while the latest ones have a split focusing screen. They also added a small rubber thing on the rewind knob.
You might wonder why I bought another Nikomat FtN while I was jut looking at a lens… It is probably because of its price. This camera costs nowadays between 500 000 to 800 000 VND if they are in good condition. But for this price you don’t get a camera that is going to break after 3 months of use. No, you get a well built camera, made of metal, fully mechanical and which is pretty gorgeous, to be honest with you. It’s true the Nikomat FtN is the lightest camera ever, but it feels solid and trustworthy.
Also, you will never have to worry about getting a good or cheap lens as it features the Nikon F mount. The selection of lenses is just incredible !
This affordable camera is definitely a great one for beginners but also for more advanced photographers. I would recommend it to everyone without any doubt.