Yesterday I promised an update about another beautiful camera I have just unearthed at a local thrift shop. Yesterday I found a Nikon FM2n fitted with a Nikkor 50mm f1.4 AI lens. It was five dollars. Yes – you read that right – $5. The other camera I scored was a Canonet. Come back by in a day or two and I will show you that one too.
The body is in almost new condition, and the lens is absolutely mint. It came with a snout case made by Quantaray, a genuine Nikon strap, a skylight filter and even a Hoya circular polarising filter. At the shop, the sales lady tried it and the mirror seemed to hang closed. She declared that it was broken, hence the price. I almost hesitated to buy it – another broken camera to try and sort out – but I couldn’t help myself and bought it anyway.
I didn’t even look at the lens – I was guessing it was an f1.8, as it was definitely a Nikon product but I couldn’t see the front ring as the polariser was fitted. When I got home I thought about finding out a bit about the shutter in an FM2, tried the shutter and, lo and behold , it worked perfectly. I have put maybe 300 actuations on to it since and it seems absolutely perfect. I opened the back up, and realised it was an FM2n version. The serial number confirmed this, as it started with an N.
I looked through the finder – lovely and clean – and thought it was a bit dark, realised it had a filter – in fact two filters stacked together – removed them and nearly fell off my chair as the lens revealed itself as an f1.4 fifty, my favourite combination of focal length and aperture. Off with the battery cover – not even scratched from fumbling with a coin – and out came two absolutely flat batteries, but thankfully they had not leaked their corrosive innards into the camera as usually happens.
A bit of research revealed the FM2n was introduced in 1984 – I bought my original FM in 1977 or so when they were first released, but that’s another story – and it has a few changes from my old favourite that I made so many great shots with all those years ago. Obvious changes – speeds visible in the finder, a double exposure lever concentric with the wind lever, 1/4000 second top speed (up from 1/1000 on my old FM), faster flash synch, as well as a different looking set of shutter curtains. It’s great. I love the shutter sound of this model of Nikon – I suppose this might be because it takes me back to my very happy and mostly misspent youth. My Nikon was manufactured in 1989 according to the serial number she proudly displays, so she’s not all that old. The FM2 line ceased in 2001. The lens dates from before September 1981.
Here she is, just as I found her:
A few years ago I found a black FM with a motor for $8 at the same shop. It was in pretty poor condition so I sold it and regretted it immediately. This time I am keeping it. I suppose I need to make some more nice Nikkor glass appear at the shop now by willing it to happen.
Here’s me and my first FM 30 years or so ago:
This photo shows that the Nikon FM hardly changed at all over its lifetime, I have though – much less hair…
I just have one question – why do people throw out these beautiful cameras?