My Soon-To-Be Long Term Relationship with the Nikon FM2n

Taking the Nikon FM2 out for a lovely afternoon photowalk.

The FM2 is a beautiful, fully mechanical, 35mm film SLR that any photographer would love to own.

The Nikon FM2 is an advanced semi-professional, interchangeable lens, 35 mm filmsingle-lens reflex (SLR) camera. It was manufactured by Nippon Kogaku K. K. (today Nikon Corporation) in Japan from 1982 to 2001. The original camera was released with some incremental improvements (such as a higher flash-sync speed) in 1984 and this later version is commonly referred to as the FM2n (for ‘new’ due to the N preceding the serial number on the rear of the top plate) although both versions are labelled as the FM2 on the front of the camera body.

From Wikipedia 

This is a true classic film slr. My camera had an AF Nikkor 50mm f1.8 mounted to it, However, I keep a 1970 Nikkor-H 50mm f2 mounted to it, which I also purchased at a thrift store for $8. This is a non-AI lens, I had to modify the lens to work on the camera. That was a time consuming project itself.

This particular Nikon 35mm is a fairly new acquisition for me. I picked it up in February 2018 for $8 at a thrift store here in town. I saw it sitting in its beat up leather camera case on a pile of junk cameras. I opened the case and it was just gleaming at me. I could not believe my luck.

I wouldn’t call this a beginner’s camera. There are no automatic features. There’s is a meter and it requires a battery, but the shutter is mechanical and does not require the meter to operate. This is what I love about all-mechanical cameras.

Over the last few years I’ve rediscovered my love for film and slow-pace photography.  This is a wonderful camera for taking it slow. The FM2 has really become my go-to street camera. I have owned a lot of cameras over the years. I have had a lot favorite cameras in the last couple of decades. The FM2 is my current favorite. In the past, I’ve owned a Nikon FG and a Nikon F3HP. I loved both of those cameras, but in the 90s I was all about the Canon EOS system.

How the Nikon FM2 stack up against my other manual 35mm SLR cameras.

I like to think that this camera ranks higher than all the other cameras I own. On my shelves I also have a Canon AE-1, Canon A-1, Konica Autoreflex TC, Pentax Spotmatic F, Minolta SRT 101, and a Mamiya DLT 1000. Still this Nikon just seems more satisfying to shoot. Those other cameras aren’t necessarily inferior, but the FM2 is nicer to hold, focus, and shoot. Even advancing the film feels “better.” For what ever that’s worth. All of those cameras I already own are excellent machines! The lenses are all amazing too. I will NEVER stop shooting those cameras. However, if I could only keep one camera, I’m afraid it’s the Nikon FM2n.

When you pick up and hold a FM2, it just feels right. If you find one at a nice price and in good condition, don’t hesitate to buy it.

Leave a Reply

Film and Sensor Skip to content