Nikon EM

A brief outline of the Nikon EM manual focus SLR film camera

The the Nikon EM camera was produced by Nikon as an automatic exposure SLR beginners camera, the Nikon FE of the previous year was a relatively expensive and heavy semi-pro camera and new cameras like the Olympus OM-10 were clearly targeting the beginner user group. Nikon had the famous Italian industrial designer Giorgetto Giugiaro design the exterior of the Nikon EM and their new flagship camera, the Nikon F3.

The Nikon EM was a simple automated camera utilising polycarbonate in place of metal, this created a very light body but resulted in many existing Nikon users seeing the camera as a "woman's" camera. It was clear that the existing Nikkor lenses were too expensive, not to mention heavy, to accompany their new lightweight beginners camera, Nikon's response was the "E" series lenses. The "E" range consisted of eight different lenses from 28mm to 210mm in focal length, although designed to be produced cheaply they still offered optical performance equal to, or surpassing, third party Nikon fitting lenses although they tend to feel


decidedly cheap compared to traditional Nikkor lenses. The general public rarely needed a motor drive but still aspired to one so the 2 fps MD-E motor drive was made an option for the Nikon EM although 2 fps is little faster than can be achieved with the manual film advance lever with a little effort. The Nikon EM sold well initially but never achieved the sales Nikon would have liked and unfortunately the two later cameras in this series, the FG and FG20 sold even less, none of them achieving the desirability or respect the FM and FE cameras enjoyed.


Nikon EM mode selector

Basic specifications of the Nikon EM MF SLR Camera

Production period (later availability via stock)

1979 to 1982
Lens meter coupling type AI (Automatic maximum aperture Indexing)
Maximum aperture coupling range N/A
ASA film speed range ISO 25 to 1600
EV range at ASA 100 EV 2 to 18
Meter sensor type if applicable TTL centre weighed SPD (Silicon Photo diode)
Shutter type and curtain material Vertical metal focal-plane electronic
Shutter speed range Automatic (1 to 1/1000 second stepless) + Bulb
Exposure modes available Aperture priority + 1/90 sec manual
Flash exposure type and maximum sync speed Electronic flash hot shoe 1/90 sec
Interchangeable focusing screens No
Interchangeable viewfinder heads No
Interchangeable backs No
Film advance method Single stroke lever
Motor drive or Auto winder availability MD-E (2 fps) or MD-14 (3.2 fps) motor drive
Film rewind method Manual folding crank
Self Timer Yes - 10 seconds
Battery type and number required Two S76 1.5v silver oxide batteries
Body weight without lens attached 460g

Nikon EM with MD-E motor drive


Nikon EM back view

Nikon EM Camera


Nikon EM top view


VFM Flash Memory Cards



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June 2014 Siteseen Ltd.

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