Nikon FM

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

This page is dedicated to the Nikon FM semi-professional mechanical shuttered 35 mm SLR camera produced by Nikon 1977 to 1982 to replace the Nikkormat FT3, the FM was not only a smaller and lighter camera but also added interchangeable focusing screens in line with Nikon's professional range of cameras and AI (Automatic maximum aperture Indexing) rather than the older Nikon prong system. The general layout of the cameras controls mimicked those of Nikon's professional cameras and also had provision for a dedicated 3.5fps external motor-drive.

The built in light meter was based on a GaP photodiode sensor rather than the CdS cell used in the older Nikkormat FT3 which resulted in a far faster response.

The Nikon FM proved to be very well received due to it's capability, reliability and ergonomics, in consequence the basic design was the basis of numerous Nikon 35mm SLR cameras right up until 2006 when the Nikon FM3a finally ceased being produced three decades later.


It is of note that the accessories such as data backs and motor drives also fit later variants of the Nikon FM and also it's cousin the electronically timed shutter Nikon FE series of of 35mm range of film cameras.

Although the later series 2 focusing screens will fit the Nikon FM as they are physically the same size they are brighter they will cause the cameras meter to under expose the film unless this is compensated for in advance.


VFM Flash Memory Cards

Basic specifications of the Nikon FM MF SLR Camera

Production period (later availability via stock)

1977 to 1982
Lens meter coupling type AI (Automatic maximum aperture Indexing)
Aperture coupling range N/A
ASA film speed range ISO 12 to 3200
EV range at ASA 100 EV 1 to 18
Meter sensor type if applicable TTL 60/40 centre weighed GaP photodiode
Shutter type and curtain material Vertical titanium foil focal-plane mechanical
Shutter speed range 1 to 1/1000 second + Bulb
Auto exposure modes available None
Flash exposure type and sync speed Electronic flash hot shoe 1/125 second
Interchangeable focusing screens K split-image microprism - B matte - E grid
Interchangeable viewfinder heads No
Interchangeable backs Nikon MF-12 databack (time and date)
Film advance method Single stroke lever
Motor drive or Auto winder availability MD-11 or later MD-12 (3.5 fps) motor drive
Film rewind method Manual folding crank
Self Timer Yes - 8 to 14 seconds
Battery type and number required Two S76 1.5v silver oxide batteries
Body weight without lens attached 590g

Nikon FM Back


VFM Flash Memory Cards

Nikon FM Camera


Nikon FM Top




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