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Nikkormat FTN

Discussion in 'Everything Film' started by AndyOx, Oct 14, 2009.

  1. AndyOx

    AndyOx Active Member

    I have just been given a Nikon Nikkormat FTN which i know nothing about.When i first saw it i wasn't expecting such an old school camera but it looks like a decent camera i'm guessing from 70s.
    It has what looks to be a very good 50mm 1:1.4 lens.
    I was told it needs a battery so does this mean it has a metering system?
    Anyone know much about them? and know if there would be an online basic manual for it.

    Many Thanks.
  2. sillyconguru

    sillyconguru Well-Known Member

  3. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    I have a slightly later Nikkormat ELW, and they are very capable performers, and will take most Nikon lenses with the bunny ears. The main "gotcha" is the battery, which would originally have been a mercury cell (for it's nice flat discharge curve). You will probably need to get a wein cell or a hearing aid battery as a replacement. Not sure whether the FT-n's shutter works at all speeds without a battery - the ELW only works at one speed.

    Other than that. all you need to watch out for is that it weighs a ton (you've probably noticed already...) and there is no chance of using it for stealth photography with a shutter that noisy.

    A nice find - happy shooting!

  4. AndyOx

    AndyOx Active Member

    Thanks for your replys.
    Yeah its an odd looking battery.It does seem to work on all shutter speed settings without it.There is a meter through the viewfinder which is right off its scale,i assume this is what the battery is needed for?
  5. Manofolympus

    Manofolympus Well-Known Member

    The battery will only power the exposure meter in the viewfinder, which, as gray1720 says, is almost certainly a mercury battery. Does it have a number on it?
    If it all works without it, you can use an external meter or another camera to set aperture/shutter speed to try out the camera, if you want.
  6. laskee

    laskee New Member

    The Nikkormat Ftn is an entirely mechanical camera. The preceding model was the FT, the only difference being the FTn has centre-weighted metering. The battery is only needed for the light meter. It was designed for a 1.2 volt mercury cell, no longer legally available! You can use a modern 1.5 volt cell but it will read a stop or two over exposure. The best solution is an MR-9 adapter, which decreases the voltage of a standard 1.5 volt SR-386 cell to the correct voltage. Smallbattery.company.org.uk sell these. Correct exposure is indicated by the needle centred between the two "claws".
    The mechanisms on these cameras - I have owned several- are prone to sticking if not used regularly, especially the shutter speed ring. Exercise the camera well on all speeds and apertures before using it. Note that shutter speeds are displayed at the bottom of the viewfinder, although these are on a tiny and stretch prone strip of film and only visible in resonable light. Also, when attaching a lens, set the aperture on the lens to 5.6, engage the claw with the coupling pin, lock lens into place, then turn the aperture ring as far as it will go each way. This will register the largest aperture with the meter. A small scale on one side of the lens mount indicates the correct largest aperture has been set. A manual should be available on http://www.butkus.org/chinon/nikon/nikkormat_ftn/nikkormat_ftn.htm
    (pdf reader needed)
    Alternatively I have an original manual, but would need to scan it.
  7. Manofolympus

    Manofolympus Well-Known Member

    The irreverence! :eek:
  8. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    So can you come up with a better description, that's equally recognisable? /forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif

  9. Manofolympus

    Manofolympus Well-Known Member

    No-I think it should be promoted-"has had bunny ears fitted" sounds much better than AI'd :D
  10. AndyOx

    AndyOx Active Member

    Thanks very much for you reply's.
    I have ordered a battery from the small battery company.
    Thanks for the tip for when fitting the lens.
    Won't use it that often and will probably use b/w.Like the idea of using an old school camera like this and i think it can only help a novice like myself become a better photographer.
  11. sillyconguru

    sillyconguru Well-Known Member

    Nikon F-mount lenses with the 'bunny ears' (or meter coupling prong) are not necessarily AI or have been AI'd (AI converted), they can be pre-AI, AI or AI-S (or even E-series {which are actually AI-S}, AF or AF-D if the prong has been retrofitted).
  12. Manofolympus

    Manofolympus Well-Known Member

    Pardon my ignorance-I'm used to a lens mount that never changed throughout the life of the system-but I still think "...AF or AF-d if the bunny ears have been retrofitted" sounds better!
  13. parsloedevine1

    parsloedevine1 New Member

    The lens mount has not changed since it was first introduced in 1959 with the Nikon F. The Ai-type Nikkor lens was introduced during 1977, and was the first major change to the famous Nikon F mount since it was launched in 1959. The designation is derived from the name of the method used to couple the lens with the TTL metering system of compatible Nikon cameras, which is known as Aperture Indexing (Ai).
    Previous designs of Nikkor lens, now usually referred to as pre-Ai, have to be indexed by manually engaging a coupling fork on the lens aperture ring with a prong protruding from the camera’s viewfinder prism head, followed by turning the aperture ring to the smallest aperture, then the largest aperture value.
    The Ai system automatically indexes the lens with the camera via a ridge on the rear edge of the aperture ring, which enables much easier and quicker lens mounting and changing.
  14. markinberks

    markinberks Member

    um... I've got an FTN. Had it for the last 30 years. Couple of points. Mounting lenses. Should always be done by setting the aperture at its smallest setting (i.e. highest f number) then mating it with the camera body. The meter coupling arm should slot in quite happily. Then you turn the aperture from smallest to largest to index the meter. As far as batteries go, this can be a pain as the originals are no longer made. If you buy the standard 1.5v battery you can recalibrate the light meter using a hand held for comparison purposes. Alternatively, the nice people at Nikon may recalibrate it for you for a small sum. The standard 50mm f1.4 lens is a killer. Wide enough to allow you to shoot indoors using available light. Being pre AI there are shed loads of really nice lenses around at silly prices that will fit, both Nikon and other manufacturers. I've got a clutch of old Vivitar ones(plus a few Nikkors)that still produce great shots.

    Best bits about the FTN are that all the controls are on a single axis. You focus, adjust the aperture and select shutter speed by moving your hand along the plane of the lens. My F requires focus and aperture to be set on the lens and then twiddle with a dial on the top of the camera for shutter speed (OK so I usually work on a shutter priority basis - i.e. set the shutter speed at the start of a session and then rely on altering the aperture to get the correct lighting setting). If I'm looking at situations that require quick reactions, the FTN gets used in preference to my trusty F Photomic TN, even though the latter is a far better bit of kit.

    The shutter isn't noisy, it's the mirror. If you focus the shot, lock the mirror up and then take the pic, the shutter is suprisingly quiet for a mechanical movement.

    As far as age goes, the FTN dates from the late 60's. It was aimed at the serious amateur who didn't want all the twiddly bits that the Nikon F had. Later models had a hot shoe as well as pc sync contact. Body weight is about a kilo. The standard 50mm lens is one of the widest production made kicking around and was fitted to the F as well. Pin sharp. Like the F, the FTN is built to last. Mine is over 40 years old and apart from one tiny dent on the baseplate, looks like it just came out of the box. The black bodied versions tended to go brassy on the corners through use. Have fun with yours
  15. edward1947

    edward1947 New Member

    I have three FTn bodies and each has a slightly different character. it seem the more well used the body the quieter and smoother it gets. One of mine is very well used, looks like it has had professional use in its long life - although it looks well battered and worn, everything works perfectly and is easily the nicest to use. The other two, in excellent cosmetic and mechanical order, seem almost tight and new by comparison - although still displaying that smooth precision.
  16. mediaman

    mediaman Well-Known Member

    lots of Nikon F and F2 owners prefered the mat ftn because of its higher flash sync speed [125th]
  17. ConstOwl

    ConstOwl New Member

  18. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    While Mike Butkus's site is probably the best place in existence for finding manuals, I would take issue with the word "free".

    Whilst you can download for free, he asks for a donation that's much less than the cost of a paper version from Ebay for a manual much more legible than many internet scans are. I've corresponded with Mike - at least a couple of his manuals are scans I provided because I happened to have them handy - and I have no doubt that he's a good bloke, who is doing a great job helping those of us who like their photographic kit to be well-matured, and who puts a lot of time into it as well. It can take an age to scan one of those things...

    Splash the cash if you download one - three dollars isn't going to break most people's budgets, surely?

  19. Staropramen

    Staropramen Well-Known Member

    While mounting a lens can be done as described above: "Should <u>always</u> be done by setting the aperture at its smallest setting (i.e. highest f number) then mating it with the camera body" it is <u>not</u> what Nikon themselves recommended.

    The 'correct' way is to set the lens to f5.6 which is available on almost every regular Nikon lens (except some specialist lenses) and which is the normal rest position of the meter coupling lever on the camera body - hence f5.6 is a reference point. That is followed by the famous "Click-click" action - that is, turning the lens aperture to each end of its travel thus setting the maximum and minimum values (in relation to t f5.6). Mounting a Nikon lens in any other way might (indeed can) lead to an inaccurate meter setting, but should not cause any damage to lens or camera.
  20. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    Does... as I found out with my EL which lead to a few horribly underexposed slides... :eek:

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