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Nikomat/Nikkormat FT3

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This camera, released as the Nikomat FT3 in Japan, was released as the Nikkormat FT3 elsewhere.

Manufactured from 1977 to 1979, this was the first Nikkormat camera to use AI lenses; thanks to wider and newer lens availability, this makes it a more attractive choice today than its predecessors. It is still possible to use non-AI lenses through use of the stop-down button to close aperture manually.

Six years after the introduction of the professional F, the introduction of the Nikkormat in 1965 allowed Nikon to reach out to a much larger potential customer base.
The camera combined an exceptional build quality with top rated mechanical precision.
There were basically two ranges of Nikkormats: mechanical bodies (FS, FT, FTn, FT2 and FT3) and cameras with an electronic shutter (EL, ELW and EL2).

The FT3 was launched in 1977. The camera was basically identical to its predecessor, the FT2, except for the automatic maximum aperture indexing (AI) system for lens-body meter coupling. Due to the redirection of SLR user requirements towards more compact cameras (such as the Olympus OM1 and Pentax MX), the Nikkormat FT3 barely lasted for two years and retired from the Nikon list of products in 1979, to be replaced by the FM.


A usable modern-day battery is the Energizer EPX76.

Metering: TTL, turned on when the film advance lever is flipped out 20 degrees. Viewable through viewfinder, and on the top of the body next to the film rewind lever.

Shutter speeds are bulb, 1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500, and 1/1000 second. Film speeds from ASA 12 to 1600 are selected on the lower portion of the shutter speed adjustment ring.

Mirror Lock-up is accessible through lever on the upper left side of the lens base.

Release cable compatibility: Multiple threads allow for Standard AR-3, AR-1, and AR-2 cables to be used.

The self-timer lasts 8-10 seconds when fully wound; it is not cancelable.

Short HistoryEdit

FT: Introduced in 1965. Original Nikomat body with averaging metering (a la Nikon F Photomic T). No shutter speed display in viewfinder, meter needle brackets are thin without "+" and "-" markings, and the meter is manually indexed against the film speed.

FS: Introduced in 1965. Non-metered version of above. No mirror lockup.

FTn: Introduced in 1967, is an updated FT with the classic Nikon centerweighted metering pattern, semi-automatic indexing, redesigned meter needle with "+" and "-" on brackets in viewfinder. Signified by "N" above external meter window. Early FTn's have FT style shutter release without threads for AR-1 or AR-2, take-up spool with white shroud (same as FT and FS), and the meter coupling pin only goes to f/22. Around 1969, the FTn got the threaded shutter release, FT2 style take-up spool, and f/32 compatibility. In 1971, the back gained a guide roller for the film transport mechanism. At the same time, the A screen became an option. Sometime around mid-1972, the mirror box was redesigned to get rid of the rattle that the earlier Nikomat bodies produced when fired. At the same time, the later strap lugs were added. About a year later, the FTn received a makeover with some of the FT2 cosmetics, FT2 leatherette, and eventually, the K focusing screen.

FT2: Introduced in 1975. Updated FTn with hot shoe, threaded synch contact, lock on shutter speed tab for ASA dial, black tipped DOF preview button and lens release button. Font on nameplate changed to EL style. External meter window gains "+" and "-" markings. 1.5 volt battery (V76PX, instead of V625PX used in FTn) with smaller battery box. A or K focusing screen, instead of J screen of earlier bodies. Later FT2's in the mid 53xxxxx range and in the 54xxxxx range, serial-wise, gained the FT3-style ASA index.

FT3: Introduced in 1977. AI version of FT2 with mirror lockup and no motor drive coupling.

One interesting thing about the FT series Nikkormats: 1/125th is actually 1/100th. Guess the Copal Square S shutter couldn't reliably fire a flash at 1/125th, so they knocked it down to 1/100th.

EL: Introduced in 1972. Great-grandfather of the Nikon FE. CdS cell meter. Camera is considered a tech's nightmare, due to the hardwiring of the electronics. Runs off a PX28 6.2 volt silver-oxide battery, inserted into a chamber inside the mirror box. Goes down to 4 seconds.

ELw: Introduced in 1975. Black version of EL, with secondary power switch around shutter release, plus contacts for AW-1 autowinder.

EL2: Essentially a Nikon FE in the EL form factor. SPD metering cells, 8 second slow shutter speed, AI coupling, etc. Still runs off a PX28, and still uses the AW-1.


Nikon Cameras

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