Monday, February 13, 2012

Nikon FE - In review

At the beginning of February, I decided to try breaking in the newly inherited Nikon FE we received over the holidays. Because the Nikon is most similar to our Pentax K1000 in the amount of manual settings and camera style, I will use it as a comparison point.

I was super excited about all the manual settings that the Nikon has - more than our Pentax K1000's and the lens looked like it might be a better option than the large zoom lens on my Pentax as well. Though I still haven't mastered all of the manual settings on the Nikon, I was happy to see that you could adjust for light balance and higher speed ISO films, both features which my Pentax does not have. It also has more shutter speed settings which I have not even begun to figure out. I was also very pleasantly surprised to see that the light meter was working! Though it has now died, it will just be a matter of getting a new battery.

Since I was shooting this picture into the sun, the light meter and extra light settings really helped to ensure it wasn't washed out.
The Nikon also features some nice "safety" features that help to avoid accidently snapping a photo of the inside of my camera bag for example, or unintentionally changing the light balance or ISO settings.
I think the only disappointing aspect of this camera was in fact the lens. My Pentax has a very large Asahi 45~125mm f/4 lens on it that is fantastic for zooming, but rather big and heavy for packing around all the time. I was really hopeful that the Nikon's 43~86mm f/3.5 lens might be a good alternative for everyday kind of use. Unfortunately the lens is pretty limited. You can't do close up shots and the zoom isn't so great as to make up for that. It is also a little difficult to focus.

Really good focus, but I had to stand a ways back and zoom in to get the right composition

Not good focus - On my Pentax I could have zoomed in further to really focus on the one leaf, or with my Olympus prime lens I could move myself close up and focus in on it. With this lens I just couldn't get a good composition.

Interesting focus - Not sure what happened here, seems like half the shot is in focus and the other half not. It makes kind of a neat effect but not exactly what I was going for.
I really do like the Nikon FE, it's manual settings give me a lot more freedom to explore (especially since the 1000 shutter speed on my Pentax is currently not working properly), but I might need to investigate a new lens. I would also like to explore more of the shutter speed settings the Nikon has to offer.

I used a basic ISO 400 colour film for these shots (an expired Safeway brand that I had lying around).

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