Collectable Classics from the Darkside .. The Nikon FG


The Nikon FG was introduced 4 years after super compact Nikon EM. Although both cameras share the same small body a lot more sophisticated improvements were made to the FG, due to the manufacturing and assembling processes having been automated. Great for Nikon as this was their first multi-mode Automatic Exposure camera, but for a budding young photographer in the late eighties, the EM lacked a bit of street credibility, I wanted an F3, but had to settle on trading up my EM for the FG! I can’t remember exactly how much the trade cost me, my guess is it wouldn’t have be much more £15-20, as I kept both the 50mm Series E and the MD-E motordrive.

Nikon FG, with 50mm Series E

It was with the FG that I started entering Camera Club competitions, I joined my local camera club in 1987 as a complete beginner and felt well out of my depths regarding the rest of the club members. Nonetheless, I watched and I listened and before long I was picking up points in the monthly merit competitions. To improve my chances of success I brought a second body, a Nikon FE, by doing so I could continue to shoot slides and negative film side by side.

To my total amazement, I not only did I win the beginners section of my Camera Club in 1987, but I was also named, Best Newcomer too.

Nikon FG, showing the program dial

Sadly, I sold my FG and MD-E to make way for yet another Nikon purchase. I still couldn’t afford my F3, but settled for what I now consider as a far better camera – the Nikon FA.

Having decided to collect all the Nikon film cameras I had once owned, finding an FG again was a bit of a challenge. Most of what I had seen were in poor condition or just too expensive for my budget. Nevertheless, I continued my search, on ebay and at the fairs. I eventually found what I was looking for at Rocky Cameras. For just £30 I got myself a near mint Nikon FG, complete with CF-17 leather case.

Nikon FG

In terms of features and capabilities, the Nikon FG was a lot more sophisticated than the EM. The FG’s automatic mode features aperture rather than shutter prority to give you control over depth of field. The FG also boasts automatic TTL flash metering to give you correctly exposed flash pictures when used with a dedicated flash unit. Incidentally, all Nikon flash guns are backwards compatible. The FG will work just a good the the SB-15 as it would the SB-26 or SB-600/800. The timing of the FG is controlled by a quartz occsilator, with eleven speeds from 1 to 1/1000 second.

Nikon; One word that's worth a thousand pictures . . .

Both the Nikon FG and the EM share the same dimension and a result both cameras will take the MD-E motor drive, which is what I used back in 1987. However, as I now want to keep both Nikon EM and the FG I didn’t want to simply purchase another MD-E drive – I wanted the drive that was directly designed for the job – the Nikon MD-14, with it’s 3.2 frames per second speed rating. Although quite rare I did managed to find one (eventually), in nice condition too.

Next in the Series: Nikon FE

Improve your image, buy a Nikon!

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