Completely mechanical 35mm Nikon requiring no batteries?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by epp_b, Nov 20, 2008.

  1. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If I wanted a used Nikon 35mm film camera that was fully mechanical, required absolutely no electronic power whatsoever to use and was less than, say, $75, what models would I look for?
     
  2. Steph

    Steph No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Have a look at Nikon FM/FM2/FM2n. They are fully mechanical and the battery is only used for the lightmeter.
     
  3. PatrickHMS

    PatrickHMS TPF Noob!

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    You can go back as far as you want, any older Nikon or Nikkormat of 1980's era back should use battery only for metering, but a camera would have to get pretty old to not even have a battery for that.
     
  4. Steph

    Steph No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Is there a Nikon with a battery-less light meter? As you said it would be quite old and this type of selenium battery-less light meter tend to fail over time.
     
  5. PatrickHMS

    PatrickHMS TPF Noob!

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    Simply to answer the question, not that you would want to use one, or that you could even buy one for $75.00.

    Don't know how you even could have a light meter in a camera without a battery, don't know that you can do that mechanically inside a camera without a separate lightmeter that might be fully mechanical.

    Cannot answer for Nikon products, but I have an old Kodak 35mm that when opened up, has bellows apparatus, has zero battery at all. Fully manual, no metering at all.

    Don't know about Nikon 35mm, but also other old cameras, like the old
    Brownie (no meter, no focus, no battery, plastic winder) that was just a plastic box with a fixed lens and a shutter, and the one I have still takes pretty decent looking pictures for what it is.

    Have an old Leica M3 35mm that I have never used a battery for.

    Even the old rangefinders didn't use a battery that I know of.

    Must be other older cameras that do that, why not old Nikons (they go back as far as WWI)?
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2008
  6. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    My dad has had the same battery in his Nikon F2a for the last 10 years. Yes it can fail, but keep a new untouched/in-package battery for $5 in your case ready on the side and your are good for at least that long!
     
  7. Steph

    Steph No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yes you can. Weston Master light meters, for example, don't need a battery. I have 2 of those and they work without battery.
     
  8. Steph

    Steph No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I think I was not clear. I was talking about light meters that work without battery, not about battery failing over time.
     
  9. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Either I did not phrase the post properly or you misunderstood me.

    I know that you are looking for a camera without a batteyr of anykind... totally 100% mechanical... but the point was that the ones with even a moderate need for a battery to make the meter function use so little and last so long that this, as a single point of failure, is incredibly easy to avoid.

    One battery in this case lasts 10 years or more (the example of the battery in my father's camera)... and for an extra 5 dollars, you have the insurance of adding another battery for an additional 10 years.

    You reinforced that you were not looking for this, though... so in that sense, I have nothing more of value to add. :)
     
  10. Steph

    Steph No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Understood now.:wink: Let's wait for the OP to reply to see what he/she means by a fully mechanical camera.
     
  11. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    The other deciding factor would be the pre-AI or AI decision, if you were going to go for an all-mechanical Nikon with a battery-powered meter. If there is no meter, there is no coupling, of course.

    If I wanted a totally robust mechanical Nikon and didn't care about metering or interchangeable viewfinders I would probably choose the Nikkormat/Nikomat (same camera, different markets) FT or FTN. The shutter speed metering track often goes wonky, but that doesn't matter if you aren't bothered about the meter. I think that they are even more robust than the Fs, but the Fs aren't exactly fragile of course. You are spoiled for choice: the F, F2, Nikkormat and FM ranges - each have their particular qualities and they are all great cameras.

    As far as batteryless metered cameras go, I can think of a few non-Nikon SLRs and a few rangefinders and TLRs that had built-in selenium cell meters, most of them non-TTL. I still use a Voigtlander Vitessa folder that has a lovely 50 mm f/2 lens and a still-working selenium cell meter. There are Bolex movie cameras that have batteryless TTL selenium cells (they move out of the way when you pressed the release button) but I can't think of any still cameras that used that idea with selenium cells (it was used with CdS cells - Leica M5, CL)

    Though probably not exactly what the OP had in mind, the Nikon rangefinders are also mechanical, as are the early Nikonos models. If the OP doesn't want an SLR with F-mount lenses then they would also fit the bill. The Nikonos cameras are worth having if you need an extremely robust all-condition camera.

    Best,
    Helen
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2008
  12. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Sorry, I should have clarified. I meant mechanical, as in, the shutter and film advance are not electronic and can operate without battery power. If the meter runs off of batteries, that's fine, because those batteries last forever anyway and it's not absolutely critical to the actual operation of taking an exposure.

    The light meter would run off the solar power given from the light for which it is metering ;)

    That's exactly what I'm getting at. Come next month or two, it's going to get flipping cold up here, and I'm not sure I want to subject my digital or even my motor-advance film camera to that. An old mechanical tank has a lot less to break, and, even if it does, it's cheap to replace.
     

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