Travelling with the indestructible Nikon FM3A
Updated: Nov 13, 2018
No batteries needed. Go anywhere. The perfect camera for travel photographers that venture to remote or extreme areas. Extremely strong body of copper silumin alloy. Fully manual operation with a hint of automation (aperture-priority mode and light meter). Hardy, rugged and almost indestructible. We have banged ours on numerous walls, cows and floors but it refuses to stop working.
It might be destroyable by a bomb, but that would be cheating.
Almost all lenses from the F-mount Nikon family will work and meter correctly. Modern ones with electronically controlled aperture won't. The lens always attached to our camera is the all metal Carl Zeiss ZF Planar 50mm f/1.4. Beautiful rendering, colours and contrast.
Tip: Just get the one that's working. Leave the mint condition, brand-new-in-box stuff to the collectors. Save the money and grab a few rolls of film instead.
Operation is simple, even bordering on primitive. Just rotate the lens barrel until you get a sharp image in the viewfinder. Follow the indicator shown in the viewfinder to get the correct exposure.
If you prefer to let the camera choose the right exposure for you, set the shutter speed to the green "A". If you have never shot on film before, you will notice that film has a wide dynamic range and the automatic exposures are usually spot on.
There will be no comparison and analysis of brick walls, pixel peeping and hidden menu discussion in this article because there aren't any. Just good images produced by our simple little machine.
Less is more. No touchscreens, bleeping menus no previews to worry about. Just load your roll, carefully compose your scene and let the light in. Focus more on your journey instead of checking on Instagram every few seconds.
Is this camera still relevant in today's world? That is entirely up to you. Many professional photographers and travellers still carry one as a backup when all else fails.
Prices for professional analog have come down heavily in the recent years. If nothing else, it's a perfect excuse to try something new!