Classic Camera Revival – Episode 163 – The Other Nikons


Throughout its history, Nikon cameras have been primarily aimed at the professional market, from their stunning rangefinders in the S-Range to the original Nikon F and beyond. However, the mid-century and post-war economic boom brought a new group of photographers, the advanced consumer. Now, hobbyist photographers have always been around. These new photographers want access to the same quality cameras and optics as the professionals. And while Canon and Minolta were certainly starting to fill that gap, Nikon wanted a piece of the action. While their initial offerings under the Nikkorex line fell flat, save the Nikkorex F, it was their second attempt, the Nikkormat or Nikkomat line of SLRs, that proved to be successful. And these lovely cameras make for an excellent addition to any Nikon photographer. What set these cameras apart is that Nikon went with the Copal Square shutter for each camera, starting with the Nikkorex F rather than building in-house shutters. Also, the Nikkormat EL is the first Nikon camera with a semi-automatic exposure system. Overall, the Nikkormat line was replaced by the small-form-factor SLRs of the FM and the FE.

Nikkormat FT (1965) – The Original Nikkormat body that featured a full F-Mount (Pre-AI) and a metered prisim using the same metering technology as the Nikon Photomic T metering head.
Nikkormat FS (1965) – An unmetered version of the Nikkormat FT.
Nikkormat FTn (1967) – An improved version of the Nikkormat FT, it now uses a classic 60/40 center-weighted metering. An improved match needle display in the viewfinder. The FTn underwent a number of changes over the course of the camera’s production that lasted for nearly a decade.
Nikkormat EL (1972) – Uses a CdS meter cell and provides semi-automatic aperture priority auto-exposure.
Nikkormat FT2 (1975) – Rolled all the improvements of the FTn into a single camera, and changed the power source from a mercury cell to a silver oxide cell.
Nikkormat ELW (1975) – Basically the same camera as the EL, but added the contacts for the AW-1 autowinder.
Nikkormat FT3 (1977) – Basically took everything from the FT2, but updated the mount to accept the new AI lenses natively.
Nikon EL2 (1977) – An improved ELW, with a SPD metering cell, AI lens support (native).

Want a subscription to SilverGrain Classics and are a fan of Classic Camera Revival? Visit their shop online and buy a magazine or a subscription? Looking for a good spot to get your gear and material fix check out Burlington Camera (Burlington, ON), Downtown Camera (Toronto, ON), Film Plus (Toronto, ON), Belle Arte Camera (Hamilton, ON), Pond’s FotoSource (Guleph, ON), Foto Art Camera (Owen Sound, ON). In Quebec, Photo Service (Montreal, QC) and Studio Argentique (Montreal, QC), Out West there’s Kerrisdale Cameras (BC), The Camera Store (Calgary, AB) and Beau Photo Supply (Vancouver, BC). Additionally you can order online at Argentix (Quebec), (Ontario), the Film Photography Project or Freestyle Photographic. Looking for development options, check out these labs that have our support, Boréalis Photo Lab, Old School Photo Lab, The Darkroom, and Film Rescue International.

Also you can connect with us through email: classiccamerarevivial[at]gmail[dot]com or by Facebook, we’re at Classic Camera Revival, Twitter @ccamerarevival, and Instagram (@classiccamerarevival)!

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