My two Nikkormat cameras, FT and FTn, were for me the most difficult to sell, emotionally. Both of them are really charming and solid cameras. Fully metallic with chrome finishing. Really stylish cameras that strike a cord between pure photography joy and just enough automation.
|Type of camera||SLR, combination of metal and plastic body (%99 metal!).|
|Lens mount||Nikon F bayonet mount|
|Film/sensor type/size||35mm film|
|Viewfinder||Fixed. Size? Magnification?|
|Focusing||Fixed screen TTL. Central 4 mm microprism focusing aid plus 12 mm matte focusing surface (FTn had apparently an optional split-image focusing screen that mine did not have).|
|Depth of field preview||Yes. Dedicated button on top plate.|
|Exposure meter||Automatic, TTL full-scene averaged (FT) or 60/40 center-weighted (FTn) CdS photo sensor. Couples using Nikon F lens “bunny ears”.|
|Exposure program||None. All manual.|
|Exposure lock||None. Manual.|
|Exposure compensation||None. Manual. Or use ISO setting?|
|Shutter type||Metal-bladed, vertical travel, focal plane.|
|Shutter speed||Manual 1″-1/1000 + B|
|ASA setting and range||Manual, 12-1600|
|Flash usage||Electronic flash PC socket 1/125 sec|
|Multiple exposure mechanism||None? You can probably use the rewind release button on the bottom plate.|
|Film advance||Manual, single stroke lever|
|Film rewind||Manual, folding crank|
|Self-timer mechanism||Yes – 10 seconds using button in front of the camera.|
|Mirror lock mechanism||Yes.|
|Weight and size||95 mm height, 146 mm width, 54 mm depth and 745 g weight|
|Battery type||Single 1.3 volt mercury battery (for the light meter only). 1.5 625 seems to work fine.|
|Year of production||My FT was probably from 1965 (see here), my FTn was probably from 1974, (see here).|
|Repair and maintenance||Changed light seals on both of them.|
|Link to manual||No need. I sold them 🙁|
Nikkormat is a charming camera. It is very solidly built, much more so than my Canons. It feels the same high quality as Nikon F, with the advantage of having a pretty accurate built-in light meter –something I really miss in my Nikon F. The FT version (1965) is apparently one of the first SLRs with built-in TTL light meter. There is a feeling of quality to Nikkormat which surprises me because they are quite cheap to buy. I don’t think anything will happen to a Nikkormat and they will be functioning –at least mechanically –for many decades to come.
Shooting is strait-forward. Focusing screen is not of the split type that I have on my Nikon F. This is maybe the major drawback for me. It has mirror -lock-up and depth-of-field so here we are talking really well-equipped cameras. Attaching lens is a bit complicated. FTn is supposed to introduce easier attaching but I found FT to be easier. You align widest aperture of the lens with the ISO value of the film. I also don’t like having shutter button around the lens, like in Olympus cameras. It is supposed to be more user-friendly but I think most people are used to having a shutter ring on top plate.
Pros and cons
- Really high quality solid and charming feeling to it.
- Built-in light meter that is pretty accurate.
- Clean viewfinder, no distraction, just the frame. There is needle light meter at the right edge of the viewfinder. FTn also has shutter speed at the bottom of the viewfinder. However, the viewfinder is still very clean.
- I have a feeling that the shutter mechanism does not generate much vibration.
- Light meter needle is also shown at the top of the camera. Good for landscape, when you have the camera on a tripod.
- Above all, high joy factor!
- Shutter controlled by coaxically mounted ring around the lens. I just don’t manage to get used to it!
- A bit complicated lens attachment, which at the same time calibrates the light meter.
- Focusing screen does not have the split rangefinder, difficult to focus in dark.
Everything on this camera is manual except the meter that is TTL.
Improvements compared to earlier rangefinder cameras include:
- TTL viewfinder. You get what you see in the viewfinder, both the framing and the composition and the focus.
Other resources and references
- A lot of information about these camera and how to recognize each model in this site and this site.
- FTn review at Casual Photophile.
- Another nice review of FTn by .
- More technical information about the camera here.
- The Wikipedia entry for Nikkormat has a lot of interesting information about these cameras.
Here are some photos taken with Nikkormat FTn