My Nikon FE

This is my Nikon FE. I bought this camera around the turn of the century. I don’t remember the exact year now. Maybe 1999 or 2000. That’s my best guess. Which means I’ve owned it now for 16 or 17 years.  Longer than any camera I’ve ever owned.


Obviously I bought it used. It was manufactured in April of 1982 according to the 42AF rubber stamped on the inside film cassette area. If I’m reading that code right.

I bought it at a camera trade show, around the same time my girlfriend at the time Becky bought her used Nikon FE 2. I believe I paid around $200 for the camera body. A little while later I picked up a 50mm f1.8 series E lens for it for around $50 if I remember right. Also used from a camera trade show.
Just today, on a whim, I decided to buy a used 28mm f2.8 series E lens for it off ebay. $49.54 with shipping. I should get it later this week.

I rarely shoot film anymore. I think I’ve shot about one roll per year over the last couple years.  The last time I did I had prints made, which is something I hadn’t done in well over a decade before then when shooting film. Mostly just getting them developed and scanned. But I decided to go all out, after all, I rarely shoot film so why not?

Every time I shoot a roll of film I tell myself it will be my last. That it’s just not worth it to me anymore. I have a DSLR camera, which is cheaper and more immediate to shoot. I really don’t see the benefit in shooting film anymore. It’s expensive and a hassle. I ahve to buy the film, shoot all of it before seeing any photos, take it to a lab and wait a day or so before getting back a disc and maybe prints. So altogether I’ve sunk $15-$25 into 36 images not to mention at least a day or two of wait time before I can see the results. When I do see the results, I’m never that impressed. The scans are lower quality. About 8 megapixels in reslution. Less than half of what my DSLR shoots and even then they are still grainier looking. But for some reason I get that impulse about once a year to pull the Nikon out and shoot a roll of film for some kind of outing. Which the last couple of years have been beach outtings with friends. Already in my mind I have the idea to take my Nikon with now two lens to the Renaissance Festival later this year in August or September. For some reason that just sounds appealing to me right now. But that may be the only time I take it out to shoot with it during the whole of 2016. Who knows, the year is still young.

That said, the new 28mm lens purchase is not a waste. I have a Nikon adapter for my Canon DSLR and I throw my Nikon 50mm on there sometimes. Considering I don’t have any wider angle prime lenses for my Canon, this lens will come in handy. With the 1.6x crop factor of my Canon 60D this 28mm Nikkor will come off looking more like a 45mm prime in the end. Much better than my 50mm which looks more like an 80mm in the end. So I can see myself walking around with this lens on my Canon doing street photography kind of stuff as if it were a 45mm prime lens.  Of course should I ever switch to a Nikon DSLR in the future of even a Sony mirrorless full frame camera, these two lenses will come in handy then as well. You really can’t go wrong with these older Nikon manual focus lenses, they can be adapted to almost any modern digital camera.

So why have I kept the Nikon FE around for so long? A couple reasons really. Being a film camera, their value has dropped so much over the years it just never seemed worth it to sell. I’d get maybe $100-$150 used if I’m lucky and that’s not worth it to me. The second reason is sentimental value at this point. I’ve owned it longer than any camera I’ve ever owned. Nearly half my life now. That to me is worth more than the $100-$150 I’d get for it used. Especially being the kind of camera geek I am. I’ve owned (and sold off) my fair share of cameras over the years, but for whatever reason this one has stuck it out with me. I can trace it back to a better time in my life where I was still young and felt my whole future and the world was in front of me. I took it with me out on a truck driving trip to South Dakota once and shot some great images of the badlands on Fuji Velvia. I’ve used it to shoot various images of my friends and even my son when he was born. No, I won’t sell it off. Even if it stopped working on me I’d just put it on a shelf and let it be a decoration that reminded me of these things. But so far, it still keep ticking. Thirty-some years old and it’s still going. You can’t say that about a lot of devices you buy these days. Most of which you’ll be lucky if they last you ten years.

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