Nov 7, 2008

Nikon FM10: Review

Nikon FM10
Nikon FM10 B&W, originally uploaded by Rakesh Ashok.

This is my first camera and undoubtedly my favourite camera. Many people thought I went mad for buying a film camera in the digital era. I knew that there will be a lot of additional costs involved(like film and developing cost). Even then I didn't change my decision. I bought mine some 7-8 months back. So here is my review of Nikon FM10. I'm not an expert on cameras. This is just what I have learned from using my Nikon FM10 for more than 6 months.

Reasons for buying Nikon FM10

After I decided that I should buy a Film camera. I started searching for a cheap one even a second hand one, a camera that will not burn my pocket. So price was an extremely important part in my decision. For Rs. 8000 this was an absolute steal.

Next thing which might stun a few people is that I can operate this camera without any battery. Its a fully mechanical, manual focus camera hence doesn't require a battery. But if you want to operate the light meter you need two-SR44 (1.55V) or two A- LR44 (1.5V) batteries. Just how many digital cameras work without batteries, he he. NONE.

Viewfinder is one of the most essential part of a SLR, this camera has a good one. Compared to most of the starting & mid range digital SLR cameras, this camera has a better finder even though it has only 92% frame coverage.

Unlike digital SLR what I have is a 35mm full frame camera. What it implies is that if I use a 50mm lens the effective focal length is also 50mm. To get a digital SLR which has a similar full frame sensor you have to shell out a lot of money. Some of the recent full frame digital SLR cameras like the Nikon D700, Sony Alpha 900, Canon 5D/5D Mark II costs around 3000$.

It also came with a kit lens a 35-70mm f/3.5-f/4.8. Which is a good starting lens. I also bought a 50mm f/1.8 AF-D Nikkor. Yep you can also attach any AF-D Nikkor lenses, but you have to focus manually. :)

Is film better than digital?

Most people would love to debate over this topic. But its up to the individual to decide which is best for him/her. Both can capture the moment of your choice. Unless you are good observer in the right place at the right time you can't take good photographs with either Digital or Film SLR.

Hope this review helps. You can see the technical specification & a camera manual in the links below.

FM10 from Nikon: Nikon USA
Nikon FM10 Camera Manual


  1. Thank you for your review. It cleared some things up.

  2. Hi Rakesh,
    Its a good buy, though IMHO, Rs 8000 is a bit steep for this camera today. The camera itself is well made, in todays plastic age. BTW, though it can take LR44's, I think the SR44 is the preferred option. The silver oxide composition gives 1.55v as opposed to 1.5v for the LR44 and thus the voltage remains constant for a longer period and does'nt drop as soon.
    I use a FE2 myself and this series has a good record.

  3. Parry: Thanks for the tip about the batteries. Will try to replace them. :)

  4. hi rakesh,
    you have a great review about the camera and you introduced the model well to people who are new to the SLR world.

    i believe the film based cameras are a better proof that you are a good photographer for certain pictures that came out superbly well. why? because film cannot be edited or enhanced unlike the digital ones. that is why it is still used in crime scene investigations.

    film based, if i may add, also makes you yearn to see your shots because you cannot preview in the same manner as the digital counterpart.

    i have an fm10 and i got it since 1997 and i am still using it though i have the digital ones. yearning to see my shots with a film is an agony but ones they are out the feeling of seeing them just brings good joy.


  5. @xycris: Thank you for your comment. Yep taking photos in a film camera makes you wonder how your shots come out. Some times you could be disappointed if the picture doesn't come out well. But once you get them right you will more than happy with the shot.

    I also have moved to digital with my new Nikon D90. But I still use my Nikon FM10, when I go out with my friends. Long live Film ... :)

  6. The review is not long enough! Please add more.

  7. The FM series of cameras from Nikon has a long and distinguished history. The FM10 is a totally manual camera with through the lens center weighted metering.

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