Nikon FM2 and Self Developing Film!

Welcoming the Nikon FM2 into the family with a number of sample images and initial thoughts on the first rolls of film that were shot.

I would like to take a few minutes today to welcome a new addition to the family. Her name is Nikky. She is my first Nikon camera. It took a lot of research and time watching eBay auctions until I found the right one for me. But when she arrived yesterday (from Japan) we realised it was worth the wait.

Nikon FM2 Camera

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To get technical she is a Nikon FM2n. A fully manual interchangeable lens 35mm SLR camera. Born somewhere between 1984 and 1989, we are about the same age. She has an inbuilt meter that is highly accurate. This is the only electronic component that I look for in a film camera.

Why the Nikon FM2?

The Nikon FM2 is known for its durability and resistance to damage. For me, this is one of the most important characteristics of a camera. If you are constantly worrying about the condition of your camera, you will never get the shot. A number of the Nikon F4 parts are self-lubricating, so Nikky should never require maintenance.

It is cheap. I managed to pick up this one up for 150GBP which included a 35mm – 70mm f3.5 Nikon zoom lens! A bargain. It is in great condition too without any problems and only minor external signs of use. If you are looking to buy a used film camera I have some tips for getting a bargain in this article: best 35mm film cameras.

The FM2 is fully mechanical. There is a battery but this only powers the inbuilt meter (which lasts forever). So even without a battery, you are still able to take pictures. Due to a revolution in shutter design, the engineers at Nikon were able to lower the shutter speed to 1/4000s. At the time 1/1000 was considered a very fast shutter speed.

I am not a fan of electronic film cameras as the digital cameras of today do automation much better. For me, shooting film is about slowing down and thinking about every aspect of the photo. It forces you to think about light and exposure in depth. This, in turn, improves you, overall as a photographer.

Information on photos:

As soon as I received Nikky I fed her with Tri-X and we set off on a mission to test the camera. None of the shots in this article was aimed to be prize winners, merely to see what I was dealing with. The shots were then self-developed at home and scanned into Lightroom for cropping etc.

The Recipe – Tri-X Pushed to 1600 in Rodinol

  • Pre wash
  • 1:50 Rodinol – 18:30s total time – Slow Aggitation 1 min – 2 inversions every 2 min.
  • 60s Stop
  • 5:00 Fix – 2 inversions every 1 min.
  • 6 washes
  • Final wash with filtered water and Photoflo

Scanned with Epson v370 using VueScan software.

See related articles on the best film scanner here and how to develop film at home here.

I believe that this is my achilles heel at present. As the scanning is the final part of the process, I have noticed that the results can vary wildly. If anyone reading knows anything about film scanning please get in touch through one of the social channels below.

Over the coming weeks, I will be shooting film exclusively for the blog. I have a mountain of film to get through and some exciting personal projects coming up.

Shooting film is a pleasure. It takes away all the technical stress that digital photography instils in us. There is no reviewing the screen, just an almost forgotten anticipation to see what comes out of the tank. So if you are thinking about it remember to check my article recommending film cameras and where to get them. Once you shoot it you can learn how to develop it too.

The full Nikon FM2 Review video along with a write up is here.

Thanks for reading and please do keep in touch! Remember: FILM IS NOT DEAD!*

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