Nikon FA

The Nikon FA was produced by Nippon Kogaku from 1983 to 1987. It was designed as a mid-range camera with high-end features for serious amateur photographers. The most sophisticated feature is the matrix metering system, which uses five separate metering sensors to determine the optimal exposure settings for a given scene. The FA was also the first SLR to feature three sophisticated electronic metering modes: Matrix, Center-Weighted, and Spot.

  1. Matrix metering: With the new AMP (Automatic Multi-Pattern) meter with a built-in microprocessor, the camera analyzes the brightness, contrast, and color of the scene and uses this information to determine the correct exposure.
  2. Center-Weighted metering: This metering mode measures the average light intensity in the center of the frame, giving more weight to the area around the center of the frame. This is useful when you want to prioritize the exposure settings for the center of the frame.
  3. Spot metering: Spot metering allows you to measure the light intensity at a specific point in the scene, typically in the center of the frame. This mode is useful when you want to measure the light for a particular subject or area in the frame, rather than the entire scene.

The Nikon FA’s metering system is highly regarded for its accuracy and versatility, and it was one of the most advanced metering systems of its time. The camera also features a shutter speed range of 1/4000th of a second to 8 seconds, plus bulb mode. As with other Nikon cameras at the time, the FA is compatible with a wide range of lenses, including the popular Nikon F-mount lenses. The FA is a highly regarded camera among film photographers and is a classic example of 1980s-era camera design and technology. Unlike Nikon’s other budget-friendly F-series cameras, the FA has a plastic top plate with fiberglass reinforced polycarbonate for black bodies, and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) for the chrome bodies. The FA also has a bearing-mounted, honeycomb patterned, titanium-bladed shutter which allows for the faster shutter speeds.


  • Film format: 35mm film (36mm x 24mm)
  • Lens mount: Nikon F mount (with AI coupling)
  • Shutter speed range: 1/4000s to 8s, plus bulb mode
  • Exposure modes: Programmed Auto (P), Aperture Priority (A), Shutter Priority (S), Manual (M)
  • Metering system: TTL full-aperture exposure metering with 5-segment matrix, center-weighted, and spot metering modes
  • Exposure compensation: +/- 2 EV in 1/3 EV steps
  • ISO range: ISO 12 to ISO 3200 (DX-coded films) or ISO 6 to ISO 6400 (manual setting)
  • Flash sync: X-sync at 1/250s
  • Viewfinder: Fixed eye-level pentaprism with 0.84x magnification and 93% coverage
  • Self-timer: 10-second delay
  • Power: Two 1.5V LR44 or SR44 button batteries
  • Weight: 625 g/1.38 lbs.

My son found this camera at a local thrift store for $35 without a lens. Overall, the camera is in great condition. KEH would probably rate this camera as “Like New Minus.” The only accessory it came with was the unused Nikon neck strap. Like most cameras of this age, I had to replace the light seals and the mirror bumper before using it. For my initial test roll, I went to a local car show at the Ogden Airport and then the Hill Aerospace Museum in Roy, Utah. I knew that being outside in the sunlight, I would be taking advantage of the faster shutter speeds with the Fomapan Profi Line 100 ISO film. The lens I chose to use was the Nikkor 35-200mm f/3.5.

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