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Mark's Nikon EM Page

Released 1979 to 1982. This was Nikon's first attempt at a simple, beginner's point and shoot SLR. In a huge marketing blunder it was marketed as a woman's camera. The lack of manual exposure was it's biggest offense to experienced photographers. It's plastic covers offended Nikon purists. It's small, light, uses lots of Nikon lenses (I probably can't afford), and it's cheap. These are all selling points for me, and it's all black. It sounds great when you trip the shutter. It uses aperture priority automatic exposure. Period. You set the aperture, the camera sets the right shutter speed. From a 30th to a 1000th. It uses a metal vertical focal plane shutter. If it can't set a valid speed it beeps. It has two speeds set mechanically that work if your batteries don't. 1/90th and bulb. There's an exposure compensation button on the front for backlit situations. You can also cheat, by lying about the film speed on the ASA dial. To use the meter you half-depress the shutter button. The meter stays on for 20 seconds so you can adjust the aperture. It complains if you require speeds of a 30th or below, but will still shoot. Nikon developed lower cost "E series" lenses and other accessories for this camera. There's a motor drive too. There is no replacable finder screen, back, or pentaprism. I bought the SB-E flash designed for it, and the SB-15 also, see the flash section. It takes two LR44 1.5v batteries. Think I paid $25 for this in a thrift shop. When I got it the meter was unreliable. Found the aperture follower in the lens mount was sticky. A tiny amount of oil loosened up that follower and it's fine. I also bought a Vivitar 70-210mm lens for it from the same thrift shop.
8-10-23: Replaced light seals with cotton yarn and adhesive-backed felt.
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7-13-23 Finally got around to shooting another test roll with the Nikon EM. Turns out it's got a light leak. Not all exposures were affected. It's a vertical stripe, so I think one of the side seals is gone. It's easy to fix. The speckles were caused by my fixer coagulating. Shaking the bottle didn't help. It's Arista Oderless. I'm going to have to throw the big bottle away and buy something else. Here's a few shots from the test roll. All these were taken on Aperture Priority auto. You can also shoot manual, if you use the mechanical 1/90th speed, without the meter.

10-21-23 Besides checking the new light seals, today's experiment compares the TTArtisan Meter 2 with the camera's light meter. Provided I'm paying attention results are pretty consistent. This camera has a non-metered mechanical speed of 1/90th with the aperture set manually to whatever the TTArtisan suggests. Then I shoot the exact same scene using the "auto" mode. This roll of Arista EDU 100 ASA got 16 minutes of Caffenol-C. Instead of stirring the ingredients with a coffee stick I started shaking them in a bottle for better results. I'm also soaking the film in water before developing in room temp water. Not sure it helps but it doesn't hurt.

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