When the Nikon FE was first released it was met with a mixed reception. Built in the late 70s, it was a time when camera companies were starting to incorporate microprocessors into their cameras to aid both the shooter, and the mechanical functionality of the camera. Looking back from where we are now and how far we’ve come with technology it might seem strange that such skepticism would arise, but for many people the idea of operations in mechanical devices not being driven entirely mechanically was a hard one to grasp, and they didn’t trust how reliable they would be.
The camera was released as a compact, professional SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera which was designed for the run and gun shooter who valued reliability, durability, and speed. What makes this camera the perfect camera for a beginner shooter? Well, here’s an excerpt from a Nikon magazine advertisement in 1978 for the FE which really puts it into perspective.
“It has as much potential as you do.
At Nikon we’re optimists. We think you’re going to grow as a photographer. So we designed a camera to grow along with you. The Nikon FE. You can start with just the basic camera. Aperture-priority AE. Full-manual override. A compact, rugged body. And all the legendary quality that has made Nikon the choice of pros. Then as you upgrade your skills, you can upgrade your system. With more than 60 Nikon and Nikon Series E lenses. Interchangeable screens. Motor drive. Macro equipment. And a host of other accessories. So if you’re planning to become a better photographer, start with a better camera. The Nikon FE. You’ll never outgrow it.”
It has been over 40 years since its release and Nikon has well and truly proved how well these cameras were made, with many outlasting the photographers that have moved on from them.
On todays offer is a Nikon FE in the sought after ‘professional black finish’ in good condition. My favourite thing about this version is that it comes in the unique to this Nikon, completely black finish, with no model labelling; leaving it to be quite the ambiguous camera. Another added bonus, unlike the later FE2, this camera can use any manual Nikon F mount lenses ever made, all the way back to 1959.
Check it out below: