Sure, its a sensational headline, pulled right out of the clickbait SEO guidebook. But a few months ago in a dazed splurge on that well known auction site I ended up with a FE arriving at my door some 3 days later. Whilst the acknowledgement that I've become somewhat of a Nikon collector these days will likely come in a later post, I thought I'd write something on the FE. During the initial 3 rolls its consumed on my behalf it has quickly endeared itself to me.
So why such a bold statement? The relatively compact size, vast lens compatibility and aperture priority mode make it a winner for me. The first two points are ones that had already made the FM a favourite already. The body weighs in at 0.59kg (thats 22% less than a F3HP or 30% less than an F2). And you can use any lens Nikon has made with an aperture ring since 1958 (the folding Ai tab permits pre-AI lenses to be mounted and metering is then requires using the DOF preview lever to stop down the lens). I used to think the FM, being fully mechanical, was more impressive. If I ran out of batteries I could carry on capturing images. This has happened to me before with my F3 but luckily I was in the US where replacement batteries are easily available from common stores like CVS. In a different country perhaps this would have ended my quest to capture photons. The FE requiring a battery with charge to fire the shutter ends up not so big of a deal, and in my humble opinion worth it for the benefit of aperture priority mode. Yes, I could live without it, but I sure get good use out of it. The other big winner for me over the FM would be the needle display for the meter output in the viewfinder. The FM has a simple LED showing +/o/- which doesn't help to show you how many stops you are off from the current reading. This is probably my biggest gripe with the FM, aside from the fact that mine has a contact issue on the Ai ring that screws out the meter reading sometimes.
There you have it. Maybe the Nikon FE is the best SLR one can buy. Even if it isn't, its hard to dispute that at around £80 for a decent example, this is one of the best value ways you can shoot Nikon glass on 35mm film.