Nion FM3a - Nikon Analog at it’s Best.


The FM3a is the last film SLR designed by Nikon, back in 2001. It is an hybrid camera, which features a complete set of detailed manual controls with a few extras like an automatic aperture priority mode and the possibility to do TTL (Through The Lens) automatic flash photography. It can do just about anything, including multiple exposures. it’s rugged, and it’s fully operational lifetime is measured in decades, not years!!

image from jafaphotography

I got hold of one of this beauties in 2005, and it has been a blast. While looking for a digital SLR, I walked in a photo shop in Veracruz and saw they had a FM3a body with a 20% off since the shop was shifting to digital and needed room for them, so I bought it instead of the digital I was looking for, and it literally changed my life, to the degree that to this day I do not own a digital SLR camera.

The FM3a it’s really super easy to use, fully manual controls, but with the option to have automatic aperture priority exposure control. This camera can do pretty much about everything: you can attach to it a motor drive, intervalometer, modern and old lenses and flashes, and it even has a PC sync cord entrance to use it with professional lightning systems, polaroid back too, and the list goes on and on and on. It’s actually like a professional LCA, but without the vignette (sorry vignette lover folks). Multiple exposures, you got it! It also has the finest exposure meter I have ever seen in a manual SLR, and most important, it has incredible looks, it used to be sold with a super cool flat “pancake” 45mm silver lens (which unfortunately I don’t have), with colored aperture numbers.

I firmly believe this camera was crafted in a period when no one still saw film’s decline towards digital technology, so they actually put a lot of time and effort on this one, it is said that it was one of nikon’s technicians sentimental favorite, and it was in production for very few years (2001-2008), so it’s not very famous, some people don’t even know it exists, and think the FM2 was the top of the line. A literally almost unknown under-rated gem!

written by lomomanolo on 2009-08-31 #gear #review #slr #nikon #35-mm #ttl-flash #fm3a #aperture-priority


  1. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    Love the gallery, looks like a great camera!! :)

  2. lomosexual_manboy
    lomosexual_manboy ·

    Really great gallery. Looks like a rad camera, but I can't forget to give the photographer some credit.

  3. mattcharnock
    mattcharnock ·

    really great gallery! I am a canon man myself but that looks like a good nikon!

  4. ishoothorizon
    ishoothorizon ·

    Nion? I didn't know this brand...

  5. cyan-shine
    cyan-shine ·

    Awesome ! The little dog rocks :D

  6. oldskool_rider
    oldskool_rider ·

    wow, that really does look like a great camera!!
    i love the shots, and i think ill have to keep my eyes open for an fm3a!!

  7. disdis
    disdis ·

    Really Nice gallery!

  8. adbigmilk
    adbigmilk ·

    #30 it's an amazing shot !!

  9. adbigmilk
    adbigmilk ·

    #30 it's an amazing shot !!

  10. larslau
    larslau ·

    I love the fm3a...! Great gallery.

  11. plyshbel
    plyshbel ·

    Classy camera indeed! Pictures awesome too!

  12. gin_milk_and_lomography
    gin_milk_and_lomography ·

    I have the FM3 its a good looking camera, but the grip has come off on mine, still looks kinda allrite though..

  13. stouf
    stouf ·

    What a beauty ! I love it ! It makes me think of my Canon F1n... Great gallery too ! N°20 and 30 rock !

  14. diablitomx
    diablitomx ·

    Fantastic shots! i want one of this little gems.

  15. eugster
    eugster ·

    Impressive Gallery! And Nice review. I'm eagerly looking forward now to shoot my first rolls of film with my new Nikon F3 :)

  16. rbruce63
    rbruce63 ·

    Outstanding article, and gallery. I am looking for one, as my Maxxum 600 Si is getting too many repairs.

  17. rbruce63
    rbruce63 ·

    How can I assess the age of the camera and it's state of use from pictures?

More Interesting Articles