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!