Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Nikon EM

I picked up this Nikon EM at a yard sale for $10.  Though not a commercial success for the company, the EM is nicely made, light weight and compact.  The camera's aperture-priority auto exposure was taken as something of an insult by Nikon purists, but it is not a bad trade-off for always-accurate metering, and one can see the system-selected shutter speed in the view finder.

My yard sale find came mounted with a Tokina 35-70 macro zoom lens.  The focal length variability and the close-up capability make for a versatile shooter.  Unfortunately, when the zoom is extended, the camera's dim focus screen gets even worse as the center split-image spot blacks out if the user's eye is not centered just right over the finder.  In fact, I found it nearly impossible to properly focus the camera even under good conditions, and capturing action was entirely out of the question.  I  have heard of people installing different screens from other Nikon models.  I also wonder if a good E-Series prime lens might improve the view.  I probably won't find out, though, unless I happen to find one under a rock.  I'm not inclined to go out to buy expensive lenses to satisfy my curiosity about a ten-dollar camera.


Jim Grey said...

$10 for an EM? That's the bargain of the year!

I have a Nikkor 35-70 zoom and it suffers from very similar trouble with the focusing split image going black. I persist in using the lens because there are just times when this mild zoom is very useful.

Your Tokina zoom seems not to lack ability to get contrast and detail.

I just got a Series E 50/1.8 by buying it attached to a N2000 body, for $30 shipped. I didn't need the N2000, but I did want the lens. I watch and wait on a couple eBay searches for deals like that.

JR Smth said...

The EM wasn't a bad camera at retail price. For $10, that's almost free! Great find!

Mike said...

The dim view screen over-rides the positive features of this camera for me. On the other hand, a sample of one is not a good basis for judgment. I may just go down to the local camera store which has a pretty good Nikon collection and peer through a couple of their cameras.

JR Smith said...

For comparison, my F2 finders are quite brilliant as is the finder on my F4. I have the K screen in my F2 bodies. Not sure what is in the F4. I didn't think you could change screens in the EM, but I have never owned one. I've only had prime Nikkor lenses on my Nikon bodies, so I can't speak to the aftermarket lens either. I've shot with the FE and the FE2, and those finders are bright as well. And my F3, which just went to a friend--that high eyepoint finder was great too. Not much help huh?

JR Smith said...

I just checked my Nikon compendium and the EM does not allow change out of focus screens. The camera is also noted as having a dimmer viewfinder as it was designed as an entry-level body and did not have the same prism as the advanced amateur and pro bodies. This explains your issue.

Mike said...

Thanks for the updates. I'm a little interested in seeing what the view would be with a normal prime in place, though not terribly optimistic given your comments. Also, I have several other restoration projects lined up which have priority.