3other Nikon cameras in my collection:


JapanNikon Nikkormat FTN [1967 - 1975]



Between 1965 and 1978, Nikon produced SLR cameras for serious amateur photographers, and called them Nikkormat (or Nikomat in Japan). The FT was the first Nikkormat model, a consumer grade variant of the F, and Nikon's first SLR with a built-in TTL light meter. Nikon's Camera Chronicle talks about how much the FT was designed to resemble the mighty F Photomic T.

Nikkormat FTN advertisementThe FTN was the second incarnation of the FT, and improved that model by changing the metering pattern from full scene averaging to 60/40% centre-weighted (like the Nikon Photomic FTn). The viewfinder got new +/ over/underexposure metering markers, and a shutter speed display - via a Judas window. The lens mounting procedure was slightly simplified.

The last FTNs produced had plastic tips added to the end of the wind lever and self-timer setting arm. Most manufacturers did this in the mid-70s for some reason?

The metering system is open aperture, using a CdS cell. The exposure control is a center-the-needle system, with the needle pointer at the lower right side of the viewfinder, plus a duplicated pointer window on the camera body top plate, next to the rewind crank. The meter is switched on by pulling the film wind lever out to the standby ready position and turned off by pushing it back flush against the camera body. As in the FT, the shutter speed selection dial is around the lens mount, rather than on the body top-plate.

The FTN does not have a built-in flash shoe, and a cold shoe accessory has to be screwed to the top of the pentaprism cover via the eyepiece.

Nikon had not yet found a way to automatically synchronize lens aperture information with the FTN body, so mounting lenses required a special preparatory procedure. The camera's coupling pin must first be pushed to the far right. The lens aperture is set to f/5.6. The lens inserted into the mounting bayonet, making sure that bunny's ears are engaged with the coupling pin, and then locked into the body. The aperture ring is final turned to the minimum, then maximum aperture.




Lens mount: Nikon F bayonet with mirror lock-up for ultra-wide angle lenses. Works with any lens with bunny ears.

Diagram of Nikkormat FTN viewfinderFocus: 92% coverage of field. Matte Fresnel field and central micro-prism spot. DOF preview button on top-plate next to shutter release button.

Shutter: Vertical travel, metal focal plane shutter with speeds from 1 sec to 1/1000th sec + B. 8 second self-timer.

Meter: CdS, 60/40% centre-weighted TTL full aperture metering.

Exposure: Fully coupled centre-the-needle visible in viewfinder and top-plate window.

Film Speed: 12 to 1600 ASA.

Flash: X and M synch PC sockets with X synch speed of 1/125th sec. Screw-in cold shoe.

Film Advance: Single stroke lever with 135° advance angle plus 26° off-set (switches on meter).

Frame Counter: Automatic count-up and reset.

Rewind: Via crank and bottom release button.

Size: 148 x 95 x 54mm (W x H x D).

Weight: 765g.

Battery: 1.3v mercury.


My Camera

I bought my camera in July 2016 for £19.00: I was the only bidder. It was offered for sale with no condition assessment, and described as being Grandad's old camera. This appears to have put off other bidders, but for me this description was a turn-on ... I bet Grandad would have taken good care of what would have been an expensive camera. According to a dealer advert in a 1968 edition of Amateur Photographer, the UK cost of a Nikkormat FTN with an f/2 lens was 149 - 10s - 0d. In 1968, the average UK monthly pay was 124.

I thought I had bought an FT ... so the fact it's an FTN is arguably a bonus. The overall condition is good ... just a few tiny dings on some of the corners. The decorative wind lever cap is missing, the screen could do with a clean, and the seals have all perished (Nikkormat FT type light seal replacement instructions), but the camera is fully operational ... except for the meter, which is dead. Not to worry!

The FTN is robustly made; larger and heavier than most competing amateur level SLRs of the mid-1960s. I like it, but for the controls seeming a little cluttered when the shutter speeds below 1/30th sec., are set: the selector arm overlaps the lens lock and mirror lock-up switch.



Nikkormat FTN

Nikkormat FTN

Nikkormat FTN

Nikkormat FTN