With an increase in shooting film reported quite a bit, and with second hand camera prices still amazingly low (although increasing), I thought a bit of nostalgic fun was in order.
The year was 1983, and photography was at a stage where a significant change was gathering pace, as the use of electronics in all major brands was increasing.
While most people seemed to be against it at the time, we had started to move away from the traditional – no battery needed – mechanical and manual exposure mode only cameras.
In 1983, the Nikon FA SLR camera entered the Nikon system as the top enthusiast camera model, sitting just below the professional F3 series on par with the FM2n. It was a complete cutting edge counterweight to the latter cameras mechanical heritage, although the FA did have a 1/250th sec mechanical back up speed which helped appease some.
But the reason I think it changed the camera world, is that it introduced multi pattern metering to not just the Nikon system, but since, virtually all.
It’s version was called AMP (Auto Multi Pattern) and from memory the camera had a five segment design.
I remember well the reaction of the traditional photographers both pro and amateur… it will not catch on, ‘I do not need it as I know how to use Centre Weighted metering’.
Nikon now of course have Matrix (various versions), Canon Evaluative and Olympus ESP metering to name just three of today’s designs, now decades on.
Ironically as so many ‘new’ features are, the FA with its AMP metering (it had Center weighted metering also), was targeted at the amateur who maybe had not yet mastered the alternatives
Multi pattern metering has become so universal that most images around the globe are now taken with it.
That I think is a bit of a shame, as alternatives still have their role, and I still use them, but from the pro to the beginner, we now live in a multi pattern world.
The Nikon FA mapped out that road ahead. The accompanying image was an advert Nikon used the following year after the camera won won of the worlds most prestigious titles.
I used the FA a little. Nice enough camera packed full of options for the time. Even today in many ways, it seems quite a modern set of features still.