Nikkormat : a camera of exception

version franšaise

 After the success of Nikon F, Nikon at the beginning of the Sixties had designed an amateur reflex camera called Nikkorex F sub-manufactured by Mamya. This camera was sold from 1962 to 1966 and has of the famous F bayonet (and allows the assembly of all the Nikkor lenses) and an vertical run shutter.

In 1965 comes out the first reflex camera amateur entirely designed and manufactured by Nikon:

Nikkormat FT. This camera offers an non-interchangeable viewfinder, a measurement at full aperture, a back with hinge, an obturator with plate controlled by a crown surrounding mounting of objective.

Nikkormat FS, version without photographic exposure meter, is manufactured from 1965 to 1973.
This camera was not imported into France

Nikkormat FTn brings two years later some improvements and measures it with central weighting measure, this camera will receive some minor updates and was produced from 1967 to 1975. 


Nikkormat FTn

Nikkormat FT2 (1975-1977) undoubtedly represents the top of the mechanical series, it includes an accessory hot shoe with central contact, a sensitivity lock, a contact single synchro flash whatever the type of flash used..

At that time, a silver body camera FT2 was sold 200 $ and the fact of ask for a varnished black body costed 50 $ more, but back body camera was so professional.

The regretted French journalist Chenz indicated in 1975 in a article published in the review "Zoom" that the Nikkormat FT2 is good enough to plant nails with its robust sole, that its back is closed with emitting a sound worthy of the Swiss strong trunks. Nikkormat seems indeed indestructible, like Nikon F and even Nikon F2, announced at the same time, did not give the same impression of robustness.

With his angular lines, we may think that this camera is not for women. It is false, many photo hobbyists or professional men and women choosed this camera, lighter (only 765g without objective) more compact (all is relative) that Nikon F or F2.

In fact of many amateurs will choose Nikkormat, because it is more discrete and more economic than Nikon professionals and it authorizes the access to the optical system Nikon with its lenses.


Nikkormat FT2................................ Nikkormat ELW

In parallel of the mechanical series, Nikon introduced in 1972 its first reflex camera with automatic exposure Nikkormat EL (1972-1975). This camera with dimensions near of FTn dimensions has rounded forms and takes again a traditional positioning of the button of speeds on the higher cap and the test depth of field.

A version Nikkormat ELW with controlling of optional armament AW1 (at that time we don't yet speak about motor for less than 1 frame by second) is presented in 1976.

Between the first Nikkormat FT produced in 1965 and the last mechanical model the FT3 of 1977, a slow evolution and permanent improvements will be introduced in this camera.

The asset of Nikkormat will be found in the cases FM and FE (for Nikkormat EL).

In 1977, Nikon introduces coupling AI on these lenses. The fashion introduced by Olympus OM1 of the compact cameras with optional motor conquered public and takes obsolete cameras with size like Nikkormat and other Minolta SRT or Canon FTb.

Nikon presents a last version AI of the FT2 called Nikkormat FT3 at the same time as a splendid small compact case, with optional motor, Nikon FM which beginning of a new line of products.

This same year, Nikkormat ELW is improved and becomes Nikon EL2 (1977-1978).

The name Nikkormat (called Nikomat in Japan) is definitively abandoned for the reflex cameras and will not be used any more.
By the quality of the produced cases, this name remains synonymous with reliable, robust amateur cameras and of quality

In Fact, for the fifty-year-olds photographers like me, Nikkormat is the camera of our twenty years.


 pierre j.

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Created June 2nd 1998, Upadted April 23th 2012
v 2.0 © Pierre J.