Nikkormat : an exceptional camera

version franšaise

After the success of the Nikon F, Nikon in the early sixties had designed an amateur SLR camera called Nikkorex F whose manufacture was entrusted to Mamya. This camera manufactured from 1962 to 1966 has the famous F bayonet (and therefore allows the mounting of all Nikkor lenses) and a vertical scroll shutter.

In 1965, the first amateur SLR camera entirely designed and manufactured by Nikon was released:
The Nikkormat FT. The body is made of die-cast aluminum alloy and finished in chrome plating or black lacquering. This camera has 685 separate components and provides a fixed viewfinder, a full-open measurement, a hinged back, a crown-operated flap shutter surrounding the lens mount.

The Nikkormat FS, version without light meter, is manufactured from 1965 to 1973.
This device was not imported in France

The Nikkormat FTn brings two years later some improvements and the center-weighted measurement, this camera was produced from 1967 to 1975. 

Nikkormat Ftn

the Nikkormat FT2 (1975-1977) represents probably the pinnacle of the mechanical series, it includes an accessory shoe with central contact, a sensitivity lock, a single flash sync contact regardless of the type of flash.

At this time, a bare chrome FT2 camera was sold 1000 FF and the fact of ordering it in black varnish added a supplement of 250 FF, but it was so professional.

The regretted journalist Chenz reported in an article of Zoom magazine in 1975 that the Nikkormat FT2 is reliable enough for planting nail with its sturdy sole, that his back closes with a sound worthy of Swiss safes. The Nikkormat seems indeed indestructible, like the Nikon F and even the Nikon F2, released at the same time, struggle to give the same impression of robustness.

With its angular lines, one might think that this camera is anti-feminine, it is not, many amateur or professional women photographers will choose this camera, lighter (only 765g without lens) more compact (everything is relative) that the Nikon F or F2.

In fact, many amateurs will choose the Nikkormat, because it is more discreet and more economical than professional Nikon. It differs from Nikon F and F2 only by the fact that it has neither motor, nor removable viewfinder, nor interchangeable focusing lenses. However, it allows access to the Nikon optical system and its lenses.

Nikkormat FT2

Nikkormat ELW

n parallel with the mechanical series, Nikon introduced in 1972 its first SLR camera Nikkormat EL (1972-1975). This camera with dimensions near of FTn dimensions has rounded forms and retrieves a conventional 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 less than one frame by second, we can't call it a motor) 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 were introduced in this camera.

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

In 1977, Nikon introduces coupling AI on these lenses. The fashion of the compact cameras introduced by Olympus OM1 with an optional motor conquered public and takes obsolete cameras with size like Nikkormat and others 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 camera, with optional motor, Nikon FM that is the first model 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 cameras, this name remains synonymous with reliable, robust and quality amateur cameras.
In Fact, for the sixty-years old photographers like me, Nikkormat is the camera of our twenty years.

pierre j.

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Texts of this page are on the responsibility of their author only and in no case of Nikon Corporation
Canon, Minolta, Nikkormat, Nikomat, Nikkorex, Nikkor, Nikon, Olympus are trademarks.

Created June 2nd 1998, Updated May 27th 2020
v 2.0 © Pierre J.