Nikon FG, 1982 - Part I
Nikon Super Compact Bodies EM, FG & FG-20

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In terms of features and capabilities, the Nikon FG was the most sophisticated among the three super compact bodies of EM, FG and FG-20. The FG was, among the three that provides a Programmed Auto mode. If you happened to own a Nikon FG, just remove the lens and you will notice there is an additional lever (maximum aperture indexing lever) at the base inside the lens mount, together with the familiar aperture stop down lever inside the lens mount, these two levers are used to control the aperture diaphragm during an program mode operation.

Nikon FG topCtrl.jpg (11k)
At the top right hand panel is the command center where the 11 shutter speed settings, Exposure control modes 'P' (Programmed Auto) & 'A' (Aperture Priority AE); the mechanical 'M90' backup speed and 'B' (Bulb mode) for time exposure locate on the shutter speed ring. The threaded center of the shutter release button accepts cable release, the button also acts as a meter switch.

On the right is the frame counter. The left hand side is where the audio alarm and the battery check button locate. The three exposure control modes available in the Nikon FG are: Programmed AE, Aperture Priority AE and Manual Exposure Control mode. When the light level falls, you can have TTL OTF flash exposure control when used with any of the standard hot shoe mount flash units that have Nikon dedicated TTL features incorporated. Within the two auto modes in Programmed AE and Aperture Priority AE, they are supplemented by additional control such as dual methods exposure compensation. To prevent over- or under exposure in unusual lighting conditions such as bright seaside, black subjects against dark backgrounds or strong backlighting, the FG gives you two ways to adjust exposures on both A and P: the conventional exposure compensation dial (- 2EV +2EV) and the quick and easy one press operation of exposure compensation button (+2 EV).

On the left is the multi functions dial. The film speed and Exposure compensation dial. The ASA/ISO film speed is locked and you need to depress the unlock button to release, this is to avoid accidental shifting of the film speed which may result in erroneous exposure measurement The exposure compensation setting is by lifting the dial and turn to adjust the level of compensation, + - 2EV is possible in 1/2 stop increments.


The 2 stops exposure compensation button (used in the EM) will open up exposure by 2 stop when activated.

Update: Rectified by Mr. Efi " .... The button you see there locks the exposure compensation, not the film speed - you have to press the button to turn all the dial around the red point. And lifting the dial and turning it sets the film speed. It works just like many other models of the decade...".

These are great improvement when compared with the Nikon EM, where the EM has some restrictions on user fine tuning exposure - a 2 stop (overexposure) compensation button is provided or alternatively, you have to use the ASA film speed scale to fine tune exposure. The FG has retained the exposure compensation button of the EM. Further, the ASA/ISO film speed dial that has a scale ranging from 12 to 3200 (EM's ASA/ISO 25-1600), the dial lifts for setting, turns, then locks into place. This, when combined with the exposure compensation of + - 2EV on the dial or + 2 EV on the button, provide an extended exposure control over your image.
WARNING: IF you are not familiar with respective functions of these control, please DON"T attempt to change the neutral setting, as it will affect the exposure measurement.

Shutter Button.jpg
The shutter release button is acting as a meter switch, while the film advance lever is a hinged type lever; it winds by single stroke or series of shorter strokes; 144 degree winding angle. Film winding torque is reduced so the lever is smoother and easier to operate. Hinged to fold neatly when not in use. The feel is just like the EM or even close to F3, some like it while some don't and complaint about the fragile feel.

But I think, the smoothness of the film advance could be the reason, everyone is so used to the FM/FE's tension of the spring. By depressing the shutter release button halfway, the meter goes on and stays on for approx. 16sec. before turning itself off automatically.
Inside the viewfinder of the FG (A fixed eye level pentaprism), a familiar Nikon interface presents a fairly bright, large image (Magnification of 0.84X, 50mm lens set at infinity and projecting approx. 92% of the frame coverage). Mainly attributed by employing an improved version of the fixed-type Clear-matte focusing screen. The screen was referred as standard Nikon K-type clear-matte screen; it comprises clear-matte/Fresnel field and central split-image rangefinder spot surrounded by microprism collar and 12 mm-dia. reference circle which denotes area of center-weighted metering.

Type K screen.gif

Displayed inside the viewfinder are shutter speed LEDs and scale, top and bottom triangular warning LEDs, and a ready-light opposite the thunderbolt for flash use. The metering indicator is presented on the right hand side. After the Nikon F3, many would expect subsequent models would use LCD as the primary display method, but the Nikon FG is employing a LEDs display instead. The 11 settings for shutter speeds, over and underexposure indicators and a flash icon at the bottom made up metering display.The audible warning system combine with visual presentation (Speed from 1/30 sec and below are marked in red and LED will flash if a possible erroneous exposure combination is set) is more than sufficient to alert a photographer on a assignment.

Shutter speed LED Lights to indicate microcomputer selected shutter speed anywhere from 1 to 1/1000sec. Two LEDs light when shutter speed selected is intermediate.

Top warning LED + ) Blinks when too much light, warning of overexposure. Filter use suggested.
Bottom warning LED + Blinks when not enough light, warning of underexposure. Use an electronic flash or long exposure at B setting.

| Back | Next | The three exposure modes

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Quality of the User Manual is is less desirable, but still - it is a Manual in PDF format. Instruction Manual for Nikon FG (Extenal link) 4.1MB in PDF

| Back to Nikon FG's Index Page |

Nikon EM
, 1979 | Nikon FG, 1982 | Nikon FG-20, 1984
Specifications :
Nikon EM, Nikon FG, Nikon FG-20

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Credit: My nephew, EeWynwho has helped to convert the Owner's Manual of Nikon EM into HTML format. Also to a smart friend of mine who has just spent US60-00 for a EM body. A contributing site to a long lost friend on the Net. Made witha PowerMac