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

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How compact was the FG being made ? Well, the Olympus OM-1 of 1972 was quoted as the most compact system SLR camera until the Pentax introduced the ME series models around the mid-seventies. The FG is in fact, almost the same dimension as the OM-1with the extra benefit that it is very much lighter in weight.

Compared with other popular models within the Nikon family and you will understand why I termed the FG, EM and FG-10 as super compact models.


Flash Photography with Nikon FG

The FG is equipped with TTL (Through the Lens) Flash exposure control. Among all the ultra compact models (EM, FG and FG-20), the Nikon FG was the only camera model that has this 'modern' feature incorporated. This is a very useful feature that has made the FG a very attractive SLR camera in the used market. Because the Nikon FG was the second Nikon SLR body after the professional Nikon F3 during the early '80 that offer such a feature and it was the first Nikon SLR that has TTL OTF metering with a standard ISO-type hot shoe (The Nikon F3 has a dedicated (Incompatible) flash coupler on its own).

This is by placing a SPD cell at the base of the Mirror box, facing backward to the film plane to measure light reflected from the film plane to determine proper flash exposure. This method is still employing in many of today's AF SLRs. Difference is just only the level of sophistication of technologies used. (More info: Nikon SB-1 to SB-21 Speedlight/Flash Units)

Fully matched to the FG, Nikon has also introduced an upgrade of the aged SB-10 with a advanced and dedicated SB-15 flash unit which apart from manual and auto flash, it also features TTL (through-the-lens) flash output control together with a MD (Motor Drive) setting. TTL OTF, in particular, has been referred as the most precise control method for excellent exposures under most shooting conditions. With the SB-15, light is measured where it counts the most: directly on the film plane itself, not at the speedlight.

SB 15.jpg3

You can shoot at any aperture you want from f/2 to f/22 (at ASA/ISO 100), and shutter speed is automatically switched to 1/90 second when you're at P, A or when the shutter speed/mode selector is set at 1/125 or faster at manual. Of course on manual you can use shutter speeds of 1/60 and below and the SB-15 will still give you the acceptable correct exposure.

In addition to the standard ISO type contact, there are three extra points for automatic operation with speedlight such as the SB-15 announced when the FG was made available. FG's accessory shoe is most unusual as compared even with the FE's hot shoe's additional ready light contact. The FG's four contacts in total for TTL flash exposure control. * More info ? Click to see the FE2's hot shoe explanation.

Note 1: The flash synchronization works even when the camera has its frame counter (Graduated from two below zero up to 36) reaches 1 with a dedicated flash unit on (Even when the shutter speed dial is set at any of the AUTO mode 'A' or 'P'), the shutter operates at 1/90sec. (except at B setting); this is especially useful for avoiding accidental tripping the shutter in low light level when you are in auto mode. Note 2: Frankly, SB-15 is an very attractive flash unit. Although it lacks the power output of the SB-16, but its compact size which facilates mobility compensate for its smaller guide number. Further, it is equipped with two sync terminals, one for PC terminal and another for TTL OTF, which means it can be used for multiple TTL flash setups as well with TTL sync cord(s) with other similar flash units or in combinations with others such as SB-16, SB11 or SB-14. The MD settings is too weak (Guide number 7) to put it in to great use other than fill in flash for macro or portrait work.

Readylight.jpg (9k)
You don't need to take your eye off the camera as a steady ready-light opposite the thunderbolt inside the viewfinder signals when it's OK to shoot; a blinking ready-light before shooting signals you've inadvertently misses controls. And if light intensity was not sufficient, both camera and speedlight ready-lights will blink for about 2 seconds after shooting. You can even shoot along with the FG's dedicated motor-drive, the MD-14 at up to 3.8 frames per second(Or the MD-E winder's 2 fps), or use built-in bounce lighting for special softening effects.

Note: The guide number of the flash will decrease dramatically if use in 'MD' mode or tilt and bounce effect. These may contribute to under exposure if subject is out of effective flash working range.

SB 15.jpg (9k)
Specifications of SB-15

Light output control: Silicon thyristor controlled rectifier & series circuitry; Automatic TTL control with Nikon FG;
Automatic control (non-TTL): possible with other Nikon SLRs.
Guide number: 25 (meters) with ASA/ISO 100 film at full output and 7 at motor-drive mode
Bounce flash: Possible by rotating the flash head; up to 90° vertically upper direction

Recycling time: Up to approx. 8sec.
Number of flashes: 60 with the manganese batteries at full output, 160 with the alkaline,manganese batteries at full output;
Angle of coverage: Horizontal 56° (67° when using wide-adapter SW-6) Vertical 40° (48° when using wide-adapter SW-6)
Power source: Four 1.5VAA-type batteries;
Dimensions: 101 mm (W) x 42.5 mm (H) x 90 mm (D) (excluding mounting foot)
Weight: Approx. 270 g (excluding batteries)

| Back | Next | Motor Drive MD-14 & MF-15 Databack

Page One | Page Two | Page Three | Page Four | Page Five | Spec

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 | Alternate Source Instruction Manual for Nikon FG in PDF (External Link @ CLICK HERE

| Back to Nikon FG's Index Page |

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| Nikon EM, 1979 | | Nikon FG, 1982 | | Nikon FG20, 1984 |

Specifications : Nikon EM, Nikon FG, Nikon FG-20
Additional info available on :
MD-14 | MD-E | SB-15 | SB-E | MF-15 Databack

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Recommended links to understand more technical details related to the Nikkor F-mount and production Serial Number: by: my friend, Rick Oleson by: Hansen, Lars Holst

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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