FG-20, 1984 - Part I
Well, it is not the same as the EM or the FG. Two small areas differ it from the same physical appearance as with the other two bodies. Firstly, the body was given a more rounded feel, the left and right on the top panel was slightly angled down at its edges. Next and more significantly is the pull and push in type of self timer, look more like a button than a conventional lever.
Inside the finder, the viewfinder information arrangement is different from the FG or the EM's. The 'C90' has been arranged at the top of the shutter speed scale. The Top and bottom sections are marked in red to indicate out of exposure range. Frankly, looking at the way how Nikon market the product in print media, they knew very well what are the shortfalls of the FG-20. Because all attention were focus on highlighting the FG-20 as 'Passport to the Nikon System of Photography'.
I don't think they are misleading the public either, because base on available feature(s), it is rather hard to market the FG-20 against the competition as a starter SLR camera, or perhaps it has been portrayed as a very economical entry into the huge Nikon photographic system because it uses the same F-mount. Attachments, accessories, motor drives and most important among all - the Nikkor / Nikon series E optics. Nikon's famed macrophotography system is attractive enough for a relative non-SLR user to think about. Because the Nikon FG-20 uses the F-mount, virtually most standard accessories in macrophotography is compatible. Detailed and considerate design such as threaded shutter release button not only permit the use of double cable release to retain automatic function such as illustrated here with an Auto Bellow PB-6, but it is also important to let a new SLR users to explore effects in time exposure with standard cable release/tripod combination. You cannot regard the FG-20 as a pro oriented SLR, but conclusively, I would rather rated it as a very functional, friendly SLR light enough to provide great mobility such as a short business trip or a family outings. It can be a great gift for your children or boy/gal friend to encourage them to pick up a healthy and thinking hobby in photography.
The FG, EM and FG-20 has a mini system built around them. Incompatible accessories (Mainly centered around the eyepiece) with other Nikon bodies due to its smaller body size, such as eyepiece correction lenses, eyecup and even camera cases (Examples: The CF-32 camera case accommodates an FG-20 mounted with a 50mm f/1.4 or smaller lens; the CF-33, and FG-20 mounted with the Nikon Series E 36-72mm f/3.5. The front-flap type CF-13A will accommodate the Nikkor 35-70mm f/3.5 or Nikkor 35-105mm f/3.5-4.5). For instance, nearsighted or farsighted, there are nine eyepiece correction lenses to fit your requirements. But some items such as rubber eyecup may not be compatible with the mid compact bodies of FM2(n)/FE-2, for example, but accessory such as eyepiece magnifier DG2 etc. can still be used on these bodies (Usually need a adapter).
Other than those smaller accessories that fit as viewfinder attachments, these bodies also has their dedicated accessories that tailored made based on their compact body size. One example is the film advance devices such as the MD-E auto winder first designed for the Nikon EM in 1979. The FG-20, in this case, can used with the slower 2 fps MD-E and also the 3.2 fps motor drive MD-14 introduced together with the Nikon FG in 1982. MD-14 is a full-fledged motor drive with a framing rate of up to 3.2 frames per second (fps) at shutter speeds of 1/125 sec. and higher. You have a choice of film winding speed settings - "H" for a high-speed 3.2 fps and "L" for 2 fps (More info and spec sheet are available). The MD-14 features an anatomical grip which helps a lot in balancing and provide a firm grip, this is useful when works with medium range telephoto or macro lenses.
- Shown at left is a MD-14 motor drive.
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Alternate Source Instruction Manual for Nikon FG20 in PDF (External Link @ butkus.org) CLICK HERE
| 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:
http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-153.html by: my friend, Rick Oleson
http://www.zi.ku.dk/personal/lhhansen/photo/fmount.htm 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