Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Nikon FA - Part III - Exposure Control Section 2 out of 2


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Shutter Priority AE

Viewinfo Shutter.jpg

Min Value.jpg
The shutter speed you set is shown at top right. The digital LCD readout shows the f-number matching this speed for correct exposure. A shutter speed numerical LCD indication means the speed you set has been cybernetically overriden.

" " means it's too dark, and "" too bright, both conditions being outside the exposure metering range. "" means correct exposure is unobtainable even with cybemetic override because the lens is set to a position other than the minimum aperture. With a modified Al type* Nikkor lens, the LCD shows "" instead of the f-number selected by the FA.
*See various modern Nikkor lenses, including Al-S type lenses"

'S' Dial.jpg
Must the lens be set to the minimum f value on the lens ? Nikon said, 'Yes'. But the FA can still perform very well even if you failed to do so accidentally. Since this is the first Nikon that employs with a built in Shutter Priority AE, Nikon did extremely well to install users' confidence in this new AE mode.
Whatever it is, based on the instruction manual, the proper way in shutter priority is stop the lens down to the minimum aperture position (i.e., the largest f-number engraved on the lens barrel), and the FA will automatically pick the matching lens aperture steplessly for correct exposure. When you are in the shutter priority mode, the Automatic Multi-Pattem Metering handles exposure for any possible unfavourable backlit moving subjects. Earlier, we mentioned regarding the wrong setting of the minimum f-number on the lens, Nikon developed software for such safety margin for exposure error and put up a 'sexy' and 'high tech' term as 'Cybernetic Override' to cater for such erroneous setting which is still possible to achieve proper exposure.

* In this mode, since the lens technically has to be stopped down for the auto aperture mechanism to function, referred here for another separate articles relative to how the Auto Aperture Control works in both Shutter Priority and Programmed AE modes.

* Cybernetic override

You have a choice of 13 shutter speeds from 1 to 1/4000 sec. In the Shutter-Priority auto-exposure mode, two types of cybernetic override are available. If the shutter speed you set cannot produce a matching metered aperture within the working maximum-to-minimum-aperture range when the lens is stopped down to the minimum aperture, cybernetic override is awtomatically activated. Thus, if the subject is too bright for the lens to cope with at its minimum aperture, there is an automatic switchover to higher shutter speeds until the balance for correct exposure is obtained; for subjects that are too dark, cybernetic override executes a switchover to lower shutter speeds automatically. Also, if you intentionally set the lens aperture position to a setting other than the minimum aperture position, the camera will then choose the matching metered shutter speed for correct exposure. This means that even in the Shutter-Priority auto-exposure mode, you can positively exercise depth-of-field control. The 'Cybernetic Override' works both in shutter priority and program AE.

Shutter Priority AE chart.jpg (24k)

* Compared this graph with Dual Program with Cybernefic Override at below.

Program AE

Program Viewinfo.jpg

Min Value.jpg
The digital LCD readout shows the shutter speed selected. "" means too bright and "" too dark, indicating both conditions fall outside the FA's exposure metering range; "" "FEE" Indicates that the lens is set at an aperture f-number other than f/11 or higher and suggests that, to assure correct exposure, the lens be reset to the largest f-number, even though the FA can in fact cybernetically override shutter speed to some degree.

What are the compromises when you are using a non-AIS lens in this mode ? Well, not that disastrous as Nikon indicated. Just at the expense of NO high speed program (Program mode given to higher shutter speed to avoid hand held camera shake) activated with lenses longer than 135mm, that is all. Instead, normal program is activated. In some newer AI-S lenses, there were some improvement in the handling.

Dual Program with Cybernefic Override

Undeniably, many photographers use program AE mode now. Those days, many 'claimed' pro refused to acknowledge that they use camera metered reading and automation, I don't understand why - as if you are using these built in automatic function, you are exhibiting lack of personalities. To many purist, the adoption of Program mode in camera design was like sending cold shiver down their spine, but those are market trend in a highly competitive market when the early eighties also seeing the slide in SLR sales.

Leica R4.jpg (11k)
Conservative manufacturers like Leica did it (Multimode R4 with Aperture & Shutter Priority AE, Programmed AE and Manual mode as early as 1980 (Achivable with R Cam, Triple Cam and R8 lenses), even the Olympus finally followed suit in 1984 with their OM2 Spot Program (No changes are neccessary for the Zuiko lenses). The Minolta, Asahi's Pentax respectively also updated their lens mount to go multimode, including the Programmed AE.

< Click here for other general reads relating to the Minolta's highly acclaimed XD-7 and X-700 >

I think die-hard Nikon folks will kill me if I talk more on others, hehe...No, Just try to broaden your scope of knowledge, should one day someone give you a free camera like the one on the left hand side, at least you know Leica made SLR other than the M6, huh ? So, please don't just confine yourself to the capsule. If you dis-agree, that's fine with me. But please don't mail me.
Time changes and for those depend on photography to make a living, uncaptured images for the photo editors are more disastrous than character at times, huh ? ... Program auto-exposure mode works best during those decisive instant when there's little time to set or adjust exposure setting because action could be too fast or light level may be constantly changing. On 'P' mode in the FA, it automatically selects the optimum combination of shutter speed and lens aperture settings for correct exposure. If you are comfortable with it, simply set the camera to 'P' on the dial, stop the lens down to its minimum aperture (i.e., the largest f-number engraved on the lens barrel), and shoot. That's all.

The FA's digital LCD readout tells you the selected shutter speed. How about meter reading ? Oh, the Automatic Multi-Pattern Metering will handle the part for you. You have to believe the AMP is more superior than the traditional center weighted metering used by Nikon on all other cameras prior to the FA. Nikon is so convinced that the new metering will work to an extend that they have designed the FA without a AE lock ! (Which means, in the center weighted metering, you have either the exposure compensation dial or adjsuting the ISO/ASA to alter the metering).

Dual Program ? Depending on the lens, on 'P' mode, the FA makes available a Normal Program or a High Speed Program. In the Normal Program mode, the FA automatically selects the pre-arranged matching shutter speed and lens aperture. Its microcomputer activates the High-Speed Program automatically when an 'compatible' Nikkor or Nikon Series E lenses of 135mm * or longer are used. In other words, the camera will select a faster shutter speed than it would with the Normal Program provided you are using lenses that have an updated feature that can communicate with the body to identify the focal length of the lens in use (Basically, the AI-S lenses - which has such feature added). The advantage is, it can minimize possible image blur due to camera shake when long telephoto lenses are used. What about wideangles ? Oh, since these lenses has a wider depth of field and smaller magnification in its optical characteristic, priority is given to longer focal length optics.

Pgrm Chart.jpg (30k) Slow...
* Cybernetic Override in the Program Mode

What happens if you inadvertently or intentionally set the lens to an aperture other than the minimum aperture position ? Don't worry about the picture coming out overexposed. Cybernetic override automatically selects the proper shutter speed for correct exposure. To remind you that the lens is not properly set at the minimum aperture position, the digital LCD display reads ""

Shown at left is the optimum combination of exposure value (EV), aperture f-number and shutter speed in the Normal Program as well as High-Speed Program auto-exposure mode.

| Back | Next | The LCD Displays in the Viewfinder

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Other Technical Issues: Part I | Part II

The AI-S Nikkors (related info | TTL OTF Flash Metering | Interchangeable Focusing Screens. The MD-15/MD12/MD11 Motor Drives | 3rd party Power Winder (new) | Flash Units -SB-16 | SB-15 | SB-10 | SB-16B & Other Options | Databacks | Titanium Shutter | Variation : Mr Y K Wong from Singapore contributing 11 images of his Nikon FA GOLD

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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: Chuck Hester for some of his beautiful images used in this site; Ted Wengelaar®, Holland for his continuous flow of input; Lars Holst Hansen, Danish 'Hawkeye' who shares the same passion; Mr Poon from Poon photo for their input; Ms Miss Rissa (Sales Manager) & members of the Technical Service dept. of Shriro Malaysia, local distributor of Nikon cameras in Malaysia & Singapore, in providing so many useful input to make this site possible. Special thanks to Mr MC Lau, who has helped with his images of the MF-12 databack. Michael Tan, Pertama Photo (603-2926505) for lending his original Titanium Shutter Display Unit. Dave Hoyt who has prepared the introductory page and offer some images of his FE2 in this site.. Hiura Shinsaku, Nikomat ML, Japan for his contribution on all the various images; A contributing site to a long lost friend on the Net. Note: Certain content and images appeared in this site were either scanned from official marketing leaflets, brochures published by Nikon and/or contribution from surfers who claimed originality of their own work to publish in this site based on educational merits. The creator of this site will not be responsible for any discrepancies that may arise from such possible dispute except rectifying them after verification."Nikon", "Nikkormat", "Nippon Kokagu KK" & "Nikkor" are registered tradename of Nikon Corporation Inc., Japan. Made witha PowerMac.