Classic SLRs Series :
The viewfinder ready light is retained to alert the photographer on its status (But it can only activate if you are using a dedicated flash). Its LED in the viewfinder lights up when the flash is being recycled. This way, you're easily informed of flash readiness without having to take your eye away from the viewfinder. Depending on which Nikon flash unit is attached, the same LED blinks to warn of insufficient flash output. incorrect setting of the flash unit or incorrect setting of the FA.
The flash photography in Nikon FA is more than sufficient for most photographer and it has some very nice features (Like auto sync speed) to prevent users mistakes. Other than the hot shoe, the PC terminal infront of the camera also can act as a flash connection. You can use a cable flash in auto or manual mode - but NOT in TTL flash because it needs those dedicated contacts in the hotshoe and in your flash to communicate. To use flashbulbs, a manual flash with PC cord or an electronic flash unit without a hot-shoe contact, you can use the camera's sync terminal to trigger the flash, sometimes the PC terminal is also referred as the X-Contact. The FA's sync terminal with a protective screw-in cover, accepts all standard plug-in PC cords. It is also threaded for use with a Nikon screw-in PC cord.
Relationship Between Camera's Meter, Ready-Light Indication and Shutter Speed
Shooting mode selector
Shutter speed dial Setting
Camera's exposure meter
Actual shutter speed (sec.)
Actual shutter speed
P, S, A*
All except M250 and B
does not lights up
1 /4000 - 1/ 500 sec
does not lights up
1/250 - 1 sec
does not lights up
P, S, A, M
Because automatic exposure modes are cancelled as soon as the flash unit is turned on, you should determine the proper aperture be-forehand.
+ and/or - indication on M disappears as soor as the flash unit is turned on.
Flashhulbs can also be used at the following shutter speed sync ranges.
Shutter speed (sec.)
Speedlight M. FP and MF Flashbulbs
Synchronized Cannot be used
During the early part of eighties, the Nikon F3 has a few dedicated flash units (SB-12, SB-17, SB-16A etc) for TTL operation. But due to the F3 specific shoe mount, these flash units are not compatible to operate in TTL mode even if you have use a Nikon flash shoe coupler to convert them to mount a standard hot shoe foot flash (In most case, only auto and flash ready light is retained). The FE2 and FA has their dedicated flash units when they were announced in the SB15, SB16B and SB-18. Only the SB-16B is still in production until now. Don't worry, virtually ALL Nikon Autofocus Flash have similar dedicated function as those mentioned here, apart from some new dedicated autofocus features. The clue is at the contacts at the shoe of the flash and the contact points on top of the camera.
Quick reference guide for SB15, SB16B and SB18:
Features special tilting flashtube module for bounce flash or shooting close-ups Guide number of 25 (ASA/ISO 100 and meters) or 41 (ASA/ ISO 25 and feet).
Most versatile direct-mounting flash from Nikon. Truly creative bounce flash possible with two flash heads: main head has zoom settings for 28, 35, 50, and 85 mm lenses and tilts back 90° and rotates 270°: smaller secondary head faces straight ahead to provide a catchlight in the eyes Special MD (motor drive) setting allows shooting of 8 consecutive frames at 4 frames per second. Powerful guide number of 32 (ASA/ISO 100 and meters) or 52 (ASA/ISO 25 and feet).
Instruction manual for SB-15 is available below
Lightweight and easy to operate Choice of TTL or manual control. Guide number of 20 (ASA/ISO 100 and meters) or 33 (ASA/ ISO 25 and feet).
Note: Although Nikon has warned with the use of third party flash units may cause abnormalities to the IC circuitry, but I have not experienced anything like that. The hot shoe and the PC terminal were grounded to take electrical shock, may be they are designed too well, ha! Units having a high voltage synchro circuit may affect shutter speed precision in certain cases. When using a special electronic flash unit that has provision for time lag, adjust the shutter speed down to 1/125 sec. or slower according to the time lag. Some AF Nikon flash units still permits you to use with the FA and retaining the TTL flash function.
Note: Illustrations here are Not to scale...
Nikon FA/Speedlight Combination Chart
Note: Nikon has produced many speedlights over the years, it is impossble to keep track of each and every units. You can mail in your experience with each combination to compile a updated listing here for all to share. Detailed here are the few units during those time, provided by Shriro Malaysia.
Camera's ready-light indication
Shutter speed automatically switched to 1/250 sec.
Usable flash modes
via AS-6 coupler
auto, manual, MD
via AS-6 coupler
auto, manual, MD
TTL, auto, manual, MD
TTL, auto, manual, MD
via SC-11 sync cord
via SC-13 sensor cord
via AS-6 coupler
via AS-2 coupler
via SC-6 sync cord
via AS-2 with SC-9 extention cord (w/SU-1)
Is TTL fail safe ? A difficult question to answer as there are many variable factors could affect its accuracy. But generally, you have to make sure the maximum flash-to-subject distance is not exceeded, and dealing with a tiny subject in a open background could be tricky. Anyway, the manual flash option is here to supplement the automatic or TTL capabilities - If you think manual flash mode can yield a more precise result.
As a day is seperated by a day and night. It is advisable to develop some good knowledge in your FA's flash capabilities. Of cause, you have to be creative enough to explore potential with features that has already embedded inside to serve you, day or night.
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Other Technical Issues Relating to Nikon FA
Camera Instruction Manual - HTML | PDF (1.4 MB)
Main Reference Map for Body - HTML | PDF (731k)
Specifications - HTML | PDF (245k)
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-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
| Nikon FM series | Nikon FE series | Nikon FA |
W A R N I N G: The New G-SERIES Nikkor lenses have no aperture ring on the lens, they CANNOT ADJUST APERTURES with any of these manual focus Nikon FE series SLR camera models; please ignore some portion of the content contained herein this site where it relates.
| Message Board | for your favourite Nikon FA camera
| Message Board | for your Nikon Optics in a shared environment
| Message Board | Specifically for Dispose or Looking for Nikon / Nikkor Photographic Equipment
Shared Resources: MD-11 | MD-12 | 3rd Party Power Winder Only for FM2(n)/FE2/FA | Focusing Screens | Titanium Shutter | Flash Units - | SB-15 | SB-10 | SB-16B & Other Options | Databack | Nikkor lens mount (related info)
Others:- Nikon AF-TTL Speedlights | SB-20 (1986) | SB-22 (1987) | SB-23 | SB-24 (1988) | SB-25 (1991/2) | SB-26 (1994) | SB-27(1997) | SB-28 (1997) | Nikon SB-29(s) (2000) | Nikon SB-30 (2003) | Nikon SB-600 (2004) | Nikon SB-800 (2003) Nikon AF-TTL Speedlight DX-Series: Nikon SB-28DX (1999) | SB-50DX (2001) | SB-80DX (2002)
Nikon BC-flash Series | Original Nikon Speedlight
SB-2 | SB-3 | SB-4 | SB-5 | SB-6 | SB-7E | SB-8E | SB-9 | SB-E | SB-10
SB-11 | SB-12 | SB-14 | SB-140 UV-IR| SB-15 | SB16A | SB-17 | SB-18, SB-19 | SB-21A (SB-29) Macro flash | Flash Accesories | SF-1 Pilot Lamp
Nikon F | Nikon F2 | Nikon F3 | Nikon F4 | Nikon F5 | Nikon F6 | Nikkormat / Nikomat | Nikon FM | Nikon FE/ FA | Nikon EM/FG/FG20 | Nikon Digital SLRs | Nikon - Other models
Nikon Auto Focus Nikkor lenses:- Main Index Page
Nikon Manual Focus Nikkor lenses:- Fisheye-Nikkor Lenses - Circular | Full Frame | Ultrawides Lenses - 13mm15mm18mm20mm | Wideangle Lenses - 24mm28mm35mm | Standard Lenses - 45mm 50mm 58mm | Telephoto Lenses - 85mm105mm135mm180mm & 200mm | Super-Telephoto Lenses - 300mm 400mm 500mm 600mm 800mm 1200mm |
Special Application lenses:
Micro-Nikkor Lenses - 50mm~55mm -60mm 85mm -105mm 200mm Micro-Zoom 70-180mm
Perspective Control (PC) - 28mm 35mm PC-Micro 85mm
Dedicated Lenses for Nikon F3AF: AF 80mm f/2.8 | AF 200mm f/3.5 EDIF
Depth of Field Control (DC): 105mm 135mm
Medical Nikkor: 120mm 200mm
Reflex-Nikkor Lenses - 500mm 1000mm 2000mm
Others: Noct Nikkor | OP-Nikkor | UV Nikkor 55mm 105mm | Focusing Units | Bellows-Nikkor 105mm 135mm
Nikon Series E Lenses: 28mm35mm50mm100mm135mm | E-Series Zoom lenses: 36~72mm75~150mm70~210mm
MF Zoom-Nikkor Lenses: 25~50mm | 28~45mm | 28~50mm | 28~85mm | 35~70mm | 36~72mm E | 35~85mm | 35~105mm | 35~135mm | 35~200mm | 43~86mm | 50~135mm | 50~300mm | 70~210mm E | 75~150mm E | 80~200mm | 85~250mm | 100~300mm | 180~600mm | 200~400mm | 200~600mm | 360~1200mm | 1200~1700mm
Tele-Converters: TC-1 | TC-2 | TC-200 | TC-201 | TC-300 | TC-301 | TC-14 | TC-14A | TC-14B | TC-14C | TC-14E | TC-16 | TC-16A | TC-20E
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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| Message Board | for your Nikkor optics ("shared" because I do wish some of you to expose to other's perspective as well. Isn't it a sad sate to see photography has to be segmented into different camps from the use of various labels)
about this photographic web site
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A contributing effort to Michael C Liu's Classic Nikon Site.
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.