The Nikon Nikkormat Models

The “Solid” Nikkormat

The story about Toby Deveson showed people were really interested in his quite inexpensive equipment. The Nikon Nikkormat cameras. Especially because he produces such awesome images with it. Almost like an anti-equipment statement. “I don’t need no stinkin’ $5000 camera”.

Nikon Nikkormat Cameras – Mechanical and Electronic

Nikon started their “semi professional” camera series, and commitment to the F mount, in 1965, which included the Nikon Nikkormat cameras starting with the FT. While professional, it was really their first foray into mid-range cameras. Kind of “prosumer” before the word was even in the dictionary. The start of Nikon becoming the best SLR cameras in the world. But at less cost than their F models. Other manufacturers followed suit, seeing the potential in a step down from their pro models.(i.e., Canon Pellix, Minolta SR-7, Pentax Spotmatic SP, etc.)


Nikon Nikkormat Cameras


These models allowed the general public and hobbyist to own the Nikon marque at a reduced price. Remarkably, they were really built as well as their pro sisters. They were rock solid and extremely well made. Remember, this was the pre-plastic age as far as SLR’s. They may have had a few less features, but they even had mirror lockup! Even pros said they couldn’t tell much difference between the Nikkormat’s and F’s.


Nikon Nikkormat Cameras


FM and FE Prototypes

They made 2 basic models. A Mechanical body and Electronic body. (Shutter) Between 1965 to 1979 they produced 8 models before ceasing production. About the same time they released the Nikon FM in 1977 and Nikon FE in 1978.


Nikon Nikkormat Cameras


The mechanical Nikkormat’s were the FS, FT, FTn, FT2 and FT3. The electronic shutter versions were the EL, ELW and EL2. In fact, the EL was Nikon’s first electronic shutter camera. You could say they were the “prototype” of the Nikon FE’s. The FM’s and FE’s were actually considered “compact” versions of the Nikkormat’s. with more refinements, of course. (TTL, better meters, higher sync speeds, etc.)




Mechanical Nikkormat’s have shutter, max 1/1000 and X sync is 1/125.

  • FS … no metering capability.
  • FT … TTL average metering. Set minimum aperture by hand,
  • FTn … TTL center weighted metering, no minimum aperture.
  • FT2 … It has a hot accessory shoe on the pentagonal prism.
  • FT3 … (AI Lenses) Set minimum aperture by Automatic Indexing.

Electronic Nikkormats … Have an electronic shutter, and these models have aperture priority auto exposure (AE). All EL series have a hot shoe.

  • EL … First Nikon body that came with a electronic shutter and AE.
  • ELW … Permit the use of a winder.
  • EL2 … The AI method links the Aperture ring.

All You Need

The  Nikon Nikkormat models were “simple, only what you need” awesome cameras. Solid as a rock. GREATLY undervalued. They also take the legendary pre-AI lenses, producing striking images. Although it was weird that the cameras for the Japanese market were named differently. The ones sold in Japan were called “Nikomat”,….the rest of the world was “Nikkormat”. However, they are identical. See cover image.  Find Nikkormat





This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I have used the Nikkormat cameras since 1981. My first was an FT. The meters are the weak spot: First, the Mercury 1.35volt cell is no longer available and the alkaline 1.55volt cell leads to erroneous readings. Second, the on/off switch in the windon lever accumulates dirt and this stops the power from reaching the meter.
    I tend to buy Nikkormats with non-functioning meters as these are much cheaper. For many years I used the Weston Master IV/V/Euromaster and Euromaster II. Now, these selenium meters are getting rather unreliable. In recent times, I have started using the Gossen Lunalite. It has 3 LEDs rather than a delicate needle and takes the widely-available PP3 9 volt battery. A spare or two takes up very little room and the rugged simplicity of the Lunalite makes it a pleasure to use. I have even bought a spare. I have also tried the Multisix and the Sekonic Auto Leader, also a selenium powered meter that used to be the Norwood Director. While taking some shots in a run-down part of Sheffield in the mid 1980s, a black youth tried to grab my camera. I whacked him in the face with the legendary Nikkormat and he ran off howling. I made a tactical retreat on a number 9 bus.

  2. While I have an old Minolta IV Flashmeter, I’ve found the iPhone lightmeter apps to be quite accurate. And some are free!

Leave a Reply

Close Menu