Nikon FM3A body, chrome


The item photographed may not be the actual model but is used for illustrative purposes only.

Nikon FM3A body, chrome serial no. 239149, maker’s box, instruction manual, shutter protector, papers (Japanese text). UNUSED.

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Nikon FM3A body, chrome serial no. 239149, maker’s box, instruction manual, shutter protector, papers (Japanese text).

Nikon’s final manual camera. Built incorporating Nikon’s 50 years of manual camera manufacture and thus the ultimate all-manual reflex camera. The Nikon FM3A is an interchangeable lens, focal plane shutter, 35 mm film, single-lens reflex (SLR) camera. It was manufactured by Nikon Corporation in Japan, on small-volume assembly lines, from 2001 to 2006. The camera was available in two colours: all black, and satin chrome. The FM3A was the successor to the renowned Nikon FM2N camera of 1984 and was the last member of the successful, semi-professional line of Nikon compact 35 mm SLRs. The other members were the Nikon FM (released 1977), FE (1978), FM2 (1982) and FE2 (1983). They (and the Nikon FA) all used the superficially similar (but not identical) rugged copper aluminium alloy chassis and high-quality Nikon vertical bearing-mounted metal shutter and ball-bearing mounted film advance, but with improved feature levels, minor external controls and cosmetic differences. The major improvements in the FM3A compared to the FM2n are the hybrid electro-mechanically controlled aluminium-bladed focal plane shutter, the aperture priority auto-exposure mode, the match-needle exposure control system and provision for through-the-lens (TTL) off-the-film (OTF) electronic flash automation. In other words, the FM3A merged the robust mechanical systems of the FM2n with the proven, reliable electronic exposure controls of the FE2. The FM3A is built to a high level of workmanship and material quality. It shares the advantages of the FM and the FM2n, both generally regarded as two of the most reliable cameras ever built (both in terms of operation under extreme conditions and in day-to-day reliability reports from repair shops and magazine surveys). It has an extremely strong body of copper silumin alloy. The electronics are well protected within the body and of extremely high quality, including the flexible circuits. The FM3A’s film transport consists of high-strength hardened metal gears and moving parts, mounted on clusters of ball bearings. The vertical metal shutter utilises precision tapered high-strength aluminium alloy blades and oil-less self-lubricating bearings. The guide rails are made of stainless steel. The mirror is made of titanium. It is large to reduce chances of vignetting with super-telephotos of up to 800 mm, and uses the same mechanism found on Nikon’s pro F2, with some improvements designed to further reduce effects of vibration and mirror bounce.

The FM3A accepts all of the Nikkor lenses with the Nikon F bayonet mount that support the Automatic Indexing (AI) feature (AI, AIS), first introduced in 1977.[2] The chrome FM3A was often sold in a kit that includes a colour coordinated chrome finished Nikkor 45mm f/2.8P lens. This special flat “pancake” lens was manually focused on the FM3A, but contained a CPU which could communicate focal distance to Nikon’s later autofocus (AF) camera bodies. Other accessories for the FM3A include the Nikon MD-12 motor drive (automatic film advance up to 3.2 frames per second), as well as the Nikon MF-16 databack (sequential numbering, time or date stamping on the film), and the various compatible Nikon TTL flashes (SB-15, SB-16B, SB-20, etc.)

In manual mode, the camera is completely mechanical in operation, and only requires batteries for the light metering information system. In aperture priority mode, the batteries continue to power the meter, but are also utilized for shutter timing and the exposure control electronics. The FM3A’s metering information system consists of a match-needle system using two needles pointing along a vertical shutter speed scale on the left side of the viewfinder to indicate the readings of the built-in 60/40% centre-weighted silicon photo diode light meter versus the actual camera settings. This system can be traced back to the Nikkormat EL (Nikomat EL in Japan) of 1972. The viewfinder also has Nikon’s fully-interchangeable bright focus screen with various options for focus. During the mid-1990s, a demand arose among some photographers for a quality manual-focus alternative to the 35mm autofocus SLR camera. These cameras required complex computer and processing mechanisms, and especially in their amateur and consumer versions, were known for neither their ruggedness nor a long service life. Nikon owners began to demand a durable, precision-made camera with the AE electronic features and prized construction of the discontinued Nikon FE2, which had begun to skyrocket in value on the second-hand market. Nikon responded to this phenomenon with a revival of their classic FM/FE series design.

Additional information

Second-hand grade


Serial number


Second-hand Grading Description

  • NEWAn item that has not been removed from the box or protective wrapping.
  • UNUSEDAn item that may have been removed from the original packaging, but has never been used.
  • MINT100% as new
  • MINT-98%-99% as new
  • EXC++95%-97% as new
  • EXC+90%-94% as new
  • EXCOriginal finish may have slight scratches or rubbed. No dents or deep scratches.
  • VGMay be slightly scratched, scuffed or worn, but in good mechanical order with clean optics
  • VG-An item that falls below our regular level of gradings. Items in VG- condition will have excessive signs of use.

Please note that the following important points when you see our grading description. When applied to lenses it means that the optics are in perfect condition. What we are describing is the cosmetic condition of the lens barrel. When it applies to cameras, motor drives, speedlights etc. the understanding is that the item is in perfect working order and the description would mean the exterior appearance. In other words we are judging cosmetic appearance.

“Grays of Westminster, where mint is also a highly prized English adjective.”

– Professional Photographer magazine

Returns and Refunds

All second hand equipment comes with a 14-day Sale or Return period and a 6-month warranty. If for any reason you are unsatisfied with a second hand item you have received from us you may return it for a full refund within 14 days of purchase, the only stipulation being that the item is in the same condition as it was purchased.

If an item is found faulty at the time of purchase your shipping costs to return the item to us will also be refunded.

Where the item has been used within the 28-day returns period, we may make a deduction from any refund if the value of the goods has been reduced

You may return a second hand item for a refund if it is no longer desired or required but please note that your shipping costs will not be refunded under these circumstances.

Special Grays of Westminster extended warranties on both new and second-hand Nikon equipment are included on certain Nikon Owner magazine subscriptions which can be purchased via our online shop.

This returns policy does not affect your statutory rights. Details of your statutory rights are available from the Citizens Advice Bureau or Consumer Direct.

Delivery Information

Orders placed Monday to Friday before 12pm will be shipped the same day. Orders placed after 12pm or on the weekend will be shipped the next working day.

If your item is out of stock or on pre-order we will contact you as soon as it becomes available to make delivery arrangements.

Courier delivery estimates:

  • UK Mainland 1-2 working days
  • UK Remote 2-3 working days
  • Europe 3-4 working days (customs and duties permitting)
  • ROW 5-7 working days (customs and duties permitting)

For standard Royal Mail shipping please note that delivery times vary.

Cost of delivery:

Orders for delivery in the UK over the value of £200 are delivered free of charge.

Exact shipping charges will be shown at the checkout.