Nikon FE + Agfa APX 400

Nikon FE
Nikkor 50mm/f1.8

Agfa APX 400
Ilford ID11
12 minutes.

I’m not a street photographer (or any kind of photographer). Sometimes I like to take pictures on the street though. It allows me to present different examples other than shots taken on the boat or on the subway.

On the other hand it’s hard to capture people and I just don’t have what it takes to stick the camera in someone’s face, so I try to do it as discreet as possible but… I’ve been learning a few things.

Here’s my approach… Lisbon is a city visited by thousands of tourists every week and the Portuguese people are pretty much tolerant to visitors so… I got a map, a map of Lisbon. I always take the map with me in a visible way. When someone looks at me, he or she, assumes that I’m also a tourist and in that way I have a lot more freedom and tolerance to capture people or street vendors.

I’ve heard things like “look at this guy, they all take pictures and none of them buys anything”… I secretly smile and move on but I get the shot.

Yesterday I had another brilliant idea (pun intended). I went to Lisbon and I tried to look at the city as a visitor would. Capturing monuments, churches, the famous city views and all that. I tried to capture all the things a “local guy” does not pay much attention to, or not enough to photograph it. So… with my CSI cap on, my sun glasses on, my map folded in one hand and my camera on the other and out I went.

One sad thing though. My borrowed Nikon FE is dying. It has all the signs of electronic faillure. Erratic meter needle with an ocasional total failliure and the mirror failling to return to position after the shot is taken. These are the most well known issues with the FE and FE2 cameras.


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You can see the river I cross every day, on the background.

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  1. Mark said:

    Some lovely photos there. I’ve just bought a Nikon FE for £22 off eBay – still need to put a film through it – but it feels great to hold and I’m looking forward to trying it out. It’s a lot smaller than my other film SLR, an original Nikon ‘F’ which is older than me! From everything I’ve read they are great cameras so maybe it would be worth trying to get another one.

    • Thank you so much Mark.
      I’m lazy and I wanted an aperture priority camera. I didn’t want the extra of having to use a hand meter with a 35mm SLR camera.
      I’ve read a few things and I really like the FE so I borrowed one from a friend to try it out. Love it! Yes it is small, very simple to operate and it feels pretty solid. I do think it’s a great camera.

      Suddenly the meter needle became erratic and at the same time the mirror sometimes does not lower. On this specific roll, 6 shots were totally black because of that and it also forces me to have a meter with me at all times as I don’t know when the meter will fail again.

      On the other hand they are pretty much a bargain and I still want one and I don’t mind keeping this malfunctioning body for parts.

      Sometimes my English is very confusing, sorry for that 🙂

      • Mark said:

        I use aperture priority most of the time and am really looking forward to trying it out and getting some pictures up on my blog. Shame about the camera you have although as you say three price of then at the moment is really good.


        PS Your English seems pretty good to me. Better than my Portuguese!

      • Thank you Mark, you are very kind.

  2. Derek said:

    Looking good my friend.
    Also sounded like you need to check your batteries connections or a clean and lube job. Alternatively keep using it might just free up.

    • When I noticed those problems I Googled it and read on that those symptoms are not new to the FE and FE2. It seems that some cameras end up with a total electronic failure but why not, it’s worth the try. I really like the FE model.
      I will try to do it myself because the “repair guy” charges 30 euros per hour for working on a 35mm camera!

      • Derek said:

        Yeah don’t listen to those guys, the electronics seldom fails in normal circumstances. I worked on several FEs usually they are malfunctioning because of lack of use. camera came out in the early 80s by this time they could have sat for 10 or more years in inactivity when they get to our hands. My current FE was bought locked up and I got it working like a champ. By the way if you need parts for FE let me know, i have almost everything, granted if I can find them.

      • Derek said:

        BTW, do not mess with the ISO ring electronics on top. And your problem starts from the bottom cover in.

      • You are making me want to go for it. Should I take out the bottom plate and give it a good clean up?

        PS: the battery is fresh and the indicator lights up clearly.

      • Derek said:

        If I were you I would.

  3. I enjoy being a tourist in my own city – you look at things in a totally different way and get very different pictures. A day off work helps strengthen the feeling of being a tourist at home.

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