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Nikon FM-10 Parts of the Camera
and Procedures for Camera Use
Nikon is a brand name, and FM-10 is a model designa@on. Most of our school cameras, available for student borrowing and use, are Nikon FM-10s. Therefore, it is important to learn how this par@cular camera works. But the Nikon FM-10 is just one example of a type of camera that was very widely used for decades: the 35mm SLR camera with manual controls. This designa@on means:
-The camera uses film of a par@cular size (35mm tall). This size is small enough to allow for fairly economical shoo@ng and large enough to provide good image quality when making enlargements up to reasonable sizes such as 8 x 10 or 11 x 14.
-The camera uses a viewing system called single lens reflex (SLR) that reflects the image from the lens into the viewfinder by means of a mirror (hence reflex). This means that, when you look through the viewfinder, you are looking through the lens.
-The camera allows the user to set the shuXer speed and the aperture manually. Being able to do so gives you control over two important controls that affect how your camera will interpret and represent what it photographs.
There are dozens of other models and many other brands of this general type of camera. Some have very similar layouts of the various camera parts. Others are a bit more different, but are s@ll comparable in terms of the func@ons of the parts. Gaining a good working knowledge of the Nikon FM-10 should allow you to learn how to use virtually any other 35 mm SLR with manual controls.
Basics of Camera Operation
-Make sure film is advancing through the camera by noting whether the rewind knob turns (counterclockwise) as you pull the film advance lever. If the knob does turn, film is advancing.
-Double check that the film speed remains set at the proper ISO number. If you dont know the ISO designation of the film you are using, ask. Generally, we will be using film with an ISO 400 rating. When you change the shutter speed, make sure to press down slightly on the shutter speed dial. This is to avoid accidentally lifting up the outer ring of this dial, which would actually change the film speed setting. NOTE THAT SHUTTER SPEED AND FILM SPEED ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS!
-Avoid using shutter speeds slower than 1/60th of a second. Slow shutter speeds often lead to blur from camera motion.
-Hold the camera steady and squeeze the shutter release button smoothly when making an exposure.
-Use the depth of field preview lever if you need to check how much depth of field your shot will have.
-Always focus carefully.
-Check the light meter setting for every single shot you take to make sure you are making a good exposure. There are two ways to turn on the light meter:
-depress the shutter button halfway while having the film advance lever slightly away from the camera body -press the light meter button on the camera body near the lens mount
-To see the light meter reading, look through the viewfinder. On the left side of the viewfinder, when the meter is on, you will see one of the following:
-a red plus, indicating overexposure (meaning too much light will hit the film) -a red minus, indicating underexposure (meaning too little light will hit the film) -a green dot, indicating proper exposure (meaning the amount of light that will hit the film will produce a good negative with detail in shadows and highlights)
Naturally, youll want to set the shutter speed and aperture such that you get a green dot (proper exposure) for each shot. Note that you may get an in-between reading: a green dot along with a red plus, or a green dot along with a red minus. Such readings mean your exposure will be close to normal. If possible, make slight adjustments to the aperture to fix the reading. (Do NOT try to set the shutter speed to in-between settings. Cameras do not allow for this.) If you still have a mixed reading, with a green dot along with a red plus or minus, dont worry: exposures made with such almost-right readings will create very usable negatives, and you can go ahead and take the picture.
Loading, Photographing, & Rewinding Film
1. Loading the film: -Lift up the rewind knob by the whole knob (not by the delicate little rewind lever)) to open the back of the camera.
-Place the film cassette in the film cassette compartment, with the protruding end of the film cassette (the end where the spool is sticking out) facing down, and with the felt light trap of the cassette facing left: see photos with this demonstration).
-Push to rewind knob back down. It may be necessary to jiggle and turn the knob slightly as you push in order to accomplish this. (Basically, youve got to get the end of the metal rod attached to this rewind knob oriented properly so that it will engage with the inner part of the cassette, the spool-end.)
-Pull sufficient film out of the cassette and insert the leader of the film (the end that has a cutaway: see photo) into one of the slits in the take up spool. Pull the film advance lever to advance the film one frame. If you cannot pull the lever, depress the shutter release button and try again. After pulling, depress the shutter release button again and pull the film advance lever one more time: you are advancing the film two frames, which is basically to the point where the film has wrapped one complete turn around the take-up spool.
-Close the back of the camera. At this point, you can be relatively confident that your film is loading on to the take up spool: that was the reason you advanced the film twice while the camera back was still open.
2. Advancing the film to the first frame.
-Flip up the film rewind lever and use the lever to turn the rewind knob clockwise. Do this gently! Keep turning until you feel a bit of tension in the leverl/knob. Whats happening is that you are taking up any slack that may exist inside the cassette, where the film may have been wound loosely.
-When you feel some tension, stop turning!
-Begin to advance the film, but make sure that, while you are pulling the film advance lever, you also look to make sure that the rewind knob is now turning counterclockwise. It should turn in this direction as film is pulled out of the cassette. If that knob is not turning, stop advancing the film. The lack of turning
indicates that your film is not advancing properly. Likely cause: The film has come out of the take-up spool (despite your best efforts at loading!). Next step if this happens: Open the back of the camera and reinsert the film into the take-up spool even more carefully. Repeat all the earlier steps.
-Note that if you dont see the rewind knob turning counterclockwise while you are advancing the film (by pulling the film advance lever), the film is NOT moving through your camera and you are NOT really taking photographs!
-If/when the rewind knob is turning as it should, and you are rightly confident that the film is truly advancing, check (between pulls of the advance lever) the frame counter. Advance the film to #1 on the frame counter before making your first real exposure. Any exposure you make prior to that point may be on the black (exposed) end of the film, which means . . . no usable picture!
3. Check that the ISO (film sensitivity rating) is set properly. Usually, I will be giving you film that is rated at ISO 400, so you will usually want to set this number (400) in the film speed window (see labeled photos on the earlier sheets, especially the one with the top view). There can be exceptions, but unless you know of a good reason to set the number differently, a reason we have discussed, use 400.
4. Think ahead: How many frames can I shoot?
-Make sure you know, before you begin, how many useable frames of film are in your cassette. Refer to the frame counter often enough to make sure that you dont take more shots than the film will hold. Heres an example of potential trouble: Lets say you have a cassette with fifteen useable frames. You may be able to keep advancing the film to about 17 or 18 on the frame counter, but its likely that this end part of the film will have been exposed to light (in the process of loading the film into your cassette: an unavoidable part of bulk-loading film). This means your final two or three frames past #15 would not actually turn out: no pictures!
5. Take your pictures/make your photographs. See the checklist on the next page/slide.
6. Rewind your film and remove your cassette of film from the camera.
-Press the rewind button (small, black, located on the bottom of the camera).
-Flip out the rewind lever and use it to turn the rewind knob CLOCKWISE. Continue to turn the knob until you feel the resistance suddenly lessen. Go a few more turns. Open the camera back, lift up the rewind knob (by the whole knob!) and carefully take out your film.
Checklist for making exposures/taking photographs
Before making each exposure, be sure to:
-Check the light meter reading and adjust the shutter speed and f-stop settings so as to get the green light that indicates good exposure
-Check your shutter speed to see that it is not too slow: remember that speeds slower than 1/60th of a second can often produce blur from camera motion. If you are within several feet of your subject, even this shutter speed may not be safe: relative motion between your camera (and film) and your subject increases greatly as you get closer to your subject. Also think about whether you need a faster or slower shutter speed to create certain visual effects, such as a freezing of action or the al