The Nikkormat EL was Nikon's first foray into the world of aperture priority (you set the ƒ number and the camera sets the speed) electronic cameras in 1972.
The model is a much overlooked by modern buyers compared its more glamorous FE/FE2 successors, perhaps people are worried investing in such an old electronic device fearing failure or out of tolerance forty year old electronics.
I decided to take a chance on one I found for less than £50 in a well known UK camera shop, after all the unit came with 6 month warranty–what could I lose?
My fears were totally unfounded, the camera arrived and checked out flawless against a known good meter all shutter speeds and mechanics seemed fine, the only issue I could see was the foam mirror dampener and possibly rear light seals so a kit was ordered from a well known auction site and fitted in less than an hour
at the cost of about £5.
The Nikkormat build quality is from another age, everything from the metal shutter dial to the re-enforced strap lugs are made to last even the shutter speeds are etched into the metal rather than just screen printed — everything feels solid.
|Clear and easy to read controls, with a solid feel.|
In use the camera feels very positive, the weight is well balanced with most common lenses and wind-on is smooth; the shutter... I just love the soft ssschtick sound just love it!
The batteries are very easy to get hold of type PX28/4SR44 which is a 6V cell. The Cds meter is a little tougher on batteries than later SPD types so you might like to keep a spare handy.
The metering is by match needle on the left of the large relatively bright screen:
|In manual mode just line up the green and black needles|
I put through a roll of Poundland Agfa Vista C41 and was pleasantly surprised by the results, the meter seemed pretty accurate, especially for one with a simple centre weighted area.
The best way to really give it a test is to put it on auto with a roll of E6; that type of film having less margin for error with exposure.
After all the main reason for buying the camera was to have a 'lazy' camera to take on holidays and trips.
Loaded with Agfa CT Precisa which is a budget slide film (actually made by Fuji) I took the film to the beach for the day:
|Just about every frame came out perfectly|
The automatic meter and Nikons early attempt at making the associated electronics have proven to be a very robust and durable one, my initial fears at buying a forty year old electronic camera were totally unfounded.
|a nicely saturated well exposed slide.|