Vintage and Classic Cameras
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Nikkormat EL (Nippon Kogaku), 35mm SLR camera, c1973

The Nikkormat EL forms part of a family of cameras created by the Japanese optical company Nippon Kogaku, most famously known for their Nikon range of cameras. The first of the Nikkormats arrived in 1965 ostensibly as a cheaper alternative to the professional and highly regarded Nikon F range, deleting such things as motor wind capability and removable prisms. In doing so they created a bit of a marketing headache as the Nikkormats were excellent but didn't acquire the same level of desirability as the Nikon F family. Over time the Nikkormats gravitated towards their bigger brand and quietly became a Nikon again in 1977 when this model, the Nikkormat EL was updated a to become the Nikon L2. This Nikkormat EL features fully automatic exposure should you wish, in which case you set the aperture you want and the camera selects the shutter speed for you. Alternatively, there's a match needle visible in the viewfinder against shutter speed and you dial the aperture until they align. Or you can ignore it all and do your own thing. The electronics become live when the film advance lever is in the standby position. The battery for this is tucked away in a compartment beneath the reflex mirror, the battery being a 4SR44 or 4LR44. The camera follows the well established cast alloy body construction with pressed brass housings top and bottom, either black painted or satin chrome plated. As per other models the black paint is vulnerable to wear, so tidy ones are harder to find, consequently these are sought after by collectors today. The covering is faux leather. The body design for this EL adopted the that of the Nikkormat FT2, acquiring a hot shoe in the process. The camera accepts the excellent range of Nikon lenses with the external aperture linkage, the lens being set to f/5.6 in order to align correctly when fitting the lens. The clockwork delayed release lever also acts as a meter reading hold when used in auto mode. Sliding it inwards will hold that reading, the practical application being to take a reading close up when strong backlight is present, then moving back to the taking position. Like the earlier Nikkormats, it's fitted with a mirror up lock, to minimise vibration for close up tripod mounted photography but, lets be honest, mostly used to hold the mirror out of the way when changing batteries. A sign of the era is that this advanced SLR still has synchronisation for both electronic flash and flash bulbs.

This example was donated in August 2022. it had been stored poorly in damp conditions for a couple of decades but fared better than the Nikkormat FTN it accompanied. Although the battery was still inside it hadn't corroded the terminals either.

Nikkormat EL Camera

Amongst some literature that came with this Nokkormat EL are some pages from the Practical Photographer review, dated 1974. (PDF 4mb)

Body No. 5207843
Shutter, Built in focal plane, vertical running metal blades, B, 4, 2, 1, 2, 4, 8, 15, 30, 60, 125, 250, 500 & 1000th sec..
Lens, 28mm Nikon Nikkor-H.C Auto f/3.5, serial 873372, the original owner already had a 50mm lens from a Nikkormat FTN.
Condition, 5F
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