The Full Featured Nikon N65 35mm AF SLR

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Getting my first ride in the Fujifilm Blimp was a hightlight of this year's Orlando PMA trade show. Although the small gondola only accommodates six passengers (plus a two-person flight crew), it takes a ground crew of about 22 people to keep it flying. About half of them are clustered around the blimp to secure it when it comes in for the next 30 minute VIP flight. (Program automatic, 80mm, on Kodak Max 400 color negative film.)
Photos © 2001, Robert E. Mayer, All Rights Reserved

Nikon recently introduced another new autofocusing 35mm SLR that's loaded with features and override capabilities which make it suitable for any type of 35mm photography. This easy to use, compact-sized, camera should appeal to beginners buying their first precise SLR as well as seasoned photographers who just need another body that will accept the Nikon AF mount lenses and accessories they already own.

All of the controls are conveniently positioned around the top and front of the body where they are easily identified, accessed, and adjusted. They are large and well marked, minimizing any possible confusion about their functions. I particularly liked the easy method of engaging the auto-bracketing feature by simply pressing a prominent button near the main mode control dial. In addition, you can quickly adjust the autofocusing to any of the five patterns by pressing another button beside the lens.

A prominent knurled dial on the top left of the body contains large letters and pictographs showing the multitude of optional modes available. These include the typical portrait, scenic, close-up, action (continuous shooting), and night scene. A convenient flash pops up from above the prism when a button is pressed on the left of the prism. If you require a more powerful accessory flash, there is a dedicated hot shoe just above the viewfinder window. Additionally, a variety of advanced flash modes are available.

The two engines on the Fujifilm Blimp swivel so it can descend or rise nearly vertical. The thin guide lines dangling from the nose are visible in this sharply detailed view. (Program automatic exposure, 80mm on Kodak Max 400 color negative film.)

In A and S (Aperture/Shutter priority) modes, adjustments are made with a knurled knob behind the LED panel. In full M (Manual) mode only shutter speeds are adjusted with the knob while the lens aperture is adjusted by using the click-stop diaphragm ring at the rear of the lens.

The viewfinder is bright with nothing protruding in the field of view. Informative data about how the camera is set appears in an LCD display below the viewfinder field. This includes: focus indicator, focus area selected, shutter speeds, aperture, analog exposure compensation scale, +/- exposure compensation, and flash ready light/flash recommended indicator. Sim-ilar information, plus additional data, is repeated on the LCD panel located behind the shutter release button.

The blimp ride over Orlando included passing over several of the area's attractions including Sea World and its roller coaster. Since the windows all open and you can move about the gondola as it gently floats along at 35-40mph, you can easily take lots of sharp pictures. (Program automatic exposure, 80mm on Kodak Max 400 color negative film.)

Film loading is conventional with a pop open door on the rear of the body. Once the leader end of 35mm film is positioned near the large take-up spool and the door closed, everything is automatic. An exceptionally thorough, English language only, instruction book, plus a quick reference guide with example photos showing results from each optional mode, are included.

This full-featured SLR is exceptionally light in weight and has an especially easy grip area on the right side that when used along with a protrusion on the back makes it easy to keep your finger and thumb in exactly the right position for a firm, steady grip. It accepts newer Nikkor AF interchangeable lenses as well as all of the older Nikkor F mount lenses.

Practical Test Results
Depending upon where you purchase this camera, the actual lens can vary, but the test sample had a 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 AF Nikkor. We also tried some independent Nikkor AF mount lenses (Samyang 70-210mm and Sigma 28-105mm) which coupled and worked well with this body.

There's nothing exceptional about this shot of a winter visitor to our backyard, but when you know it was made through a double-pane, thermal glass, sliding door you can appreciate the detail visible on the deer when it became aware of me. (Program automatic exposure with Samyang 70-210mm at about 150mm on Kodak Elite Chrome 200 slide film.)

Practical tests were made using a variety of sensitive slow speed color slide film plus a number of rolls of color negative film. In every instance, the images were consistently well exposed even when made under a broad range of difficult lighting situations. The resulting images were well detailed, quite sharp and exhibited excellent color. Autofocusing was rapid and precise with a variety of subjects and light levels. The handy, small built-in flash always covered the field evenly, even when used with a wide 28mm lens. It produced just the right amount of fill light when used in daylight or provided all of the main lighting when it was the sole or primary light source.

No matter what type of SLR photography you do, this new, programmed automatic/manual model from Nikon should do the job quite well.

If your local dealer does not have data on the Nikon N65, you can obtain it by calling Nikon toll free at (800) 645-6687, or accessing the web site at: www.nikonusa.com

There's nothing exceptional about this shot of a winter visitor to our backyard, but when you know it was made through a double-pane, thermal glass, sliding door you can appreciate the detail visible on the deer when it became aware of me. (Program automatic exposure with Samyang 70-210mm at about 150mm on Kodak Elite Chrome 200 slide film.)

Technical Specifications
Type Of Camera: Integral-motor autofocus 35mm SLR with electronically controlled focal-plane shutter and built-in speedlight
Picture Format: Standard 24x36mm 35mm film
Lens Mount: All-metal Nikon F mount with AF coupling and AF contacts
Viewfinder: Fixed, eye-level penta-prism, built-in diopter adjustment
Viewfinder Coverage: Approximately 89 percent
Focusing Screen: B-type clear matte V screen with focus brackets
Autofocus: TTL phase detection, Nikon Multi-CAM 900 with AF assist illuminator
Focus Area: One of five focus areas selectable
Lens Servo: Auto Servo AF; camera automatically chooses single servo AF or continuous servo AF according to subject status
Metering System: TTL full aperture, six segment, 3D Matrix metering. Center-weighted metering automatically selected with manual exposure mode.
Exposure Compensation: +/- 2 EV in 1/2 EV steps
Autoexposure Bracketing: Bracketing range: +/- 2 EV steps for a sequence of three photographs
Film Speed Setting: DX: 25-5000. Automatically sets to ISO 100 with non-DX films.
Shutter Speeds: Automatically set between 30-1/2000 sec
Built-In Speedlight Flash: Covers 28mm or longer lens. GN 39 for ISO 100 film.
Flash Sync: Flash sync 1/90 sec. Front curtain normal sync. Optional slow sync, rear curtain sync, redeye reduction, redeye reduction with slow sync, flash cancel.
Accessory Flash: Dedicated X-contact shoe on prism
Self-Timer: Electronically controlled, duration 10 sec
Depth Of Field Preview: Stops down lens aperture, electronically controlled by pressing button
Multiple Exposure: Selectable in P, S, A, or M
Film Advance: Automatic motor powered film advance. Continuous possible in sports program mode at 2.5 fps.
Power Source: Two 3v CR2 lithium batteries. Optional battery pack.
Dimensions: 5.5x3.6x2.6"
Weight: 13.9 oz
MSRP: $360 (body only), Data Back model available

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