I went down to my favorite camera store in Dallas this past weekend to checkout a possible new camera for my dad. After checking out the camera he was interested in, I spent some time handling the latest toys from Nikon. I shoot with a Nikon D300 right now, which is a fantastic camera, but like every APS-C sensor owner, I lust for a full-frame digital camera. The D700 is probably the best camera on the market right now straddling the pro-am divide. I’m sure I’ll get one eventually, but will probably wait for the next revision which should be due out this summer.
But the camera I really want is not even made (yet). Prior to going digital four years ago, I shot with a Nikon FM3a. It was a thing of beauty, both simple and reliable. I saw the writing on the wall for film and sold my Nikon kit to buy a Canon 10D. To this day, I still miss the handling of the FM3a. So Nikon, if you’re listening, here’s what you should do:
Use the FM3a body but gut it and replace with a 12MP full-frame sensor (same as on D700). Keep the all-manual setup (focus, exposure) and even use the lever for cocking the shutter/mirror. Sensor and viewfinder should run off 2 AA batteries, so that they can easily be replaced anywhere in the world. From the front, the camera should look the same as an FM3a. The back should be minimalist — basic buttons to review/delete images, format card, minor exposure tweaks. It should shoot the raw image format. What I want is the classic Nikon SLR feel in a digital format, similar in concept to the Leica M8.2.
Yes, I know Nikon would never build it, but an “FM3d” would be my dream camera.