The Accessory System

Motor-drives for the FM, FE and FA

The successor generation of the Nikkormat models was designed for motorized operation right from the start. The first representative of this series is the MD-11. Its capability of up to 3.5 frames/sec. and the possibility to choose between single and continuous modes are its most remarkable features. It was developed from the AW-1, but it has a hand-grip and takes eight AA-size batteries to achieve its relatively high frequency. It was this motor that made numerous professionals consider buying two FM-bodies along with MD-11s instead of one F2 with a motor.

The FM-2 with the nimble MD-12
The FM-2 with the nimble MD-12
was also very popular with photojournalists.

Four contacts facilitate the communication between the motor and the body - which means electronic instead of mechanical controls. Two of the contacts convey the signal which starts the film transport after the shutter operation, while the other two activate the metering system when the motor is switched on. A terminal for remote control accessories is included in the front of the ergonomically rounded grip section, but an external power supply cannot be employed.

The MD-11 was later succeeded by the MD-12. Both models appear to be identical on the outside, only details differ. In the case of the MD-12 the camera`s exposure meter is activated by pressing the motor drive`s release button. About a minute after the last release the power supply is cut off automatically an important advantage of the MD-12, since users often forgot to switch off the previous model which also led to the camera`s button-size cells also being drained.

The second difference is hidden in the circuitry. The MD-11 only transports the film after the photographer removes his finger from the release button. In comparison, the MD-12 starts immediately after the shutter operation.

The MD-12 by itself
The MD-12 by itself, capable of a firing-rate
of no less than 3,5 frames sec.

Together with the Nikon FA, another member of this family of motor drives was introduced. It can easily be recognized from the two models mentioned before by its sharply cornered grip and was designed specially for the FA. When used with the MD-11 and MD-12 the camera is released mechanically by a pin which springs upwards, whereas in the case of the MD-15/FA combination this is done electronically. That is the reason why this unit is capable of a maximum firing-rate of up to 3.2 frames/sec., whereas with the MD-11/MD-12 motor-drives the FA only manages 2.7 frames/sec. Another feature of the MD-15 is that it also supplies the camera with the necessary power. If the FA is used always with the motor mounted the batteries in the camera body become redundant. Although the MD-11/MD-12 motors can be fitted to the FA, the other way around - a combination of the MD-15 with the FM or FE - will not work.

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