For many years, an FM2 much like this one was my very trusty companion. “FM” stands for “fully manual”. It had a built-in light meter that could prioritize aperture or shutter speed, but technically you could operate this camera with no battery inside at all.

Using mnemonics like “Sunny 16” and understanding the relationship between ISO, f-stops, and shutter speeds, a practiced eye could manually choose good exposure settings. Turn the rings, squeeze the shutter, and photons would have a chemical reaction on the film emulsion — all without electricity.

I chose the camera partly because it was a favorite of photojournalists — known for being durable enough to survive falling off a cliff (mine did), and for being able to operate even in a remote locations where batteries cannot be purchased (also happened). It was my travel companion, my second set of eyes, my artistic muse. Until it was stolen. For a while I wanted no replacement, and then of course I went digital.

It was fun being briefly reunited at a recent photo expo. Mine was silver and this one is black, so I know it’s just a cousin and not my actual missing friend.

 

Nikon FM2 at Photo Expo (photo by Aaron Sylvan) taken 2017-10-26

Nikon FM2 at Photo Expo (photo by Aaron Sylvan) taken 2017-10-26