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★★★★☆

“I've had this Nikon N65 35mm SLR camera for a few...”

Written on: 02/05/2002 by Shady. (1 review written)

Good Points
1) Solid build and quality compared to same-level brands
2) Metal lens mount
3) Smooth, low-vibe shutter and mirror operation
4) Feels heavier in the hands than other entry level models, thus inspiring more confidence, especially with the MB017 battery pack mounted
5) Useful motor drive speed (2.5 fps)
6) Fast, accurate auto focus
7) Capable light meter
8) full-featured flash modes
9) great depth of field preview feature, you can shoot the picture while depressing the DOF button!!

Bad Points
1) Relatively noisy auto focus
2) Not fully compatible with manual focus lenses - light meter won't work with older lenses
3) User interface leaves much to be desired - only one command dial!!
4) Cumbersome AF point control
5) Flimsy AF/MF switch
6) No shutter release on dedicated MB-17 battery pack
7) Flash sync at only 1/90, and incapable of high-speed sync with dedicated Nikon flashes
8) No spot metering option
9) Center weighted metering only operates in manual mode
10) Continuous focus-tracking and motor drive only operate in sports mode, in which user has no control whatsoever on exposure!!
11) No frame counter and mode indicator in the view finder display
12) Active AF point not superimposed in red on the focusing screen - active AF point doesn't appear in the diagram at the bottom unless selected manually!!
13) Expensive IR remote control
14) This is a "good weather" camera
15) No manual ISO setting

General Comments
I've had this Nikon N65 35mm SLR camera for a few months now, and I believe I can safely say that I made the right decision choosing this particular model.

After having used a Canon EOS 300 (Rebel 2000 to some of you) for months, I can just tell you what a toy that camera feels like compared to the N65.

Although there are a few things that I miss from the EOS 300 that I'd rather had on the N65, such as high-speed flash sync capability with dedicated flash units, the AF lock "beep" and spot metering - auto exposure lock, the latter is a much more secure purchase in the long run.

The most important aspect that sets the N65 apart from the competition is its typical Nikon build quality. Although it's made of poly-carbonate, it feels much more solid than an equivalent body from another brand, arguably as solid as cameras from a higher level. Where it really rocks is with the metal lens mount. I feel more secure changing lenses several times a day. Moreover, being a Nikon F-mount allows use of older lenses. But it's regrettable that the camera's light meter won't function with them.

The shutter has a nice quality sound and the auto focus is relatively confident in low light, although the built-in body motor is not that quiet. What Nikon basically did is equip this camera with a quiet shutter but a noisy AF motor! Not a wise policy in my opinion.

From the very first time I grabbed this camera, I felt comfortable with it. It fits nicely in my small hand, although the grip is a little small, even for me. But the grip is definitely bigger and feels much better than that of the EOS 300. the MB-17 solves the size problem forever.

Another thing the MB-17 does is save you money on batteries, that is, if you put a lot of film through the camera, thus consuming power. The camera takes two CR2's, which are expensive and don't last as long as four alkaline AA's that go into the grip. Moreover, AA's are readily available, even in that remote village at the heart of the Amazon. But I wouldn't take an N65 to the rainy Amazon!

The major disappointment I had about this camera is its lack of ability to sync beyond 1/90. To make things even worse, the high-speed sync mode on any Nikon Speedlight (SB-28, SB-26, etc) will NOT operate on the N65. This means no fill-flash portrait shots in broad daylight with a blurred background! The very thing I like doing is the very thing I can't do with this camera! This feature only works on the F100, the F5 and the N90s, the cheapest of which is twice as expensive. The only way to work around this is to operate both the flash and the camera manually, which means no TTL if you want to sync at higher than 1/90. Do your homework and burn a lot of film; after all, practice makes perfect. That's about the only thing I ever liked about the EOS 300: high-speed sync capability.

Another rather minor disappointment is the lack of a manual ISO film speed override. But if you shoot negatives all the time, that's not a major issue. Just forget about slides.

But the really major disappointment, and probably the most important one, is the inability to manually select metering modes, combined with the absence of a spot metering facility. Not nice.

All in all, this is a great camera to use and a comfortable, secure one to hold. If you want downright quality rather than toys with marketing ploys, just go for the N65 and don't look back. I know I won't.