Nikon FM3a Reviews

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Latest Reviews

★★★★★

“Given that i carry and use both the Nixon fm2n and the...”

Written on: 09/07/2008 by rex asson (1 review written)

Given that i carry and use both the Nixon fm2n and the fm3a at all times i find that there is never a situation that i can not walk away from without an excellent and usable image… Read Full Review

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★★★★★

“The Nikon FM3a is my second Nikon camera; my first was...”

Written on: 05/03/2008 by deerekit (1 review written)

The Nikon FM3a is my second Nikon camera; my first was a (Millennium Edition) FM2 which I bought as soon as I realised that the model had been discontinued - so, I bought the added advantage of a collector's-item camera and 50 mm lens with matching serial numbers. I eventually bought the FM3a in preference to an F5 because I wanted to be sure of the camera's ability to operate in all conditions and without power, and because I wanted to use manual rather than auto-focus lenses to make my… Read Full Review

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★★★★★

“If you are lucky to get one of these camera's, cannon...”

Written on: 21/01/2008 by Goldbach (1 review written)

If you are lucky to get one of these camera's, cannon lover or not, I suggest keeping it long enough to give to the grandkids so they have a nest egg when they put it on the antique road show or some other show where they auction classic items… Read Full Review

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★★★★★

“A fitting companion to the FM2n as the two together ,...”

Written on: 08/01/2008

A fitting companion to the FM2n as the two together , with the appropriate accessories , will meet any and all photographic requirements. No other 35mm camera made by Nikon or anyone else will produce photographs which are technically better . Just point it at the right object/scene… Read Full Review

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★★★★★

“The Nikon FM3a 35mm SLR is a beautiful classic camera....”

Written on: 28/03/2006 by John Chia (4 reviews written)

The Nikon FM3a 35mm SLR is a beautiful classic camera. It's got everything you will ever need from a camera, and it's got aperture priority, which gives it a bit more ease of handling, especially when taking quick candid shots. It uses all the Nikon lenses, except for the DX range, but the best lenses are the old ones. It is also lightweight, uses virtually no batteries (I've had mine for 4 years and have not had to change them). So it is a great travel camera… Read Full Review

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★★★★★

“The Nikon FM3a 35mm SLR camera has been a fabulous...”

Written on: 23/01/2006 by Perry Munson (1 review written)

The Nikon FM3a 35mm SLR camera has been a fabulous replacement for my old Fujica 701, which, incidentally, still works perfectly. I bought it because it may well be the last high-quality manual SLR on this planet. I expect it to last me long enough so that one of you will be able to buy it in great shape when I am gone… Read Full Review

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★★★★★

“I bought this camera when it first came out, and soon...”

Written on: 19/06/2003 by Charley. (1 review written)

I bought this camera when it first came out, and soon discovered that, like its forbearers, it is an exceptional shooting machine. It's been dropped, taken on a river rafting expedition (everyone else had disposable cameras), used in swamps, blowing sand deserts and extreme temperatures (hot and cold) without incident or problem.

I'd like to add that this camera is perhaps the only SLR available that's still built to older standard. What makes it cost what it does is not on the surface -… Read Full Review

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★★★★★

“Now that I've owned my FM3a for a while now, I've come...”

Written on: 13/06/2003 by Barry Campfield. (1 review written)

Now that I've owned my FM3a for a while now, I've come to enjoy it more than any other camera I've ever owned. It's a true combination of two of the best cameras Nikon ever manufactured, the FM2 and the FE-2. You get the best features of both combined with a handy fill-flash compensation button and DX film coding. With the optional matte B2 screen the viewfinder is extremely bright and easy to focus. I use a diopter correction lens for my eyes and it works great for focusing without having… Read Full Review

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114633_Chillgill.'s Response to 107134_Barry Campfield.'s Review

Written on: 10/07/2003

I agree completely. The FM3a is a great camera and it's not overpriced at all. I got mine on ebay for $348! Nikon must be losing money on each one they make.

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★★★★★

“Introduction ”

Written on: 27/05/2003 by Stanley Wong. (1 review written)

Introduction

The Nikon FM3a is a manual focus camera that has a tough metal body. It has Aperture Priority (AE) mode for situations where you need it. Just like the predecessor, the FM2n, it can work fully mechanically without battery (just that the metering, and hence the AE mode will not work without the battery). It also has a bevy of features you would usually associate with a high-end manual focus camera such as a self-timer (with which you can have mirror lockup), DOF preview button… Read Full Review

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114634_Chillgill.'s Response to 101660_Stanley Wong.'s Review

Written on: 10/07/2003

Mostly I agree, except with the comments as to price - the FM3a is NOT overpriced on the current market. I don't know if people have been comparing prices of well-used older FM2ns with brand-new FM3a cameras or what, but on ebay the price difference between those two cameras when in mint condition is not that great, and the FM3a gives you a lot more.

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180318_Johnhartley's Response to 101660_Stanley Wong.'s Review

Written on: 26/12/2004

If you are travelling to Nepal (where there are many interesting subjects to photograph) this camera can be purchased for about 300 GBP.

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★★★☆☆

“Owned an FM3A for about three weeks before I sold it...”

Written on: 24/11/2002 by Garland. (1 review written)

Owned an FM3A for about three weeks before I sold it and picked up an F100. I loved the camera's size, features, and capability overall, but could not reconcile the lack of a spot meter. I shoot a great deal of transparency film under difficult conditions and was quickly frustrated with not being able to accurately meter specific distant areas, particularly in landscapes. Alas, I then soon sold the F100 for its battery-hungry disposition, poor film chamber isolation, and plethora of unnecessary… Read Full Review

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96653_Bob.'s Response to 53221_Garland.'s Review

Written on: 11/05/2003

I don't think it's a very fair or balanced review. I feel Garland didn't give his nikon much of a chance, as anyone who would rate a Yashica 80-200mm f/4 zoom over the Nikon AIS 80-200mm f/4 zoom equivalent needs to review his slides again (and yes, i've owned both). If you want clearly better performance than Nikon MF lenses, you're going to need medium format. And that FM3a will be clicking away in a new owner's hands long after Garland's troublesome Contax SLR has quit for the last time!

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146470_Johnhenry's Response to 53221_Garland.'s Review

Written on: 06/03/2004

If this reviewer did own this camera for all of three weeks, he certainly didn't learn how to use it properly. None of the criticisms he has made here are an obstacle to good pictures provided the controls are properly learnt. If you want a spotmeter, buy one, but don't use that as an excuse to criticise a truly excellent machine such as the FM3a!

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109733_Garland.'s Response to 53221_Garland.'s Review

Written on: 22/06/2003

<p>Finally, I seem to have missed Bob's own review of the FM3A. It's disappointing to think he might not actually have much of his own to say about it, or perhaps can't string together enough cogent, original thoughts to comprise a significant evaluation.</p>

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109724_Garland.'s Response to 53221_Garland.'s Review

Written on: 22/06/2003

<p>Bob, you seem to miss the distinction I made between AF (autofocus) Nikkor zoom lenses which in my experience have relatively low optical performance compared to AF Canons, MF & AF Zeiss, Leitz, and MF (Manual Focus) Nikkors, and MF Nikkors in general, which in terms of resolution in contrast, in my opinion, are the equal of Zeiss lenses, although in though terms of more subjective criterion such as smoothness of defocused areas, are inferior to both Zeiss and Leitz lenses. And considering that the FM3A is a virtual repackaging of the FE2, with only the hybrid shutter control mechanism and not so much as even a modest restyle to distinguish it, I can't understand the perspective that it's not at least moderately overpriced. The body castings and a great deal, if not all of the mechanicals, after all, have been in existence for more than two decades, and have long since been paid for by the two previous generations of FM cameras.</p>
<br><p>And, duh, it's not hard to imagine I don't particularly like the FM3A for what, in my opinion, are appreciable shortcomings. Otherwise, I'd still own the darned thing. But don't try to cast my review as either contradictory, generally dismissive of Nikon, or unappreciative of the virtues of a high-quality, fully mechanical camera as, in conclusion, I fully endorse the FM2(N) as, again in my opinion, an overall better example of that breed of camera at a much more attractive price. In fact, I also recommend the FM3A as a fine choice for a specific class of photograher, to which the other reviewers clearly belong. Considering that Bob and many of you others can't seem to overemphasize the durability and longevity of the FM design, I'd imagine, despite your apparent affinity for the FM3A, you'd be hard-pressed to deny that at nearly half the cost, a clean, used FM2(N) is clearly the better value.</p>
<br><p>If there are perceived inconsistencies and/or contradictions in my review, they are the result of Bob's apparent lack of proficiency at comprehending what he reads. Or perhaps it is simply a predilection for ignoring details which do not fuel his fervor against dissenting opinions of his obviously beloved FM3A.</p>

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109109_Bob.'s Response to 53221_Garland.'s Review

Written on: 20/06/2003

A review is only valid if it's sincere. I think Garland sincerely doesn't like the FM3a, but understandably a review is open to skepticism when one expresses diametrically opposed viewpoints. You can't praise Nikon lenses as equal to Zeiss in one review, then announce their inferiority to Zeiss in another without someone wondering why! And Garland is certainly entitled to his opinion on a camera, but others are also entitled to evaluate and comment on it, which is why I decided to comment!

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108958_Garland.'s Response to 53221_Garland.'s Review

Written on: 20/06/2003

<p>A review, unless it is simply a verification or evaluation of technical specifications, is inherently skewed toward its writer's priorities. The fact that despite it's all-metal construction and all-mechanical shutter, I prefer the Contax Aria (or virtually any other camera, all-electronic or otherwise, with a spot meter, for that matter) is nothing more than a reflection of my own preferences. Likewise, my preference for the optical characteristics of Yashica's 80-200/4 over Nikon's. If you disagree with the priorities which inform my review, fine. Realize this and move on to one which shares your particular sensibilities, for only from that commonality will one find any value. To feel the need to assail another's opinion–which, after all, is what the great majority of these reviews (mine included) amount to–betrays a certain weakness in one's own. And don't presume that just because the majority shares your opinion that it is inherently more "right" as it's a statistical reality that a thing's popularity is more accurately a testament of its mediocrity than its excellence.</p>
<br>
<br><p>Furthermore, if one can't evaluate in three week's time a piece of photographic equipment for its suitability to his or her photographic needs and desires, then that person either hasn't the time for much shooting or lacks the understand basic photographic principles to make the assessment. Personally, I'd rather dedicate the time and energy to acquiring a piece of equipment myself and deciding if it works for me than rely on someone else's opinions. And thanks to eBay, if as in the case of the FM3A the equipment just doesn't "fit" me, I can get rid of it with very little, if any, money lost.</p>
<br>
<br><p>Lastly, though I've often read of myriad, ominous component failures in modern electronic cameras, I can't say that any of the dozen's I've owned over the years have every had a single failure that wasn't due to outright abuse of the type that would threaten even the stoutest of mechanical equipment as well. And, despite most manufacturer's admittedly conservative declarations, LCD screens typically don't die at the five-year mark. Neither does the average fickled consumer doesn't keep a camera body that long. Simple fact is, the quality of your images will be determined more by how well your equipment meets your needs and how proficient you are in using it than whether or not it's electronic or fully manual or any other such triviality.</p>

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108641_Barry Campfield.'s Response to 53221_Garland.'s Review

Written on: 18/06/2003

I don't get this review, unless it's meant only as a means to dump on an otherwise good camera and justify a move to another brand. If the lack of a built-in spotmeter is so crucial to one's needs, why the heck get an FM3a in the first place - presumably the reviewer examined the camera first?
<br>
<br>As to the viewfinder speed display, it's very easy to read, I've never had any trouble seeing the display even over dark objects. Also, the reviewer apparently didn't think to use the AE lock to freeze the speed display, then simply turn the camera to a bright light source or other area of the sky for reading. Pretty simple. The FM3a viewfinder isn't dim by any stretch of the imagination - with the interchangeable B3 screen I can see clearly even with slow telephoto lenses in poor light.
<br>
<br>Furthermore, any review based on only three weeks of use couldn't possibly reveal the FM3a's other huge advantage if you plan to venture out-of-doors - reliable performance and extreme durability. The people who would like the FM3a aren't enamored with the current habit of constantly repairing one's cameras. Overpriced? That's hard to swallow given the current prices demanded for cameras like the Contax. And, is it worth it to you to spend $450-500 and get something that will last and need few or no repairs, or spend the same and get something that needs a $125 repair after a month's use? For myself, I'd much rather have a dependable camera like the FM3a with a meter that works than a shoddily built one with lots of options that doesn't or is always in the shop. If I may point out the obvious, a camera that needs frequent repair isn't out in the field taking photographs. The FM3a is one of the only reliable, all-metal SLRs available new today that isn't loaded with failure-prone CPU processors and LCD displays. Wouldn't that fact alone give it a high ranking for bucking the throw-away trend? Guess what happens when an LCD "Command Center" display dies after 5 years and there's no replacement? That's right, you throw the camera away!!

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105649_Bob.'s Response to 53221_Garland.'s Review

Written on: 09/06/2003

So Zeiss and Leica occupy 'the rarefied air above' Nikon and others? Man how many times have I heard that. But Garland's review of the F100 seems to indicate a conflict on whether or not this is actually true:
<br>
<br>"However, having experienced an array of Nikkors, I must conclude this reputation is based upon the performance and build quality of the earlier manual focus Nikkors, WHICH INDEED OFFER OPTICAL PERFORMANCE AND CONSTRUCTION ON PAR WITH ZEISS OF GERMANY...I prefer manual focus Nikkor lenses for their precision and performance"
<br>
<br>AND, as to that Yashica 80-200mm, it is SOFT. Even the Yashica users group have no respect for it - check out what two other owners said:
<br>
<br>"I have found that the Yashica 80- 200mm f4 lens is soft at the 200mm end.”
<br>
<br>“Don't touch the Yashica 80-200 ml zoom. I had one years ago. It was my very first zoom and I thought it great until I looked at the results after a summer holiday in Norway very soon after I bought it. It was 'soft' - lovely for contra-jour photos of children playing in hay meadows but no pleasure otherwise”
<br>
<br>As to the reliability of Contax versus other brands, a recent study shows Nikon the most reliable body, with Contax at the very bottom.

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98590_Garland.'s Response to 53221_Garland.'s Review

Written on: 17/05/2003

To be fair, Bob, I don't torture any of my equipment, despite a decade of nearly constant shooting, and I've never had a modern camera body fail me for any reason. That being said, given the choice between a camera with a better user interface and more metering options, allowing more precise control over exposures and thus greater potential for a higher percentage of properly exposed images, but with possibly less longevity; and a camera likely to last longer, but giving me less metering precision and, consequently, a lower percentage of satisfying images, I'll happily take the body (and system) offering greater control and more metering options. As for the matter of optical quality, int he 35mm format, it's entirely subjective at the level of Canon/Minolta/Nikon, with Leitz and Zeiss occupying the rare air above. With all due respect to Bob's preference of the Nikkor 80-200/4 AIS (which, by the way I also have used quite extensively), I personally do find Yashica's 80-200/4 produces more appealing images.

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★★★★★

“Nikon FM3a 35mm SLR camera. ”

Written on: 24/05/2002 by Paul. (1 review written)

Nikon FM3a 35mm SLR camera.
Can't say anymore than what I have said in the strong points. It gives you a feeling of power and independence from batteries in that in cannot manage 1/4000 shutter speed completely mechanically.

Again, BUY THIS CAMERA!!… Read Full Review

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★★★★★

“After years of using more and more advanced AF cameras...”

Written on: 25/04/2002 by malcolm. (1 review written)

After years of using more and more advanced AF cameras I have intentionally regressed to this manual Nikon FM3a 35mm SLR camera. Why? Because I never used all those "modes", all those gizmos and add-ons. Taking a photo is so simple. You set the focus, set the exposure and press a button. The important thing is to set the right focus and the right exposure. We have become used to "ultrasonic motors" whizzing focusing rings around - now I have rediscovered my eyes and my fingers. We are used to… Read Full Review

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Geossl's Response to 21066_malcolm.'s Review

Written on: 12/09/2003

I agree to Malcolm that there is more fun of taking picture in manual mode. Moreover, it is also a better way to learn and practice photography.
<br>
<br>Nowadays, the automated features are so powerful that taking picture is just a press to the shutter. However, it is not a good way to comprehend photography.

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★★★★☆

“The Nikon FM3a is a good 35mm SLR camera that could...”

Written on: 13/04/2002 by Hugh. (1 review written)

The Nikon FM3a is a good 35mm SLR camera that could have been better. I'm a nikon fan but I don't go around all rosey-eyed and scorn the competition just because it says nikon on the front. For a start, why no spot-metering? Olympus did it in the mechanical om3 18 years ago.

Good camera if you want to start a manual nikon outfit, but I won't be changing my fm2 and fe2 for it. It's not worth it… Read Full Review

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33725_Jt.'s Response to 19141_Hugh.'s Review

Written on: 18/08/2002

Not really a review here. More like a knock on a good camera because it's not an FM2 or an FE2...and because it doesn't have spot metering. Neither do the FM2 and the FE2. It was obviously posted by someone who's never even held the camera.

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Stanley Wong.'s Response to 19141_Hugh.'s Review

Written on: 17/09/2002

"not worth changing my fm2 and fe2 for" is not a bad point. How does it compare with FM2 and FE2? That would be more helpful. Most would probably hang onto their FM2 and FE2 and go out and buy the FM3a and use THAT.
<br>
<br>And there is a good reason why people respect the "Nikon" in the front of the camera.

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★★★★★

“This Nikon FM3a is a beauty of a camera. Unlike the...”

Written on: 19/03/2002 by finlay. (1 review written)

This Nikon FM3a is a beauty of a camera. Unlike the previous reviewer this is in the FM series not the FE series. It offers mechanical shutter speeds from 1 second to 1/4000 of a second so cannot be considered as fully automatic depending on battery power.It is definitely FM3a in catagory and you can consider the automation as a bonus.After having used autofocus cameras I was getting fed up with the batteries packing in in cold winter conditions and the shutter locking.
I was looking for a… Read Full Review

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32619_Agitphoto.'s Response to finlay.'s Review

Written on: 10/08/2002

I'm a professional photojournalist and own several Nikon F* cameras. My favourite old warhorse is a venerable, titanium-bodied F3T. I don't own an FM3a, but I have used one on several occasions, and a nice bit of kit it is too.
<br>
<br>To say it's better finished than a Leica M6, is however, complete rubbish.
<br>
<br>I'd part with any piece of my Nikon kit for a reasonable wad of cash but you'd have to prise my M6 out of my cold, dead fingers.
<br>

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★★★★★

INTRODUCTION

Nikon FM3a, a design that many assume...

Written on: 23/09/2001 by Elson75. (1 review written)

INTRODUCTION

Nikon FM3a, a design that many assume will end the 2 decades of existences for the well-accepted FM2 and FM2n. I am not very sure how it will take over the heart of so many strong believer of the FM2n, which include myself.

I am no fan of the FM3a, as I strongly feel it should be registered as a FE3 instead because of the extra electronic control that the FE series provides. In my personal opinion, the inclusion of the Aperture Priority AE into the FM series, which make the

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7349_Nikonfan.'s Response to 4327_Elson75.'s Review

Written on: 15/12/2001

The reviewer's comment about mirror lockup not true. FM3A provides mirror lockup with self timer - just like FM2n.

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17439_Michael.'s Response to 4327_Elson75.'s Review

Written on: 28/03/2002

What about the money? Does it take better pictures? for 200-300 bucks more then a used FE2 (my back up body to an F4s M1 Abrahms Tank Camera), I have a hard time justifying buying it, so I won't. With the money saved, you budget for a better lenses. There may be a day coming in 10 years or so where parts availability for the FMs and FEs will be an issue. Then I'll buy used FM3 and upgrade the F4s to a used F5, or maybe I'll be 100% digital.

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Rowgo.'s Response to 4327_Elson75.'s Review

Written on: 07/03/2002

I speak as the owner/user of the fm2n, the fe2, and the fm3a. The fm3a has every function of both the fm2n and the fe2. The only advantage I can see with the fm2n is that the meter is illuminated although I prefer the fm3a/fe2 style of meter. The reason the fm2n does not have exposure compensation is because it does not have aperture priority.
<br><p>
<br>Lots of people like the fm2n because it's an fm2n. (a bit like the leica fans supporting certain designs which to many people seem very old fassioned).
<br><p>
<br>Having aperture priority doesn't mean you have to use it all the time but when you ask someone to take a picture for you it makes the matter a whole lot easier.
<br><p>
<br>I love all three bodies but the fm3a is the one that I use most (95% of the time)!

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11016_Uhooru.'s Response to 4327_Elson75.'s Review

Written on: 30/01/2002

Inaccurate to say that FE-2 does not have exposure compensation - it does. Its located under the rewind crank on the left top of the camera on the film speed dial. Also, mirror lockup, though not direct, is achievable by using the self-timer.

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9759_Pmc.'s Response to 4327_Elson75.'s Review

Written on: 17/01/2002

fm3a is a fm2n and more ...the reviewers forget to mention that fm3a has all his speeds mechanicals working without batteries ..if fm2n is a legend fm3a must become a better legend because its a complete fm2+fe2 combined ...right now fe2 was considered one of best designed camera and many are looking for a used body (look at the price on the net for a used one and read the reviews on that old camera ...

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Phoebus.'s Response to 4327_Elson75.'s Review

Written on: 14/01/2002

Very helpful review. Extremely insightful. After reading the
review I made up my mind on which camera to buy.

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