Friday, April 8, 2011

The User’s Review: Nikon N55 (F55) 35mm Film Camera

To descript Nikon N55 (F55), its users use these words: affordable, compact, high tech capabilities, very few limitations,  its photos just as good as any $1,000 camera,  good ergonomics, Nikon's smallest and lightest 35mm SLR with superior performance in a classic Nikon design with buttons and dials conveniently placed to facilitate use.

Figure. Front, back and top views of Nikon N55.

This model, in black and silver colors, was released in 2002 (Fig.). It has two versions: N55 and N55 QD with date/time imprint. The camera was made in Thailand, and was well built (9/10). When released, the price for a body and a zoom was ~ USD 350. Nowadays, you can get a used one in excellent conditions under USD 20. Remember, it’s cheap, but still a Nikon. The features of N55 are listed in the following table with pros in blue and cons on red.

Table. Features of Nikon N55 35mm film camera

Focus Type
Autofocus (Dynamic AF with closest-subject priority, Single Servo AF and Continuous Servo Af with Lock-On), Manual Focus
Viewfinder Type
Focusing Points
One of three, selectable but not light-up
Shutter Speed
30 - 1/2000 sec, Time
ISO Range & Setting
ISO 100 - 5,000, no infrared film, only auto & no manual setting
Frames per Second
1.5 fps
Exposure Modes:
Auto, Vari-Program (Landscape, Macro, Night, Sports with continuous shooting, Portrait; No auto pop-up of flash), Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual
Light Metering Modes:
Center Weighted, Partial Metering; 3D 5-segment, 5 sec auto shut-off after operation
Auto Exposure Bracketing
3 shots with fixed compensated  EV (0.5, 1.0, 1.5 and 2)
Auto Exposure
Flash Sync Speed and Modes
> 1/90 sec, Front-curtain, Slow sync, Red-eye reduction, Red-eye reduction with slow sync, Flash cancel
Red Eye Reduction
With Red Eye Reduction
Depth-of-Field Button
Shutter release cable & remote
Lens mount ring
Self Timer
Yes, electric with 10 s delay
Multiple Exposure Mode
2 – 9 exposures in P, S, A and M modes
Film Wind & Mid-roll Rewind
Loading – Rewind; Yes.
Dioptric Adjustment Range
from -1.5 to +0.8
Eye Relief
17 mm
Viewfinder Frame Coverage
89 %
Viewfinder Magnification
AF-Assist Illuminator
2x CR2 3 v and 1x CR2025 3 v for date imprint in QD version
Optional battery pack
129x92x65mm, 129x92x67.5mm for QD vision
350 g, 360 g for QD version

One of Nikon service advisories states that N55 autofocus electrical components may fail affecting camera performance and/or operability. In case your N55 has this problem, check the Nikon website for a free service (well, it’s not really free, you have to pay outgoing shipping. But Nikon will do more besides the repair. They also clean and adjust your camera into a good conditions).

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