James's Camera Collection: Nikon N65

Nikon N65 Japan 35mm cameras
Nikon N65
Camera type: Single Lens Reflex (SLR)
Approx. date of manufacture: 2001
Lens Mount: Nikon AF mount
Batteries: 2CR2 lithium, or four AAs with optional battery pack MB-17
Approx. original price: $400 (with lens); $299 body only (street prices)
Approx. street value: low

Not a camera I would seek out, but it's in nice condition, came with the owners manuals, a bag, one Nikon lens and another 3rd party lens and the original docs and a small gadget bag, all for under $20 including shipping. I couldn't pass that up.

This is my first Nikon from the autofocus era. It's very much like the Canon Rebels: it's very light and feels a bit cheap, though I assume it's probably perfectly good. Lightness is a wonderful thing if you have to lug a camera around all day, but a bit of extra weight gives the impression of solidity and, in a way, quality. Same goes for the 28-80mm kit lens.

What I find most interesting about it is that it's an entry-level camera. Historically, entry-level cameras were simpler versions of higher-end cameras. They had full auto exposure or very limited controls. They were better than point-n-shoots, but only a bit. Compare an entry-level Canon T50 vs. an advanced-amateur-level T70, for instance.

Here's a short rundown of what you get on this entry-level camera:

  • Five point auto-focus with user- or camera-selected sensors
  • 2.5 frames-per-second integrated motor drive
  • built-in pop-up flash
  • 3D matrix or center-weighted averaging TTL meter
  • Built-in diopter correction
  • Exposure bracketing
  • Multiple exposures
  • Depth-of-field preview
  • Shiftable program, shutter priority, aperture priority, or full manual
  • Exposure sensitivity: EV-1 to 20 (ISO 100)
  • 1/90 flash sync speed
  • Optional wireless remote
  • Full range of in-viewfinder data
  • Shutter speeds 1/2000 to 30 seconds plus T.

One of the drawbacks is that you can't set your own film speed, you have (or had) to use the DX coding on the magazine. But I assume the vast majority of people who would buy this camera would have used the published film speed rating anyway, so all this did was remove an opportunity to screw up a roll of film by forgetting to set the ISO speed.

That probably says more about the number of features available at the time on all cameras, but I still find this astounding.

Manufacturer's website: Nikon N65 (courtesy the Internet Archive)

Popular Photography Test: April 2001

Owner's Manual: OrphanCameras.com

©opyright by James Ollinger. All Rights Reserved.