Hours of Idleness-A Photographer's Journey in St. Louis

Nikon N65- A Perfectly Simple Camera

Posted in 35mm, photography by Jason Gray on March 15, 2010

I acquired this camera originally for my brother, who was interested in getting into photography, but I borrowed it a while back, to test it out for myself on a trip up to Chicago, and busted the little plastic latch that secures the film chamber door to the camera while changing film.  So, I’ve been working on a DIY fix that doesn’t involve duct tape, velcro, or buying new equipment before I give it back to him (it’s ok though, since his interest in photography kind of waned immediately).  Nonetheless, it is important for this review (and as a reference point to my N80 review) to note that, although the body of this camera is made of a cheaper grade of plastic than the N80, the plastic latch that holds the door closed on the back of the camera is essentially the same between the two cameras, which just goes to show that I’ve become more careful when loading film to my N80. This camera was eventually updated in Nikon’s lineup by the N75, so I will be comparing it directly to that camera after the jump.



N65 vs. N75:

1. Matrix metering and Center-Weighted metering vs. those plus Spot metering (I do miss the Spot Metering option, but I only really use it, and mostly only when I using the camera in lieu of a light meter or for really tricky lighting scenarios, like shooting a portrait against a sunset)

2. 2.5 frames per second vs 1.5 frames per second

3. Does not allow customization vs. Custom Settings options (This can be a pain if you are someone who really needs to manually adjust all aspects of your exposures.  If you are using this camera recreationally, or as a back-up, then this won’t matter as much since the camera’s automatic features are extremely advanced among its film peers. Just “point and click” really works with this camera.)

4. Five autofocus points are difficult to move between and require single button to be depressed and scroll wheel movement vs. Five autofocus points maneuvered by directional pad (This isn’t a problem for me because I am used to using only one AF point in combination with the af/ae hold button from my n6006 and n8008s.  I find this method to be slightly faster than using the directional pad for AF and I even prefer it in certain situations, but it does somewhat limit your capacity to fine-tune the exposure.  Then again, if you are using the N65, you are probably not needing that degree of control.)

5. The Fill Flash on the N65 is slightly less advanced than that of the N75 because the N75 draws exposure information to more sensor points than the N65.

6. Exposure Compensation is in 1/2 stops for both cameras, but the N75 enables an adjustment of one further compensation point than the N65.

7. Both feature DX ISO coding automatically.

8. Both use CR2 Batteries.

9. Both have a dinky 89% viewfinder coverage (not great)

10. Both have shutter speeds of 30 seconds up to 1/2000th of a second.

11. Both have a poor 1/90th of a second max. Flash Sync, which is slow. (For instance, I shot these pictures at 1/200th of a second, but I could have adjusted other settings to get the same look.  For most scenarios, 1/60th of a second is sufficient, if you are attaching a flash to your camera.  However, to stop human locomotion, 1/250th is suggested, which is why most pro cameras have that as their default max sync.  There are ways to shoot beyond your camera’s max flash sync, but it is sort of technical and so I won’t go into that here.)



Granted, on paper, this camera may look like kind of a waste of time, but in practice, this camera is a ton of fun to shoot, mostly because it just gets out of your way.  You don’t have to worry much about your settings, since the camera decides many of them for you, and you can therefore just get on to the business of composition.  Also, it should be mentioned that this camera is very lightweight, and would make an excellent hiking cam for that reason.  However, it is extremely susceptible to the elements for exactly that reason, so there is a trade-off.  But, for the used price of this camera, you could buy five of these bodies before you could buy one of the AF cameras that will provide you with excellent weather sealing.  All told, I would recommend this camera to some one who is more of a casual shooter, which is why I need to get this camera back to my brother a.s.a.p., since it is a perfect match to his photography interests.


When I got this camera, it didn’t come with a strap, so I attached this leather one from an old hand-bag of my wife’s that she never uses, and it works perfectly.

All photos, Nikon D300 with Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G Lens.


4 Responses

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  1. […] 2: Nikon N65; Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6 lens; Kodak T-Max 400 film (35mm, 24 […]

  2. Lizzy Szwaya said, on January 3, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    how did things work out with the back door? doing some research and came across your post.

  3. Jason Gray said, on January 3, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    Hi Lizzy,

    Thanks for reading.

    I ended up securing the door with a velcro fix that actually allows me to add in some light leak, if I want to. It is important to note though that the latch serves two functions for this Nikon body (and likely others)- 1. it secures the camera back for a light-tight seal, 2. once it is closed, the latch pushes a lever that tells the camera that it is ok to begin taking pictures. If the latch is broken, the camera will not function (even with the camera back closed) until the lever has been manually set.

    So basically, every time that I load this camera with film, I have to set the lever into the correct position before the winder will advance the roll.

  4. […] Nikon N65 […]

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