DIY cleaning on film camera

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by AezranHakim, Jul 27, 2011.

  1. AezranHakim

    AezranHakim Member

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    Hi guys, opinion, is it possible to do a DIY cleaning of the Focusing Screen on a nikon FM3A? will it spoil the camera? I noticed my camera has some dusts that is visible from the viewfinder. Need help~!

    If its possible, how to do it? any unique chemicals etc etc?
     
  2. derwent

    derwent Member

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    While I am
    Not familiar with that model of camera, I have successfully cleaned several focus screens.
    To clean the underside is easy, go in from the front with lens off and mirror down.
    Usually to get to the upper side generally requires removal of the top cover and prism which is a piece of cake on some cameras but a right pain on others.

    The cleaning method I use is a damp tissue folded up and held in fine tweezers. Careful not to touch focus screen or mirror with tweezers and only wipe gently and change the tissue a couple of times.
    This will clean off dust but will not harm the screen.
    Fresnel screens are generally made of a very soft plastic that is fairly vulnerable to chemicals, so I'd be cautious of using anything much stronger, although a water based lens cleaner might work.
    Straight water works well enough for me so far.
     
  3. dnjl

    dnjl Member

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    Cleaning a focusing screen is relatively easy if you do it with some care, but chances are this is not going to eliminate all the dust in your viewfinder. If there's dust on the focusing screen, there's usually dust inside the viewfinder prism as well. Cleaning that takes a lot of courage.
    I would use a dry microfiber cloth or simply some compressed air (very carefully) for the focusing screen.
     
  4. mr rusty

    mr rusty Subscriber

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    Risk v Reward.

    In my experience, cleaning focus screens can be a pain. Even on my olympus, where the focus screen comes out easily as it is interchangeable it is very difficult to eliminate all dust. Even the tiniest speck shows as a little black dot. If I had to start dismantling the camera. I don't think I would bother. After all, it doesn't affect the picture. Unless it is *very* dusty, I wouldn't bother
     
  5. BobD

    BobD Member

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    I wouldn't advise using any sort of liquid cleaner. Remove the screen and gently brush or blow the dust off.
     
  6. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    On my old Canon F-1 you can remove the focus screen and clean it. But in your case it might be more trouble than it's worth it.

    Jeff
     
  7. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Why do people respond to these threads when they really don't have a clue?

    http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photograph...ikonfeseries/fefmshared/html/screenchange.htm

    Just be aware these FM/FE series screens are plastic and scratch easily. Use a bulb blower or clean soft camel's hair brush to remove any dust--that usually does the trick. Using liquid cleaners and tissues is really a last ditch remedy and ups the likelihood of permanent scratches. Take your time.
     
  8. fstop

    fstop Member

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    To bump their post count perhaps?
     
  9. derwent

    derwent Member

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    Hey, if you think someone is wrong you don't need to be offensive about it.
    Regarding my reply I said straight up that I was not familiar with that model but the method I mentioned is one that I have successfully uses on several occasions on various cameras, usually ones with hard to remove screens.
    I dis make one mistake, I assumed although didn't specify that the OP has already tried using a blower. That is the first thing I do and only use the tissues and water If that doesn't clean it to my satisfaction.
    I have never had any damage from using thus method although if you are ham fisted you could do a lot quickly.
    I never said this was the best or only method, just one I had used SUCCESSFULLY in the past.

    Also I don't give a flying **** about post count.
     
  10. Aja B

    Aja B Member

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    Cleaning the screen is simple and striaght forward when done properly. Worst-case is scratching the screen and/or damaging the bracket that holds the screen. Do not use any liquid. Learn how to properly remove the screen. Preferable to use the Nikon tweezers to release the bracket and hold the screen. Use a RocketBlower or equivalent to blow dust/debris. Consider holding the screen with two fingers by opposite corners as a Blower can quite easily dislodge the screen from tweezers. Blow upward so as not to launch more debris while holding screen close to a soft surface in case of drop. If debris persists, use a proper brush, Pec Pad or equivalent to extremely gently dab the offending bits of debris. Use a fraction of a fraction of the pressure you might otherwise use to dab debris from your cornea. Do not use any liquid. Do not 'brush' across the entire surface unless absolutely necessary. The aim is to oh-so-softly dab and lift. Use the brightest light you can find and a magnifier to examine. While screen is out, Rocket Blow the mirror box. Ensure that screen is properly seated in bracket before returning bracket to 'locked' position.
     
  11. BobD

    BobD Member

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    Because they don't have a clue?
     
  12. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    It's called "trying to be helpful" and doesn't warrant this sort of response.

    Steve
     
  13. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Fully agree with the "trying" part. Very trying indeed. Helpful? Not so much.
     
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  15. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    I'd just leave it alone. Anything more than blowing the dust off it will likely ruin it. Taking it out to clean it will just allow dust into the pentaprism, could make things worse in the long run.
     
  16. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I use this method too, but often end up replacing the dust with lint. Use lens tissue for a more lint-free result. Kim-wipe (brand name) also works but I can feel many people cringing because they fear this product to be too abrasive.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 28, 2011
  17. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    I have done such forbidden stuff for years. I would do the following: remove the screen and hold it by the sides. (Have a very soft camel's hair brush handy.)

    Now go to the kitchen sink and squirt a drop of dish liquid on the screen. Then wet the brush and brush the screen on both sides. Rinse the screen WELL and then, finally, dip it in an ounce of clean water that has a drop of wetting agent in it. Then use a hair dryer to dry each side of the screen.

    The dust can also be on the underside of the prism. Before placing the screen back blow heavily on the bottom of the prism (but make sure that your lips are VERY dry so no saliva goes with your breath!) If dust is still on the mirror use a VERY clean DRY camels hair brush to brush it clean. I have even CAREFULLY cleaned the bottom of the prism with a tiny, clean tissue with a drop of Windex. (Watch not to touch the damn black baffle that prevents the mirror from banging up to hard. That black stuff is sticky and can cause all sorts for problems, especially if some gets on the screen.) This all is not a big problem if you are careful not to scratch the screen. The screen is very vulnerable to scratches because it is soft plastic, but what I have said works and will cause no problems. - David Lyga
     
  18. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I've clean non-removable focusing screen with q-tips dipped in alcohol. If you're real gentle, they won't leave behind lint, at least the ones I use didnt.
     
  19. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Since FM3A has a removable focusing screen, you can remove it, and brush off dust with gentle brush and puff of air. I really wouldn't do anything more.... You CAN wash it with distilled water but dust will get on it during drying process.

    I've tried cleaning mine on trashed camera once. That thing is alot softer than I imagined and I am certain the result wasn't any better than when I started.
     
  20. Smudger

    Smudger Member

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    Well,the O.P. will be well confused by now. His user manual will describe how to remove/replace the focus screen.
    David has the gist of it ,but I 'll repeat : the Thomas Tomosy method,which has the additional benefit of actually working,should replace most of the dubious advice offered so far.
    Dilute a little dishwash detergent in warm water. Plunge the screen into this.
    Use a very clean,soft brush to brush both sides. Remove screen, rinse in clean water. BLOW DRY - DO NOT WIPE - with anything -no tissue,no Q-tips,Nada.
    Lean on tissue to air-dry.
    Works on ground glass,acrylic,anything.
    One last tip - if the crud is out of focus,but still visible -it is probably on the screen side of the prism. Best method is a small blob of -here it's called Blu-Tak, held in a fine pair of tweezers -it will lift the specks without marring the glass surface.
    Now, can we have another thread about how impossible it is to clean a front-silvered mirror ?
    Anyone ?
     
  21. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    +1

    But, my variation is a last wash in *very* dilute dishwash detergent (or Photoflo) solution, say about one drop a litre...

    Also, while good for single-layer screens like the OP's, it shouildn't be used on compound screens which are combined with a condensor (at least, without dismanteling them - Nikon F/F2, for example).


    Mirrors: the drastic solution is supposed to be to brush on a collodial solution, let dry and peel off...
    NOTE!!! I haven't actually tried this (yet - mainly due to difficulty finding collodial solution). YMMV!!! Try on a junk camera first - I warned you!!

    Now how about a thread now on the "extreme difficulty" of finding substitutes for mercury cells? :wink:
     
  22. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    So no other methods are possible and nobody else's experience is valid?
     
  23. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    If that was in response to my post, I don't see how I said or implied that.

    What I should have added was that the wet method should be used when a blower/brush isn't enough.

    Other methods are certainly possible (ultrasound anyone?), just that I've successfully used the washing method many times to remove gunk more serious than dust from a focusing screen.
     
  24. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Rol, We were composing at about the same time. I didn't see you response even though you posted about 5 min before me. I was refering to the posting before yours that seems to call every one elses experience "dubious".
     
  25. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    This probably won't be too popular of an opinion, but 9 times out of 10 it isn't worth cleaning the focussing screen. The dust (and scratches) generally won't really make it more difficult to focus and it certainly won't affect the image on the film. Sure, dust specks may be annoying but thats about all they generally are.
     
  26. fstop

    fstop Member

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    yup, thats how it is around these parts,you'll get used to it.:whistling:


    i obviously can't tell you how to clean the screen but I can tell you what won't work.

    Sandblaster
    Pressure washer
    Car wash
    Dishwasher
    Autoclave
    acetone
    Coke
    summers eve
    wire brush
    Nair