F3 Problem?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by alistair.o, Mar 21, 2010.

  1. alistair.o

    alistair.o Member

    Messages:
    32
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2010
    Location:
    Derbyshire
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Hello,

    I have the offer of an F3 with standard DE-2 prism. The camera and head are mint and it will come boxed etc.

    Here is where I need advice please:-

    The meter is 100% with my Gossen hand held but, the meter read out is just a little bit off in that the figure 5 is missing the upright part and the 2 is the same. I'm sure that it would be easy enough to get used to but is it an indication of:

    1. The LCD is dying?
    2. The LCD is fine but tired and will go on 'forever'?
    3. The batteries are low (perhaps)?
    4. Or is something entirely different?

    Any advice would be gratefully received.

    Thank you

    Alistair
     
  2. budrichard

    budrichard Member

    Messages:
    167
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    I have had other LCD devices display the same type of problem. Its my experience that the LCD is usually not repairable and one can't tell what will happen to the still functioning parts of the LCD display in the future. Did you contact Nikon as they would be your best source?-Dick
     
  3. unclemack

    unclemack Member

    Messages:
    127
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2009
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Most likely is the connector strip of the LCD but other causes are also possible.
    I would rather buy one with full function even if not cosmetically mint.
     
  4. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,413
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Location:
    NE U.S.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Way back when, at the time the F3 came out, Nikon recommended the lcd panel be replaced at some interval I don't remember anymore. As I recall it was something like 5 years give or take. I never bothered, as initial interval and a many more came and went on my camera, and the LCD is fine.
    Given that Nikon apparently intended for the panel to be replaced often, it should be an easy fix, if the part is available still. Probably worth contacting Nikon, or other repair service.
     
  5. alistair.o

    alistair.o Member

    Messages:
    32
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2010
    Location:
    Derbyshire
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Thanks for the replies.

    I think you have understood only too well what I meant! But, just to make absolutely certain, here is the problem:

    Shutter speeds 1000; 125; 60; 30;15; 8 are all displayed correctly.

    Shutter speeds 250 and 500 are not in that the 2 is only partly displayed and the same for the 5 and yet 125 i.e. the 1 is perfect when seen on the LCD! The 2 of 2000 also is only partly displayed. Notice, it is all the same column i.e. right next to the M/+ sign.

    Could this be a fault in a single column of the LCD (so to speak) and that is all?

    Appreciate your help.

    Regards

    Alistair

    PS: The meter is dead on.
     
  6. Lukas_87

    Lukas_87 Member

    Messages:
    114
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Location:
    Prague, Czec
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I had similar problem about 1/2 year ago - anything faster than 1/30 was displayed as a mess (everything lit up).
    I took a good screwdriver, carefully unscrewed the 3 top screws, lift the whole LCD assembly up, then I disassemblef it from bottom, and again put it all firmly back to it's place - and whoa, it work ever since then like new. so I think it might be a case of bad contacts.
     
  7. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

    Messages:
    2,374
    Joined:
    May 10, 2006
    Location:
    Aurora, IL
    Shooter:
    35mm
    The first 2 digits are bad. Some segments do not work. They both can display the 1 ok but not 2 or 5. It's the LCD panel problem. You just have to replace it. Otherwise the camera would still works fine even if the LCD is completely dead.
     
  8. unclemack

    unclemack Member

    Messages:
    127
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2009
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Sometimes tightening the LCD clamp by a tiny amount - to increase its pressure on the connector strip - will work. Sometimes cleaning the strip (but NOT! the LCD contacts) will work.
    Easy to lose the 3 loose switch parts for the illuminator or reverse them, easy to damage the circuit connector (which is thin film) if you don't know what you're doing. It's crucial that you don't mix up the screws - the short csk must go back where it came from.
    There used to be a (US I think) company that advertised a restorative liquid for connector strips but I never tried it so don't know if it works or is still available.
    If Nikon service is too expensive and if they will supply the parts ask if the connector strip comes with the LCD, you need both.
     
  9. unclemack

    unclemack Member

    Messages:
    127
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2009
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    It occurs to me that I haven't described this "connector strip."
    Silicon rubber/carbon layered elastomer, very fine pitch contacts (about 0.01") size less than 1mm. square x maybe 10mm. in this case.
    Under magnification it would look like a four-foot high sandwich.
    Not easy to work with, best to use latex gloves to avoid any contamination of its surface, also true for the LCD itself.
     
  10. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,099
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2005
    Location:
    Melbourne Au
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Alistair, one of my F3 bodies does exactly what you describe. I have the vertical lines but not the horizontal lines.

    I have also seen another F3 with the exact same issue.

    I don't have a problem with it at all as I generally only work out exactly where the + and - signs come on, then look at the top of the camera for a quick double check.

    I bought my camera new, it is I think, built in 1983/4 and it has done thousands of rolls of film.

    The problem started about 5 years ago from memory, hasn't gotten worse nor better.

    If the camera works alright and the price is correct, then it's your call, I don't think it will worsen overnight.

    Mick.
     
  11. clayne

    clayne Member

    Messages:
    2,837
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Location:
    San Francisc
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You'll only care when you're actually using the meter. In which case it'll be fairly easy to figure out what the numbers actually mean.
     
  12. alistair.o

    alistair.o Member

    Messages:
    32
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2010
    Location:
    Derbyshire
    Shooter:
    35mm
    What a grand bunch of guys you are!

    Mick, good to read about your self same problem (if you get my meaning). The five years part has encouraged me no end - The F3 certainly feels right in the hand.

    My plans are to use the Nikon F for B&W and the F3 (may be) for colour.

    Once again I'm indepted to you all.

    PS Unclemack - thanks for your indepth posts; unfortunately my eyes are not up to it neither is my courage level, but I appreciate your time and thought - thanks

    Best wishes to all

    Alistair
     
  13. alistair.o

    alistair.o Member

    Messages:
    32
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2010
    Location:
    Derbyshire
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Hi,

    I switched on the F3 last evening (I have been using it regularly) and guess what? The meter LCD is perfect! the figures showed as they should! At first I couldn't 'get my head around it' It was with some trepidation that I switched it off and back on - but I worried for nothing! It is a perfect screen and figures all showing as the should, both in A and manual...

    Happy days

    Best wishes

    Alistair
     
  14. andrewkirkby

    andrewkirkby Member

    Messages:
    328
    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    Location:
    Sydney, Aust
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Common F3 problem. Very common in F4 as well. LCD is failing
     
  15. alistair.o

    alistair.o Member

    Messages:
    32
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2010
    Location:
    Derbyshire
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for the reply. Have you seen Mick Fagan's message in this thread (#10). It seems some camera were/are like it from new.

    Interesting eh?

    Alistair
     
  16. andrewkirkby

    andrewkirkby Member

    Messages:
    328
    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    Location:
    Sydney, Aust
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Well, it is an inherent problem with older manufacturing techniques used in the production of monochrome LCDs. Essentially there is a conductive material which joins the LCD cells (one of the bars of a number) to the connections which are then soldered to on the outside of the LCD package- this conductive material fails over time and causes the LCD cell to go dim/not work. Back then this was relatively new technology.

    I also repair analogue synthesizers and this is a common problem on gear from the 1980s, especially from Japan. I believe the parts were all made by the same company (Alps)
     
  17. CGW

    CGW Member

    Messages:
    2,797
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Nikon.ca recently tried to fix my early F3 whose LCD was "graying" but otherwise legible. My other, newer F3's readout is crisp and black, so why not try to get its older brother up to scratch? After a week in the shop for this fix and a thorough CLA, it came back with a replaced LCD that looked exactly the same(!?). They kindly wrote off the $200+ bill(that included a raft of small part replacements)because they were unable to remedy the problem. A tech explained that the fading/dropout issue isn't the LCD per se but rather a small circuit board/strip that's no longer available. Find one of those and you'll have your fix;otherwise, don't waste $ on replacement LCDs for your F3. Ordinary fading isn't the fault of the LCD.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 15, 2010
  18. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    2,385
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2006
    Location:
    Cleveland, O
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    LCD failure usually manifests itself as bleeding of the characters and/or odd black splodges.

    Segments that fade in and out are usually connector problems. They will change over time and with changes in humidity and temperature. Often just loosening and tightening of the LCD frame will help (though it may sometimes makes things worse).

    It is possible to remove the LCD and gently clean off the zebra strip and circuit board. You can do a 'drag wipe' on the LCD contacts: wet a folded strip of lens tissue in 90+% isopropyl alcohol and drag it across the contact area, letting the weight of the lens tissue do the cleaning. You can do several 'drag wipes' without doing damage. I have used soap and water and an ultrasonic cleaner for the zebra strip - a very light wiping with alcohol should be ok. The circuit board contacts can be cleaned with a light brush with a soft pink eraser and then isopropyl and a swab. Putting things back can be a minor nightmare: you have to get the zebra strip back in position so that it is straight across the contacts. Swiss watch-repair tweezers, miniature screwdrivers and a 10x jewelers' loupe - or something equivalent - are almost mandatory if you want better than luck odds.
     
  19. CGW

    CGW Member

    Messages:
    2,797
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    With respect, that sounds like a recipe for disaster. I'll take a factory-trained Nikon tech's word that its an electronic circuit component issue involving an obsolete part that's no longer available--not necessarily dirty contacts. Had that been the "fix," I suspect they would have done it on my F3. They don't jerk people around.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 15, 2010
  20. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    2,385
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2006
    Location:
    Cleveland, O
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Maybe not. They also know it is a recipe for disaster, one best avoided. "Sorry, we can't get the part anymore" is a great excuse among the technoid fraternity, eliminates all further discussion and customer goes away satisfied, at least as satisfied as they are likely to get. The whole module assembly that they would normally replace - circuit board, LCD & flex cable - probably isn't available so it isn't really a fib.

    There is also the cost issue of doing a labor intensive repair. At the $100/hour Nikon is likely charging for OoW repair the job would cost $150 - 200 and one can buy a perfectly good F3 body for that - if not an F4.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 15, 2010
  21. CGW

    CGW Member

    Messages:
    2,797
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Know the drill well. Also painfully aware how non-authorized techs do "wall jobs" just like their automotive bretheren. Saw the part, saw the part # and schematic and the bulletin--no dice. Money wasn't a huge consideration since $200 buys high-rollage beaters with issues. My F3's still working--no complaints for a camera pushing 30 I've used steadily for 8 years.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 15, 2010
  22. lxdude

    lxdude Member

    Messages:
    6,942
    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    Location:
    Redlands, So
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Something else that can cause LCD "fade" is dirty mirrors. Mine was getting dim and I decided to investigate. Without the prism it looked fine, so I figured it was inside the prism. A film had built up on the little mirrors inside and especially on the long one behind the faceplate which reflects into the prism. A careful cleaning and all is well.