FE and F3 "Future"?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by FilmOnly, Nov 11, 2011.

  1. FilmOnly

    FilmOnly Member

    Messages:
    550
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2008
    Location:
    Southeastern
    Shooter:
    35mm
    After years of using different Nikon bodies, I have settled on the FE and F3. For a number of reasons, these are the bodies I prefer to use. I have been reading about the FRE resistor issue, and am disappointed that both of these bodies use this resistor. Since the FRE is very, very difficult to find, is it foolish to use (and like) these bodies when, at some point in time, I will have to adapt to another body? Also, is there any way I could help prevent an FRE failure? I welcome comments and opinions, especially from FE and F3 users.
     
  2. Henning Serger

    Henning Serger Member

    Messages:
    682
    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Don't worry, just use your cameras and have fun.

    If you really may have this problem in the future, there will be a repairman who can fix it.
    I see it here at my home town: We have a Nikon repairman with lot of experience here. He has colllected broken bodies and is using them for spare parts. And he has lots of original spare parts, too.
    Due to Nikon, almost 800,000 Nikon F3 were sold. So probably there is enough gear around to keep lots of used cameras running for decades to come.

    Best regards,
    Henning
     
  3. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

    Messages:
    1,203
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Location:
    Indiana
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    People still race and drive Bugati's (the old kind) and they haven't made a repair part in 80 years.

    I know a guy who drives a Cord 812, another with an L-29. Parts have been scarce for those for 80 years, they have fun with them and deal with the problems when they arrise.

    Turns out Cord 812 half-shafts can be replaced with ones from a 1979 Eldorado.

    I like this 1937 Zenith radio here in my office along with the Marantz 2225.... they both have been fixed and keep going.

    This resistor you speak of is likely on a "board", so replacement of a board or just using an unaffected body will likely be your work-around.
     
  4. steven_e007

    steven_e007 Member

    Messages:
    829
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Location:
    Shropshire,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I heard a story that made my blood boil the other day. My company used Nikon F3 bodies as film capture devices for industrial applications. We had LOTS of Nikon spares in stock, including complete F3 bodies, Many of these were brand new, still boxed and with the packing inserts inside them.

    A colleague told me the other day that they decided these parts were now 'obsolete' and so scrapped the lot. Brand new F3 bodies were literally thrown in the skip. The guy in charge of scrapping then seals the skip with tape and keeps a watch on it via CCTV because, of course, if writing off old stock the law is that it MUST be scrapped...

    I hope, I really hope that the skip lorry driver or someone unloading at the other end managed to salvage the bodies before they were chucked in an incinerator or landfill (and if they put them on eBay - good luck to them, I say...)

    The good news is that it does mean there are new Nikon F3 bodies around - I'm sure we weren't the only company with brand new stock in storage, the camera was extremely popular for various image recording functions in none pictorial type photography. Hopefully the other companies have a slightly less stupid stock disposal system.
     
  5. CGW

    CGW Member

    Messages:
    2,797
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Don't sweat it. Fact is, Nikon film camera production is all but done and spare parts are either exhausted or running very low for nearly all models except the very latest. There are, though, tens of thousands of used bodies floating around, especially strong selling/long-running models like the FM/FE variants and F3s. I have 3 FEs and have never had a nano-second of trouble aside from a decayed light seal or two. One of my F3s, the oldest, has a slightly faded LCD display that's no longer available but it's still very functional. Shoot 'em till they break and don't get bugged out by what might fail. I'd consider later AF models like the N90s/F90x and F100 worth a look as back-ups and future-proofing.

    Here's the story on the FRE:

    http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/classics/nikonfeseries/fe/tech1.htm
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2011
  6. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

    Messages:
    2,394
    Joined:
    May 10, 2006
    Location:
    Aurora, IL
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Don't worry! Cameras like anything else would eventually break but I am in the mid 50's and fully expect my F3 would outlive me. Even if you're younger, you would run out of film before running out of F3 or FE to use.
     
  7. rmont2

    rmont2 Member

    Messages:
    16
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2005
    Location:
    Kansas City,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    FEs and F3s are selling fairly cheap these days. Have you considered picking up a couple of extra bodies in case your regular shooters break? I would keep an eye out for the ones that are being sold for peanuts. Sometimes on the auction site you can catch one in which nobody seems to be paying attention or the listing ends at a weird time. That is what I did with the FE-2/FM2n that I have shot for years. Shoot em till they break!

    Rick
     
  8. CGW

    CGW Member

    Messages:
    2,797
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    That's been my strategy for the past 4-5 years--back-ups in the best shape possible for bodies I like for different types of shooting. We're all prone to survivalism. It's hard to avoid. That said, it's somewhat ironic to hear people here blithely discuss repairs and CLAs when competent technicians are second on the endangered list behind pro labs. They're dying off or retiring with few--if any--replacements. Rick's scheme is sensible and probably the cheapest way to keep shooting film while it lasts.
     
  9. fstop

    fstop Member

    Messages:
    788
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Spare parts is why I bought some of the cameras I got.I'm not worried,if the demand for the elusive FRE gets high enough and if people are willing to pay for parts, the FRE will go back into production whether Nikon or an independent does it.
     
  10. CGW

    CGW Member

    Messages:
    2,797
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Coincident with pigs showing up on NORAD radar.
     
  11. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,465
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Montgomery,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The FRE in the original FE was gold contacts on a glass disc.
    The first one I saw, the camera had been dropped and the glass broke.
     
  12. fstop

    fstop Member

    Messages:
    788
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    Shooter:
    35mm
    There are enough reproduction 1st-3rd gen Mustangs parts available right now that you could build an entire car from reproduction parts.If you chose a later model a reproduction engine can be had also.

    Its all about money....
     
  13. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

    Messages:
    2,265
    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2007
    Location:
    Metro DC are
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Same with Indian Motocycles.
    In some cases the NOS stuff is cheaper than repop.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. TriXfan

    TriXfan Member

    Messages:
    42
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2009
    Shooter:
    35mm
    The best way to prevent FRE failure ?
    Get an F2 - the ultimate backup.
     
  16. marcmarc

    marcmarc Member

    Messages:
    326
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Having upgraded from two F2 bodies that went out on me to an F3, I hope you are all correct. I feel better shooting my F3 knowing that it will be easier to get serviced then my F2's. Around me in LA I see plenty of used bodies in some of the stores, but they are pretty beat up looking and seem pretty steep price wise. My F3 camera came from KEH and with their generous six month warranty and the extra year warranty I purchased for $45, I'll be thrilled beyond belief if I can get this one to go the full 18 months repair free. Neither of my F2's lasted a year after I purchased them. :-(
     
  17. Miskuss

    Miskuss Member

    Messages:
    60
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2007
    Location:
    Ralston, Alb
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Liberation is not theft

    A colleague told me the other day that they decided these parts were now 'obsolete' and so scrapped the lot. Brand new F3 bodies were literally thrown in the skip. The guy in charge of scrapping then seals the skip with tape and keeps a watch on it via CCTV because, of course, if writing off old stock the law is that it MUST be scrapped...

    I hope, I really hope that the skip lorry driver or someone unloading at the other end managed to salvage the bodies before they were chucked in an incinerator or landfill (and if they put them on eBay - good luck to them, I say...)
    .[/QUOTE]

    Sounds like you work for the government. I feel your pain, too bad you were not able to liberate them. I have watched skids of photo gear F3's F4's F5.s plus obsolete darkroom equipment go to their end. It's like putting down a good dog, rather than finding a loving family for it. Outa be a law against it.
     
  18. CGW

    CGW Member

    Messages:
    2,797
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Irrelevant. There's no Barrett-Jackson auction for old photo gear. No one is paying big bucks for revived FE and F3 bodies.
     
  19. rmont2

    rmont2 Member

    Messages:
    16
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2005
    Location:
    Kansas City,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    You know, I think thats a good thing! I shoot these old Nikons because I like to. I'm glad they're not trendy or we'd have to pay big bucks for our replacement bodies. Great cameras, great lenses, and cheap. What a deal! :smile:

    Rick
     
  20. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

    Messages:
    2,394
    Joined:
    May 10, 2006
    Location:
    Aurora, IL
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I think the FRE resistor is well built and should not be of a problem unless you drop the camera. If it fails you still have fully manual functions.
     
  21. RidingWaves

    RidingWaves Member

    Messages:
    825
    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Location:
    Hawaii
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    The FRE in an F3 controls the aperture/shutter speed/light value, so when it breaks it either renders the meter completely non functional, off by a large amount of f-stops, or 'jumpy'. I've got a very early F3 12xxxx serial that took a hit to the film rewind side and the FRE was replaced by Nikon back in 93 or so, it started out as jumpy and then got worse. That F3 also had the right side top plate replaced, the one with the serial number, so it went from very early production of 12xxxx to very late production of 19xxxx.
    From my own experience of F3's (4 of them including an ultra tough P version) the FRE is probably the weakest part, but its reasonably protected on that side and you gotta really want to hurt the camera to crack it. Mine had a pretty serious toss on to concrete, and the impact to that corner by the film rewind knob was obvious as was damage to the rewind assembly, making rewinding by hand a squeaky and friction filled event. All credit to the F3 though, it continued to work in Manual at the marked speeds with the meter being jumpy for a few weeks until I could send it in to get fixed. I was a news photographer at the time and those types of damage stories were part of the job, I remain impressed with how tough that camera is.
     
  22. RidingWaves

    RidingWaves Member

    Messages:
    825
    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Location:
    Hawaii
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    As well, I remember the NPS tech telling me that the top left corner was the weakest for this reason. I surmise that if you wanted to be really careful and wanted to protect it then adding some sort of rubber covering as a cushion, much like the F4 body did.
     
  23. marcmarc

    marcmarc Member

    Messages:
    326
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Well, I certainly spoke too soon. I did some printing today and some shots I took yesterday and several days ago (same roll) in my new to me F3 have that old familiar shutter bounce indication along the edge of one side of the negative.
     
  24. RidingWaves

    RidingWaves Member

    Messages:
    825
    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Location:
    Hawaii
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Hmm. Any idea why the shutter bounce? And is it the starting side or the ending side of the shutter travel?
     
  25. fstop

    fstop Member

    Messages:
    788
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Keyword "IF" if the demand gets high enough they will be made again.Haleys comet will return before the surplus of FEs and F3s dries up to the point that they are no longer viable as parts cameras.
     
  26. CGW

    CGW Member

    Messages:
    2,797
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Please...Try to find someone capable of the necessary transplant surgery in 5 years.