Nikomat EL meter needle erratic

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by ulysses, Jun 17, 2010.

  1. ulysses

    ulysses Subscriber

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    I picked up a Nikomat EL in very nice shape for a song at the big auction site. Everything seems to work but the needle is erratic at larger apertures. From f22 to f8 it tracks nicely. From f5.6 on it just jumps to the top. I'd like to have the meter fixed, get a CLA and new seals and use it, since it's way too pretty to sit on the shelf. I sent it to International Camera Repair in Chicago after getting an estimate for $90 via email. After a couple of weeks of no response I called them and got "there's a lot wrong with the camera but we'll stick to our estimate." A couple of days later he called and asked what kind of lenses I was using. When I said AI Nikkors, he says "That's your problem. It works just fine with our lens, so you need to have your lenses modified to work with this camera." Of course he offered to "modify" all of my lenses for a fee.

    So...I'm looking for someone who actually knows something about Nikomat (or even Nikkormat) repair who can do the work for me. I talked to Pete Smith, at Delray Camera shop, and while I'm sending him an F2 and a lens for a CLA, he won't work on the Nikomat. Does anyone have any suggestions for a repair shop/tech?

    Thanks,
    Ulysses
     
  2. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    Put it on a shelf. Get yourself a FM2 or a FE2 and be done with it. The El was a nice camera but... come on... 40 years later, get a working Nikon body and go shoot pitchers.

    tim in san jose
     
  3. domaz

    domaz Member

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    My LCS has Nikormats in a junk sale for $5 a piece I think. Unless you want to do the repair yourself it's not worth it- so many working 35mm cameras out there.
     
  4. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    It's an age-related problem involving a dirty/worn ring resistor that's swiped with aperture changes. I have a pretty black EL that developed the problem. You might contact Essex(http://www.essexcamera.com/)
    but I suspect you'd be happier with an FE or F3--both can handle NAI lenses, thanks to a flip-up AI tab. A clean FE would probably cost less than the repair bill on your ailing EL.
     
  5. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    I'd go along with CGW on the resistor wiper cause. It's right under the lens mount. There is a spring that likes to pop out of place though. Doesn't go flying, just likes to pop over the edge of the mount when you reassemble them. Not bad enough to be a PITA, more pitn.
     
  6. ulysses

    ulysses Subscriber

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    I figured the resistor wiper. It's probably dirt, not wear, because the camera is quite minty. If it just needs cleaning, it sounds like a relatively simple fix, and whoever does it will get paid for a CLA and new seals as well. I'm willing to pay if I can find someone competent to do the work. If the previous repair tech had not given me mis-information over the phone, I would have paid him for his time. Had he asked, I would have paid him for the free estimate anyway, because I know these guys need to earn an income.

    As for what I'd be happier with, I have a bunch of cameras and I use all of them at one time or another. Which one I use depends on a lot of things, including my mood. What makes me happy is having each and every one of them in good working condition. It's not a question of cost or age or "better" cameras being available, or even which lenses will work on them. I have a lot of those (lenses) too, including pre-AI versions.

    This is starting to sound pissy, and I really don't want to come across that way. I do appreciate the recommendation for Essex Camera and I'll contact them. I was a little frustrated with the several replies saying, essentially, why bother. Your was the only reply that actually gave me what I asked for -- the name of a good repair shop -- and I really do appreciate that.

    Thanks,
    Ulysses
     
  7. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    No worries. Of late, many repair guys choose to blow off "low mileage busted old camera" service requests simply because few clients seem willing to pay much. That leads to the "new old" would be cheaper advice most posters offer here and elsewhere. I retired my EL after almost 15 yrs service--it was a bargain and I'd subsequently acquired an "embarrassment" of Nikon bodies. Still, I shelled out to fix a sweet old 60s Bronica S medium format just because I love its Nikon-made lenses. It's fun to be illogical on the cheap, no?
     
  8. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    Sorry to have troubled you. Next time I won't bother to answer you either.

    Amazing how some people just throw away the value of experience because it wasn't JUST what they asked.

    tim in san jose
     
  9. ulysses

    ulysses Subscriber

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    Thanks for taking my comments in the proper spirit. No logic to it at all...

    Ulysses
     
  10. John_Nikon_F

    John_Nikon_F Subscriber

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    Care to mention which shop?

    May be needing some donors for parts...

    And, to the OP, 'tis fine to be interested in repairing something you have already. Did that on a few FT series 'mats. Sure, I lost big time when it came time to replace the cameras with something else, but I did have a properly working camera for the time I used them. Hence the reason I asked domaz which shop is selling the 'mats for so cheap. Got a couple FTn's, one that needs work, and one that's currently unknown, since it hasn't arrived yet.

    -J