Nikon EM question

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by snegron, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. snegron

    snegron Member

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    Recently a friend of mine gave me his old Nikon EM with 50mm Series E 1.8 lens. He purchased it new back in either 1979 or 1980, rarely used it and kept it stored in a leather-like camera case all these years.

    It looks like near mint condition. The batteries were a tad bit corroded ( I think he changed them within the past 3 or 4 years), but there was no corrosion on any battery contact. I cleaned the battery contacts anyway just to make sure and placed two new batteries in it.

    The camera seems to be working fine, but I find the exposure needle jumping about wildly even when I touch the camera. The shutter seems to work well as I tried different shutter speeds by using different aperture settings (seems like an aperture only camera).

    I removed the new batteries, re-cleaned the battery contacts but the exposure needle still jumps like crazy when I put the slightest pressure on the aperture. Is this normal? Is there something else I need to adjust on this camera to get the needle to stop jumping like crazy? I tried different lenses but the camera's exposure needle does the same thing.

    On another note, my friend also gave me the brochures and advertising pamphlets that came with the camera! They are in perfect condition! It is fantastic to see color pictures of "the Nikon System" circa 1978-79. :smile:
     
  2. Chris Douglas

    Chris Douglas Member

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    Use it

    I have read about this problem before. There is a sliding contact that moves with the f stop setting that gets intermittent. This is one of those rare cases where lack of use is bad. Normal use of the camera keeps the contacts clean. I have never had any problem with my EM, and it gets lots of use. I suggest you "dry" shoot some pictures without film, as if you were shooting a few rolls of film. See if the intermittent problem goes away. It is a neat little camera, I hope it works for you.
    Best regards,
    Chris
     
  3. snegron

    snegron Member

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    Thanks Chris! Looks like the exposure needle jumpiness doesn't affect the shutter speed, only needle itself as viewed in the viewfinder. I will do some dry firing to see if it goes away.
     
  4. CGW

    CGW Member

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    If you like it but can't stand the jittery needle, another EM would top out at about $25 and its smarter brother, the FG, a bit more. The 50/1.8E is a sweet little lens.
     
  5. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    Protip: you can ratchet wind the EM... one of the few Nikons that do this. (Does the FG? The other one that does is the F3/F3HP.)
     
  6. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    The shutter speed is what the needle is pointing at. If the needle is pointing at the wrong shutter speed then you have bad exposure too.
     
  7. snegron

    snegron Member

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    It is a nicely designed camera, but I don't think I would buy another one. While I do shoot many times in aperture priority, I also like to shoot manual as well.
     
  8. snegron

    snegron Member

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    The needle is jumping from one extreme shutter speed to another. It is definitely a jumpy needle problem, not an exposure-related issue. I tried it in different lighting situations and the shutter speed sounded correct (slower in the dark), but it pointed erratically to a higher speed. The camera is metering and exposing correctly, it is simply displaying a jumpy meter.
     
  9. CGW

    CGW Member

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    That's why I mentioned the FG: smallest full-featured MF SLR Nikon ever made and the same size as the EM.
     
  10. Ricardo Miranda

    Ricardo Miranda Member

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    The FG should be the same. The manual does refer a single stroke "or a series of shorter ones". The FG-20 is the same.
     
  11. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Kinda miss my EM, it walked off with its perfect 50mm e series as well.
     
  12. michael stevens

    michael stevens Member

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    I had an FE-2 which did this when I bought it; maybe you have the same problem. In my case it turned out to be the contact inside the camera which senses the aperture. I assume it was dirty or slightly corroded through disuse. Try repeatedly turning the aperture ring backwards and forwards from wide open to fully stopped down. It took quite a lot of twisting, but in my case it worked in the end.
     
  13. snegron

    snegron Member

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    Do you recommend twisting the aperture ring repeatedly with the camera meter turned on, or with the meter off? I don't know if the jumpy needle problem is on the aperture lever on the camera mount or in the actual needle itself.
     
  14. John_Nikon_F

    John_Nikon_F Subscriber

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    Doesn't matter if the camera meter is on or not. The problem is in the ring resistor. It's dirty. So, the 10-15 Nikon shuffles that I suggested over on Nikonians should work. You might have to do it some more, but it should work. It's a common problem with the EM.

    -J
     
  15. snegron

    snegron Member

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    Thanks John! I was just getting ready to respond to you over at Nikonians, but you saved me the trip! :smile: I am rotating the aperture ring repeatedly as we speak. Next on my list will be to change the foam seals on it as well. I will probably be ordering several foam light seals in the near future to replace them on some of my other bodies (FM2n, F3 and an old Pentax), so my "new to me" EM will be my next project.
     
  16. CGW

    CGW Member

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    It can also simply be shot; if so, all the twiddling won't bring it back to life. It's a hit-or-miss solution, at best. The only seal that's behind most light leaks is at the hinge side of the back and you don't need a "kit" to replace it, just a piece of adhesive-backed foam.
     
  17. snegron

    snegron Member

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    Actually, the twiddling has worked for the most part! The needle is much less jumpy now. :smile: Thanks for the feedback on the foam kits. I was planning on replacing the foam on the hinge side of the back as well as the door channel seals as they are gummy. I wasn't too overly concerned changing out the mirror cushion though.
     
  18. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Door channel seals are more for moisture and dust, not light. I've taken them out of several Nikon MF bodies and never had any problems.
     
  19. michael stevens

    michael stevens Member

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    Keep at it, it can take quite a lot of twisting and turning to make up for the years of neglect!
     
  20. snegron

    snegron Member

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    Getting there! Getting there slowly, but getting there! :smile: The jumpiness is very minimal now.
     
  21. kodel

    kodel Member

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