Nikon F3 Auto mode problem

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Weasel_Loader, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. Weasel_Loader

    Weasel_Loader Member

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    Just received a very nice F3 through ebay today. Body is super clean. Shutter speeds seems to work great through all speeds, but when I put it in Auto, the meter in the viewfinder shows -8 and when I fire the shutter, it stays open and mirror locked up. I then have to flip it over to 2000/sec to bring the mirror back down. The weird thing is that when I open the film back, the auto mode will work for a few frames, but then revert to same problem after that. Very strange.

    If it doesn't look like a simple fix, I'll try and send back to seller since the listing said all functions work perfectly and could just use new seals.

    Anybody have a clue on this? Thanks.
     
  2. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    When the back is first closed, the camera will set the shutter to X (1/80th), so the film can be advanced quickly to the first frame without having to take it off Auto, which would otherwise try to give a long exposure in lower light or with the lens cap on. So what you're seeing is normal.

    With the camera set to A, if the lens cap is on, the shutter will stay open.

    Indoors, at a low ISO setting and/or with the lens set to a small opening like f/16, the exposure can be quite long. So:
    Set the exposure compensation dial to 0. Set the ISO to a high number (6400 is highest). Set the lens to maximum opening. See what the meter reads. If necessary, point the camera at a bright light. You should see fluctuation in the reading, and the shutter speed should match. If the meter reads +2000, adjust the lens to a smaller opening or reduce the ISO, until you see a change in the reading.
     
  3. LJSLATER

    LJSLATER Member

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    Yeah, I have my F3 in front of me and lxdude is correct.

    As long as the back door is open and the camera is set to A, it should only fire at 1/80". When you close the back door, still in A, the camera will fire at 1/80" until you reach frame 1.

    Oddly, in M mode, on frames 000, 00, and 0, the meter will remain inactive but you still have access to shutter speeds 8" through 1/80". This is a pain in the ass for those of us who like to start shooting from frame 00 or 0.

    http://www.nikonusa.com/pdf/manuals/archive/F3.pdf

    If the link above doesn't work, Google "Nikon F3 Manual" and you can download the official instruction manual which is still provided by Nikon USA.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 9, 2012
  4. Weasel_Loader

    Weasel_Loader Member

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    I'm thinking the meter is faulty now. After resetting the counter by opening film back, I set film speed to highest (6400) and in Auto. While pointing at a bright light indoors, the meter just shows 80 and shoots fine until first frame on the counter is at #1. That's when the meter turns to -8 -. Press the shutter and it just stays open and locked up until I switch the shutter to 2000/sec. Seems the meter will not show any fluctuations no matter where I point the camera with reference to different lighting. I'll try it out side in day light tomorrow, but to me it seems like a dead meter.

    I love my two Fs and F2AS, but really wanted a F3 just for the AE availability. Really sad to send this back, as the body looks to be unused, although I have noticed a very small dent on the left hand side of the prism. :sad:
     
  5. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    A good smack on the left side near the rewind handle can break an internal glass part of the speed setting dial, unfortunately a common reported "failure", and I believe no spare parts for it either. The F3 section of Mir.com has a picture of the part if I remember correctly.
     
  6. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Before you give up, change the batteries. Worth a try. Sometimes a faulty or nearly depleted battery can cause weird things to happen with electronics. It has happened to me, from my motorcycle to my little P&S digital.
    It could be that auto puts on a greater load than manual settings, and is just enough to make the difference.
     
  7. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Another thought-do you have a non AI lens on it? You would have to meter stopped down, with the meter coupling tab on the body flipped up.
    I don't know if that matters or not, given the symptoms, but worth a try.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 9, 2012
  8. LJSLATER

    LJSLATER Member

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    Oh yeah, the first roll I shot through my F3 was completely underexposed because the tab was flipped out and I didn't notice.
     
  9. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    The symptom indicate that there is no voltage coming from the photocell. Of course that could be the photocell or something that obstruct the light but more likely it's FRE resistor for film speed setting and/or the aperture coupling resistor is broken. AI tab in or out doesn't matter much in fact it should show a lot of light even when the lens is stopped down. In your case the meter shows that there is no light.
    I think you have to return it as it's not a minor repair unless you want to shoot only in manual and meterless. By the way, in manual mode although it works fine but the meter should show a - minus sign all the time.
     
  10. Weasel_Loader

    Weasel_Loader Member

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    Yeah, already started with fresh batteries. Using 50mm f/1.2 AI-S and made sure coupling tab was not flipped up. No luck. Either film speed contacts are inop or something with the meter. I'll return this to the seller.

    Thank you all for input. :smile:
     
  11. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    I don't think it has been mentioned but did try this with a film loaded. It will not function as we expect it to without one.
     
  12. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    The F3 doesn't know whether there is film inside. When the back is opened it resets the counter. It only goes on to auto when the counter is at 1 and above. There is no need to actually have film inside.
     
  13. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    This is true of some cameras.
    My Pentax LX reads light off the shutter curtain on short exposures and off the film on long exposures, and holds the shutter open until it has collected enough light for a proper exposure. If there is no film in the camera, it will read off the black pressure plate and will take much longer. But the F3 only meters OTF for flash.
     
  14. Alex Muir

    Alex Muir Member

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    Send it back. There are lots of good F3s out there. If the seller advertised it as fully functional, then that is what you should have received. Alex
     
  15. Weasel_Loader

    Weasel_Loader Member

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    Picked up another F3 today and works as advertised. Really nice cameras and will compliment my Fs and F2AS.
     
  16. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    If the meter illuminator doesn't work or works poorly, just know that's common. The tiny red button doesn't actuate a microswitch or some such- it just puts a piece of metal across two contacts on the edge of a circuit board. It doesn't have a proper return spring, just some squashy material. Obviously done to save money. A design deficiency in an otherwise excellent machine.
     
  17. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    My current F3 has a very similar problem when I first got it. My brother bought it for me and neglect to inspect it carefully enough. The meter would work fine either in manual or auto but only if the ISO setting is very high and I don't stop the lens down a lot. If the combination of lens stop down and ISO turning down from 6400 is 5 stops or greater it would simply displaying -8- in A or - in Manual. When it works the meter is correct. When I said the combination of stopping down is 5 stops I meant that if I set it at ISO 6400 it would work until I stop down past F5.6 with a f/1.4 lens. If I set it at ISO 3200 then I can only stop down to f/4 and ISO 1600 I can stop down to f/2.8, ISO 800 I can stop down to f/2 etc...
    The problem was found that the subtracting amplifier that subtract the voltage from the meter coupling and ISO resistor from the voltage from photocell is malfunction. If the voltage from the meter coupling and ISO setting is greater than a certain value it simply output 0 volt. I had the shop replaced the chip and it works fine today.