Nikon FE light meter problems - solutions?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Erik Petersson, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. Erik Petersson

    Erik Petersson Subscriber

    Messages:
    683
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Stockholm, S
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Hi,

    recently my Nikon FE has develop a problem. The light meter needle shows the correct light for the largest aperture, but when I stop down it moves only reluctantly to reflect the new aperture. It is as if something partially blocks it, perhaps dirt. There is actually a faint sound as the needle moves.

    If I keep the camera on the largest aperture the camera effortlessly shows the correct value. The problem only arises when I change the f-stop.

    Can I fix this myself, or should I get it to the repairman?

    thanks for any suggestions
     
  2. Ian C

    Ian C Member

    Messages:
    720
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2009
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    From your description, it sounds like the metering cell is responding as it should, except that the aperture in use is not being accurately transmitted to the meter except at the wide-open position.

    When you change aperture on the lens, the meter coupling ridge of the lens moves the meter coupling lever on the body. I believe that is attached to a variable resistor that is either failing or whose internal wiper is dirty or worn.

    It needs the attention of a competent technician to restore it to correct operation. For most of us, this is not a do-it-yourself type of repair. Without the proper tools and knowledge, any attempt to “fix” the problem is more likely to make it worse.
     
  3. Erik Petersson

    Erik Petersson Subscriber

    Messages:
    683
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Stockholm, S
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I guessed it would be beyond what I am able to do. Thanks for you reply!
     
  4. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,200
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Montgomery,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    As Ian suggests it may be the wiper on the body that the lens moves when the aperture ring is rotated.
    Two things I'd check are: is your finger causing the hesitation? And with the lens removed, does the ring hesitate when you move it manually?
    If it hesitates without the lens, try a drop of alcohol between the lens mount and the meter coupling. If i's a little dust or grime it may free up. If it improves that way but still isn't perfect try another drop. Don't flood it.
    BTW the alcohol will not hurt it.
     
  5. Erik Petersson

    Erik Petersson Subscriber

    Messages:
    683
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Stockholm, S
    Shooter:
    35mm
    John, that's it! The ring is obviously jammed by something. I just reached into my liquor storage to find the right alcohol to fix this. Bacardi? Cointreau? Finally I settled for a half bottle of fine Russian vodka "the Green Mark". I will now see how the camera responds to hard spirits.
     
  6. Erik Petersson

    Erik Petersson Subscriber

    Messages:
    683
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Stockholm, S
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Hi again, John. The ring that we are talking about has been bumped, and that's why it is jammed. I now have to find some other use for the vodka that I wanted to use for cleaning.

    Thanks, by the way
     
  7. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,200
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Montgomery,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Where's the bump? outside edge or surface under the lens mount?
     
  8. Erik Petersson

    Erik Petersson Subscriber

    Messages:
    683
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Stockholm, S
    Shooter:
    35mm
    It is under the lens mount. It is clear that I must have dropped the camera straight down. The body itself has a mark that must have been made at the same time. I hope there are spare parts out there. Otherwise the camera still has an excellent uncoupled light meter.
     
  9. puderse

    puderse Member

    Messages:
    64
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2005
    Location:
    where the we
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Another FE question

    Does the viewfinder on the FE (I just bought one) show 100% of the film area like my Fs, 2s, & 3s?
     
  10. Erik Petersson

    Erik Petersson Subscriber

    Messages:
    683
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Stockholm, S
    Shooter:
    35mm
    No, it only has 93% according to a site I found on the Internet.
     
  11. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,200
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Montgomery,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Might get an "as is" from KEH?
    I don't believe the wiper has any loose stuff under it.
    There's a spring that wraps part way around the lens mount.
    If on'e available for cheap, get it and take the mount off & take a look.
     
  12. Erik Petersson

    Erik Petersson Subscriber

    Messages:
    683
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Stockholm, S
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Yes, if I find another broken FE I will try to use that for spare parts.

    However, I have a couple of other Nikons so this FE will probably for the time being be a camera with uncoupled meter.
     
  13. djacobox372

    djacobox372 Member

    Messages:
    127
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2008
    Shooter:
    35mm
    You can buy a perfectly working fe for $60 on ebay, and likely sell yours in current condition for half that.
     
  14. Erik Petersson

    Erik Petersson Subscriber

    Messages:
    683
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Stockholm, S
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Oh, that's cheap!