Nikon FM meter issue

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by starcade design, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. starcade design

    starcade design Member

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    Just got a Nikon FM off eBay (I just never learn...though I mostly was buying the lens, FM was a bonus), and it seems to work pretty well, except the meter. At first, I couldn't get it to do anything besides light up underexposed (-). I set it to ASA 3200, 1 second shutter, and had the lens (28mm f/2.8) wide open...and it was saying underexposed - even with a bright subject. Switched to the 50mm f/1.8 lens, and played with it at bit, eventually got it to show up switching between over/proper exposure when pointing at my ceiling light (with the same ASA/shutter as before). I figured this was at least better, as it was showing some amount of reaction, but I new that it was wrong.

    After some searching online, some had luck with just turning the ASA and shutter, blowing compressed air at it. I twisted about for awhile, and it had definitely gotten better, though I'm pretty sure it is still off. I don't have a can of compressed air, so haven't tried that yet.

    Anyone have a similar circumstance in the past? I'm hoping some use wakes it up, since it has shown large improvement just in about 5-10 minutes of fiddling, but thought I'd check and see if anyone here has suggestions or experienced something similar.

    Thanks!
     
  2. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    I'm not very familiar with the FM, but - here are some things to check.

    Correct, fresh, tested-good battery? Clean contacts in the battery compartment? Are you familiar enough with the camera that you are using it correctly, or could you be missing something?
     
  3. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    try to also exercise the meter coupling as well as the ISO and shutter speed dial. With an f/2.8 lens and the light level is below LV3 (EV3 @ ISO100) the 0 led will never light up even if you set your ISO to 3200. It would go directly from - to + but not 0. With the f/1.4 lens it need LV1.
     
  4. starcade design

    starcade design Member

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    Battery should be good. It was working fine in the FE. Only a month or so old. That being said, I've had issues with other batteries from the same batch. The camera is new to me as of yesterday, and I have not had an FM before, but from looking through the manual, I don't think I've missed anything.

    Forgot to mention, when I said it got better, I think I was able to set it to ISO 400, and a shutter speed of 1/15 or so at f/1.8 and it would show as over/correct exposure when looking at the ceiling lights. Certainly better than 3200 and 1 full second. I'll try exercising the coupling as well, thanks for the tip. I also still need to use my DSLR to get an idea of the correct exposure so I have an idea when I'm getting close. But that'll have to wait till after work.

    Thanks for the input!
     
  5. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Your DSLR's reading may or may not correspond to ISO standards. Use a meter which is known to be accurate.
     
  6. starcade design

    starcade design Member

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    OK, well I'm at lunch. Compared it to readings on the FE, it looks to be about 3 stops off (if the FE is correct anyway, I haven't had film developed from it.)

    When I removed the lens to exercise the meter coupling lever...I noticed the lever is just a hair left of top center (looking at the front of the camera) as far as I know (and the pics in the manual, and online) it seems the lever should be at about a 33 degree angle to the right. Could this have something to do with it, and is there a way to ... return it to its rightful position?
     
  7. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    The coupling is supposed to be about 30 degree to the right and not left of center so it's not in the right position. It's spring loaded to return to the right. You can push it back and forth. Won't do any harm. It could be a bit sticky. The fact that it's slight left of center then the camera think the lens is stopped down a few stop and thus your wrong reading. In another word, give it more exercise.
     
  8. starcade design

    starcade design Member

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    Sorry, I worded that wrong. I said the lever is off to the left, but the whole ring that the lever is a part of is off. As in, the lever pulls to the left further than where it sits at rest, and it springs back like it should...but the groove that the lever is in and moves back and forth in...it's too far over. So I believe the whole ring needs to move? This is a case where a picture is worth 1,000 words. I'll try to get one later!
     
  9. starcade design

    starcade design Member

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    Sorry, I was wrong with that last post. That's what I get for posting from memory about how a camera works that I've had for 1 day. Haha.

    Gave it a little more force pushing with the lens past the point where the lens releases...and the coupler seems to have popped over to the proper position! Now to exercise it and get it (hopefully) loosened back up and working right.

    Just for fun, here's the pic of where it was stuck (taken right before I got it.)

    Thanks for the help!!

    EDIT: Played a bit with the coupler, and no issues with it getting hung up again, so I mounted the lens back up and metering seems to be on target (though I haven't yet compared to the FE)
     

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  10. FRM

    FRM Member

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    ASA 3200 for 1 second is way outside the range of sensitivity of the FM light meter. 30 plus years ago, my new FM's light meter could not handle 400 ASA at 1 sec and f1.8.

    If you want to test the meter, set it to ASA 125 and then check for the sunny 16 rule (in sunlight, should be about f16 and 1/ASA, or 125 in this case).
     
  11. MFstooges

    MFstooges Member

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    That is probably the culprit. I bought couple of FM zombies from ebay with different problems but they all have light meter that works.