Nikon FM Shutter Problem...

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Ara Ghajanian, May 16, 2005.

  1. Ara Ghajanian

    Ara Ghajanian Member

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    My girlfriend just bought a Nikon FM. Last night I was firing off the shutter and just inspecting the camera in general. Then it happened. The mirror went up, but didn't come back down. I used the little switch next to the mirror to bring it back down, but the shutter wouldn't fire after that. The mirror just kept going up and staying there. I've never seen anything like this before. She bought the camera from a (creepy) photographer that she knows and I suspect he just wanted to get rid of it because of this problem. He's a difficult person to get in touch with since he just moved to New Jersey and I fear she won't be able to return it. She's pretty upset since she really hasn't even run a roll through the camera yet. Has anyone had a similar problem with an FM series?
    Ara
     
  2. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    if it was a FE or other electronic shutter one then it's a flat battery... but for a FM, no idea... I have read where the foam around the mirror box (not FM or even Nikon specific BTW) can get sticky and catch mirrors... never seen it so maybe that could be something to investigate. I just went and had a look at my 20yo FE and it's foam is decidedly claggy although the mirror isn't sticking yet! My newish FM2n has nice foam.
     
  3. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    First check the obvious - what shutter speed were you using?

    If this were the FE or any of its descendents, the symptom would suggest a dead battery. But the FM series is at the far end of the spectrum from rocket science,. Combine that with the fact that the FM itself was the first of the series (about 1977 or thereabouts) suggests that you could be dealing with a mechanical wear problem rather than something dumb like a battery.

    But the good news is that because the FM is your basic mechanical machine, it's probably repairable. I had the entire shutter assembly replaced in my FM-2 about 15 years ago. Suggest that you make contact with the Nikon repair folks to see what they can do. Even if there is a simple fix to the problem, given the age this model probably deserves a good CLA.
     
  4. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    One other point - considering that this is your girlfriend's camera and you were exercising it when the problem occured, the politically-smart approach is to admit that YOU broke it. Any other interpretation of the facts will only get you deeper into trouble.
     
  5. Surly

    Surly Member

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    I had an FE with that problem and I was told the issue was shutter magnets. This is from a trusted repair guy. He told me he could fix it for $175.00. If the camera was set on the automatic priority setting you may be having the same problem in the FM.
    My Nikkormat will also stick open on the slower speeds just like you are describing. If I turn the knob to B the shutter will close. I dont know how healthy this is for the camera however.
    Try fresh batt's. Try the shutter without batteries. Try it on it's highest shutter speed and work your way down to the slowest and see where it sticks. This info will help when/if you send it in for repiar.
     
  6. Ara Ghajanian

    Ara Ghajanian Member

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    It's none of what you guys have described so far. Literally, you hit the shutter release and mirror goes up, but nothing else happens. The mirror doesn't come back down either. This happens at all shutter speeds including Bulb. The battery is fine (first thing I checked even though it's a mechanical shutter). The shutter curtain won't open. Very weird. It's definitely some sort of mechanical connection between the shutter release and the shutter itself. You can't even wind the film after releasing the shutter.

    Monophoto,
    I'd never admit to anything... haha. Seriously, I don't think it was anything I did because I just fired it a few times and then it happened. I think the guy who owned it before abused it a bit and just sold the camera to someone he knew to be a novice (she is a complete beginner with film; I'll take the credit for converting her from digital). He probably wouldn't be able to get rid of it on eBay because he'd get bad feedback if he didn't admit the problems. You're probably right, it is an old camera and probably needs a CLA deperately.

    Ara
     
  7. geraldatwork

    geraldatwork Member

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    Definitely sounds like something that needs professional repair. Not sure what this camera is worth so it might not make sense to send it out. You might look into another camera from around that same era. I lent my old Nikkormat to my daughter about 6 or 7 years ago and she has kept it for herself. I miss this simple camera so I decided to pick one up on ebay. I picked up a well worn black example (I love the brass showing) for $65 but haven't received it yet. There were tons of them there most under $100 and many come with the 50mm lens for the same price.
     
  8. Ara Ghajanian

    Ara Ghajanian Member

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    Gerald,
    She bought it for $160 and it came with a mint 50mm 1.8 E lens. She's probably better off grabbing another FM off eBay. They're going for about $150 at the moment.

    How much is an average CLA on a camera like that?
    Ara
     
  9. Kiron Kid

    Kiron Kid Member

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    It's probably some gummed up foam that is catching it. A CLA'ng will fix it. I believe a CLA will run aroung $75.00

    Kiron Kid
     
  10. Ara Ghajanian

    Ara Ghajanian Member

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    No, it's definitely not the foam. Plus, that wouldn't cause the shutter curtain to not open.
     
  11. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Ara,
    with the back of the camera open, advance the camera, the shutter should travel(upwards, I think) & lock in position. If it travels downward when you release the film advance lever there's a problem with the shutter latch. If you can get someone to actually lubricate the thing it'll probably cost $75+
    If the shutter has failed mechanically, it could run as high as $175-200.
    The problem with lubing the device is access, since a rather complete disassembly is required.
    Check with Carol Flutot for repair she's got some sterling recs from other folks here on APUG.
     
  12. Ara Ghajanian

    Ara Ghajanian Member

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    Shaggy,
    That's part of the problem. I can't advance the camera. It's stuck. I suggested to her that I take it to a repair shop just to be looked over and get an estimate, but she wants to see if that dude will give her money back. I think it's toast if you ask me. It will probably cost more than the price of the camera to repair. I'm sure it will make a nice paperweight on my desk.
    Ara
     
  13. skahde

    skahde Member

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    If you need another argument to talk her into CLA'ing that FM: About every FM that you buy for the price you quoted will need an overhaul. You have to calculate this into the price for the camera. Therefore, getting back the money won't help her out as the next camera will most probably have some other sort of problem as well. Only a CLA'd camera of that age will surely work without trouble.
     
  14. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    ara -

    take the camera to midstate camera repair on warwick ave. they will give you a free diagnosis, and if you decide to have it worked on, they are very good. they have worked on my large format shutters ( prontar press shutters) as well as my pentax 35mm bodies & lenses. i would take it to them directly and talk to them ( mark, keith or david ) ... if you bring it to one of the local shops, they will send it to midstate and charge you a commission for doing so.

    they also have used nikon bodies &C that are 90 day warrantee'd, so you might get lucky and if it costs too much to repair, you can pick another one up from them, and if anything goes wrong, they are just down the street :smile:

    http://www.midstatecamerarepair.com/

    good luck!

    john
     
  15. Ara Ghajanian

    Ara Ghajanian Member

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    skahde,
    You're absolutely right. My friend gave me the same lecture last night :wink:. And then I transfered the lecture to the girlfriend. She agreed. The good thing is that a camera like that will last forever if you take care of it and keep CLAing it.

    John,
    That was exactly what I was going to do, but I'm glad you mentioned that they won't charge anything for the examination. I've been meaning to take my F3 there ever since you told me about Midstate a few months ago, but I've been hesitant because the building looks like it's ready to fall apart (haha). The FM would be a good guinea pig to test out their service, etc.

    Thanks for all the great advice!
    Ara
     
  16. Kiron Kid

    Kiron Kid Member

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    The FM, is a great little camera, and well worth having CLA'd.

    Kiron Kid