Problem with my FM2

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by perkeleellinen, Oct 12, 2011.

  1. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    Hello All,

    My FM2 has developed a problem - all shutter speeds 1/60 and over are fine, all shutter speeds 1/30 and under cause the shutter to stay open and the mirror to stay up. The only way to close the shutter is to move the speed dial above 1/60. Odd. Rotten luck also as my wife is due to give birth next week and this is my main camera. Grrrr. Had this camera since new in 1997.

    Anyone ever heard of this problem?
    Obviously it needs repair so I'd love recommendations for a good UK based Nikon repairer.

    Thanks!
     
  2. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    Problem seems to be getting progressively worse: now 1/60 and 1/125 are sticking. I think I'm going to stop playing with it, I'm making it worse.
     
  3. fstop

    fstop Member

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    Does it look like there is any black substance on the shutter front or rear? Your camera is old enough to seals begin to go bad, a little bit of mirror damper foam can gum up the shutter.
     
  4. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    No, nothing like that. It's actually very clean inside.
     
  5. Carl V

    Carl V Member

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    I doubt if they'd be able to do anything by next week, but I would recommend a repairers called Newton Ellis in Liverpool. I had a couple of cameras (both Nikon) and a lens repaired there not long ago and they did a good job. They will also change the light seals if required.

    http://www.newtonellis.com

    http://www.newtonellis.com/nikon/index.html


    Just as an added note, as 'fstop' has mentioned, your camera is about 14 years old so this may be a good time to change the seals anyway. Although they may not be letting any light through at the moment, they'll probably feel sticky when you touch it and this is a sign they're on their way out.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 13, 2011
  6. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    What I would do (and please do not ruin your camera because of my advice taken wrongly) is this: I would open the bottom being careful to gather all the screws carefully in a container. Then I would turn the camera body so that the bottom faces upward. Then I would tilt the camera slightly so that the right side is slightly lower. (The purpose for the tilting is to prevent ready access for the fluid to get into the prism area.) Then I would squirt about 2 ml of lighter fluid in the bottom. The IMPORTANT thing here is NOT to get any fluid into the prism area. Then quickly turn the camera body so the bottom faces downward and see the black fluid drain.

    Oftentimes, mechanical gears gum up. This is really a simple task and should be repeated until the fluid stops being black. I have done this with with countless mechanical cameras and will usually great results. But, don't get any fluid into the prism area. Your objective is to wet the escape mechanism so that its delicate movement is unrestricted. - David Lyga
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 13, 2011
  7. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    I'm not sure if the FM2 needs battery power to actuate the shutter, but just in case I'd try a fresh battery.
     
  8. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Guess this explains why so many old cameras at swap meets reek of Ronsonol...and still don't work.
     
  9. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    LMAO. Hilarious comment. LOL. :laugh:
     
  10. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    FM2/FM2n does not need battery power for the shutter.
    Battery is for meter only
     
  11. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    Thanks for the replies, all.

    The camera has gone off to Newton Ellis, as Carl recommended. I'll report back. In the meantime the baby isn't here yet so I've ordered a cheap FM which should arrive tomorrow. Then, I found out my car needs a new head gasket, £400 including labour. Urgh. Expensive month. Oh to still live in Sweden where I didn't need a car...
     
  12. fstop

    fstop Member

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    The beauty of that is if it pisses you off enough you can just burn the sob and buy another one.

    BTW coleman fuel (naptha) works good too and doesn't smell...
     
  13. elgato

    elgato Member

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    Same thing happened to my FM2. The technician told me the "slow speed unit" had gone bad, and he replaced it after waiting several weeks for the parts to arrive from Nikon. Cost me about $125, IIRC. The camera has been working great in the year since the repair.
     
  14. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    Thanks elgato, the shop reckoned around 7-10 days on the phone, but we'll see.
     
  15. kivis

    kivis Subscriber

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    I had this problem and a fresh battery did the trick.
     
  16. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    Reporting back. The problem was loose parts in the shutter. Newton Ellis rebuilt the shutter for me and did a good CLA. Took four weeks as the repair shop is so busy, they told me they are getting loads of DSLRs in for repair and most of the time there's nothing they can do with them. The shutter on my FM2 was quite 'worn' they said which was surprising as I've always thought I was a low user of film. But then I checked my neg files and I suppose I may have fired the shutter 20,000 times.
     
  17. CGW

    CGW Member

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    I'm guessing your FM2 came to you used? 20,000 isn't that high. Nikon DSLRs are usually good for 100,000 to 150,000 shutter actuations or better on higher end models. Blown shutters seem to be a common problem on D200s and a few others--a pricey but not hugely complicated fix. Sensors and displays are another matter.
     
  18. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    No, I bought it new in '97. Maybe it's just that it seems like a large number. The repair shop told me that shutter issues on FM2s are a labour intensive job as it's difficult to get in there.
     
  19. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    You must use it a lot.
     
  20. CGW

    CGW Member

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    20,000 clicks is around 550 36exp rolls over 14 years or about 40 36exp rolls annually, right? If so, not crushingly heavy use for a 35mm camera.
     
  21. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    Yeah, I calculated it for around 500 rolls of film getting 38 exposures or so.
     
  22. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    Rotten luck, that being said I wish your wife, you and the baby good health as that is all that matters.



    Those darn phone cameras sure do neat things now, so I hope you at least have that in your corner.
     
  23. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    40 rolls in a month (for years) was what my old FM and N8008 used to handle... then the N90s and F100.... now sort of idle.
     
  24. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    Thanks very much, we're all doing well. I did manage to rattle off a few rolls of film in the replacement FM I bought but I haven't had a chance to develop them yet as I'm so busy running around. Loading four rolls into a dev tank the other day was a major achievement! Things must be getting better though as I can now read my newspaper on the same day I buy it.

    Regarding the worn shutter, I did wonder if a loose part hadn't done the wearing rather than the (low) number of clicks.