Recurring issues with Nikon F80

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by h.v., May 15, 2012.

  1. h.v.

    h.v. Member

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    Hello!

    I bought a used Nikon F80 (N80 for Americans) from a local camerashop a little over half a year ago now and have been having issues with the negatives from that camera. On the negatives, there are thin, straight horizontal lines that go across the frame. But here is a little more background to that...

    Initially, I thought it was just residue or something or other from scanning, but I later looked closer at the negatives and found it embedded onto the negatives. So, I did some online research and figured it may have been the lab I'd been using. With that information, I decided to try another lab. Same issue.

    So then I thought, maybe there is a tiny dust particle causing this issue. Still, I figured it'd be best to go to the camera shop that I bought the F80 from as they should be pretty knowledgeable just to be sure. So I did, and the person there too thought it may be dust, so he did a thorough cleaning right then and there of the interior of the camera. He then put in a roll of Fuji Superia to test out if that worked. It did not, so the only other thing I was told it could be was the back pressure plate on the door of the camera.

    In order to do that, I'd have to give my camera to the store, and they would in turn send it to a local repair shop to get the plate replaced. I accepted that and did not have my F80 for about a month as a result.

    I was excited to get the camera back and immediately put in a roll of film and went about shooting. Yesterday, my film was done being processed by a local lab and scanned in the negatives at home (yeah yeah, I'm no purist). At first, no issues. However, by the fourth or fifth frame, I noticed the stupid horizontal line popping up again!

    I decided to call that same camera shop and see if they could offer me any help on the matter. In a nutshell, they said that as they aren't the repair shop, we can't know for sure, but we can send it back for a re-repair. But I'm questioning what good that's going to do.

    Should I even bother with this camera (which I've grown to really enjoy)? Should I just replace the F80 with something else (then again, the same problem could appear on another camera)? Because you guys seem to be quite experts on analogue photography, do you guys think there is anything else that could be wrong that could be fixed?

    Also, on a related note, I was hoping to begin processing my own film soon. While that would just entail develop only, down the line I may want to dabble in darkroom printing, considering the perceived higher quality of doing so (plus it just seems like a magical experience). With that, I'm assuming these lines will appear on a darkroom print as they would on a scanned negative. So is there any way to remove these lines safely on already processed negatives?

    P.S. I forgot to add that I noticed there was some dust on the interior of the camera, including on the pressure plate, and cleaned it off. Could it just have been that?

    Thanks for any and all help, APUGgers.
     
  2. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Hi,

    Which side of the film is the scratch on? Back side (base side) or the emulsion side? I just had an identical issue with my F-100. Under microscopic examination (I have a microscope), I could actually tell there was a sand particle that was dragged across the base side of the neg, and I could tell where the particle dislodged itself and stopped scratching. It was on the base side.

    Is the scratch always at the same place or random?

    If I look close enough there are scratches on every film. The camera's back plate can cause a scratch. Dust trapped on the felt (on the film cartridge) can cause scratches, and putting the negs in SLEEVES after processing can cause scratch. I've experienced all of it.

    Minor scratches WILL NOT appear on prints if processed in the darkroom. MAJOR scratches will appear but there are technique to avoid them at printing time as well. If the scratches are on the base side, skin oil applied sparingly can fill and cover the scratches. MAJOR scratch can be removed with a product called No-scratch. It's a petroleum based oil that you'd apply to back side of film and it will do an amazing job.

    I don't know what the answer is for you but that is my experience.
     
  3. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    You might as well give it one more try. Consider getting another F80 in the mean time. If the first one gets fixed, then you can shoot color in one and black & white in the second. If the first camera continues to have the problem, sell it and use the second camera.
     
  4. dehk

    dehk Member

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    Responding to your PS. It could, have just been that, its not rocket science. Inspect closer! Worst comes to worst its not a bad idea just to get another F80 either, they are not too expensive nowadays.
     
  5. BardParker

    BardParker Member

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  6. filmamigo

    filmamigo Member

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    I had an F80 that did exactly the same thing. It drove me and the camera shop around the bend.

    Lots and lots of research later, it was narrowed down to the take-up reel tongue. It's the hinged piece of metal on the right side of the film compartment with the little rubber rollers. Not sure if it's strictly the rollers not turning, but it's definitely the culprit. Eventually it became clearer that this was a known issue for Nikon who released a revised part. Unfortunately most of the best information, including photos of the guilty part and the new revised part, disappeared behind the pay wall at Nikonians.org.

    If you can get the right part, the camera could be serviced. If you knew what to look for, you could try buying a later-model F80 with the new part.
     
  7. h.v.

    h.v. Member

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    Hello all, sorry for the late response. Thanks for your responses though. I'm getting some rolls processed so we'll soon see if it was just merely a few specks of dust on the interior of the camera.

    tkamiya: The line is on the top or face up or emulsion side, it appears. Regarding if the line is always in the same place or not: yes and no. It varies by roll, but it is usually in either Spot A or Spot B on a roll. The line also goes in the blank space between frames. But it doesn't occur on every frame in a roll. It varies, sometimes most of the photos, sometimes about half, sometimes just a few. If you want to see what these lines look like, they are straight horizontal lines like the first photo in this: http://www.flickr.com/groups/ishootfilm/discuss/72157626198365475/ If you need me to show an example on one of my photos let me know, but it's like that photo in the link.

    Sirius Glass: Cool idea. Not sure where I'd buy another F80, I've only come across an F60, but that would still be pretty good I guess. I could go online for an F80, but I'd rather only pay for shipping on a camera that was a lot more valuable.

    filmanigo: Interesting...I don't know the year of my F80, so I'm not sure if it's an early or late model. Might just stick with the F80 for now, seeing as it's unlikely to cause issues with darkroom printing, and get an upgrade as I've been planning.
     
  8. Alex Muir

    Alex Muir Member

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    Hi. I have 3 F80/N80 bodies, all of which were bought on ebay. They can be picked up for very low prices, and there seems to be plenty of them available. Only one of mine appears to have had any real use before I bought it, but it still works fine. I would second the suggestion of looking for another. My cameras all came from different sources and none have the problem you describe. Unless you go for the more expensive F100, or one of the 'pro' series, then the F80 is the most sophisticated of the Nikon 35mm cameras. It was one of the last 35mm cameras Nikon produced before everything went digital, which is perhaps the reason why there are many virtually unused examples available. I would suggest that if the offending lines appeared on prints produced at a lab, then they will also show up in hand printed images, unless you take steps to repair your negatives. The F80 is a very worthwhile camera and I hope you can find a solution to this problem
    Regards, Alex.
     
  9. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    On your Flicker page, you say you started seeing this problem regardless of camera or film size. Are you able to see these lines on the negative yourself?

    If you want to send me one of your junk film with this problem, I can try looking at it under a microscope. Or, if you have an access to a microscope, you can do it yourself, too. By using a stereo microscope with an ability to illuminate from top and the bottom, you can determine which side of film the problem exists. I'll be happy to do that for you.

    I'm not convinced the problem piece is your F80.
     
  10. h.v.

    h.v. Member

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    Hi, wanted to wait until I got to look on negatives after I cleaned it of dust and yes, it still seems to appear, albeit more faintly (to the point you would probably only notice at larger than 8x12-ish). Might see if the camera shop can do anything, if not they have another AF model for sale for $50 or $60 (F60 or 70 or something, not F80), or just hold out until I just upgrade body like I'd been planning.

    Alex: I never said the lines appeared on prints from lab. I don't get prints from labs usually. I see the lines on SCANS of the photo :wink:. But it isn't the scanner, the lines seem to appear on the negatives themselves. Tried various things mentioned in the OP to see if it was anything but the camera, but nope, it does appear to be the camera. I'm going to look at some shops tomorrow, maybe I'll find something for the price of the repair (or re-repair in this case...$50-something). I'm just going to hope that when I start darkroom printing one of these days, these damn lines don't appear as tkamiya stated earlier. Or maybe they can be taken off through a product worse case scenario.

    Tkamiya: Hold up...I never said that was my flickr page. I don't even know if the photos in question were from an F80 (don't think so). I only stated is that they look precisely like that, and that if you needed even further verification I could just post a picture myself (even though it looks the same as in the link). Like I said earlier, yes, I do see the lines on certain negatives (remember the lines don't occur on each frame usually).
     
  11. filmamigo

    filmamigo Member

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    I really love the F80, so much that after I dumped the first one for scratching film, I ended up buying another one from the bargain bin at the local camera store. It scratches too, just not as deeply. Sadly I don't think I can trust it for important work (the first F80 ruined an important series of portraits.)

    You can confirm that the camera is doing the scratching (not the lab) by running film through the camera, and then opening the canister and examining it. (Hopefully you have a source of cheap film.) I have run at least 10 rolls through both F80's this way. They always scratch. It's variable (i.e. not on every frame) but predictable. Usually a line at the bottom third, and sometimes a line at the top third of the frame. It's on the shiny side of the film (i.e. not the emulsion side.) It often starts half way through the roll, getting worse as it goes. This is consistent with the scratch coming from the rollers on the takeup spool, i.e. as the circumference of the roll gets bigger on the takeup, the rollers are pressing harder against the film.

    It took me a couple of rolls to notice the problem -- it showed up badly on scans of those important portraits. But I went back and looked at every roll I shot on the camera, slides and negatives. Even though the scratches didn't show up in all of the scans, every roll had scratches. It's easy to see by holding the film at an agle to the light. No need to use a loupe, even the faintest scratches are obvious to the naked eye.
     
  12. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    filmsamigo,

    The film pressure plate may be pushing the film too hard. See if you can adjust the pressure.

    Steve
     
  13. h.v.

    h.v. Member

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    Thanks for your responses, guys.

    So I picked up a used F65 to replace the F80 (at least for the interim). Before I got rid of the F80, I wanted to make sure my F65 didn't have any issues too. Well, I scanned the negs and after 4 or 5 frames, the lines began appearing again. Is this just bad luck or an unfortunate coincidence? I'm just getting fed up with this. If I didn't love so many aspects of film photography, I would've given this up long ago. Just too much hassle.

    I'm hoping that once I set up my own darkroom that I will be able to use one of the products mentioned on the first page to get rid of the scratches. For now, I'll just have to remove the stupid lines on my computer for electronic purposes. Filmamigo, maybe you could try using one of these products to help. Your mentioning of lines appearing on important shots rings true. So many great shots I've taken with the lines appearing. Sure, I can always fix on the computer, but it still appears on my negatives and potentially darkroom prints that are larger than 5x7.

    Is this line issue just a problem with all Nikon AF cameras from the late 1990s and early 2000s? I'm going to need to keep one of these cameras despite the annoying lines until I can find a replacement (or just rely on point and shoots and disposables for film, which I'd rather not do), so is there any model I should look out for that shouldn't have this issue? I do need autofocus...that's the thing. Nikon preferably, so I do not have to purchase new lenses. Ideally I'd like something like the Contax G (annoying viewfinder notwithstanding) or Konica Hexar (even though I prefer 50mm focal length) system down the line, but I kinda need something for under $100 to work in the meantime (as Contaxes usually run $250+ and Hexars $550+).
     
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  15. sandermarijn

    sandermarijn Member

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    Initially it seemed to me that something other than the camera(s) is to blame, but after re-reading this thread and after looking at some of my own Nikons I'm not so sure anymore.

    You seem to have ruled out the processing (different labs), the film (different films) and the scanning (lines also visible by other means).

    The cameras then? The Nikon F80 and F65 seem to share the same roller design. Other Nikons are slightly different. They all work fine for me, but could it be that you are just extremely unlucky with your particular cameras (rollers)? Maybe try get your hands on an F100/F90(x)/F801(s) and see if the problem persists?

    f80_f65_roller.jpg

    f801s_f100_roller.jpg

    If not the camera either, then what? Then you're left with re-checking your 'line of investigation'. Me personally I would start by reconfirming that all the lines in the scans are also on the film proper. 'Pilot error' is sometimes too easily written-off, I've done it myself many times. Not saying that you're doing something wrong, just that it is important to keep considering all the possibilities.
     
  16. filmamigo

    filmamigo Member

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    Have you sacrificed a roll of film to testing? i.e. Shoot the roll all the way through, then rewind, remove the roll of film, pop open the canister, and GENTLY inspect the length of it? (You don't want to tug at the rolled-up film and induce any film-on-film abrasions, so just loosely pull the film off the reel as you inspect it.)

    I can say that I never had a scratch problem with a Nikon F100 and F75. Both different designs.
     
  17. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    It sounds like a scanning artifact rather than a camera problem.
     
  18. sandermarijn

    sandermarijn Member

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    What exactly does "seem to appear" mean here? Please reconfirm for yourself that the lines are on the negatives themselves also (use a magnifying glass if you have to).
     
  19. h.v.

    h.v. Member

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    Sandermarijn: F100 might be too big, but I found a F90 in British Columbia which may work. There was a used camera shop here I was recommended too, so I might try that this upcoming week and if not, that F90 has my name on it (provided it's in good condition). Thanks for the tips.

    Filmamigo: No, haven't done that yet. If I have time within the next week, I'll try that out. I'll also keep an eye out for a F75.

    Sirius Glass: How so? Not sure how the scanner would be producing something that's appearing on the negative itself.

    Sandermarijn again: Seems to appear means they do appear. I don't need a magnifying glass, if you hold the negative right, you can see it through the naked eye right there, on the negative.

    Bottom line is I just want this issue resolved. I want to thank everybody in this thread again for their help on the matter. I'm also very worried about the shots I've taken already with the F80/65. I mean personal shots will still work if necessary, with lines, but what about serious ventures? The lines can be removed digitally...but do I just want to work with scanned files? No. Within the next month I want to start developing myself, and shortly after I want to begin darkroom printing. I'm not sure if these lines (I'm sure it varies by photograph) would fall under "minor" or "major" scratches as referenced by by tkamiya. The scratches are on the emulsion side. Will no-scratch (product I'd never heard of) really do the trick? Some of these lines are noticeable, others you have to enlarge to see, to the point where if I didn't edit out the lines I could probably get away with 11x14 and it still be invisible.

    Also, this may be anecdotal, I'm not sure what to make of this. I finally got back my first slides (Velvia 100f) shot with the F80 and none of the photos appear to have the line issue. Is that a coincidence? Some of the slides seem to have faint lines on them, so maybe it's just the scanner.

    P.S. I brought the F65 back to the shop. I figured if both are having the same damn issue, I'd rather keep the one that I know better and has better options to shoot with. But hopefully I don't have the F80 for more than a week or two more. I'll keep you guys posted...

    P.P.S. I did get some prints from a lab at time of processing and the lines don't appear, but I think that's just 'cause they're 4x6s. I also think they're scanned prints (I'll have to double check, though) so lines could've been removed.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 7, 2012
  20. sandermarijn

    sandermarijn Member

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    So the slides themselves are all clean but some of the scans are not? Not sure how to read your words.
     
  21. h.v.

    h.v. Member

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    Sorry for my lack of clarity. I said (and meant to say) the slides (themselves, just the little positives mounted to plastic) seem to have faint lines on them, so (because of this) maybe it's just the scanner (not picking up on it, or maybe it's not the same type of line). Essentially the scans are completely clean (I did use digital ICE but that never cleans up these lines for negatives), but on a couple of slides I've inspected (haven't done 'em all yet) they do seem to have lines, though not necessarily right across the entire image, so this might be something else or just a different incarnation of the same thing. Bah, I don't know! I'm getting the B&W I shot right around the same time as the Velvia back today, so we'll see if I see the same thing there.
     
  22. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    One theory crashed and burned.

    Did you check to see if the pressure plate is pushing too hard on the film?
     
  23. h.v.

    h.v. Member

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    ^ Did you read the thread? Not meaning to sound bad, but I'm pretty sure I explained this in the OP. It could very well be the pressure plate. That's what the camera store thought and so they sent it off for the pressure plate to be completely replaced. But the lines still occur, albeit now they do seem smaller. It could've been the pressure plate, it could've been the rollers, it could've been a million and a half things. But I'm not going to spend chunks of change, replacing the camera bit by bit to find out. Much cheaper to just get a new camera. At this point I'm mostly just looking for camera suggestions and potential issues down the line with the photos I've already shot and how to fix it.

    Edit: F801. Just wondering, because of the age of this camera, would the autofocus still be up to snuff? I do a lot of street so I need quick, responsive, and accurate AF. The F80/65 worked fine, but they're newer tech, as would a F90(X)/F100/F75.
     
  24. sandermarijn

    sandermarijn Member

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    The F801 and F801s are good enough for me in terms of AF. I use them centre point only and find them fast and accurate, even in comparatively low light (ordinary indoors). The difference with newer cameras is mostly in the fancy stuff that I never use, such as continuous AF, tracking and number & accuracy of focusing points.

    Keep in mind also that the F801(s) cannot focus AF-S lenses, VR is unavailable and G lenses only work in P and S modes.

    The F90(x) (I don't have this camera) should have better AF than the F801(s) and can focus AF-S lenses (not sure if in all modes though).

    But don't underestimate the F801(s); within the AF compatibility limitations it's actually my favourite Nikon.
     
  25. h.v.

    h.v. Member

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    Thanks :smile:!

    I don't mind that it doesn't work with AF-S/VR/G (does any film camera work with G lenses?). I never really use those types of lenses on film cameras (don't have many anyways) because they were built for digital SLRs with a cropped sensor, which leads to vignetting on film cameras. I shall definitely keep the F801 in mind because the store in B.C. has one so if the F90 is no good, the F801 might be good.
     
  26. sandermarijn

    sandermarijn Member

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    Yes, many. Have a look at good old Ken Rockwell's excellent compatibility chart: http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/compatibility-lens.htm

    I think you're confusing DX with AF-S. There are many FX AF-S lenses these days, from comparatively cheap to insanely expensive.

    Be wary of the sticky back issue on the F90(x). From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikon_F90:

    "However, many F90 and F90x's had problems with the rubberized back, where the rubberized coating would start peeling or turn into a sticky mess.[1] The rubber around the grip and other parts were not affected. This did not affect the functionality of the back but was a nuisance to users. The rubberised coating can however be removed (Once the door has been removed from the camera body) by rubbing with a microfibre towel or similar soaked in Isopropyl Alcohol. This procedure will remove the rubberised top coating without affecting the surface finish of the underlying plastic or the clear film viewing window. The white printed "Vari Program" icons will remain unaffected also."


    You could also try to get hold of an F100. They go for around 100 euros here in continental Europe (don't know where you are), which is not all that much more than the F90x. Get one with the newer rewind fork (the initial plastic version tends to break- Google search result link).