Several Nikons with locked up mirrors. Repair advice..

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by fotoobscura, Oct 12, 2008.

  1. fotoobscura

    fotoobscura Subscriber

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    I have 1, 2, 3, yep, 4 Nikons with locked up mirrors. I sent two of them two Authorized Photo Service in IL for an estimate and was sent back and estimate for roughly twice the value of a mint condition replacement.

    So I have an FE, an F2(A3), and FE2, and another FE.

    All four cameras have locked mirrors. I have checked all of the cameras for regular issues and applied suggested fixes. (new battery, shooting in M and B (does not work), etc.

    Although I suppose not beyond the realm of possibility, the indication is that I have bad light meters (the worst being the DP-12 on the F2) on four Nikon cameras.

    I have precision tools and can confidently work on the cameras as long as I know what I'm after. I've read somewhere about a spring somewhat near the bottom of the body that may cause the problem.

    If it truly is that I have 4 bad light meters than to the trash with them. But want to make sure before I take that step.

    Thanks
     
  2. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    A common reason for mirrors sticking is degraded mirror box foam. Have you checked out that possibility?
     
  3. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    The meter on the F2 has nothing at all to do with the shutter actuation. The meter is all in the prism, and there is no connection at all to the shutter. If the prism finder is removed from the camera, the shutter will still work as intended. Your's does not, and something else is clearly wrong here.
     
  4. fotoobscura

    fotoobscura Subscriber

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    Hey Jim,

    Right good call. Yes I have checked the foam but the problem occurs in the sense that the spring locks the mirror up mechanically. There is no downward force after the mirror locks as if it were sticking). I think part of the ideology behind putting the camera on M and B is to trick the electronics.

    There is a lot of incredibly handy repair info at kyphoto which discusses a lot of camera models and issues...I've posted there months back and perhaps I'll troll there some more.

    http://www.kyphoto.com/classics/forum/messages/2/2.html?1223820022

    Thanks!
     
  5. fotoobscura

    fotoobscura Subscriber

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    Frank,

    Yep understand the meter has nothing to do with the shutter. On the other hand, when you're trying to diagnose a problem you need to run through all the possibilities (especially to ensure that the replies to the post are not "have you checked the battery?").

    What's your hunch then Frank?

    Thanks

     
  6. HerrBremerhaven

    HerrBremerhaven Member

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    On the FE, you can open the film back, then try moving the advance spindle by hand, which works a few other mechanisms internally. If you have trouble moving the film roller or idler roller, then get a coin and try rotating the motordrive connector on the bottom of the camera. Sometimes just wiggling the motor drive connector back and forth a bit can free up stuck gearing.

    Also, you can look at the bottom of the camera, and there is a pin that would connect to the motordrive. You can try pushing that pin upwards/inwards to try tripping the shutter, which sometimes can release the mirror.

    What I have seen happen on an FE, and also on an FM, is that winding on very quickly after tripping the shutter can sometimes cause a binding of parts internally. However, that is not the only cause of this. Tolerances are very close, and these were built with little room. Now that these cameras are well over a couple decades old, when parts wear more the tolerances can become a bit looser.

    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat Photography
     
  7. Denis P.

    Denis P. Member

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    I remember reviving a friend's FM2 that was stuck in the similar way, AFAIR...

    I took off the bottom plate, and just wiggled a few exposed moving parts in the bottom :smile:
    It's been some time, and for the life of me, I can't remember what did it, but I know I was actually quite surprised how easy it was to "fix" the problem. The camera functioned OK after that.
    BTW, the camera was used by a pro photographer (weddings, etc.), so it's safe to assume that it was not handled very carefully. Jamming might have occured as Gordon described above...
     
  8. fotoobscura

    fotoobscura Subscriber

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    Hey Gordon and Denis,

    Thanks, I will try all of this and report back..Hopefully with success!

    I've probably run about 2000 rolls through one of these FE2's so I won't be sad if it's a lost cause :smile:
     
  9. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Haven't the faintest idea what could be wrong with the F2. I'm just really sure that the meter isn't the problem.
     
  10. fotoobscura

    fotoobscura Subscriber

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    Frank,

    That's good to hear!

    Thanks
     
  11. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    The F2 does have a T setting & would have to have the collar around the shutter release rotated to unlock it.
    Other possibilities are self-timer not run through or the timer itself needs lube.
     
  12. Ira Rush

    Ira Rush Member

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    OK, so with the risk of sounding stupid... could the mirror lockup switch be stuck in the up position?

    This would only apply to the F2, (the FE series did not have this feature) especially if it had been used with a motor drive at the highest shooting speed. With the MD-1, MD-2 etc., in order to shoot at the max rate, the mirror had to be locked up.

    In addition, even if the body was never attached to a motor drive, I know in my own experience that with that lock up being a part of the depth of field lever, it could be tripped accidently to cause the mirror to swing up.

    Love the F2, but in my humble opinion, putting the lock-up and depth of field lever in 1 switch was not a bright idea by Nikon!
     
  13. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Crap! the collar I was referring to was on the F's.
    Anyway, I guess it's possible for the linkage to be bound in some manner. Can the mirror be lowered manually? If not, the linkage is somehow jammed. could be bent or broken front standard, binding or stuck linkage. Typically these worked by lifting the mirror with a lever & on release, the mirror being spring loaded would drop.
     
  14. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    With my old F Photomic I used to ocassionally have to take off the lens and with my finger move the mirror back down.
     
  15. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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  16. RidingWaves

    RidingWaves Member

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    The trick with the F where you use your finger shows that there is a tiny spring that goes off its post, inside the mirror box. This seems to happen with older F's from a jolt or drop, it the does not stick the mirror up every time just once in a while. Fixed a friend's F by doing it correctly and going into the mirror box by pulling off the front, sure enough, the spring was off its post. Ed Romney's Nikon FtN repair guide had that fix I think.

    As with the FM and FE, taking the bottom plate off would be the first step. Often by jiggling the cams and levers you can trip it, once again a drop or jolt may have set the sequence off.
     
  17. fotoobscura

    fotoobscura Subscriber

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    I fixed three of my cameras (FE's and FE2) using the method described (opening the bottom and flipping a lever that was tripped in the wrong position). It worked fine. Cameras are fine now. So, fantastic.

    On the other hand, the F2AS is a problematic beast. The meter appears fine but the film level won't advance. I tried removing the bottom but it doesn't remove as easily as the FE/FE2's. It looks like I need to remove the winder wheel on the bottom as it's in the way of the back cover coming off.

    Does anyone know how to get to the bottom of the F2? Or, alternatively, anyone know where I can download a copy of the repair manual? (not the owners manual, already have that).

    Thanks...Have three FE'2 that are back to perfect working order. The MD-12 probably broke all of them at one point or another so I'm shooting them without the motor drive from now on.