Shutter sync issues on a Nikon FM. CLA?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by luke_h, Mar 25, 2010.

  1. luke_h

    luke_h Member

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    I just got my first manual Nikon body, a 2XXXXXX serial number FM. It looked clean and the seller said it was accurate at all shutter speeds.

    Accurate -sounding- apparently. Because 3/4th of the frame is black at 1/1000th second, 1/2 the frame is black at 1/500th, and the problem seems to fix itself by 1/250th second.

    First off, do any of you know how to easily fix this? I don't have the confidence to tear into the camera, but if there's a shutter tension adjustment that's easy to do myself, I'd like to hear about it.

    Second, the reason I bought this camera is it's bullet proof reputation, and I must say that I'm not that much more impressed with it than my beloved Pentax Spotmatics. I purchased a 24mm AIS lens to use on my DSLR, so I wanted to compliment it with this manual body. I've got a Nikon N80 film body for my modern lenses. The FM appealed to me because it embodies everything I feel I need in a 35mm SLR and doesn't have much stuff I don't need.

    However, I'd love for it to work properly. I paid 70 bucks after shipping was factored in. I'd really like to not pay the full 100+ dollars to have someone completely CLA it. It just needs to have the shutter adjusted (possibly the mirror is what's in the way, but I don't think so.)

    Any thoughts, words of wisdom, or mockery of my bad financial decision are welcome :wink:
     
  2. wclark5179

    wclark5179 Member

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    Is this happening when using a flash?

    Or all the time?

    Reason I ask is you mention sync. With a flash I use the "X" spot to plug in and only up to 1/60th of a second.

    I've got a Nikkormat that has both the x & m plug in's for flash. The m is for bulbs.
     
  3. fotch

    fotch Member

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    That seems like a good price. I doubt you can tell by looking at the shutter firing so the seller probably didn't know. Probably dried up lubricant.

    Anyway, I would not tinker with it myself and send it out for a CLA, making sure the person doing the work is competent in working on the Nikon.

    When buying used, especially as old as this is, you should always allow for a CLA or not buy it.
     
  4. luke_h

    luke_h Member

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    I haven't put any film through the camera yet. I picked it up at the post office on my way to work. I'm just holding the camera up to daylight with the back open and I can tell it's happening. I'll shoot some photos at noon with the camera and develop/scan them tonight.

    The resulting image would look the same as if you were incorrectly using speeds faster than your flash synched to though. But no, it's not flash related.

    You can tell. Just hold your camera up (no lens in place) to some light and fire it with the back door open. You can use an all white screen on your computer monitor too. It's pretty easy to see. However, I'll take photos to prove what I'm seeing already :wink:
     
  5. frobozz

    frobozz Subscriber

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    I think you may be confusing yourself with your test. I'm not familiar with that exact camera, but almost all SLRs use a "traveling slit" shutter at the higher speeds. In other words, before the leading shutter curtain has gotten completely across the gap, the trailing curtain is following behind it. The entire shutter is never open simultaneously. (This is the very definition of the "speeds higher than flash sync speeds" as you can't get a full image in the split second of the flash firing, if the shutter isn't completely open at the time.)

    I bet if you take pictures with it they will come out fine.

    Duncan
     
  6. luke_h

    luke_h Member

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    Bet accepted :wink:

    I'll report back in a while.
     
  7. frobozz

    frobozz Subscriber

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    In fact, using an all-white computer monitor is going to enhance this effect, because of the stroboscopic nature of its illumination. It will tend to freeze the moving slit in one spot in your vision, rather than allowing you to correctly perceive the relative movement of the blades.

    Here's an easy way to convince yourself: do what you're doing, but start at B and work your way up in speed. Watch how one curtain opens and then the next one closes behind it. You'll get a feel for the cadence and see, as the speeds become faster, how the trailing curtain is getting closer and closer to moving before the leading curtain has gotten fully open, until finally, at just above the flash sync speed, it succeeds in starting before the other one has finished.

    Duncan
     
  8. luke_h

    luke_h Member

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    I mean I understand how the shutter works. I've got a few other cameras that use a similar vertical curtain (Yashica TL Electro X, Voigtlander R2A, my DSLRs, Nikon N80)

    Just none of them do what you're describing. They all open up a full white frame at 1/1000th.

    Except my Pentax Spotmatic which also does not work at 1/500th and 1/1000th. It has a horizontal cloth shutter though, but the effect is the same.

    I'm curious to see what the results will be. If the camera works, I will be happy as a pig in mud :wink:
     
  9. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    I'm with you on that one...

    Many (even most) shutter problems can be seen by looking through the shutter.

    Hope you're wrong, only because it means it's o.k... :smile:
     
  10. frobozz

    frobozz Subscriber

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    If a camera opens up a full white frame at 1/1000, then it could have a 1/1000 flash sync - I'm not aware of any that do. So I'm betting the difference here is the illumination source this time vs the other times you've done this. Anyway, the developed film will tell all! It always does :smile:

    Duncan
     
  11. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    No, they don't, unless there's something wrong with the shutter. They may appear to be a full white frame, but at 1/1000th the shutter is a fairly narrow slit. Using a flash on single burst will verify this.
    It will be with any focal plane shutter above maximum sync. speed.
     
  12. fotch

    fotch Member

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    The specs say a 1/125 for flash.
     
  13. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    And based on 1/125 X sync a horizontal FP shutter has a 36mm wide slit, 1/250 is an 18mm wide slit, 1/500 is a 9mm wide slit and 1/1000 is 4.5mm wide. Adjust the slit widths proportionately for a 24mm vertical FP shutter. Human eyes are very easily deceived. :smile:
     
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  15. luke_h

    luke_h Member

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    I'm developing as I type this.. I tested my Voigtlander R2A at 1/1000th and you see a full white rectangle when firing the flash as opposed to a 1/8" frame of light on the Nikon. Place your bets :wink:
     
  16. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    It has to do with flash after all?!!?

    Let's see: Nikon FM has 1/125 flash sync. Using flash at 1/1000 should expose about 1/8 of the frame.
    Sound familiar?

    ;-)
     
  17. luke_h

    luke_h Member

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    I'm not sure why shutter sync speed matters since I'm not using a flash. I'm basing my experience off of working cameras I own versus broken cameras I own.

    OK, so it looks like I was correct in my assumptions. Now who do I send it to? :smile:

    [​IMG]

    Full size for your enjoyment:

    http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4057/4462282191_eefa692095_o.jpg

    The problem starts at 1/250th of a second and gets worse as things speed up. Otherwise, the camera is working and looks nice.
     
  18. johnnywalker

    johnnywalker Subscriber

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    Luke, you are confusing the issue by using words like "sync" and "flash". Title and post 14 for example.
     
  19. luke_h

    luke_h Member

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    I don't know the technical terms past "broken" which is exactly what I assumed this camera was.

    Now proven visually with evidence. In post 14 I mistyped.. I meant to say

    It works fine up to 1/125th second. Here's a photo made in the back yard at 1/125th.

    http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4070/4463085920_59c4c27131_b.jpg
     
  20. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    So if the pictures you show in post# 16 are taken in regular light, not flash, there is a problem. Maybe the mirror is hanging up.
     
  21. luke_h

    luke_h Member

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    Yes. So now we're back to post #1 where I asked who fixes Nikon SLRs.

    I don't have the skill to open up the body and fix it myself. I read through the repair manual and it's above my head.
     
  22. frobozz

    frobozz Subscriber

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    If it were the shutter hanging up, that edge at the black hole horizon would be sharper, so I'm going to go with the mirror theory as well. It's also in the correct position to be the mirror, as the image on the film is upside down. Does this camera have a mirror lockup? If not, when doing your look-through-from-the-back-with-no-lens test you could just hold the mirror up with your finger. With the mirror out of the way, do you see the whole frame like you expect?

    Duncan
     
  23. luke_h

    luke_h Member

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    I will try that. Earlier today I was trying to take photos with it upside down to see if gravity had any effect on the ailment.

    The camera is at home now and I'm finishing my day at work. Do I risk damaging the camera if I hold the mirror up while releasing the shutter?
     
  24. LyleB

    LyleB Member

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    I recently received a FM2 and a FE back from KEH repair. Both are working beautifully. The FM2 only needed a CLA and seals replaced, the FE needed some repair. I mailed both cameras out on a Friday, by the following Friday. they were back on their way to me. EXCELLENT turn-around time. They also completed additional repairs to the FE beyond what I asked. They did charge $120 per body, but I felt that was fair, especially considering the excellent speed. I would recommend.

    Edit: Just for clarification, I did include a note authorizing the work, up to the $120 estimate/body along with the cameras when I mailed them in. The next I heard from KEH, the work was done, and the cameras were being shipped back. Not sure if this sped things up, but I would do it again.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 25, 2010
  25. frobozz

    frobozz Subscriber

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    I'd hate to guarantee no ill effects from holding up the mirror, but on every SLR I've owned it would be fine. If you can (gently! From the back surface!) lift the mirror up with a finger, i.e. it's not held in place by some geartrain or something, it should be fine. If the camera has a mirror lockup lever, all the better obviously.

    Duncan
     
  26. luke_h

    luke_h Member

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    I called two of Nikon's authorized repair centers in Illinois. One said it'd cost 150.00. The other said 116.00. I called another repair center in Kansas and the guy laughed and said it took him two days of labor to fix the last FM shutter he got into. He said one curtain is slow or fast in regards to the other, but you have to get all the way into the camera to service it. He told me to just go to KEH and buy one of their EX condition FMs and be done with it :wink:

    I may see if KEH wants to take this one in on trade.