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  1. #1

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    Nikon F3 shutter bounce - repairable?

    After bad luck with trying to get one of my two F2 bodies to be reliable, I went and got a F3. It's a newer camera then the F2 of course and from what I can gather, Nikon still makes parts for it. So I figured I'd have less worries using it. Well, was I wrong. After a month of owning the camera and putting about 20 rolls through it, I did some printing today from a roll I shot between last Wed and yesterday. There along the edges of some of the frames in that old familiar band of under exposure that points to shutter bounce. Is it just me having such bad luck with Nikon bodies? This makes three bodies in 2-3 years that aren't reliable. Don't even get me started on the several attempts I made trying to get my first F2 in working order. So I question the ability to repair shutter bounce. When trying to get my first F2 repaired for this, I was told (I cannot remember by who) that it really cannot be repaired because the little rubber pads that the shutter curtains hit upon their travel across the film plane harden over the years (which causes the shutter to bounce back a bit into the frame thereby causing those bands along the edges of the frame). These pads cannot be replaced I was told. So now I have a F3 with the same problem. Am I correct in thinking that Nikon still makes parts for the F3? Is this a fairly simple straight forward repair? The body is under warranty so I will send it back (to KEH) but I won't have anything to shoot (in 35mm anyway) in the meantime, and this was the camera I was using to shoot the Occupy LA group in front of city hall. I just cannot believe that with the reputations the Nikon F series has, that I keep getting cameras that need repairs shortly after I acquire them. I guess they are just getting long in the tooth and with the heavy pro use most of them probably were put under, maybe my expectations were too high. Anyway, thanks for any advice.

  2. #2
    CGW
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcmarc View Post
    After bad luck with trying to get one of my two F2 bodies to be reliable, I went and got a F3. It's a newer camera then the F2 of course and from what I can gather, Nikon still makes parts for it. So I figured I'd have less worries using it. Well, was I wrong. After a month of owning the camera and putting about 20 rolls through it, I did some printing today from a roll I shot between last Wed and yesterday. There along the edges of some of the frames in that old familiar band of under exposure that points to shutter bounce. Is it just me having such bad luck with Nikon bodies? This makes three bodies in 2-3 years that aren't reliable. Don't even get me started on the several attempts I made trying to get my first F2 in working order. So I question the ability to repair shutter bounce. When trying to get my first F2 repaired for this, I was told (I cannot remember by who) that it really cannot be repaired because the little rubber pads that the shutter curtains hit upon their travel across the film plane harden over the years (which causes the shutter to bounce back a bit into the frame thereby causing those bands along the edges of the frame). These pads cannot be replaced I was told. So now I have a F3 with the same problem. Am I correct in thinking that Nikon still makes parts for the F3? Is this a fairly simple straight forward repair? The body is under warranty so I will send it back (to KEH) but I won't have anything to shoot (in 35mm anyway) in the meantime, and this was the camera I was using to shoot the Occupy LA group in front of city hall. I just cannot believe that with the reputations the Nikon F series has, that I keep getting cameras that need repairs shortly after I acquire them. I guess they are just getting long in the tooth and with the heavy pro use most of them probably were put under, maybe my expectations were too high. Anyway, thanks for any advice.
    You need to break off the affair with old Nikon bodies--I mean really old, likely pro-smoked, beat silly models like F2s and F3s. No more parts for the F3 from Nikon. It's been a decade since their formal discontinuation with Nikon not making spares since the late 90s at best. Look into cheaper, amateur models like the FE and FE2 or go for newer AF models like the F90x/N90s or F100 that work well with manual lenses.

    Sorry but the romance around Nikon F series durability needs to be leavened with an understanding of just how old and of what hard working lives these cameras led before we get them. They're not immortal or immune to abuse. They wear out and now often can't be fixed without considerable expense. The reputation needs a reality check.

  3. #3

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    Since it's under warrantee let KEH worry about it.
    If you need the auto feature then FE2 is a good bet, strictly manual FM or FM2. These cameras have a vertical travel shutter and typically don't experience bounce.
    I say typically because someone out there will have experienced it. They're a little smaller and lighter & have higher sync speeds if you need it.
    Both of the earlier have the flip up meter tab that allows use of non-AI lenses too.
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

  4. #4

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    Out of curiosity, on your F2's did you try Sover Wong? He's not the cheapest, nor fastest, but his reputation for bringing an F2 back from the dead is legendary.

  5. #5

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    I'm starting to see the light CGW. Three bodies in three years is not my idea of reliability, but then there are those that swear that after a C.L.A. an F2 or F3 will shoot worry free for years. Epastellis, yes, I did have my first F2 serviced by Sover. After I purchased the body at a local camera show I knew I wanted to have a CLA on it before I started using it so I could do so worry free. I was reluctant at first to send it to Sover because what if the camera needed repair again while still under warranty? International shipping isn't cheap. However, his reputation won me over and I sent it out to him for service although I cannot remember what level I opted for. Anyway, a few months later was when I started seeing the dark banding on usually the right edge of the neg (on horizontal negs) or on the top of vertical negs. Not wanting to spend $80 in round trip shipping to Sover, I was referred to a Nikon Authorized repair facility a short drive from home. I showed them the negs and prints and the gave me an estimate (cannot remember the price). I picked up the camera a week or so later with a new warranty from them. Several more months go by and the problem comes back. I take the body back to Nikon and they say they will call me when it's ready to be picked up. Weeks go by. Then a month, then two. I pick up another body to use in the meantime and it appears to work like a charm. When I call to check up on the first body, they tell me they cannot find parts. More weeks pass and I simply decide that they aren't going to fix it so I pick it up. At some point I emailed Sover to ask his advice and he told me to send the body back to him. He was willing to fix it at no charge to me even though it was now out of his warranty and it had been worked on by someone else while under his warranty. He even was going to send the body back to me at his expense. I was thrilled at such a high level of customer service. So now the body is back at Sovers. Sover mentioned to me that the repair needed did not require parts. I get the camera back and one of the first occasions to use it is at a immigration march in downtown LA. I shot about 30 rolls that day. Out of that number, only a couple came out properly exposed. The rest had blank frames and frames that were so underexposed that there was very little detail at all. So I emailed Sover and attached a scan of one of the rolls. He told me to send the camera back to him, but by then I gave up on it, I had enough. Please understand that I'm not knocking Sover, he really tried to make things right, he was very generous in trying to fix it the second time I sent it to him, and I know he wouldn't have the reputation he has if he wasn't doing something right. He told me I was the first customer of his whose F2 kept failing after he works on it. However, I had enough with the cost of shipping it to him and besides my second body was still working great so I was just going to use that one. Nevertheless a few months ago I began to see blank frames on some of my rolls which would indicate a shutter problem. Hence, my decision to pick up an F3 and now I'm back to where I started from with my first F2.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by CGW View Post
    You need to break off the affair with old Nikon bodies--I mean really old, likely pro-smoked, beat silly models like F2s and F3s. No more parts for the F3 from Nikon. It's been a decade since their formal discontinuation with Nikon not making spares since the late 90s at best. Look into cheaper, amateur models like the FE and FE2 or go for newer AF models like the F90x/N90s or F100 that work well with manual lenses.

    Sorry but the romance around Nikon F series durability needs to be leavened with an understanding of just how old and of what hard working lives these cameras led before we get them. They're not immortal or immune to abuse. They wear out and now often can't be fixed without considerable expense. The reputation needs a reality check.
    I hate to post a "me too" comment, but I really have to say that I agree wholeheartedly with this comment about the reality check.

    My F3, which has had heavy but not "pro-smoked" service is still running quite fine. It has been in use since 1981 or 1982 and has been overhauled by a Nikon authorized service center PRIOR to developing problems. The notion of preventative maintenance on cameras seems to be quite overlooked. Just like the notion that an old camera can be bnought without knowledge of its heritage and use... and then be expected to operate as when it was new.



 

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