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  1. #1

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    Nikon FE - pressure plate scratching film

    Hi all,
    I ran a roll of HP5+ through a new-to-me Nikon FE. Lovely camera, my first with aperture priority and it handles superbly. However, it seemed to cause lots of micro scratches across the film. I checked the usual culprits, film path seemed clean, pressure plate seemed okay, but to double check I got an old blank roll and ran it through the camera. Lots of micro scratches. Ran a few more frames through without pressure plate touching - no scratches. Ran the rest of the roll through a Pentax K1000 and there were no scratches, so I'm sure the pressure plate of the FE is damaging it.

    What are the options?

  2. #2
    Nicholas Lindan's Avatar
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    It may be something embedded in the little dimples. If so, then I'd first scrub it clean with Bon Ami or Soft-Scrub.

    If it is little burrs raised when they made the little dimples - a manufacturing defect - then emery cloth or 1200 wet/dry sandpaper should do the trick.

    Can you feel anything if you drag your fingernail across it?
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  3. #3

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    First I’d examine the film with a strong magnifier and verify that the scratches are strictly parallel with the axis of the film and on the base side only.

    If any scratches are not parallel to the film axis or if any scratches are on the emulsion side, then clearly they cannot be caused by the pressure plate.

    If the pp is the cause, then the surface must have:

    1. a burr—more likely on a leading or trailing edge

    2. rough particles adhering to the pp

    A very close inspection with a strong magnifier in good light should reveal the source.

    The PP can be cleaned carefully with a soft cloth moistened in naphtha. The naphtha will help dissolve whatever is holding particles to the pp without hurting anything.

    If the finish of the enamel of the pp is roughened, it can be polished with auto body rubbing compound or aluminum polish (mild paste of white rouge). Then the pp must be well cleaned to remove all traces of the fine abrasive polish.

    One way that long continuous scratches form is in using reloadable cassettes. After many reloadings, the felt light trap can get particles stuck in the felt. The embedded particles scratch the film in loading the cassette, feeding the film forward, and in rewinding the film back into the cassette after shooting.
    Last edited by Ian C; 01-22-2012 at 10:41 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  4. #4

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    Your tests seems conclusive but just to be sure, the scratches should be predictably in line across all frames and not scattered randomly.
    I don't have the FE and can't verify by the manual I have but it seems removable as shown in MIR FE. In which case the obvious is a replacement pressure plate but probably the whole back which seems cheap and plentiful as it appears to share the same with all the other series FE, FM and FA except for the databack.

  5. #5

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    Thank you for all of the responses. The FE's plate is non-dimpled. I have taken the plate off of the back and had a look and run a finger across, but there doesn't seem to be much. There was a tiny bit of dried stuff that I have removed, but that doesn't explain the vast majority of the scratches. The scratches are continuous, one side only and parallel to the film transport.

    I don't see any obvious particles, but I'm well aware that even something tiny could cause this. The scratches are across the frame - not on a specific height.

    The HP5+ was straight from Ilford, as was the Gold 200 roll that I cannibalised for it. The HP5+ was loaded straight from the film canister into the camera.

  6. #6

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    An image might help. Such is the way with these things, a picture shows up a lot of dust and grime that isn't really that evident in person. Note the change in colour at the two sides of the pressure plate - is this indicative of a camera that has had a lot of film through it? Anything that looks out of the ordinary?

  7. #7
    CGW
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    Quote Originally Posted by freecom2 View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSC_2239.jpg 
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Size:	152.1 KB 
ID:	44944

    An image might help. Such is the way with these things, a picture shows up a lot of dust and grime that isn't really that evident in person. Note the change in colour at the two sides of the pressure plate - is this indicative of a camera that has had a lot of film through it? Anything that looks out of the ordinary?
    New FM3a backs are available. Lots of rollage on the back pictured. Possible rust or corrosion around the upper rivet holes?

  8. #8

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    I think I'll get in contact with the camera technician to see if he has any spare parts. Very few decent pictures of the FE pressure plate online, which makes it difficult to compare.

  9. #9
    CGW
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    Quote Originally Posted by freecom2 View Post
    I think I'll get in contact with the camera technician to see if he has any spare parts. Very few decent pictures of the FE pressure plate online, which makes it difficult to compare.
    Ask Les if there's any difference between the FE and FM2n plates. Believe the plate alone is a separate part for the FM2n, maybe true also for the FM3a. Ask Nikon.

  10. #10

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    Check to ensure that the film roller is rolling.

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