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  1. #1

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    Nikkormat FTn flash synch mystery

    I shot some rolls indoors last week with a Nikkormat FTn. It was hooked up to a strobe, directly via a synch cord. One roll was shot in a room with no windows; the other roll was shot in a room with a well lit side window. The strobe seemed to be working fine at all times. I use the strobes a lot with a Nikon D70 and have no problems with them. All images taken in the same sessions with the digital camera came out fine.

    Roll number one basically came out blank, with extremely faint traces of image. Roll number 2 came out with very thin negatives. On inspection, it appears that the subject of the negatives on roll 2 was showing as lit from the side, ie the window.

    Conclusion: The FTn was firing the flash, but the flash was not exposing the film. It must have been totally out of synch. I'm pretty sure the shutter speed I used was 1/60, so it should have been fine.

    Anyone have any ideas as to how this could happen? I'm reasonably sure the synch cord was plugged into the "x" terminal.

  2. #2

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    Either the cord was in the wrong socket, or the synch is no good.
    Did you test the synch before using the camera? No?
    Remove the film, open the back. Point the camera at an evenly colored wall and trip the shutter while looking at the film gate. If the synch is working, you'll see an evenly illuminated film gate. If part or none of the gate is illuminated the synch is off.
    Last edited by E. von Hoegh; 01-09-2013 at 01:54 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  3. #3

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    I haven't tested the synch; I will do so tonight. I'd be very surprised if I used the wrong socket, but it's possible.

    If the synch is off, do I assume it's a big job to fix it? The camera is an old Nikomat Ftn that I cleaned up and converted to use with unperforated film; it takes great pictures outdoors. I think I only paid $5 for it, so it's no big deal.

  4. #4

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    The synch on these usually either works, or doesn't. Maybe someone had the top off and soldered the wires to the wrong sockets when they replaced the top. I know someone who did that but they tested the synch and found their mistake...and they've never used their 'mat with flash.

    Try plugging the flash in either socket.

  5. #5

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    Check the synch by removing the lens, opening the back and firing the camera and flash in a darker room using the settings you have been using. If the synch is good you should see a very bright image looking through the open shutter.

    A couple of things to double check -- don't take offense if they seem way too obvious: 1) The Nikkormats synch at 1/125. I always assumed that meant 1/125 was the top synch speed, but who knows whether 1/60 doesn't work properly as the synch speed. 2) what aperture is the lens set at? If it's at f16, say, the flash may not throw enough illumination to give a good image.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Merritt View Post
    Check the synch by removing the lens, opening the back and firing the camera and flash in a darker room using the settings you have been using. If the synch is good you should see a very bright image looking through the open shutter.

    A couple of things to double check -- don't take offense if they seem way too obvious: 1) The Nikkormats synch at 1/125. I always assumed that meant 1/125 was the top synch speed, but who knows whether 1/60 doesn't work properly as the synch speed. 2) what aperture is the lens set at? If it's at f16, say, the flash may not throw enough illumination to give a good image.
    The Nikkormat Ftn synchs at all speeds up to and including 1/125, this per the manual.

  7. #7

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    OK, I did the test - and the X socket is dead. So for me to have gotten a flash before, I must have plugged into the M socket. Which works. But obviously not synched.

    I unscrewed the X socket and it came out with broken wire. Either the unscrewing broke the wire, or a broken wire explains why X did not trigger the flash. Anyone have a step by step set of instructions for taking the top of the camera off? I'd love to re-solder the wire and see what happens.

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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by henry finley View Post
    The 2 sockets are part of the top panel cover, and come off with the cover when it is removed. When this is done, you will see that the cover cannot be moved further away from the rest of the chassis than the length of the 2 wires will allow. To be able to set the top cover aside from the camera to work on the camera, the 2 wires have to be de-soldered. Any attempt to simply remove the sync socket from the top cover will result in tearing the wire (as you have seen). Your original problem is that you plugged your flash into the wrong socket. Now you're going to have to take off the top cover and re-solder the wire you broke. Taking the top covers off Nikkormats is easy. I can have them off and back on in 2 minutes flat.
    How very helpful and informative of you.

  10. #10

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    Thanks all for the help. Taking the top cover off was indeed extremely easy. I re-soldered the broken wire on the X contact, and it seems to be working now. I looked through the shutter with flash in a dark room, and it does now seem to synch at up to 1/125.

    So it looks like the mystery is solved. Thanks all!

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