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  1. #1
    Ara Ghajanian's Avatar
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    Nikon FM Shutter Problem...

    My girlfriend just bought a Nikon FM. Last night I was firing off the shutter and just inspecting the camera in general. Then it happened. The mirror went up, but didn't come back down. I used the little switch next to the mirror to bring it back down, but the shutter wouldn't fire after that. The mirror just kept going up and staying there. I've never seen anything like this before. She bought the camera from a (creepy) photographer that she knows and I suspect he just wanted to get rid of it because of this problem. He's a difficult person to get in touch with since he just moved to New Jersey and I fear she won't be able to return it. She's pretty upset since she really hasn't even run a roll through the camera yet. Has anyone had a similar problem with an FM series?
    Ara
    Just because you're not paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

  2. #2

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    if it was a FE or other electronic shutter one then it's a flat battery... but for a FM, no idea... I have read where the foam around the mirror box (not FM or even Nikon specific BTW) can get sticky and catch mirrors... never seen it so maybe that could be something to investigate. I just went and had a look at my 20yo FE and it's foam is decidedly claggy although the mirror isn't sticking yet! My newish FM2n has nice foam.

  3. #3
    Monophoto's Avatar
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    First check the obvious - what shutter speed were you using?

    If this were the FE or any of its descendents, the symptom would suggest a dead battery. But the FM series is at the far end of the spectrum from rocket science,. Combine that with the fact that the FM itself was the first of the series (about 1977 or thereabouts) suggests that you could be dealing with a mechanical wear problem rather than something dumb like a battery.

    But the good news is that because the FM is your basic mechanical machine, it's probably repairable. I had the entire shutter assembly replaced in my FM-2 about 15 years ago. Suggest that you make contact with the Nikon repair folks to see what they can do. Even if there is a simple fix to the problem, given the age this model probably deserves a good CLA.

  4. #4
    Monophoto's Avatar
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    One other point - considering that this is your girlfriend's camera and you were exercising it when the problem occured, the politically-smart approach is to admit that YOU broke it. Any other interpretation of the facts will only get you deeper into trouble.

  5. #5
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    I had an FE with that problem and I was told the issue was shutter magnets. This is from a trusted repair guy. He told me he could fix it for $175.00. If the camera was set on the automatic priority setting you may be having the same problem in the FM.
    My Nikkormat will also stick open on the slower speeds just like you are describing. If I turn the knob to B the shutter will close. I dont know how healthy this is for the camera however.
    Try fresh batt's. Try the shutter without batteries. Try it on it's highest shutter speed and work your way down to the slowest and see where it sticks. This info will help when/if you send it in for repiar.
    To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  6. #6
    Ara Ghajanian's Avatar
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    It's none of what you guys have described so far. Literally, you hit the shutter release and mirror goes up, but nothing else happens. The mirror doesn't come back down either. This happens at all shutter speeds including Bulb. The battery is fine (first thing I checked even though it's a mechanical shutter). The shutter curtain won't open. Very weird. It's definitely some sort of mechanical connection between the shutter release and the shutter itself. You can't even wind the film after releasing the shutter.

    Monophoto,
    I'd never admit to anything... haha. Seriously, I don't think it was anything I did because I just fired it a few times and then it happened. I think the guy who owned it before abused it a bit and just sold the camera to someone he knew to be a novice (she is a complete beginner with film; I'll take the credit for converting her from digital). He probably wouldn't be able to get rid of it on eBay because he'd get bad feedback if he didn't admit the problems. You're probably right, it is an old camera and probably needs a CLA deperately.

    Ara
    Just because you're not paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

  7. #7
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    Definitely sounds like something that needs professional repair. Not sure what this camera is worth so it might not make sense to send it out. You might look into another camera from around that same era. I lent my old Nikkormat to my daughter about 6 or 7 years ago and she has kept it for herself. I miss this simple camera so I decided to pick one up on ebay. I picked up a well worn black example (I love the brass showing) for $65 but haven't received it yet. There were tons of them there most under $100 and many come with the 50mm lens for the same price.
    "When elephants fight it is the grass that suffers"
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    IRAQNAM is Bush's legacy

  8. #8
    Ara Ghajanian's Avatar
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    Gerald,
    She bought it for $160 and it came with a mint 50mm 1.8 E lens. She's probably better off grabbing another FM off eBay. They're going for about $150 at the moment.

    How much is an average CLA on a camera like that?
    Ara
    Just because you're not paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

  9. #9

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    It's probably some gummed up foam that is catching it. A CLA'ng will fix it. I believe a CLA will run aroung $75.00

    Kiron Kid

  10. #10
    Ara Ghajanian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiron Kid
    It's probably some gummed up foam that is catching it. A CLA'ng will fix it. I believe a CLA will run aroung $75.00

    Kiron Kid
    No, it's definitely not the foam. Plus, that wouldn't cause the shutter curtain to not open.
    Just because you're not paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

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