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  1. #1
    BetterSense's Avatar
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    Nikon F4 with broken finder

    I just bought a used Nikon F4. It appeared to be in pristine condition. When I first got it the numbers in the viewfinder lit up and it seemed to work fine. I noticed however that the prism does not latch on...it will slide off, as if the latch wasn't working. I noticed that the track on the prism itself appears rounded off, but the latch on the camera seems ok.

    During the first roll however, I noticed the viewfinder display numbers went away, and they would come back if you tapped on the prism. This applies to both the LCD displays and the backlights. Now the I can't get the LCD displays or the backlight to come on at all, except sometimes they do if you push down on the prism.

    The camera continues to operate when the displays aren't visible. Do you think this is due to the prism or the camera, or in other words, what are the chances that buying a new prism would fix it? Also, the camera operates even when the viewfinder numbers aren't there. Do you think it's working fine, even when the prism isn't displaying anything?
    f/22 and be there.

  2. #2

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    It seems to be the latch of the finder and/or parts connected to it.
    Check if anything is stuck or if there is some dirt where it should not be so the latch can not operate as it should.
    Those latches are spring operated by the way.
    Getting it fixed is one option, an other would be getting one that works propperly, it will me a matter of economic's, but me being me I would want to fix it anyway.

    If the camera operates normaly I would not be worried too much for the time being untill it starts to bug you.

    Peter

  3. #3
    BetterSense's Avatar
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    The latch appears to be intact and working properly. It springs back as it should. It's the corner thing that it grabs onto on the finder than is rounded off. If the extent of the problem was just a failure of the latch to hold the finder, I could hold it from sliding off with some tape or something.

    It's the lights going off that is annoying. Although I haven't developed any film, in full program mode it looks like you can just shoot it without needing any lights, but you don't get a frame counter, AF dots, or any warning symbols either. I can make the lights all come on every time by pushing down hard on the top of the prism. And if I keep pushing down, they stay on. If I let go, they turn off eventually when I bump my eye against the finder or something.

    Keh doesn't have any finders for sale right now and neither does eBay.

    EDIT: Actually it doesn't look like it's the finder anyway. When you take the finder off, you can see the little bitty screens where the exposure info and AF info gets beamed up into the finder. These screens behave just like I've been describing. So it must be the body that is broken. I really got screwed on this one.
    f/22 and be there.

  4. #4

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    Quote: I really got screwed on this one

    Looks like it.... sorry.

    Peter

  5. #5
    BetterSense's Avatar
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    It's funny; with the finder off you can observe the lights and by pressing on the back of the camera near where the slider slides on, you can get them to come on and stay on. You can even flash them by pressing here intermittently. There is probably just something loose inside, possibly under the bussbar of contacts, but I don't see how to get inside to check.

    Do I even want to know what Nikon charges for repairs?
    f/22 and be there.

  6. #6

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    If you're feeling brave, there's always http://www.micro-tools.com/pdf/Nikon/pdf/F4S/F3SERV.PDF (F4 service manual, even though the filename is F3)

  7. #7
    BetterSense's Avatar
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    Thank you very much. If I run out of other options I might have to try to repair it, just as soon as throw it away. I can't very well sell it in it's broken state.
    f/22 and be there.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by BetterSense View Post
    Thank you very much. If I run out of other options I might have to try to repair it, just as soon as throw it away. I can't very well sell it in it's broken state.
    I dropped my F4 on a trip a while back and the LCD thingy cracked and the display began to bleed. I immediately took the camera to a Nikon authorized place in Japan and I managed to see the room where some guys were fixing other F4's. Let me tell you, it ain't gonna be simple. These Japanese guys looked like rocket scientists repairing the microscopic parts on such a complex camera. It was not a sight for sore eyes! I suggest you send the camera out to a place to get it checked out. It's well worth the money! The Nikon F4 has got to be one of the best 35mm cameras ever manufactured.

    Good luck!

    Alex

  9. #9
    Paul Sorensen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BetterSense View Post
    I really got screwed on this one.
    Let me guess "being sold as is because we really don't know anything about cameras, but it sure looks fine to us!"

    I have been there, and pretty recently, actually. I guess we need to learn our lessons occasionally.

  10. #10
    BetterSense's Avatar
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    Let me guess "being sold as is because we really don't know anything about cameras, but it sure looks fine to us!"
    Not really. I saw the camera on Craigslist and it looked to be in practically new condition, and what's more it came with the MB-20 battery pack which I really wanted if I was to get an F4. When I met the seller I took batteries and film and a lens. The camera literally appeared to be NIB so I felt a little silly testing it out, but I didn't have any problems with it during the few seconds I tested it out. It was immediately after I got home that I noticed the prism wouldn't stay on the displays were going off and on. So I kind of did my homework actually, and I still got bit.


    I suggest you send the camera out to a place to get it checked out.
    What kind of place? Nikon themselves? Right now I'm pretty much stuck with selling the battery packs, and viewfinder on eBay and chucking the apparently brand-new remains in the trash, and buying a cheap (although not so cheap after spending hundreds on this F4) AF body off KEH.
    f/22 and be there.

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