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  1. #1
    luke_h's Avatar
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    Shutter sync issues on a Nikon FM. CLA?

    I just got my first manual Nikon body, a 2XXXXXX serial number FM. It looked clean and the seller said it was accurate at all shutter speeds.

    Accurate -sounding- apparently. Because 3/4th of the frame is black at 1/1000th second, 1/2 the frame is black at 1/500th, and the problem seems to fix itself by 1/250th second.

    First off, do any of you know how to easily fix this? I don't have the confidence to tear into the camera, but if there's a shutter tension adjustment that's easy to do myself, I'd like to hear about it.

    Second, the reason I bought this camera is it's bullet proof reputation, and I must say that I'm not that much more impressed with it than my beloved Pentax Spotmatics. I purchased a 24mm AIS lens to use on my DSLR, so I wanted to compliment it with this manual body. I've got a Nikon N80 film body for my modern lenses. The FM appealed to me because it embodies everything I feel I need in a 35mm SLR and doesn't have much stuff I don't need.

    However, I'd love for it to work properly. I paid 70 bucks after shipping was factored in. I'd really like to not pay the full 100+ dollars to have someone completely CLA it. It just needs to have the shutter adjusted (possibly the mirror is what's in the way, but I don't think so.)

    Any thoughts, words of wisdom, or mockery of my bad financial decision are welcome

  2. #2
    wclark5179's Avatar
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    Is this happening when using a flash?

    Or all the time?

    Reason I ask is you mention sync. With a flash I use the "X" spot to plug in and only up to 1/60th of a second.

    I've got a Nikkormat that has both the x & m plug in's for flash. The m is for bulbs.
    Bill Clark

  3. #3
    fotch's Avatar
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    That seems like a good price. I doubt you can tell by looking at the shutter firing so the seller probably didn't know. Probably dried up lubricant.

    Anyway, I would not tinker with it myself and send it out for a CLA, making sure the person doing the work is competent in working on the Nikon.

    When buying used, especially as old as this is, you should always allow for a CLA or not buy it.
    Items for sale or trade at www.Camera35.com

  4. #4
    luke_h's Avatar
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    I haven't put any film through the camera yet. I picked it up at the post office on my way to work. I'm just holding the camera up to daylight with the back open and I can tell it's happening. I'll shoot some photos at noon with the camera and develop/scan them tonight.

    The resulting image would look the same as if you were incorrectly using speeds faster than your flash synched to though. But no, it's not flash related.

    I doubt you can tell by looking at the shutter firing so the seller probably didn't know. Probably dried up lubricant.
    You can tell. Just hold your camera up (no lens in place) to some light and fire it with the back door open. You can use an all white screen on your computer monitor too. It's pretty easy to see. However, I'll take photos to prove what I'm seeing already

  5. #5

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    I think you may be confusing yourself with your test. I'm not familiar with that exact camera, but almost all SLRs use a "traveling slit" shutter at the higher speeds. In other words, before the leading shutter curtain has gotten completely across the gap, the trailing curtain is following behind it. The entire shutter is never open simultaneously. (This is the very definition of the "speeds higher than flash sync speeds" as you can't get a full image in the split second of the flash firing, if the shutter isn't completely open at the time.)

    I bet if you take pictures with it they will come out fine.

    Duncan

  6. #6
    luke_h's Avatar
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    Bet accepted

    I'll report back in a while.

  7. #7

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    In fact, using an all-white computer monitor is going to enhance this effect, because of the stroboscopic nature of its illumination. It will tend to freeze the moving slit in one spot in your vision, rather than allowing you to correctly perceive the relative movement of the blades.

    Here's an easy way to convince yourself: do what you're doing, but start at B and work your way up in speed. Watch how one curtain opens and then the next one closes behind it. You'll get a feel for the cadence and see, as the speeds become faster, how the trailing curtain is getting closer and closer to moving before the leading curtain has gotten fully open, until finally, at just above the flash sync speed, it succeeds in starting before the other one has finished.

    Duncan

  8. #8
    luke_h's Avatar
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    I mean I understand how the shutter works. I've got a few other cameras that use a similar vertical curtain (Yashica TL Electro X, Voigtlander R2A, my DSLRs, Nikon N80)

    Just none of them do what you're describing. They all open up a full white frame at 1/1000th.

    Except my Pentax Spotmatic which also does not work at 1/500th and 1/1000th. It has a horizontal cloth shutter though, but the effect is the same.

    I'm curious to see what the results will be. If the camera works, I will be happy as a pig in mud

  9. #9
    Rol_Lei Nut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by luke_h View Post
    Bet accepted

    I'll report back in a while.
    I'm with you on that one...

    Many (even most) shutter problems can be seen by looking through the shutter.

    Hope you're wrong, only because it means it's o.k... :-)
    M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa

  10. #10

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    If a camera opens up a full white frame at 1/1000, then it could have a 1/1000 flash sync - I'm not aware of any that do. So I'm betting the difference here is the illumination source this time vs the other times you've done this. Anyway, the developed film will tell all! It always does :-)

    Duncan

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