Nikon FE mirror not returning to closed: bad focus!

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by neoplop, Dec 1, 2009.

  1. neoplop

    neoplop TPF Noob!

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    The mirror has decided not to return to its completely closed position.

    The focus through the lens is way off. It is inconsistent between the top of the frame and the bottom (but consistent side-to-side). As well it is generally short-focusing: for example it makes you set the lens focus at 2'3" when the object is at 2'8". And of course the shot once developed is blurry if you rely on the reflex viewfinder.

    This does not seem to be a battery issue. M90 does not solve this problem. It seems as if something is just getting in the way of the mirror returning to its normal position.

    Is this an automatic "send to Nikon for a vacation"?

    Thanks for any ideas!
     
  2. PatrickHMS

    PatrickHMS TPF Noob!

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    Don't know what total cost (shipping and labor) would be for you to send to Nikon for repair, but I have seen Nikon FE bodies sell for $50.00 and less, both on eBay and Craigslist.
     
  3. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    Agreed with Patrick, unless you're sentimental about it, i'd look into a new body. Or try a local repair shop, should be one in Toronto.
     
  4. PatrickHMS

    PatrickHMS TPF Noob!

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    And even a local camera repair shop will likely be a minimum of $50.00 - $75.00.
     
  5. neoplop

    neoplop TPF Noob!

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    In accordance to the basic moral tenets of "Reuse, Repair, Recycle", I will not be tossing this camera until it is deemed unrepairable.

    As well, have you seen the average quality of stuff on ebay and craigslist? Not pretty. This baby is mint.

    Thanks anyway.
     
  6. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    I hope you had the lens off and eyeballed the situation. You should be able to move the mirror up manually to have a look at the backside.
     
  7. Early

    Early TPF Noob!

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    If you're bent on keeping THAT camera, I see nothing wrong with spending a few extra bucks to get it serviced.
    Essex Camera Services Inc. - Camera Repair List

    I never used them, but Essex Camera has a fine rep. They list your FE at $110 for standard repair service, although I'd E-mail them to see what they charge to bring it entirely up to spec.
     
  8. Skaperen

    Skaperen TPF Noob!

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    My FE2 has a means to change the type of focusing screen. I've done that a couple times. The mechanism of opening up the screen mount, if it came open on its own somehow, could readily interfere with the mirror action, as well as offset the screen position.

    If the screen moves CLOSER, optically (meaning along the optical path via the mirror, considering both screen position and mirror position), to the lens rear element, then objects at a further distance will be in focus on the screen for a given focus setting of the lens for being in focus on the film plane. That is the situation you described, having set the lens for focus at 2'3", with an object at 2'8" being in focus on the screen (but not in focus at the film plane).

    I don't know the FE but my guess is it has a similar ability to change the screen. If so, that mechanism may have come open, come loose, or been mechanically damaged somehow. You should inspect the screen area by removing the lens with mirror down, and try to see if the frame around the screen is in a fully-up position, and is completely contacting the screen all the way around.

    A possible hard impact downward may have caused the screen frame to move. The downward position could interfere with mirror action. I don't remember if the FE2 had a locking position on it. I don't know that the FE would be the same, anyway.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2009
  9. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Indeed it does. Putting FE2 focusing screens in the FE was a handy upgrade of the time due to the amount of light that is lost through the standard focusing screen.

    Have a play with it manually. Gently prod the mirror up and down and see if you can visibly see what is jamming.
     

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