Nikkormat FT2: Can't seem to focus


TPF Noob!
Jan 2, 2010
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Massachusetts, USA
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Hello All,

I just got my Nikkormat back from the repair shop for some mechanical issues with the self-timer mechanism. I didn't leave a lens with the repair shop, so I had to wait to get home to start using it. I popped a lens on it and to my disappointment , I could not get the image in the viewfinder to come to focus. Then I tried another lens with the same result.

Maybe I just don't know what I am doing, so I thought I would post here to see if anyone had any ideas? Here are the exact symptoms: When you look through the VF your field of view is a rectangle and there is the central focusing circle. When I focus on something like text, the text will "align" in the focusing circle (so I think it is actually focusing) BUT the rest of the rectangle is never sharp (not even close). Only what is in the circle appears sharp.

I can't imagine that this is the way it is supposed to function (i.e. the rectangle is never sharp).

I hope I have explained things well enough that you can imagine what I have described, but let me know if more clarification is needed. I have made sure to try multiple lenses and to stay further away than the minimum focusing distance.

Any thoughts? Thanks so much for reading.
What sort of focusing screen is in it? Some of the screen give the illusion of not being precisely focused outside of the split-prism area due to their design. Run a roll of film through it and see what the results are.
Hi tirediron! Thanks for the reply. I am really not sure what kind of focusing screen is in it. I inherited this from my grandfather so I do not know too much about it. Is the screen something I can replace? For example if I do not like this way of focusing, there might be another screen that will focus the entire rectangle? I only ask because I am having a hard time imagining that people can properly compose their images without being able to see them, without at least some degree of clarity. Thanks again.
What happens when you focus on things farther away?
It doesn't sound right I have to admit. Did you grandfather by any chance wear glasses? Could there be a vision-correction diopter in the eyepiece (Manual, pg 29 refers). Could it simply be dirt and dust, etc?
FT2's came with the very standard Nikon "K" screen, shown here viewinfo.gif

I dunno...sounds pretty weird...the majority of the screen is what Nikon called "matte fresnel", and that outer part of the screen was never as "sharp and clear and bright" as in say, a modern autofocus SLR.

Before the service, were you able to get the camera to focus properly? I was wondering if perhaps some kind of newbie repairman might have somehow removed the screen and reinstalled it upside-down when reassembling the camera.

Nikon made nine different eyepiece correction diopters for the FT2. Wondering if one was accidentally installed/removed during the service visit? fig30eyepiece.jpg
I had an FT2 years ago and It had the fresnel field VF, but there was a clear circle in the middle with a split image as well. My dad's FT had the same, but withiut the split image.

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