Nikon EM question


TPF Noob!
Mar 15, 2008
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sarasota Fl
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I just picked up one of these EM's at a flea market for $60 with a 50mm 1:1.8 lens. I put in a new battery and when switched to the AUTO mode the needle on the left side wont drop out of the red zone. Could it be that it is stuck or broken or is there something I am not doing right?

Thank you in advance for your insight.

Hard to say. Did you advance the camera to frame #1. The meter will not function normally until the frame counter gets to 1. This is a common feature on Nikon's from that period.
Yes. it is currently sitting on frame 3. I took two one in dim light one in bright light and the shutter speed was very different speeds, however, the needle was unaffected.
Remove the batteries and make sure the battery compartment is clean.
If there is corrosion there, it will have to dealt with before the camera
will work properly.

Even if clean, dip a q-tip in rubbing alcohol and swab the inside of it and
replace the batteries and try again.

The frame counter must be at #1 or higher for meter to operate. Pressing
lightly on the shutter release should then turn on the meter.

If that doesn't work try pressing the shutter release button vigorously a
good number of times to clean the switches and try again.

If that doesn't work remove the lens and try moving the tab near the top
of the lens mount vigorously back and forth a good number of times to
clean the contacts beneath it and try again.
Thank you, I will go try that. The compartment was fairly clean but I certainly will give it a rub down. When half pressing the shutter release the "beep beep" sound goes off when the aperature is either too big or too small. Lets go see what happens.
I took two one in dim light one in bright light and the shutter speed was very different speeds, however, the needle was unaffected.

If it's giving different shutter speeds in different light then the meter and AE
function are working, it's just not displaying anything.

Since the EM is auto-exposure only, you don't really need to see the needle
movement to take pictures. The needle may just be gummed up. Try shooting
a roll. It may be working fine and the needle may free up on its own
in time.
I shot a roll on M90 and I am very happy with the way they turned out. This is my first ever SLR with real film :). Thanks for your help. Ill burn through a few rolls and hope for the best.

According to this article

"Nikon bodies will not start the metering with a new roll of film until three frames have been advanced or three wind and release cycles have been gone through without any film in the body. I was wondering if the EM I bought was already in need of servicing when I was at home and was playing with it and thought that the meter needle was stuck in the up position. Pressing the shutter release did nothing to start the meter and only when I had cycled through three windings and shutter releases did the meter suddenly engage."

Diddnt work on mine. Oh well.
Last edited:
Diddnt work on mine. Oh well.

If the shutter speed seems to be changes when either light level or f/stop is changed its quite possible that the metering system, at its core, is working fine and the problem is only that the indicator needle is stuck. The needle in the VF has absolutely nothing to do with the camera getting the right exposure; its only an indicator.

The needle in almost all cameras that use them is partially protected by some sort of bumper at the end of its travel in both directions. Many cameras of the EM's vintage use a foam rubber material that can decompose, becomming sticky. I've seen the delicate needles stuck to such bumpers. Sometimes you can bounce them free, but usually it requires that the camera be disassembled, at least part way, and the needle gingerly pried loose. The real solution to such problems does require that the bumper also be replaced, not a job for a shade-tree mechanic. You need to know what your doing when you dig that deep into a camera.
Ill just leave it be. Maybe see how much a shop would charge. Oh well. :) I really only bought it for the lens mostly.

Your not that ol....advanced. Im just a newb 20 years old :)
Just an update I got the needle working after some tinkering and its been a joy to shoot with. Thanks for the help guys.

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