Nikon FM Help

SEblacker

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I just recently bought a Nikon FM off ebay. I have never used film before, but wanted to give it a try.

I've had two rolls of film developed. The first, not even six pictures came out. I admit, I didn't know how to use it for the first half of the roll and wasn't even paying attention to the light meter. I ended up going to a camera shop and someone told me how to use it and the rest of my pictures came out except a few. Some were half covered with the bottom shutter. So I decided to give it another try with better film, to see if the shutter blades are actually sticking.

The second roll 9 pictures came out. They were all pictures taken in low light. There were two pictures I saw on the negatives that were 80% covered with the bottom shutter. The rest are completely blank.

Later I took the lens off just to see if I can find out what is wrong. Then I realize that when I turn the aperture dial, it's not closing. This would prove why only the pictures in low light were coming out. But then if the aperture dial wasn't closing, wouldn't the light meter tell me that?

So I don't know if the shutters are broken, if the aperture is broken, or if I am doing something seriously wrong.
 

compur

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If you were using flash with the pictures that were partially blocked by the shutter the reason, most likely, is that your shutter speed was set too high. You can only use flash on the FM with shutter speed at 1/125 or slower.

If you weren't using flash with those photos then most likely the shutter is malfunctioning and needs repair.

With the lens off the camera, rotating the aperture dial should cause the lens diaphragm to open/close. If not, it needs repair. With the lens on the camera, rotating the aperture dial won't open or close the diaphragm until the shutter is tripped.

But then if the aperture dial wasn't closing, wouldn't the light meter tell me that?

Nikon light meters don't talk nor predict the future. The aperture isn't supposed to close down until just after the shutter release is pressed.

Here is a manual for your camera:
http://www.cameramanuals.org/nikon_pdf/nikon_fm.pdf
 
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SEblacker

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I wasn't using flash. Is it possible that on certain shutter speeds, the shutter doesn't work? because some pictures do come out.

The aperture wasn't closing when I had the lens off. I was sticking.

And obviously the camera doesn't talk, shocker! I was referring to the little red dot that tells you if it is under or over exposed.
So if the aperture wasn't closing, the light meter would still say if was overexposed.
 

compur

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If you weren't using flash and the shutter blocked some or all of the images then the camera is broken.

If (with the lens off the camera) you twist the aperture ring back and forth, the diaphragm doesn't open/close then the lens is broken too.

The meter measures the light prior to the shutter release cycle. It doesn't know if the diaphragm is going to close down or not when you
release the shutter. After you release the shutter it doesn't remember if the aperture closed down or not on the last release.
 

Derrel

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A second thing about the FM: it has an Automatic Aperture Indexing "follower" that is spring-loaded, and which CAN BE FLIPPED UP, so that it does NOT engage with the AI coupling ridge on an AI or Ai-S lens...when the Automatic Aperture Indexing follower is flipped up, the FM's meter relies upon the user to press the Depth of Field preview button, to perform "stopped-down metering"...if you are inadverdently matching the diodes with the AI-index system flipped "up", the the light meter is reading the amount of light gathered by the lens at FULL, wide-open aperture; if you happen to adjust the meter with the AI system disengaged, and you also happen to be shooting at a smaller aperture, like say f/11...your images would be underexposed. The degree of underxposure is the difference between the lens's max aperture, like say f/1.4 with a 50mm f/1.4, and the shooting aperture. So...that would mean a six-f/stop underexposure at f/11.

The light meter is DIRECTLY connected to an AI or Ai-S lens ONLY when the AI coupling system is "down", and engaged; when the Ai coupling system is "up", and disengaged, the light meter does NOT communicate directly with the lens's diaphragm **except** when the lens is set to wide-open...at all other f/stops, the user must depress the DOF preview button WHILE adjusting the light meter.
 

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