F2A meter not working. View finder still ok?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by spanky, Jul 20, 2008.

  1. Hi Everyone,

    I'm still considering picking up a 2nd hand Nikon body and prime lens and am leaning towards a F2A. I've noticed at
    KEH there are a number of these and other models that are described as excellent expect for a non-working meter.
    This is OK with me since I plan to use Sunny 16 as for my exposures and occasionally my hand held incident meter
    which I use with my RZ. Since price is a factor (when is it not?) I'm tempted to purchase such a body but just want
    to know if this affects the view finder any. I don't think it would but I've never used Nikon before. Furthermore, it is kind
    of alarming why there are several on the site that also don't have working meters. Was this a common issue with
    these or is there perhaps impact or moisture damage I should be concerned about? I've ordered from KEH many
    times and trust them, but still I'd feel less reluctant to put an order in until I hear from some of you long time users of
    this camera.



    Oh one last question too. Does one get a lot of curvature with the 28mm lenses? I'm trying to decide between this
    and a 35mm.
  2. The F2 series cameras had a problem with the ring-resistor in meter wearing out after
    years of use. Nikon replaced the carbon ring with a wire ring but they still failed after
    years of use. The F2 is excellent without a working meter. Check out Sover Wong's site
    for meter repairs:


    The 28mm will not show a 'lot' of curvature but is handy for shots of a roomfull of
    people with flash. I use a 35mm except for small rooms. My F2AS is over 30 years
    old and meter still works fine.

  3. Thanks Bruce. I guess I can always replace the head if I wish, but I've found that incident readings work best for me.
  4. I think the key phrase from Bruce is 'After Years Of Use'. These cameras were made to be used hard, often, and for
    possibly long stretches of time without a tune-up.

    If the body was used less than hard, sort of often, and had periodic tune-up, the meter can last.
  5. The whole point of the F2A is the meter. It allowed the newer AI glass to be metered at full aperture, and old glass could be used in stop down meter mode. If you are going to buy an F2 with a bad meter. There is no point in getting a more advance meter than the standard F2 Photomic that doesn't work.
  6. Yup, that old famous resistor ring trick, Chief! I bought my F2 Photomic in 1973. The meter got jittery the last 3 years (a sign of the issue) I used it. You could change the reading by applying a twist force (real light) to the shutter speed dial.This is pretty common with volume control pots too on other devices. The shutter mechanism finally died in 1999. Total volume of rolls of film, > 9,500 by the time I gave up notation. Not a bad track history. The viewfinder, other than that, is indestructible, much like the body. I've missed that beast, but as my eyes have gotten worse, AF does have a place in my heart...sigh. Jim M.
  7. Thanks guys. So basically the meter may be shot but the rest of the camera should deliver the goods.
  8. Well I just got off the phone with the Nikon west coast service center. They don't service these cameras anymore. Too bad as I was really getting excited about getting one. Parts aren't being made anymore either. Given the expense in sending it out to places like Mr. Wongs above and the fact that parts now have to be cannibalized I'm going to have to look for an alternative.
  9. Camerquest.com, has a repair service that can repair these meters. I have never used the service, nor do I know the prices. But I will stand by Mr. Gandy at Camerquest as one of the straight shooters in this business.
  10. See, but if you send it to Sover's, you'll get back a camera that is good to go for another decade or two. Worth the
    investment if you like to shoot with them.
  11. Hi Jim,

    I have used F2's with the flakey shutter-speed knob changing with a little pressure
    either way. Usaually on the one 'bad' spot on the resistor-ring, usually around 1/60th to
    1/100th. Trick is to just select another f/stop, get a reading off the good part of the
    ring and mentally convert setiings to the shutter speed/aperture you wanted to use. I
    generally just meter off the green grass.

  12. I believe that I have a couple of extra F2 meters at home. I'll look them over and see that they work. Let me know if you're interested.

  13. Thanks for your offer Bob but I was actually looking at the bodies that have non working meters since they cost less. I shoot mostly b&w and living in LA I find that I can get by with sunny 16 most days. I'm just concerned about these being pro cameras and possibly having seen heavy use to the extent that I may have a repair that I cannot get fixed by any of the smaller independent shops around town. I'm looking at close to $500 to purchase a body and prime lens rated excellent. I'd hate to spend that only to have a useless camera a year or two later.
  14. Marc, two things:

    1) There is nothing like a "F2A body". All F2 bodies are identical. A F2A is a body + DP11 meter prism. Given that
    you are deliberately looking for a non-working meter, it makes no sense to search a F2A outfit that even if sold
    as "non-working meter", will tend to be more expensive than a plain F2 Photomic (DP1 meter) simply because
    people would buy it with the idea of having the meter repaired.

    2) A non-working meter on a F2 can actually depend of TWO things. Either the meter is defective, or the body is not
    feeding properly current to the meter. In my personal experience the latter is the case in at least three instances out
    of five. I don't know wether this is of any relevance to you, but I though you would wish to know.

    Beyond the meter issue, it would be very, very rare for a F2 to generate any type of problem, and certainly not after
    a CLA. A body in decent cosmetic conditions and fully working, with a 50mm 1:1.4 lens and non-working meter
    (whatever the cause) can be picked up on ebay for well below $200.

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