F3 ASA Dial - stiffness?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by johncarvill, May 12, 2010.

  1. Been running a few films through my F3, in preparation for an upcoming trip. Swithcing between 100, 200, and 1600 ASA films, I notice that the ASA dial on my beloved F3 is a bit fiddly (which I remember it being) and also very stiff (which I don't recall being a problem before). COuld it be dust or age that's affecting it? Or are they all like that?
    By stiff, I mean when you lift the dial up to turn it, the actual turning of the dial feels resistant and I would maybe say somehow 'grainy', not a nice feel to it at all. Hope this doesn't signify some sort of problem? Certainly switching ASA's does have the expected effect on exposure meterings.
  2. The design of the F3 film speed ring isn't one of the better features of that camera. It's no worse than some other cameras, but considering this was Nikon's flagship pro model in that era, the film speed arrangement wasn't well designed to resist dust and debris. It's designed to handle more than one function - adjustment also affects the EV compensation dial for use with the aperture priority AE mode. And it's too easy for grit to get inside the ring because there's no protective window.
    My film speed ring hasn't worked properly in several years. The inner ring that's labeled with the ISO ratings spins freely and has no correspondence with the actual changes made. So I have to estimate the film speed by using a spot meter and incident meter to compare results with the F3 on a gray card. I finally got tired of that game and set it to ISO 100. Now when I want to use faster or slower film I use the exposure compensation function, which effectively serves the same purpose.
    You might try a squirt of contact cleaner from an electronics supplier. Get the stuff that doesn't leave an oily residue. I used to use Birchwood Casey "Gun Scrubber" for cleaning contacts and oily residues but I'm not sure if it's still available - might have been banned as one of those nasty substances that Manbearpig disapproves.
  3. I note that the ASA ring on my F3HP, which is in correct working order and was at least checked over if not CLA'd by a reputable shop before they sold it to me, is also pretty stiff, and could be characterized as "grainy," the feeling you'd get from very fine detents, or perhaps from a wire-wound variable resistor. I'd be inclined to leave it alone if it's working properly, unless a bunch of other F3 users chime in here and tell us both that it should be as creamy-smooth as the film advance.
  4. I had a similar situation but with mine the "grains" actually started leaking out. It turns out that the ASA resistor in the F3 is a glass ring that sometimes breaks. As you turn the ASA ring the broken glass begins to crumble and grind. I sent my F3 to John Hawley at nikonusedcameras.com and it was fixed at a very reasonable cost. If you email him I think he would give you a repair estimate. Best of luck.

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