F3 film speed dial problem

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by jay_drew, Nov 11, 2010.

  1. Hi all
    I just bought a Nikon F3. I down loaded a users manual, installed batteries & put the camera through it's paces. Everything seemed fine until I tried to set the film speed. There were no film speed #s showing. I read the page on setting film speed & didn't notice the up arrow indicating the ring should be lifted before rotating the ring. After much fooling around, & sore fingers, I finally got some of the film speed #s to show, by lifting the ring, but all the #s will not show (only the lower speeds). Most of the time the #s do not move at all, after lifting the ring. The ring feels like it needs lubrication, but,I know better than to lubricate camera equipment myself.
    Does the fact that the #s were not visible prior to my trying to turn the ring indicate a problem before, or have I blown it, by damaging the ring by attempting to turn it w/o lifting. In other words; is it normal for the film speed #s not to be visible some of the time?
    Thank you for any insight, JD
  2. All the film speeds should be visible&selectable by lifting&turning the wheel... except when the compensation dial is already used. Check that the compensation dial is at "0".
    This dial limit the film speed choice up to one or two stops in both the faster and slower speeds (I don`t remember) when compensation is used to the extremes (+- 2 stops?).
    Anyway, your problem seem to me a lubricant issue (aged dried lubricant), or even a mechanical problem. If the first, I`d try to increase the camera`s temperature a bit (no blowtorchs!) to soften the grease.
  3. The ISO numbers are from 12 to 6400 and they cover only about 1/3 of the whole round, so there are lots of position without numbers on that ring. However, there is some kind of lock so that you can not turn the dial to positions without numbers
    You likely broke that lock and turned the dial to no numbers position. I've never done that so I don't know what problem that would cause, but I believe that will only affect the meter. So you'd better turn the dial back to number position and check if the meter is still ok or not. Good luck
    Note that, as with many other cameras, the ISO settings are linked to the +- compensation settings
  4. That ring is fragile. I had to replace mine even though I had never used it wrong.
  5. The film speeds are printed on a sticky sheet and stuck on. Has part of the film speed fange balled up and jammed somewhere? What film range can you see (minimum and maximum)?
  6. The ring on which the ISO speeds are printed can come loose and spin freely, without regard to the control ring that actually sets the ISO (and exposure compensation). Happened on my F3 years ago and I never bothered to fix it properly. Can't see any numbers at all through the window in my F3 because the labeled ring has completely spun around to the opposite side.
    Since I used the F3 almost exclusively with ISO 100 films (TMX and Provia), I used a couple of off-camera meters (Minolta incident, Pentax Spotmeter V) to confirm the appropriate setting for the control ring around the F3 rewind knob. Each detent on the F3 ring equals 1/3 step so it's fairly easy to set it with reasonable precision even if you can't actually see the corresponding ISO value on the labeled ring.
    On the rare occasions I use faster or slower films in that F3 I use the exposure compensation doodad to make the adjustments. Works exactly the same way as lifting and turning the film speed control. But in actual practice whenever I need to use faster films, such as Delta 3200 or pushed Tri-X for low light handheld snaps, I almost always prefer the FM2N because the red LED exposure indicator is easier to see in dimly lit areas.
    Assuming you'd rather not spend too much for having the camera properly serviced, if you don't have another meter to check your F3 against, use the Sunny 16 guideline or Fred Parker's Ultimate Exposure Computer tables to estimate the appropriate setting for the ISO dial. Keep in mind that when estimating metering with the F3 the sensitivity is highly concentrated in the center (not quite a spot meter) so it's probably best to use a gray card for this purpose.
  7. Jay,
    I picked up an F3 today. Same problem, only the lower numbers are visible and the ring is very hard to rotate. Very frustrating.
  8. Hi Lex et all
    Sorry for the delayed response, I've been out of town plus distracted w/ other stuff.
    I have several meters & usually know how to expose, I just like to use the built in meter for speed & convenience. When I was shooting a lot, a couple a decades back, I surprised myself w/ my ability to adjust exposure around the built in meter by changing the f-stop to move the needle up or down from the center as necessary, or to know when to use an external meter. I often got 32 -35 chromes back correctly exposed. I do not do that well these days. Even shooting neg. color film. (Not that that has much to do w/ the F3 film speed knob)
    Depending on how much it would cost to repair, it might be cheaper to buy another F3
    Thanks to all who have contributed to this question & to those who let me know that the film speed knob on an F3 is delicate, JD

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