Nikkormat FT2 needing meter repair

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by joe_hodge, May 2, 2018.

  1. Other than the meter being (consistently!) 4 stops under my other cameras, it works fine. Any good repair options other than KEH flat rate?

    I have already worked the ISO and shutter speed rings a good bit and checked / replaced the battery twice. In a controlled scene, my Canon 40D, AE1, and Olympus OM-2 all agree within 1/2 stop, so I'm confident the FT2 needs work.

    I'm in Washington DC, FWIW. I'm aware of Strauss.

    Thanks for any tips.
  2. AJG


    If it consistently underexposes by 4 stops, you could simply set your ASA 4 stops lower and not bother to repair it. You would be out of luck with slow films, but Tri-X or other 400 speed films should be fine.
  3. Just to be sure, you are using a 1.5v battery?
  4. Thanks for the replies. I've replaced the battery twice with 1.5v silver oxide cells, so I'm comfortable ruling that out. I do realize that I could leave it unrepaired and compensate (or use an external meter), but it bugs me, so I'm looking at my options.
  5. Are you doing the"Nikon Shuffle" when you change lenses? If you don't, your lens will not be indexed to the meter correctly.
    andyfalsetta likes this.
  6. Yes; I also have an FTn, and have no metering issues there, despite the odd battery needs.
  7. Joe, you can easily install a diode into the FTn finder to enable the same battery to be used in it rather than trying to come up with a 1.35v battery for it.
  8. Nikon: Nikkormat FT2 (same as Nikomat FT2) Price Guide: estimate a camera value

    gives about USD 100.00 for average condition, which is a little more than I would have guessed.

    Compare that to the cost of any repairs.

    In most cases, having the voltage slightly high will only make a slight exposure change, but not always.

    Try a 1.35V battery, such as zinc-air, and see if that helps.

    As above, an appropriate diode can shift the voltage by about the right amount.
  9. Okay here it comes:

    Four stops off indicates one of the two photocells have died. Remove & replace.

    If the meter needle jumps around, then with the lens mount looking at you:
    1. Lock up the mirror
    2. Heat up & remove lens mount screw at 10 O'clock position
    3. Introduce a syringe of light solvent (Lighter Fluid) 5mm into the access hole
    4. Don't shoot-in, but allow a dribble of solvent to wash the aperture/shutter brushes and contacts
    5. Briskly move the aperture index prong (Easier than racking the speeds) back & forth
    6. Using same syringe, carefully introduce "DeoxIT FaderLube" (Carbon resistor electrolube formula)
    7. Reassemble and enjoy accurate smooth metering
    marc_bergman|1 likes this.
  10. Many of us who were there at the time still call it the "Nikon Twist"
    Is it any accident it started at the same time as Chubby Checker's song? (1960) Of course not:rolleyes:
  11. Thank you very much. I'm afraid this is out of my depth. I could (probably) handle the second part, but removing and replacing the photocell is a bit more than I'm equipped to handle.
  12. Nikkormats have passed the point of being economically worthwhile to repair. Unless the camera has strong sentimental value, it makes more sense to sell it as a "parts/repair" body and replace it with another, fully-functional body.

    I got in a Nikkormat mood recently when I noticed prices had cratered, and have been steadily amassing a neat little collection of them. The ELs have lost all appeal: sellers can't give them away. FTNs go for practically nothing, the FT2 a bit more: only the rare-ish AI-updated EL2 and FT3 still fetch anything approaching $100. Last week I snagged a like-new FT2 with 50mm f/2 AI lens for $55, shipped: you just need to be patient and dog eBay for a couple weeks. About half the FT2 listings are at absurd prices, but once or twice a week you'll find a nice one for $60 or less (a mint one sold the other day for $29). Nikkormats are not as "hip" as they were a year or two ago, hence the price drop: the latest crop of newbie film dabblers have moved on to the FM, FE and FG (which were oddly cheaper than Nikkormats for a long time previously). Stick to listings from sellers who seem to know what they're talking about, and volunteer info about meter functionality/accuracy.
  13. I got an EL2 and FT3 for about $50 each from Goodwill auctions.

    The FT3 didn't say FT3 in the auction title, but I could read it in the picture. I suspect that kept bids down.

    Both seem to work well enough for me. I have alkaline batteries in both, I believe.

    Goodwill does minimal testing, but usually enough to find if the shutter won't fire at all.

    From a local store, to avoid shipping charges.

    Being the model for the FM, the first camera that I bought myself (instead of borrowing
    from my father, or inheriting from my grandfather), the FT3 is a little more special to me.

    Yes, just find another FT2, and you probably get a lens along with it.
  14. Very bad. These "alkaline" batteries among other things, LEAK too easily !
    Please only use the Silver Oxide formula batteries. This was the only battery out when the camera was originally designed.

    Besides, even with the potential ability to acquire a parts salvage unit (especially with the 'Mirrorbox' battery chamber of the EL2), rolling the dice with a probable time waster on a no-more-parts available camera, is foolhardy...
    Last edited: May 20, 2018
  15. I inherited a FT2 from my father. For sentimental reasons I am keeping it, I do run an occasional roll of film through it. It takes one MS 76 , SR 44, or 357. Different names for the same silver 1.5 volt battery. When I had the meter worked on years ago, Nikon USA recommended an independent repair center.

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