Nikkormat FT2 problem: every speed behaves like bulb mode

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by orlando_camargo, Apr 25, 2016.

  1. Hello,
    I have recently acquired a Nikkormat FT2 on a photography fair. When I was testing it there it was working perfectly, with all speeds behaving normally. The only problem it had was a stuck ASA lock, so the ASA setting was locked at 100, but that wasn't really an issue for me. However once I got back home, it stopped behaving normally: whatever speed I choose, the shutter behaves like if it were in bulb mode and when you release the shutter release button the shutter stays open for the duration of the speed I selected. For instance: I choose 1/2s, I depress the shutter release button and the shutter opens and stays open as long as I have my finger pressing down on the shutter release button (like in bulb mode), and when I release the button, the shutter mechanism kicks in and keeps the shutter open for an additional 1/2s. But when I use the self-timer, all the speeds work perfectly fine. I have also noticed that the shutter speed indication on the viewfinder is offset (when I'm in 500 it says 1000, although I'm not sure it has something to do with my problem). Perhaps it's the fact that I tried to force the ASA lock knob to try to unstuck it that caused this issue (as the ASA lock knob is located in the speed selector ring). Has someone already had the same issue? Is there a simple way to solve this problem without having to send my camera to a specialist to fix it (which would probably cost me more than what I paid for my camera)? Thank you
  2. There could be some kind of adjustment of the shutter release stroke that needs adjusting. Other than that I have no clue. Here is the bad news. A Nikkormat FT3 black body in EX condition at KEH is $49, so, if you have to send this to a repair place to fix it then it's a toss up as far as expense. How badly do you want to own a working Nikkormat is the question only you can answer.
    Just another thought, does the shutter work ok with a cable release? If it does then it must be some problem with the length of the shutter release button stroke.
  3. It has the same problem if you use it with a cable release. Thanks for answering.
  4. I don't know why there is so much resistance to having cameras serviced properly. Film is not cheap and color processing is not cheap either. If you intend to do anything serious with the camera, isn't it better to have it working properly? It makes no difference to me that it might cost $100 to properly service a camera and that someone is selling another used one of the same model in "Excellent" or "Perfect" condition for $50. You don't really know what is meant by those descriptions but when your camera goes in for service to a competent repairperson the shutter speeds will be adjusted, the meter will be calibrated, the seals will be replaced if needed and you will enjoy using it. The FT2 was made from 1975-1977 so the newest one is already 39 years old. Some service is in order.
  5. Hello Jeff, I agree with you. I am asking my question in case there is a simple solution to my problem that any people with little or no experience in camera maintenance can safely do, so that won'y need to spend 50$ or more for something I can easely do. Besides I am student and don't have a lot of money to spend, and I already spend a lot with films and development, so if I can spare some money with maintenance I would do it, and maybe later try to save a few bucks to afford a CLA. I already intended to send it to a specialist to mend the stuck ASA lock anyway, which wouldn't cost me much by the way (I've asked a specialist). But if repairing the faulty shutter speeds requires a lot of skill, then I would rather save some money to send it to be repaired than take the risk of making things worse by trying to mend it myself, or abandon the camera. It is in an overall very good condition: the exterior looks excellent (apart from a dent in the prism, but that isn't very visible and doesn't interfere with the camera's operation), the seals were replaced, and the meter seems to be working perfectly, so to me it would be very heartbreaking to leave this camera malfunctioning.
  6. 1. Download the instruction manual and read it thoroughly.
    2. Where was the film counter when you tested it? Where is it now?
    3. What was the temperature where you first tested it? What is the temperature where it is now?
    4. Was the lens cap or body cap on either time you checked the shutter?
  7. If everything else is working properly then you can just adjust your exposures from the ASA setting you are on now. If it's stuck at 200 then close down one stop when shooting 400 speed film and open up a stop when shooting 100 speed film.
  8. Charles: 1.I have already read the manual, found nothing that could be linked to the issue I am having
    2. The camera isn't loaded, and I've opened the back many times so the film counter has been reset many times
    3. The temperatures were aproximately the same (room temperature, around 18 or 20°C), and I was outside (14°C) for about 5min to go back home, with the camera in my camera bag (the latter filled with silica gel bags)
    4. I have tried the shutter without body cap, with body cap on, and with a lens on (a russian 50mm f2.0 lens with a pre-AI nikon F mount that I've found. Unfortunately I cannot name it because I can't spell russian...)

    Jeff: yes, that is what I intended to do, the stuck ASA setting wasn't much of a bother to me, but as the shutter speeds are not working properly anymore I cannot use the camera at all (unless I do long exposures or take pictures with the self-timer)

    Thanks again for your answers
  9. Go to and take a look/download the Nikkormat FTn service manual. On pdf page 19 and 21 is the shutter operating shaft which operates a lever. The lever should be accessible after removing the bottom plate.
    I would remove the bottom plate and check for binding of the parts associated with tripping the shutter. A very small drop of clock oil on the pivot points may help. Do not use 3in1 oil or WD40. Straighten out any dings in the base plate before reattaching.
  10. thank you very much!
  11. Sometimes I find that repeated shutter actuation helps with shutter problems, and sometimes doesn't.
    You might try 100 or so, and at different shutter speed settings, and see if there is any change.
    Seems not too rare a problem for old cameras.
    I have a Chinese made TLR that seems like the shutter runs at 1/300 (highest speed) at all settings.
    With some shooting (without film) it seems to sometimes work right. Close enough that I ran a roll though it, mostly at higher speeds. I suspect a little cleaning and lubricating would help.
  12. Ok. I have probably done about 80 shots (without film) with the Nikkormat, at different speeds, and it still doesn't seem to get bet. I'll keep trying.
    I have also opened the bottom to take a look, but, having no knowledge in camera mechanics, couldn't see the problem. I will buy some clock oil to lubricate the mechanism, and hopefully it will work.
  13. Just done a couple of shots more, and the camera now seems to be working properly! :D
    But now when I try to put it in bulb mode it seems like I need to force it (which wasn't the case when the problem was on). So I just need to avoid putting it in bulb mode to have it working properly. I'll keep the camera like this for now and do some rolls, and when I have money I'll send it to repair to have it working perfectly.
    Thank you all for your help!
  14. Note that the FT3 uses AI lenses, which is sometimes nice.
    Someone noted the price for a used FT3.
    Usually I can judge pretty well the slow speeds, and then follow them up the dial, for not so bad testing of shutter accuracy. Electronic timed cameras should mostly work or not. Mechanical ones can be slow or, rarely, fast.
  15. I suspect that the problem is under the top. With the ASA dial stuck, the shutter working then not and back to working but difficult to get to B suggest that something is loose or out of position. I do not recommend removing the top cover as things can get complicated quickly even for an experienced camera technician not familiar with the camera.
    Cycling the shutter only frees up the dried up grease for a little while.
  16. Note that the FT3 uses AI lenses, which is sometimes nice.​
    So does the FT2 for open aperture metering, as long as the lens has a meter coupling prong.
  17. I haven't got the courage to open the top cover (and it seems complicated as well; I have really got no experience at all with camera maintenance and mechanisms, it's all witchcraft to me :) ), so I'll let my camera the way it is now (and avoid selecting B mode, which is what seems to be causing the problem), and I will have it checked by a specialist once I'll have done a couple of rolls.

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