Nikon FE strange issue

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by max_pirsky, Jun 13, 2016.

  1. Hi Everyone, I bought a Nikon FE a couple of weeks ago, which I absolutely love so far. It is the most comfortable manual film camera I've used. There's one thing which bothers me a little. In my first roll of film, one of the frames which I shot at 1/125 was overexposed and with heavy motion blur, as if the speed at which it was shot was much slower. I noticed this right when it happened, as it took a while for the mirror to come back down. I've since shot another roll, in which the same issue seems to have happened in several shots (at speeds around 1/125, 1/250). The new film should be developed by tomorrow evening so I'll know for sure if the problem was only with the mirror coming down or with the shutter not closing on time.
    I've tried replicating this without film in the camera and everything seems to work normally. All speeds sound as they should, including 1/125 and 1/250. I can't find any logic to this...
    Has anyone ever experienced anything similar?
  2. Max--is the battery new? Also--if the camera has been sitting around for a long while, the shutter may just need exercising. Good luck--they are great cameras!
  3. Hey Paul, yup the batteries are brand new. The old batteries were also checked by the camera shop where I replaced them, who said they're at full charge. There's another thing I just noticed. The camera came with a set of batteries (I have no idea how long they were in there). When I received it, the battery check light was working normally. Now with the new batteries after a few days the light stopped working, but all speeds and auto metering work fine as far as I can tell.
  4. The fact that you see motion blur certainly suggests a faulty shutter. However keep in mind that apparent overexposure can also be caused by a sluggish or sticky diaphragm which prevents the aperture from closing down to the set value.
    Check this with the lens off the camera. Does the aperture close quickly when you move the actuating lever? If you have another lens which will fit this camera, it might be worth shooting a roll with it; see if the same flaw occurs.
  5. Mike, I'm almost sure that the issue is not the lens' diaphragm. It's quick and smooth when the lever is moved.
    The strange thing which I've already mentioned is that this doesn't seem to ever happen when there's no film loaded.
  6. That check light failure worries me. Many "new" batteries can have been in stock for a long time.
    As Paul says, old shutters, sitting for a long time, can become a little 'sticky'. Usually dry exercise will eliminate or reduce the problem.
  7. Are you using 2-1.5V silver oxide batteries or 1 3V lithium battery?
  8. I'm using 2x1.5v LR44 batteries
  9. LR44 is alkaline. The FE manual says to use Silver Oxide or 3V Lithium. The FE2 manual adds the alkaline battery in addition to the other two.
    The 3V lithium battery available in the 1990's was known to fail under load causing various strange problems.
    The alkaline batteries most likely do not have sufficient current to properly operate the camera. Switch to the Silver Oxide version. 357 silver oxide batteries should be readily available at all types of retail stores.
    The FE user manual states that the camera has a small trickle drain on the batteries even when switched off and to replace the batteries if the battery check light does not come on. In your second post you state the battery check light fails to come on after a few days with the alkaline batteries installed. Switch to silver oxide batteries even if they are the ones that came with the camera and test with film.
    Film loaded in the camera with the back closed places a higher load on the shutter than it encounters with no film and/or the back open.
  10. Hey Charles, that's good to know about the batteries. I had no idea about the alkaline vs. silver oxide. I'll try to get my hands on a pair of SR44 (I'm pretty sure the ones the camera came with are silver oxide, but can't find them). Not sure whether this will solve the problem though.
  11. Film loaded in the camera with the back closed places a higher load on the shutter than it encounters with no film and/or the back open.
    Why should this happen, Charles? Not questioning your statement, just trying to understand (I too have an FE).
  12. With no film in the camera and the back open the shutter is free to operate in air with little resistance.
    With no film in the camera and the back closed there is a small space between the shutter blades and camera back pressure plate where air may be compressed by the shutter closing, with film loaded and the back closed the space is smaller.
    On some models, the F4, it states not to operate the shutter with the back open as the shutter is designed to operate with the load and may be damaged without it.
  13. Max, the problem with the early lithium 3V battery was that it would work fine for a month or two then the camera would start exhibiting strange behavior. The battery check light would come on but the battery would fail under load of the shutter operating.
  14. So it's because of the small volume of air trapped in the confined space, with increased load leading to more drain on the battery. Thank you.
  15. Nope! although the shutter is electronically controlled it's really powered by your thumb unless you have a motor drive mounted on the camera. Your thumb cocks the shutter and the shutter is spring powered. The electronic only release the curtain via an electromagnet. There is no extra load on this magnet due to pressure because its job is to hold the shutter until it's time to release.
  16. Its technically called back pressure and is very small but does exists. It may not be important to slow frame rates but is to high frame rates.

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