Nikon FM screen

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Ian Rance, Dec 12, 2008.

  1. After Lil's post about the Nikon FM, I spent some time looking at the many examples available in my local shop. Whilst none are mint, there are some clean ones there and one of the early silver ones looks especially nice. What spoils all of them though is the screen. All have much dirt inside them - black dots and bits of goodness knows what. I recall hearing that the screens were not user replaceable, but is this 'non-replaceable' in the style of the F80 of F401 where a bit of wire holds them in that can be tweaked with care?
    I have in my spares box a few NOS FM screens, and if they are possible to be changed without too much strife then I will look past the grotty finders and make an offer on one.
    Thank you for any info, and also thank you to Lil for sparking off such a good response for a classic Nikon camera.
    Ian, UK
    PS. Is it true that a certain tiny insect likes to live on FM screens? I seem to recall reading that somewhere.
    Wish I knew how to make that a link...
  3. Ian, As far as I am aware, it is not possible to replace the focussing screen in a FM.
    However, that said, the FM and the FE shared many common parts, so I suppose it is theoretically possible for a camera technician to make the necessary changes to adapt the FE focussing screen and mounting frame into the FM.
  4. Thanks Dieter. So, how can I tell which models can have the screen removed without stripping the top - was the method of holding the screen in changed over the production run, and if so at what point?
  5. Take a deep breath, Ian, and skip the FMs. Like you, I've looked at them and always passed, thanks to the crusty screens. FM2(n)s and FEs are so affordable now, why bother with the FM?.
  6. Ian,
    good luck with the screen thing. Sorry I can't help you there... Get the FM - - you won't be disappointed.
    Lil :)
  7. Thank you for the replies.
    Gary, I expect you know the feeling - hear about a camera, see it in the flesh at the shop, pick up the camera, have a tinker with it and then 'wants' set in. NAS they call it. Thanks for being the voice of reason though - I need stopping sometimes.
    Lil - you won yours on eBay. How is your screen? I would love to find one with a clean prism and screen - I may leave those in the shop until I find one as nice as yours :)
    Alan, I have the FM3a, so I don't NEED an FM, I just like the thought of using both the first and last in the range, The FM is where it all started (and Galen Rowell used it too).
  8. I have both FEs and FMs. (I won't for long if I keep loaning them to friends though<g>). FEs are great cameras to use, and there are few cameras that feel so natural as FE/Ms with an MD-12 motor drive. FM's get specs from mirror foam I believe. The reason you want an FM is they are completely mechanical, so if the batteries die, you don't get left with just one working shutter speed the way you do with an FE.
  9. Ian - Looking at my FM I can't see any way to remove the screen from the mirrorbox - top-plate/prism removal appears to be the only way in.
    I bought my FM for "historic" reasons also - and it too has a dirty screen and dusty viewfinder. Some day I'll have a go at taking it apart, but it isn't worth having it properly serviced when good later model can be purchased cheaply (like a near mint FM2n for £85 off Ebay recently). It's now my car glove-box emergency camera and gets a fair amount of unkind handling. However, it does just keep going on and on .... AC
  10. Even though I've been a Canon user for a long time (15 years or so), I've become quite a fan of the FE and now have two of them, black and chrome with MD-12s. I really, really love the way these cameras feel and like Michael said, there are few cameras that have such a natural feel. I no longer have any manual Canons (just EOS film/digital stuff now), but I will always have my FEs because of how nice they handle and how well they perform.
  11. Ian,
    my focus screen looks great. I saw maybe one speck of dust (to be removed). My screen is clean & clear. Looks beautiful & bright. No issues whatsoever.
    Lil :)
  12. IT IS possible to change the screen in an FM -I've done it myself. I picked up an Fm for a song,complete with,yes,a filthy screen,and a dead meter.
    In my case the donor screen was a standard 801s/8008 spare I had lying around : very nice clear screen :"Accubrite".
    How? Observe cross head screw visible above screen,viewed thru lens mount. Remove screw; screen frame drops down,complete with rectangular tension spring & screen. In my case the replacement 801 screen needed the handling tab carefully filed off.Reinstall in reverse order : fitting the spring is the fiddly part.
    Film test for any focus discrepancies : checked out fine.A good backup camera was the result.
    The main reason for the filth I believe is the uncanny ability of many Nikons to apparently self-remove the glass protective eyepiece fitting : allowing crud into the screen area..
  13. Ian (IGB) - Do you mean the screws that are partly obscured by the lens mount and which would involve removing the mount? (I do not see any other screws in the mirror box). AC
  14. Alan :Look into the bayonet mount and locate the foam mirror damper(which,incidentally,will probably be deteriorating). About 5mm above this is a small,blackened cross-head screw : thats your man.
    There is no need to remove the bayonet fitting.
    I neglected to mention the foam damper is stuck to a small metal strip,which also serves to hold the screen frame and spring in place. Replace the damper foam while you have the bits apart.
    The Nikkormats and EL share the same arrangement,so,in a way,all these cameras,and probably the FE,have user replaceable screens,if you have a replacement,and a modicum of dexterity..

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