Nikon N8008 sluggish shutter

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by john_meyer|4, May 31, 2021.

  1. I recently took all my old cameras out of storage including my Leica M3 complete kit (it's a beaut -- see below); Nikon Photomic FTN, and Nikon N90, to name a few. My professional photographer son-in-law took the M3 (see video below) and N90, but I'd like to give him one more, namely my Nikon N8008 (I think it also goes by the name of F801S).

    Unfortunately, while my other cameras function perfectly, the N8008 has a very sluggish shutter and often requires 2-4 presses of the shutter button to get the mirror and shutter to go through a complete cycle. Eventually, after 20-30 cycles, I can get an almost-normal single-press snapshot, but it is clear from the sound that the mechanism is struggling.

    Here is a video showing the problem. In this video, I pressed the shutter once, and the mirror only went to the halfway-up position. I pressed the shutter again, and it completed the cycle. On other attempts (not shown in the video), it took 3-4 shutter pressed to complete the cycle.

    The mirror is completely free: I can move it up and down with a toothpick when it stalls in the partway up position and I sense no resistance. There is nothing sticky along the sides. On the exterior, the camera is as clean as a whistle. It has been stored in a room-temperature closet for the eighteen years since I last used it.

    The batteries are fresh and new and, just to make sure, I've used three different brand-new sets of batteries.

    To me, it seems like it simply needs to be cleaned and lubricated.

    Question: is this something I can do (I have repaired almost anything you can name at one time or another), and if so where would I find directions? Alternatively, are there any repair shops people can recommend that can do a competent job of cleaning and lubricating this early 1990s camera?

    BTW, the Nikkor 35-70mm zoom that came with the kit has the aperture stuck wide open. I think whatever ails the body is also the problem with this. I'm less concerned about this because I have other lenses I can use.

    OT, but just for those who care, this is a video of me giving my 1958 Leica M3 to my son-in-law:

    Last edited: May 31, 2021
  2. A number of these have passed through my hands over the years. They are generally reliable and work perfectly, the main problem being people leaving in corroded batteries. Getting it repaired even if you can find someone to do it, is going to cost several times the amount you could get a working example for. Doing it yourself? It looks as if some kind of goo has permeated the mechanism. Even if you manage to free it up, are you ever going to be happy that it's delivering the correct shutter speed etc?
  3. Check that the battery contacts are clean and un-corroded. Fresh batteries won't help if the camera contacts are resistive.

    Beyond that, I think you're possibly wasting your time. FWIW. My F-801s (N8008s) works perfectly and has the most accurate shutter of any of my film Nikons. However, the F-801/801s are totally undervalued and the 'ugly ducklings' of all Nikons. So buying another example might be your easiest and cheapest option.
  4. So does my N6006, one step down from the N8008. Shutter is perfectly timed after thirty years.
  5. Thanks for the replies!

    I read several threads on other forums which emphasized the battery contact problem. I stupidly stored this without removing the batteries. They leaked. (Go ahead, abuse welcome.) I used my Dremel tool and dental tools to clean it up, but in the time since I posted here, and before I returned to read your posts, I read many posts elsewhere about batteries and contacts being a cause of this behavior.

    So, I put the battery holder in my ultrasonic cleaner. As usual, it worked miracles and the battery crud is gone from the holder and it is absolutely as clean and as good as new. The battery compartment and the contacts at the bottom of the compartment are also clean. Unfortunately, this did not help. Neither did using NiMh batteries (capable of more current) or lithium primary batteries (more current and higher voltage).

    My guess is that some of the "fumes" from the battery corrosion might have crept into the mechanism over the years and may be the reason why this camera is malfunctioning, whereas the other cameras I mentioned (and more) are all working just fine.

    The only reason for wanting to fix it rather than get a new body from eBay is that it was a gift from my late father, so it has sentimental value. Also, except for my stupidity in keeping the batteries in it, the body is in impeccable shape.

    So, unless I can find some disassembly instructions or unless there is a good repair place that someone can recommend (I am fairly price insensitive), I guess this is a dead end.
  6. I very much doubt that fumes from corroded batteries could cause the sluggishness described. Don't beat yourself up about it.
  7. Let me guess. The make of those batteries rhymes with 'Purer smell'.

    I had Kodak brand batteries in my F801s, which lay neglected for many years, with no leakage or corrosion at all. Just sayin'
    I had some 'Purer Smell' cells leak in a set of radio triggers - put aside for only 2 years - the leakage was everywhere inside those triggers and almost no part of the circuitry or switches was free of green corrosion.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2021
  8. The batteries were actually Kirkland. I wish I could find batteries like those the Japanese use in their equipment. I have some AA batteries that came with the very first Sony CD player I purchased in 1984. They still work and they haven't leaked.

    I do think there is a very good chance that the corrosive battery chemicals did play a part in my problem. If I can find some disassembly instructions I'm going to try to get it far enough apart that I can spray a little "contact cleaner" (Trichloroethylene) into the mechanism. This usually does a good job of breaking down oxide and corrosion. It is no substitute for a good cleaning and lubrication, but may be sufficient, given that it does almost work.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2021
  9. Good luck with that John. Anything's worth a try with nothing to lose.
  10. Yes, I entirely agree with that. I enjoy working on something when you can't break what's already ruined. It's all upside.
  11. Fuji? Sanyo?
    I hardly ever use disposable alkaline cells these days. A big supermarket chain started selling 'ready to use' NiMh cells at little more than alkaline prices. I stocked up and use those in any piece of kit that will work with the lower voltage. Never had an NiMh cell leak yet - touch wood.

    I think your N8008 should work with rechargeables, because I measured the voltage of some alkalines when they finally needed changing in my F801s. They were down to about 1.1 volts per cell or perhaps a bit lower IIRC.
  12. The battery companies used to replace equipment if their batteries leaked and ruined them. Do they still do that?
  13. I don't think that replacement warranty is on battery packaging or actual battery anymore, although the website might offer one. The last warranties I saw would not be honored if any of the batteries showed evidence of being recharged. However if one battery of 2 or more in series has lower cell voltage the others may attempt to recharge it.
    Just checked Everready battery site: they still offer a warranty as long as batteries haven't been recharged.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2021
  14. In nearly every case of sluggishness in the shutter in both older film and digital cameras, what you have done partially (exercise the shutter over and over), usually loosens up and restores function, at least temporarily.

    I hesitate to suggest the naphtha application because it is usually overdone, to the detriment of the camera, but the very tiniest, smallest amount, no more than a mere droplet on the point of a needle, can sometimes help the process.
  15. I use "Eneloop" NiMH AA and AAA batteries in almost everything. They are known as LSD batteries (Low Self-Discharge) and I have yet to throw one out. The only downside is their nominal voltage is only about 1.3 volts whereas fresh alkaline batteries are a little over 1.5 volts. However, they have a very flat discharge curve so they are still almost 1.3 volts just before they need to be recharged whereas alkaline batteries start going down in voltage from almost the moment you start using them.

    The other advantage of NiMH batteries is that they can supply quite a bit more current than alkaline. This is great if you have any old strobe units (I have five of them). They do not supply quite as much as NiCD, or the king of the hill Li-Ion.

    I did try my Eneloops in this camera, but their lower voltage made the problem worse. I then tried primary (one use) Lithium AA batteries, and because they have a nominal voltage of a little over 1.6 volts, they did the best job of getting the camera to cycle more often.
  16. Other (and cheaper) brands of low self-discharge cells are available.

    The 'hybrid' technology was developed and first marketed by a cheapo battery company whose name now escapes me.

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