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Thursday, 02 January 2020


Did you purposely wait for the doggie to be in the background before you hit the shutter?

The only reason I am not envious is that I don't have a mint Nikkor 85mm f/2 lens to put on a Nikon FE. A CLA? There is certainly nothing to clean on such a fine-looking camera, and no rangefinder to adjust. Which leaves the lube job. You can buy a shutter speed probe for your iPhone. I use mine whenever I get a thrift shop camera, and alter exposures according to what it tells me.

[Yes, but there are various foam bits--light seals and the bumper for the mirror for instance--that deteriorate in time and need replacing.

I've had many cameras CLA'd by many technicians over the years, and many of the cameras turned out to have little issues that only an expert could find. For instance, one technician discovered that a couple of teeth had broken off the plastic gear for the frame counter. Not only did he replace the gear, but he went fishing around in the camera innards until he found the two little broken-off bits. All included in the charge for the CLA. --Mike]

Nice work getting the two snouts lined up properly in this picture (the camera's snout and the dog's snout!)

I hope you found a repair place. The second issue you mentioned is just as serious (the ageing of the repair technicians). The best ones used to do the work for the companies and kept at it, and they're rapidly disappearing.

Re: “ a chilling effect ... “ etc, it might be an opportunity for some people to follow the example of Sover Wong who was recommended by 2 commenters for Nikon F2 repairs, https://soverf2repair.webs.com/ . He evidently doesn’t get spares from a Nikon but is a Nikon F2 collector who cannibalises them for repairs and sells refurbished too. Interesting business model and more unrepairable Nikons could be an opportunity to cannibalise another popular model the same way. Reminds me of Tripman.co.uk.
All his services include “ A free aluminum 1 Yen Japanese coin (to turn the battery cover without damage)”. Priceless ;-) .

I tried to get Nikon Service Center to service a legacy lens (ca. early '80s 80-200mm f/4) and they declined because no parts.

I recently sent in my 10-year old 16-35mm f/4 lens for CLA. No issues when I sent it in but totally unsable when it returned. I sent it back and, two months later, am still waiting. Because no parts. For a lens they still sell.

Nikon repair is taking a dangerous path here.

I owned a pair of FE 2s back in the day, and loved them, especially when paired with the then "winder", MD 11 or some such. Also owned an F2, and got one of them repaired/CLA's renewed at Custom Camera Repair in Pensacola, FL.
Custom Camera Repair
2673 E Johnson Ave, Pensacola, FL 32514
(850) 478-5181
I'd suggest you call them (him). He also did a Nikon EM for me, which I still have as a display body/curiousity since it was worth all of 35 dollars renewed. He came highly recommended to me by Pensacola Photo Supply a few years ago and I was not disappointed. Haven't seen or dealt with him in a few years but he did a nice job for me. Good luck.

What a gorgeous camera. Good for you to ensure that this beautiful example of 20th century optical and industrial excellence is in tip-top shape! I bet you will use it soon.

A hint to Hasselblad users in USA: Hasselblad-Bron still offers their check to spec program for V series Hasselblad bodies and lenses. I sent them my camera in mid-2019. Better take advantage of this service while it is still offered.



Before you run and send off your new found gem for CLA (after the usual habit of anyone who just bought a new car is to get it serviced), why not just put a battery and play with it for a while. If it looks like it works fine, then run a roll through.

Outer cosmesis usually shows similar innards.

You might be surprised that the camera still works fine and you save a few bucks.

Dan K.

I was about to ask what a CLA would involve, and then I saw Allan Ostling's comment. It reminded me that I had a camera that needed new pads. I think (it was a while ago) that I bought pads on eBay and fitted them. And something had turned to sticky goo. I have an FE now, with a 50mm f1.8 E lens. I shot half a roll of film and have let it sit on the shelf for a year. Perhaps I will pull the roll out and start again.

I have a roll of Fomapan and a roll of Kentmere. They are what is left of several rolls that I had. Each time I do the same thing: I put them in, shoot a few frames, leave the camera on the shelf, and a year later I pull out the half-exposed roll.

There is something terminal about pulling out a part-exposed roll.

Maybe I should finish the roll that is in there and get it developed. I just looked and it's Fomapan. And I pulled out the little bear (as my wife calls it) - an Agfa Super Silette with a roll of Kentmere in it.

That's the problem with digital - it is so easy and seductive and it breeds laziness.

My new year resolution. I will finish the rolls before the end of this weekend, and get them developed.

The 85mm f/2 Nikkor is a fine lens, by the way. I use it on the D800. It is very sharp, sufficient for 36 MP, but not overly contrasty. It renders in a gentle, unobtrusive way; just beautiful.

Best, Thomas

Last year I gave my entire collection of 35mm film cameras and lenses (about 40 of them) to the local charity shop. It was part of a purge of things I no longer use, which included selling a number of guitars, amplifiers, microphones and other music performance gadgets. I feel liberated! Now, what can I buy with the money?


The Nikon FG is my nostalgia film camera. I miss it, although on the bright side my daughter has it and is having fun with it. So all is well.

The FG is sporting a 50mm f/1.8 Series E.

It hurt, it really (really) hurt- but finally sold my FM3A (and my Widelux) since I was no longer using either, and someone else should. With more years behind, than ahead- gotta go with what's more time efficient (ie- digital). Held on to 2 F3's though, just in case, of what, I don't quite know... but just in case.

Those FM/FEs are nice cameras. A bonus of picking them up is the cameras provide subject matter for still life photos (aka camera porn). Here’s my FE2 with the series E 70-210mm which is a great lens for wildlife.
Nikon FE2 with Nikon Series E 70-210mm lens

A beautiful machine. I have an FE2, but it isn’t a shelf camera - I use it regularly. Such a great interface, and though later Nikon’s have a very different design they retain this attention to everything being fluid in the design.

As for a CLA, go ahead if you can afford it. Nothing to lose.

I hope you put a roll through it once in a while.

I always chuckle when I see an old piece of kit still with one of those little gold "passed" stickers still on it.

Maybe someone can explain to me the motivation for not removing that sticker.

Back in the day, on the very rare occasion I could afford something new, that sticker often came off before I even put the strap on the camera.

As for me, I still want a Nikon F.

Never could afford one back when they were current. I don't know what I'd do with one now as 35 mm film holds no appeal to me although I still use the 4x5 stuff. But I still want one anyway!

I think Dan K. is right; use it for a while, and see how it performs. I've been doing a similar thing, but on a 1953 BSA, a 500cc single. It's a bit different in that I can do most of the work myself, but my first task was to back off the rear brake adjustment a bit; I locked up the back wheel the first time I used it, as I'm not used to braking with the left foot. It was completely unexpected.

I once had a Minolta X700 which I had repaired by Minolta when they were here in Milton Keynes. The frame counter had stopped working, but they serviced the camera and reported they'd found a "dried liquid" in the camera. It was, as they (and I) well knew, beer. It wasn't the reason the frame counter had failed, and it hadn't affected the camera, which I still have.

My latest is a Minolta XD. Auction find and I am very pleased. Condition looks like 2 years old and babied. The listing said it was checked out by an ex factory tech in Japan. I have no doubt as it works like new.

Oh get this. It came with a motor winder. New in the box! Not kidding.

As you noted, the foam bumper that catches the slapping mirror may need replacing; it tends to get funky after ten years or so. Nice thing about the FE is that it has one mechanical shutter speed (1/60, I think) in case you space out and forget to turn off the metering circuit and drain the batt. Although (of course) that never happened to me personally.

The Nikon is a beauty, as is the Olympus. I have an identical Olympus that was serviced shortly before I purchased it. It works like the day it was new.

I've collected quite a few classic cameras and share the pain regarding the dwindling number of repair shops and parts. Luckily, with a little searching, I've so far been able to find someone to work on each brand I have.

@Allan Ostling
Where do I get a shutter speed probe for my iphone?

I use this shutter tester, made in Romania: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Camera-shutter-tester-for-smartphone-and-tablet-up-to-1-1000th-of-a-second/151845267501?hash=item235aaee82d:g:ongAAOSwo0JWGkKQ

You must supply your own app to make it work on your iPhone. I recommend the Shutter-Speed app, available from the App Store.

It is essential to take the iPhone out of its protective case (if you use one); otherwise the plug won't seat completely in the iPhone's audio jack.


I see that not everyone agrees with you on the CLA on a cheap camera. I think, if you will use it at all its probably worth it.

Quite commonly little issues pop up after one or two or three rolls even on nice clean cameras. After all, these classic SLRs are usually 30+ years old and mirror boxes, shutter timings and wind-on mechanisms will all be just a bit smother and after a decent CLA.

The FE is a beautiful camera, although I like the FM even better due to the different prism design.

I have a nice collection of classic cameras, going all the way back to the Leica 3F, from the thirties.



The FE was the first camera I bought with my own money. Loved it.

@Steve Rosenblum re: shutterspeed tester for iPhone

I use an app called Shutter-Speed. The app is free, and when used alone it works by using the iPhone's microphone to time the sound of the shutter mechanism. I found it to be reasonably usable and accurate for leaf shutters at speeds of about 1/60 or slower. You read the audio waveform and mark the peaks to determine the opening and closing of the shutter.

The developer also sells an accessory 'probe' (about $30) that plugs into the iPhone's headphone/microphone jack (you'll need a lightning adapter on later iPhones). This probe converts light to sound, so now the app works by timing the light coming through the shutter opening. It still shows you a waveform, but the waveform is significantly better defined than the audio version, and gives me a usable result at least up to 1/500 with leaf shutters. I've never tested a focal plane shutter.

I can't say exactly how accurate it is, since I don't have a commercial shutter speed tester to compare it to. But based on my exposures of film, it seems like it's reasonably accurate. I get what I expect from the shutters I've tested with it (5 of them as of now). Here's the app:


The Zuiko 100/2.8 is a wonderful lens, as Bruce stated. I have one that needs some TLC. I’ll send it off to John Hermanson ADN (any day now) - John is the go-to guy for Olympus repairs in the US, at http://Zuiko.com

On the off-chance that you might choose to defile your new purchase by putting film in it, what film might it be? The easy answer would be Tri-X, but although it's a wonder in the darkroom, its grain structure doesn't play nicely with film scanners. I know what film(s) I prefer, but I'm asking you.

[I'd shoot XP2 Super.



Like Mr. Ferro, I got me a XD. Two of ‘em in fact (XD-s’s to be exact, in black chrome).

I call them SLRLeicas. Like a Leica M, they are small, (relatively) quiet, and take a minimalist (but very complete) approach to controls. And they look better in black chrome than a Leica M does. Fun as hell to shoot, too....

I was also lucky enough not to have gotten rid of my old MD mount lenses, some of which are pretty hard to find these days....

This post prompted me to go have a moment with my FE2 (from 1993). There it sits, stuffed into my old Domke bag, unused since probably around 2000. I fiddle with it every year or so. While I don't miss film I do miss those mechanical cameras.

I love Michael W's OM-1n.

I still have mine. Some years ago I had it completely overhauled by Camtech (who is ex-Olympus Technician & Service Manager & sitll in business:http://www.zuiko.com), including switching the battery system for use with today's batteries. Mine is now like new and works smoothly and ever-so beautifully. What a camera! I shot landscapes in Yosemite with Lewis Kemper & William Neill to Formula 1 Grand Prix at Brands Hatch. I shot continually with this one camera for 22 years straight from 1980 when I bought it, until I bought my first Canon 60D DSLR in 2002. I feel it provided me with the discipline, training, and technical foundation for the skills I have today.

Had mine recently examined by a Bay Area camera broker who rated it in A+ condition.

Its still a beautiful, wonderful camera, and I'll never sell it. Here's mine, photographed by my X-Pro1.

Mike replies: Thanks for that inside story...

So to speak...

The OM-1 was my first SLR; I bought it with my brother in 1975. The following year I bought an OM-2 which I used on a round the world trip, and then for quite a few years after. Around 1993 I bought an OM4t which was my favourite of the OM camerams. Got s while, when traveling, I was taking both the OM4t and the OM2, but the OM2 started to have a mirror lock-up problem intermittently. I gave it to a friend. Then a few years later the OM4t began to have electronic problems. Around that time I switched to digital. But around 6 or 7 years ago, after my brother gave me back the OM-1 that he was using, i sent the OM-1 to John Hermanson for an overhaul and battery conversion. My theory was that it being mechanical, it will have the longest longevity in terms of being able to be repaired should something happen to it again. Meanwhile, a friend returned the OM-2 which was dead, but which I converted into a rebate on the Sony A7S II. Coincidentally I am carrying the OM-1 with me today. The 85mm was my favourite lens for a long time. I bought the 100 F2.8 much later, when stores were trying to dump their used non-digital lenses; it is a gem.

That tiny oval PASSED sticker on the Nikon is still perfect!
Still apropriate, but with a different meaning now.

I know it's a little late, but as you mentioned Jane Bown, I found this fantastic on-line gallery of her work that could interest your audience:


Nice to see also because we were talking about inky B&W a few days ago...

The 85/2 was Jane Bown's preferred lens with her OM-1, usually 1/60th at f2.8 (she sometimes metered off her hand but often didn't bother).

She used a 50mm on the odd occasion but I don't recall any mention of a 100mm.

You really *should* put a couple of rolls of XP2 through that Nikon. Just for old time's sake...

I collected the old 70's fixed lens rangefinders for a while in the 90's (Canonets, Electro 35's, etc.) and got to know a local repair guy who did great work on any film camera presented to him.

Remarking about how well built the 'old cameras' were built, he loved to tell the story of the SRT-101's that would come in with a dragging shutter speed problem. He related the grease that Minolta lubed the gear train with over time would set up and try to turn solid. So he'd strip the mirror box and rudimentary electronics out of the chassis, blast the chassis and gears with a pressure washer (!!!), dry, re-lube and reassemble, and they'd work perfectly.

Yes, the DON'T make 'em like that anymore . . . .

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