Old Nikon FM - jammed advance lever?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Kevin, Aug 28, 2005.

  1. Kevin

    Kevin Guest


    Hi all,

    Got a question for someone who knows more about the older mechanical SLR's
    than I (I just started with a digital, so...)

    We have an old Nikon FM film SLR which has been hanging around for many years.
    It no longer operates correctly. It seems the film advance lever is stuck,
    i.e. the counter window is at "S", and I cannot move the lever past that
    first 30-degree position (no cranking happens). Consequently when I hit the
    shutter release button, the mirror flips up out of the way and stays up,
    and the shutter never opens. If I push on the little lever beside the mirror
    I can get it to flip back down manually.

    It's my understanding that when the advance lever correctly moves past the
    "stuck" mark it will wind the film as well as trip whatever needs to be
    tripped so that the mirror will pop up and back down again and the shutter
    will open.

    Anyway, I just wanted to get a feeler for how bad of a repair this is -
    whether I'm being dumb and simply need to flip something, or if it's a
    simple repair at a camera shop, or whether the camera is toast.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    Kevin, Aug 28, 2005
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  2. I had and FT that went the same way. When taken apart one of the gear had
    striped and the tech could not get a replacement. It's now a display piece.
    Glittery Gary, Aug 28, 2005
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  3. It could be any of a number of things, from very simple to very

    The best option would be to take/send it to a good camera repairer for
    an estimate - also, it is probably overdue for a CLA.

    The FM is usually a VERY reliable camera; the money invested in a repair
    + CLA will give you a camera which will last a lifetime of amateur use
    (with, maybe, a CLA every couple of decades).

    (RE The other answer you received: The Nikkormat FT is a totally
    different and less reliable camera).
    Chris Loffredo, Aug 28, 2005
  4. The FM is usually a VERY reliable camera.............not in this
    case.........sorta like the FT would you not say.............
    Glittery Gary, Aug 28, 2005
  5. Kevin

    Gordon Moat Guest

    I had something similar to this happen once on my FM. However, I did not use the
    mirror lever to reset it.
    Whatever you do, forcing it would only break the camera. When I got my advance
    lever stuck, I was testing the shutter prior to loading film, and hitting the
    release button quickly after winding. At some point, the winding and release
    actions were too close, and something caused a lock-up. If this is similar to
    what happened, then maybe it will sort out okay.
    Okay, so there are a few other ways to trip the shutter, and one other control
    that affects film winding. Next to the shutter speed dial is a small button; if
    you can move that it is the multi exposure button; hold that and try to wind; if
    the winding lever moves, then it is not the shutter, since it should now be
    cocked again. Another thing to try is the film loading spool; try moving the
    spool on the ridged part with your finger, you can also try the sprocket
    alignment spool (do this with the camera back open). The sprocket spool has a
    freewheel release on the bottom of the camera; this is the button you press when
    you want to rewind your film. Also on the bottom of the camera is a shutter
    release pin that connects to an MD-11 or MD-12 motordrive; this is a small round
    hole next to the circular winding engagement cog; use a small screwdriver or
    toothpick to push that inwards to release the shutter; the idea is that the
    normal shutter release on the top of the camera may have fouled the winding lever
    internally. Okay, so one more way to trip the shutter is the self timer lever,
    just give that a try, maybe with using that motordrive pin shutter release to
    start it rather than the normal shutter release.

    So perhaps you tried all those things, and it is still locked up. There is one
    simple internal part that could cause that, though unfortunately it is under the
    top shell, something best removed by a camera repair person. The small part is a
    spring that can come loose due to a hard impact to the camera, though if your FM
    did not suffer an impact then that might not be the problem. Contrary to what
    others might think, it is extremely difficult to strip out winding gears on an
    FM; if you force it from the way it is now you might, but it would be extremely
    rare to damage the internals just from normal usage.

    Try the simple suggestions first, be gentle and use very little force on the
    moving parts. Hopefully you can just get it going with a little light prodding on
    the shutter releases. Best of luck.
    Gordon Moat, Aug 28, 2005
  6. If you go by anecdotal evidence alone, you can find defective examples
    of every camera model ever built.

    Statically, the FM (and its brothers FE, FE2, FM2, FM3A etc. - not to
    mention the pro F, F2, F3 etc. models) IS very reliable.

    The Nikkormat FT, while quite reliable by modern standards, is much more
    likely to fail and IS also very different mechanically.

    Your point being?
    Chris Loffredo, Aug 28, 2005
  7. VIP (Very Impressive Post)!!!!


    Chris Loffredo, Aug 28, 2005
  8. I have no point as you confirmed both can be unreliable.............after
    all, you said it.
    Glittery Gary, Aug 28, 2005
  9. Kevin

    Mike Guest

    Check to see IF the self timer has been wound if NOT DON'T set it.
    The down fall on many of the newer SLR's (including the FM) is the use of a
    nylon gear in the self-timer
    assembly which can be damaged very easley. If the self timer can not
    un-wind the shutter will not release.
    By the way, the FM is no better or worse than the Nikkormat series of
    Mike, Aug 28, 2005

  10. By the way, the FM is no better or worse than the Nikkormat series of
    cameras.............you'll have Mr Loffredo after you for saying
    Glittery Gary, Aug 28, 2005
  11. It sounds as if the shutter is broken or has failed to fully complete its
    cycle. If it's broken, only a camera tech can fix it, which is doubtful.
    Nikon no longer makes parts for it. I had two FMs go down a few years
    ago. Wore the shutters out with 20 years of professional use. Sent them
    to Nikon Professional Service for shutter replacement. Got the bodies
    back a coupel weeks later with this note on the repair order:
    "Uneconomical repair. Parts not available." I replaced them with 2 FM2n's
    and now use the FMs as paperweights.

    Now, if the shutter hasn't complete its cycle.... Open the back of the
    camera and look at the shutter blades. Do they show any signs of wear?
    Are they bent or crimped, etc? If they look okay, look in the upper right
    hand corner of the film gate. Do you see a rivet? It holds the
    shutter blades together. If the shutter hasn't fully cycled, it should be
    visible. If it is, using a flat blade, jeweler's screw driver, push the
    rivet and with it the entire shutter assembly up under film gate. It
    shouldn't take much force at all. Be careful not to damage the shutter

    If there is no rivet visible, then take the camera to a technician for
    evaluation and maybe repair.

    Stefan Patric, Aug 29, 2005
  12. Kevin

    Kevin Guest

    Thanks to all posters in my thread for the great advice and suggestions.
    Unfortunately nothing I've tried seems to have helped, so we'll be taking
    it to a repair shop today.


    Kevin, Sep 1, 2005
  13. Kevin


    May 28, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Same problem here and I had found by turning the camera upside down it works 75 percent of the time. When it does not work upside down I slap the side hard with my palm of my hand and it starts working again. That tells me something must need tightening or some sort of adjustment needed
    ftwretired, May 29, 2020
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