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Nikon RF This forum is dedicated to Nikon Rangefinders: the Nikon One, Nikon M, Nikon S, Nikon S2, Nikon SP, Nikon S3, Nikon S4, and Nikon S3M, Nikon S3 2000, Nikon SP 2005. Plus the ONLY production camera ever made in Nikon Rangefinder mount WITH TTL metering ... the Voigtlander Bessa R2S.

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Old 06-02-2016   #41
Peter Jennings
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Much easier to clean with the top plate off because you can access the prism from both ends. But if you do take off the top plate it is not much more effort to remove the assembly the prism is attched to (if I remember correctly).
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Old 06-02-2016   #42
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Thank you Peter.
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Old 06-03-2016   #43
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Removing the assembly the small half-mirrored prism is attached to will not make the cleaning job easier because the rear diagonal side of the prism will still be trapped into its metal casting and you'll have troubles to get the RF aligned on reassembly.

The trick is : patience and careful cleaning thanks to several (many) passes with some moistened cleaning paper strips slided between the rear diagonal surface of the prism and its metal casting.

And, yes, removing the camera top cover is mandatory. For this, there are a number of caveats which you'll find online easily.

Example : http://www.nicovandijk.net/nikonS2repair.htm
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Old 06-03-2016   #44
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Highway 61 - this is great - thanks also for the link - really useful, including your caveats
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Old 06-10-2016   #45
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I got a message from the seller who sent it back to DAG for further inspection. He adjusted the RF but indicated there was noting wrong with the patch and that it was easily focused. I didn't find that to be the case but perhaps with the slight adjustment in vertical it may be better once I get it back Monday.

This was part of the message I received..."I did receive back your S2 yesterday and also had a thorough conversation with Don Goldberg during which we discussed every aspect of this S2 body. He did make some macro adjustments to the vertical alignment but found every other function to be in top working order, actually making the comment that he wouldn’t change anything else about the camera, to quote his words "the rangefinder in your Nikon S2 is fantastic.” It was his professional option that the rangefinder patches were in great shape and perfectly in line with what you’d expect to see through an S2 viewfinder window."

Maybe my aged eyes can't get use to that patch. I have no problem with the SLR's or the Leica RF system so, I don't know why this seems to be a problem. In the event it's just not cutting it I guess my only alternative is offer it up for sale.
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Old 06-10-2016   #46
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While I love the look of these Nikon rf cameras (especially the black S3 reissue) I could not get used to the RF patch which compared to my Leicas was much harder to use. For me at least. Killed any desire that I had.

This ebay seller was very honest with why he was selling his newly acquired S3 2000.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/NIKON-S3-200...p2047675.l2557
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Old 06-11-2016   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post

This ebay seller was very honest with why he was selling his newly acquired S3 2000.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/NIKON-S3-200...p2047675.l2557
No he wasn't. The S3 RF patch, even on the S3 2000, is by no means "circular".

The S3 has a 1:1 35-50-105 viewfinder which you won't find on any Leica.

The perfect camera doesn't exist. The late 0.72 Leicas from the M4-P onwards have ridiculously small 50mm framelines ; and the M6 RF patch flares like crazy when there is a bright light source in the frame, making the RF totally unusable.
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Old 06-11-2016   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColColt View Post

Maybe my aged eyes can't get use to that patch.
Could be that you have a kind of color-blindness so you cannot distinguish the reddish and greenish color of the rangefinder spot.

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Old 06-11-2016   #49
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No color blindness I know of. The rf patch looks amber to me.
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Old 06-11-2016   #50
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The rangefinder images of the S2 have different colors: the moving image greenish and the static image orange. People with a lesser red sight - I know that quite a lot of men have this - may not see the difference. I am not sure if the S3/SP have this coloring too.

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Old 06-11-2016   #51
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It's due to arrive Monday so, I'll be anxious to see if the realignment has an effect on my ability to focus better. I didn't know quite what to expect when I bought this camera as it was the first Nikon RF I ever had. I feel quite sure I was expecting it to be similar to the Leica M...it was not.
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Old 06-11-2016   #52
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The best solution to Nikon's wonky, faded, terrible, disgraceful rangefinder patches is just get an early Kiev or Contax, or modern Leica or M3. Very high contrast; easy to focus.
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Old 06-11-2016   #53
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Never had a Contax but, I have the Leica. Maybe that's the reason for the disappointment in the S2's patch. The camera is lovely and the lens looks as new. It's just the patch.
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Old 06-11-2016   #54
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I had an SP that had a faded patch, and I've seen some Leicas with faded or non-existent patches. None of the other Nikon RFs I've owned had wonky, faded, terrible or disgraceful patches.

It's really all about how well the individual camera was cared for (or abused, as the case may be) over the past few decades.
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Old 06-11-2016   #55
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I've had three Leicas and none looked like this. Sharp, contrasty and distinct(and larger) unlike the S2 or at least this copy. Maybe it's my eyes, I don't know. It will be interesting to see if there's any improvement once it gets back.
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Old 06-11-2016   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColColt View Post
I've had three Leicas and none looked like this. Sharp, contrasty and distinct(and larger) unlike the S2 or at least this copy. Maybe it's my eyes, I don't know. It will be interesting to see if there's any improvement once it gets back.
With Leica - the box has sharp defined edges , silver is the reflecting surface
These edges make it easy to use lines that are split by the box and outer area to focus --line up the line through the box .

The nikon is gold for the reflecting surface so the rf spot is warm color , the finder has a green bias ( sunglasses ) that make the spot standout .
The edges are fuzzy so you use what is in the box to determine focus .
The s2 has a very bright spot ,
Two things you need to get used to , the edges of the box not etched out with a defined rectangle --keep your eye centered in the finder .
The brightline for the 5cm lens is reflected , Leica frames are projected .

The s2 is a great user camera ,
I also have a Leica m4 , there is a differance , take some time to adapt and you may very well prefer the nikon s2 as I do . The m4 is used for 35mm lenses .
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Old 06-11-2016   #57
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More subtly, meaning we express a preference without being able to articulate it, some prefer a very minimalist, uncluttered finder. The M2 is favoured by many for its single frame lines. Those that favour the Nikon series may be preferring not to see the distinct Leica box slap in the middle of the frame with its high contrast. Not saying either group is wrong, like the focus wheel, which unlike the finder you can ignore if you want, some love some hate it.
Photographers have, and continue to, produce great work with both systems. It's good to experience both to see what others work with, this is why, given the opportunity, you should own a Hasselblad 500 series at some point, no prism, and a 4x5, rangefinder finder differences pale in comparison (tortuous pun).
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Old 06-12-2016   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColColt View Post
I've had three Leicas and none looked like this. Sharp, contrasty and distinct(and larger) unlike the S2 or at least this copy. Maybe it's my eyes, I don't know. It will be interesting to see if there's any improvement once it gets back.
Looks like you aren't taking into account all that has been written here, and are still wanting your S2 to have a RF patch looking like a Leica M patch. This will not happen even with the most perfect S2 patch around. And the dumb comments above about the "faded, terrible, disgraceful and wonky Nikon RF patches" won't help this discussion to stay interesting.

So, either you try to get used to the Nikon RF patch, or you get back to your Leica Ms and ita missa est.
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Old 06-13-2016   #59
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You're right. I'd love for the patch to be similar to the Leica but I haven't ignored all that's been said heretofore. It is faded looking-I'm the one looking at it not you. I don't think I need any further information on this or snarky comments so, it is finished.
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Old 06-14-2016   #60
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Originally Posted by ColColt View Post
You're right. I'd love for the patch to be similar to the Leica but I haven't ignored all that's been said heretofore. It is faded looking-I'm the one looking at it not you. I don't think I need any further information on this or snarky comments so, it is finished.
I've used both , each has its strong points .
The s2 was my first rangefinder camera ,
It came with an amazing 5cm f1.4 lens
The m3 was much more expensive with a 50mm f3.5
This was in 1974 when the slr was crowned king .
The nikon s2 is still my favorite rf camera .
The spot is brighter and easier to focus than most of the leica m series .

Your camera should be second nature .
nippon Kogaku designed many high quality speed lenses early on
It was the nikkor lenses that made nikon . Still their rf cameras hold up well
By current standards .
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Old 06-14-2016   #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveyork View Post
The best solution to Nikon's wonky, faded, terrible, disgraceful rangefinder patches is just get an early Kiev or Contax, or modern Leica or M3. Very high contrast; easy to focus.
Steve ,
What are you baseing your assessment on ?
A nikon s2 with a 5cm f1.4 lens can be found at a reasonable price
Most have a bright rf spot , if not cleaning the small prism usually
brings it back bright and with nice contrast
A modern Leica with 50/1.4 lens is very expensive .
Most contax cameras are one shutter actuation from ceaseing function .
And Kiev quality varies intensely .
I assume your comment is tounge in cheek .
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Old 06-15-2016   #62
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I just shot the RF patch of my Nikon S3 (1958 model) with my cellphone in my living-room (evening daylight coming from the window).

Here we see the 50mm framelines (the cellphone couldn't capture the whole, large 35mm framelines) and the RF patch. We can guess the 105mm framelines but the cellphone didn't manage to show them quite well (but with the naked eye they're as bright as the 50mm framelines).

If you think that the S3 RF patch has a terrible reputation of being faded and unusable, you can see nothing being disgraceful, terrible or wonky here... Or is it "circular" ?

And my two S2 RF patches are even better than this one, which leaves nothing to desire anyway.

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Old 06-16-2016   #63
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And today : a capture of my S2 viewfinder at my office. In this one the 50mm framelines are so large that the cellphone FOV wasn't enough (we can only guess the framelines at the bottom of this pic).

This time I defocused a little bit aiming the camera at a Franco Fontana poster. It's easy to see what a normal S2 patch looks like here IMO, and how nicely greenish the VF is.

Again, nothing wonky or circular or unusable. On the contrary, a delight to use to focus. And - I'm not young, and my eyes aren't in good shape, to say the least.



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Old 06-16-2016   #64
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Thanks for doing this. I thought about doing the same thing for this thread, but lacked the resolve to actually do it.
S2 not hard to focus, and focus quickly. Nope, not at all. And I wear trifocals!
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Old 06-17-2016   #65
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Nice capture, Highway! I think that adequately represents the view one should expect through an S2 (minus the framelines).
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Old 06-18-2016   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enasniearth View Post
Steve ,
What are you baseing your assessment on ?
A nikon s2 with a 5cm f1.4 lens can be found at a reasonable price
Most have a bright rf spot , if not cleaning the small prism usually
brings it back bright and with nice contrast
A modern Leica with 50/1.4 lens is very expensive .
Most contax cameras are one shutter actuation from ceaseing function .
And Kiev quality varies intensely .
I assume your comment is tounge in cheek .
Years and years of owning and using different rangefinder cameras, exposing 100's of rolls of film. I've owned and used Nikons (S2, SP), serviced by Essex (pause for a moment of silence), fiddled with others, they all had rangefinder patches that were diffuse or faint (maybe that's the wrong word), but even serviced they weren't very good, although the lenses (50mm) are great and 1.0x viewfinder special. I've owned many more Leicas -- two M4, three M5, various M6 and MP, and an M7, and of these the modern were the best viewfinders. But yes, Leicas are too expensive for what you get. And that's one of the reason I sold out of Leica M 3-4 years ago. I've owned a bunch Kievs from the 1950's -- very good build and optics. Note here, I said the 1950's; I know the quality dipped as time went on, but during that period, especially 1950-54, they were high quality. And I love their viewfinders; the high contrast rangefinder just snaps into focus. Same is true for the early Contax. In fact, the rangefinder mechanism of the Kiev and late 30's Contax is probably the best ever made. I don't find them squinty as some claim; and I'm OK with using only a 50mm lens. I don't like the the Contax IIa/IIIa -- that is squinty because of the reduced viewfinder magnification, and the contrast varies from early to late years. I included an M3 in my original comment because I've read it is high contrast too and that seems to be the OP complaint.

I understand Nikon rangefinders have a following, but it is a truth too big to deny that the rangefinder patch of the S2 (and other models) is usually not so good. That's why there is so many documented ways to improve the the patch of a Nikon rangefinder. That was the OP concern. That patch that does not fade belongs to the early Contax and the Kievs. And of course a modern rangefinder will not have that issue. I should've included Voightlanders and ZMs in my original response. So it wasn't a tongue in cheek response; I was serious, based on my own experience.

BTW, the notion that the Contax/Kiev shutter mechanism is fragile is really just an internet myth.
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Old 06-18-2016   #67
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Quote:
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but it is a truth too big to deny that the rangefinder patch of the S2 (and other models) is usually not so good.
No. I think this is your opinion.
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Old 06-18-2016   #68
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I have two S2 cameras, original and re-issue S3s and a re-issue SP. I admit I don't enjoy 'tat' so my cameras are all in good condition.
Whilst I am sure quality can vary after nearly 60 years, I don't recognize any of these observations in my personal experience. All of my cameras are dead easy to focus in all lighting conditions and a delight to use.
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Old 06-19-2016   #69
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Limited to just to the rangefinder patch (which seems to be the OP complaint); maybe you can find Nikons with good, friendly viewfinders. And I'm glad people enjoy their Nikons, and I hope they still shoot lots of film. There is, however, an awful lot of chatter on the internet of people complaining about the the nature of the patch on their Nikon rangefinder, similar to the OP comment. Having used both, the Nikon patch reminds me of a Zorki -- big and bright but lacking contrast. There's also lot of 'here's how you cam make it better solutions,' and you wouldn't have all this chatter if this was a minor or rare complaint. My own experience, with multiple copies, some of them serviced, supports that conclusion. I once had an SP that was so faint, it was totally useless. But any film camera is good; shoot more film!
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Old 06-19-2016   #70
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Well maybe I am just a lucky guy, but it should be remembered that 'internet chatter' is only propagated by a tiny percentage of the population and then only those with a bug up their **s.

The rest of us just take photographs, in perfect focus.
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Old 06-19-2016   #71
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Funny to discover that there is an awful lot of internet chatter about a series of cameras linked to a tiny minority of RF film cameras users, themselves being a molecular fraction of a very low percentage of all people taking photos today.
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Old 06-19-2016   #72
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A serious problem with the Nikon rangefinders is that no diopters are available. I know, there are solutions for the S2 and the SP, but these are not as easy as the solutions from Leica. As the rangefinder spots of the SP and the S2 do not have a sharp outline, the sharpness of the image is essential. I have original diopters for my S2, but now I get older and my eyesight becomes worse, I need stronger ones. Getting them is really a problem.

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Old 06-19-2016   #73
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True. Yet the solution is to keep your glasses on to use the camera. Not really a problem with the S2. The framelines can be seen. This is what I do. I have old school mineral glasses with no coatings so that my cameras eyepieces won't scratch them. On the contrary, over time they have marred my S2 eyepiece black metal ring. Oh well.

There the Zeiss Ikon ZM body wins with all flags and bells, because the Nikon diopters for the FE/FM/FE2/FM2/FM3A can be used on it with no adapter. And the choice is plentyful. And they aren't expensive.
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Old 06-21-2016   #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Highway 61 View Post
Funny to discover that there is an awful lot of internet chatter about a series of cameras linked to a tiny minority of RF film cameras users, themselves being a molecular fraction of a very low percentage of all people taking photos today.
Makes one feel kind of special, doesn't it?

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Old 06-21-2016   #75
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Makes one feel kind of special, doesn't it?
Well, special ... the Nikon rangefinders are fun to use, of a very high quality indeed and less expensive than Leica stuff.

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Old 07-06-2016   #76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColColt View Post
The place I bought it from has sent it back to DAG since it was still under his warranty. Hope to hear something next week one way or the other. I'm hoping it's an easy fix. I talked with them over the phone and reiterated our conversation via a note I stuck in the package.
Something to keep in mind for future reference about Don (DAG). I bought a camera from a person who had recently had Don service it. It developed a problem so I called Don. He has very good records of the cameras he's serviced. I sent it to him and he fixed it, and sent it back to me, and there was no charge for the service. He is very good about that.

So in the future, if you buy a camera that is listed as been recently serviced by DAG, and there is an issue, contact Don yourself and make sure he has a record of the service (which he will if he actually did the work, unfortunately folks list cameras for sale that they claim they had Don service, when in actuality they didn't), and he will probably make it right for you, without you having to go through the original seller.
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Old 07-08-2016   #77
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The OP's S2 is now for sale in the Classifieds.
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Old 01-27-2017   #78
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Quote:
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As already mentioned, the shape of the focus patch is more of a fuzzy blob than a clear cut rectangle. But focusing is still very easy with a clean finder.

You can check how clean your finder is by holding the camera with the finder eye piece pointed towards a bright light source, then looking through the small window on the front of the camera. When you get the angle right, you can see a circle of light through the small window. If the circle of light looks clear and contrasty, your patch is as good as it gets. If the circle of light looks a bit hazy, your finder needs cleaning. The good news is that S2 finders are simply constructed and easy to clean, and improve dramatically after cleaning.

If it was me, I'd try cleaning the three surfaces of the half mirror prism just behind the small window. You only need to remove the front cover (4 screws) and the small window (3 screws) to access these prism surfaces. Cleaning the diagonal rear surface usually yields the biggest improvement to the RF patch. It's a bit tricky, but definitely not impossible to access from the front. I use folded lens cleaning paper slightly dampened with lens cleaning fluid. Below is what an S2 half mirror prism looks like when removed from the camera. The diagonal rear surface here is the one with the lens cleaning paper running along it.



I solved my rangefinder patch problem on my Nikon SP using jonmanjiro's instruction. Thank you. To add, I wrapped a piece of hard paper (medicine carton for me) with lens cleaning paper to access the rear of the prism from the front. Again, thank you RFF for the valuable knowledge.


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Old 01-28-2017   #79
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Funny to discover that there is an awful lot of internet chatter about a series of cameras linked to a tiny minority of RF film cameras users, themselves being a molecular fraction of a very low percentage of all people taking photos today.
It was obviously a relative statement. Just search this forum. You'll find more then a few threads on how to fix the lousy contrast of Nikon rangefinders. That seems to be a common issue with these cameras, and it mirrors my experience with the half dozen cameras I've had through my hands.
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Old 01-28-2017   #80
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Quote:
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I just shot the RF patch of my Nikon S3 (1958 model) with my cellphone in my living-room (evening daylight coming from the window).

Here we see the 50mm framelines (the cellphone couldn't capture the whole, large 35mm framelines) and the RF patch. We can guess the 105mm framelines but the cellphone didn't manage to show them quite well (but with the naked eye they're as bright as the 50mm framelines).

If you think that the S3 RF patch has a terrible reputation of being faded and unusable, you can see nothing being disgraceful, terrible or wonky here... Or is it "circular" ?

And my two S2 RF patches are even better than this one, which leaves nothing to desire anyway.

What's the black area that is around the rangefinder patch?
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