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New acquisition: Nikon F2 Fotomic... jammed.
Old 01-06-2019   #1
Luddite Frank
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New acquisition: Nikon F2 Fotomic... jammed.

Was visiting a local antiques co-op with my wife today, and while she was off in another area, I spotted a case with some cameras, and a note stating, "50% off !"

I spotted a Nikon F2 Fotomic, wearing an f:2/ 50 mm Nikkor, and with a Soligor 28 mm alongside.

I got all for a reasonable sum, including the instruction manual.

I couldn't get the shutter to fire at the shop, but the camera and lens looked decent, and un-abused (no brassing or dents, VF nice and bright, lens looked pretty clear and aperture blades "snappy".).

When I got home, I read through the instruction manual twice, then picked-up the camera to see if I could get it to function.

Long-story short, I was unsuccessful.

Symptoms: mirror down ( will lock-up with manual lever ), wind-lever will open 20 degrees ( to turn-on meter ), but no further, seems like wind-on is advanced and shutter cocked, but the shutter button refuses to depress. Have manipulated the lock-collar, to no avail. Also tried the self-timer: runs-down nicely, but no shutter trip.

I have not checked the batteries' state of charge, but not expecting them to be a culprit.

Any other DIY things to check ?

Do these models have a reputation for "locking-up" ?


( Right now I'm consoling myself that even if the body is dead, I can use the two lenses on my Nikkormat FT.)

Thanks....

LF
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Old 01-06-2019   #2
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Sadly, this seems to be a common problem on this model. I googled it and looked at a lot of threads on different sites to no avail. Lots of people w/ the issue, and no one posted a fix. I did find this (link below), but whether it helps you or not I don't know. FWIW, my experience w/ Nikkormats is that they don't jam like the F models. Hopefully you get something going because that 50 2 Nikkor is a very good lens.

https://www.justanswer.com/video-cam...ft-camera.html
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Old 01-06-2019   #3
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The batteries are only for the meter. This might sound strange, but try pressing the depth of field preview button, I had a similarly jammed F2 body, and this allowed the shutter to fire. I am not sure what the relationship is, but it worked for me and allowed me to exercise the shutter and get it to fire reliably.
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Old 01-06-2019   #4
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Make sure the self-timer lever hasn't been actuated and then gotten stuck. If it flops around, try pushing in the little button a few times. If it is locked, you won't get it to work without disassembly.
If the DOF button or self-timer thing doesn't work, you can un-jam the shutter manually by removing the bottom plate and pushing on the linkage to release the tension. I don't have a photo but you could probably find it online.
Make sure the curtains are fully wound as well. If the edges of the curtains are visible in the film gate, the camera will not fire.
If none of these works, it needs to be disassembled and serviced. Could be as simple as the little
"boomerang" lever of the self-timer being on the wrong side of the main shutter plunger. I had this problem when I did my first tear-down of my F2. Good luck.

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Old 01-06-2019   #5
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I just noticed that you already have a Nikkormat FT. That's a wonderful camera, and as you said, you can use the lenses on it until you get the F sorted out.

Ck out this 14 sec video on how their shutter jam was addressed. Also, ck the shutter collar to make sure it is on A and not on R.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQ0a4cdcu6w

I found this pic of how someone w/ an FE got their shutter unjammed by taking the bottom plate off. Maybe it's the same on your F.
https://filtergrade.com/jammed-shutter-fix-nikon-fe/

And here's a video on unjamming the shutter on an F
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxL5zp_S_Y8
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Old 01-07-2019   #6
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I had the same problem with my F2 years ago and took it to a camera shop . the dealer said it was due to having gone to the very end of the filmroll and thereby having half winded the shutter . I could rewind the film but the shutter stayed jammed . He took a pencel and pushed very gently and carefull against the curtain while winding the camera . I got it back in two minutes and never happended again , I am careful now not to go to the end of the film .
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Old 01-07-2019   #7
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Frank

I got my (very first) Nikon FM2 working again using more or less instructions from this video:

Nikon FM2 Stuck Shutter

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Old 01-07-2019   #8
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Maybe , I don't remember well , I pressed the shutterbutton at the end of the film while the transportation of the film wasn't , couldn't be completed and therefore jammed ...
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Old 01-07-2019   #9
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I believe there's a service manual available on the web? I'm sure you shouldn't have too much trouble googling it...
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Old 01-07-2019   #10
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I would send it to a tech and eat the bill if everything else is working and looking good.

All my nikons have jammed shutters. FM FE.. They all jam if unused for a long time.
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Old 01-07-2019   #11
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Similar faults have happened with both my F2s. One was not repairable. One was just a snarl-up with the self-timer (which is supposed to give shutter times down to 10 secs in combination with the B setting) and cured itself after some poking and jiggling. So it’s either nothing, or a scrap camera. I’ve never tried to use the extended times since.
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Old 01-07-2019   #12
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To the OP : did you try holding down the rewind button while trying to fully wind again, as if you wanted to make a double-exposure ? This can be repeated as many times as you wish.

Did you also try firing the shutter using a small pin (a wood toothpick will do it and won't harm anything) and the shutter release cam located at the bottom of the camera (for the motor drive) ? This cam is near the rewind button and close to the sefltimer unit when you look at the camera from the bottom, holding the lens mount up).

Did you try firing the shutter while holding down the DOF control button, either using the main shutter release with your finger or the shutter release cam designed for the motor drive at the bottom of the camera ?
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Old 01-07-2019   #13
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The vertical travel shutters of the FM and FE can't be compared to the shutter in an F2 farther that both control light in a metered fashion. Otherwise they are 100% different.
To un-jam an FM shutter, try locking up the mirror, and gently flexing the shutter leaves up and down just a hair. These leaves are easily corroded and so they stick together. In 2004 I was given a stuck FM by a friend. I sat in a chair and had it fixed within a minute.
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Old 01-07-2019   #14
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Thanks all for the replies.

Will try some of the suggestions for poking - prodding.

LF
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Old 01-07-2019   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil_F_NM View Post
Make sure the self-timer lever hasn't been actuated and then gotten stuck. If it flops around, try pushing in the little button a few times. If it is locked, you won't get it to work without disassembly.
If the DOF button or self-timer thing doesn't work, you can un-jam the shutter manually by removing the bottom plate and pushing on the linkage to release the tension. I don't have a photo but you could probably find it online.
Make sure the curtains are fully wound as well. If the edges of the curtains are visible in the film gate, the camera will not fire.
If none of these works, it needs to be disassembled and serviced. Could be as simple as the little
"boomerang" lever of the self-timer being on the wrong side of the main shutter plunger. I had this problem when I did my first tear-down of my F2. Good luck.

Phil Forrest
Self-timer winds & runs-down smoothly and evenly, and I hear a little "ping" inside the body at the end of its journey, when it tries to trip whatever it mates with.


I believe I can just see the metal "hem" of a curtain just visible inside the left edge of the film gate, looking at the camera with the back open.

With the Fotomic prism removed, the little line on the shaft at the center of the shutter-speeds knob does NOT line-up with the speed index mark on the top plate.

Pushing-in on the Rewind-release button on the bottom plate does nothing to release the Wind-on lever. It does allow the sprockets to freewheel backwards.

I will play with the DOF button and the motor-drive release plunger a bit, and if that fails, I might get brave and pull the bottom plate.

Thanks,

LF
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Old 01-07-2019   #16
presspass
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You did check the collar around the shutter button to make sure it is centered for firing rather than set to the left for time exposures or to the right for locked?
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Old 01-07-2019   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by presspass View Post
You did check the collar around the shutter button to make sure it is centered for firing rather than set to the left for time exposures or to the right for locked?
Yes. That was my first ( and several subsequent ) checks.


LF
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Old 01-07-2019   #18
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One operational requirement with the F2 is to not leave the shutter cocked for more than a few hours, i.e. overnight. Sover Wong has some details on his site:

https://soverf2repair.webs.com/Cock_shutter.htm

It's possible that's what happened with your F2, prior to your acquisition.
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File Type: jpg F2_shutter.jpg (20.3 KB, 6 views)
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Old 01-07-2019   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luddite Frank View Post
I believe I can just see the metal "hem" of a curtain just visible inside the left edge of the film gate, looking at the camera with the back open.

With the Fotomic prism removed, the little line on the shaft at the center of the shutter-speeds knob does NOT line-up with the speed index mark on the top plate.
Both those indications tell that the shutter is not cocked. So this is not a shutter jam, but a winding jam, because the last shutter actuation didn't release the winding mech.

You could try this (no risk at all) : remove the speeds selector disk and knob (easy : loosen the set screws on the side of the shutter speeds knob), then try to manually cock the shutter by gripping with your fingers (a rubber glove may help) then fully rotating CCW the shaft with the little line at its top, then try to fire the shutter.
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Old 01-08-2019   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve M. View Post
Sadly, this seems to be a common problem on this model....
That's odd to me. I shot for a daily newspaper for almost 20 years using mostly F2's, some motorized. Overall, I think I owned 5 of them during that period. They all got heavy use and abuse. I killed two of them during accidents on assignments. Most of the other press photographers I knew at the time also used them and used them hard. None of mine ever had a jam and I don't recall anyone else's jamming. They were popular with press photographers because of their extreme durability and reliability.

Is the common jamming plague striking the cameras due to their age?
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Old 01-08-2019   #21
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Did you try with film inside?
Occasionally some cameras NEED a film, moving sprocket wheel..
It looks like it needs a service..if all else fails..
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Old 01-08-2019   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leicapixie View Post
Did you try with film inside?
Occasionally some cameras NEED a film, moving sprocket wheel..
The camera cannot be wound so a film inside wouldn't change things.

But - subsequentally this makes me think of telling this to the OP : open the camera back and fully manually turn the film sprockets shaft so that it cocks the shutter, then try to fire it.

This is the same as trying this by turning the top of the shaft once the shutter speeds knob has been removed, but this will be easier.
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Old 01-08-2019   #23
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I'm intrigued — I also have a kaput F2 somewhere, I bought it years ago because I just needed the (working) DP-something-finder as a present for my mother-in-law.
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Old 01-08-2019   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Highway 61 View Post
The camera cannot be wound so a film inside wouldn't change things.

But - subsequentally this makes me think of telling this to the OP : open the camera back and fully manually turn the film sprockets shaft so that it cocks the shutter, then try to fire it.

This is the same as trying this by turning the top of the shaft once the shutter speeds knob has been removed, but this will be easier.
Sprockets will not turn to wind shutter.

If I press the "Rewind" release button in the bottom plate, the sprockets will freewheel, enabling film to be wound back into cassette, but once the back is closed and the camera resets to "advance", the sprockets are locked.

The film take-up spool will turn with the thumb against the knurled flange of the spool (as it should?).

LF
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Old 01-08-2019   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luddite Frank View Post
Sprockets will not turn to wind shutter.

If I press the "Rewind" release button in the bottom plate, the sprockets will freewheel, enabling film to be wound back into cassette, but once the back is closed and the camera resets to "advance", the sprockets are locked.

The film take-up spool will turn with the thumb against the knurled flange of the spool (as it should?).
Quite the same here, *IIRC*; haven't found the F2 yet, but I did find other parts I didn't even know I had, e.g.: an Exakta 250mm Meyer lens (but I don't recall to have a working Exakta, unfortunately), a Zeiss 35mm Pro-Tessar (ditto!), several extension rings (e.g. for Minolta, for Canon), then three-four cameras I really have *no* idea where they came from?! —— Sorry, I'm hijacking your thread; ha! there should be a What Camera Clutter Did You Discover Recently In Your Own House-thread somewhere
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Old 01-08-2019   #26
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It seems to be age related as you mentioned Dogman. Just google Nikon F jammed and you will see that a lot of people have had this problem, unfortunately.
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Old 01-08-2019   #27
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Can you press the rewind button, cock the shutter, and fire it w/ the back open? If so, that should tell where the problem lies, or at least eliminate some of the possibilities.
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Old 01-08-2019   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogman View Post

Is the common jamming plague striking the cameras due to their age?
Due to not using the shutter for a long time.
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Old 01-08-2019   #29
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Just lost my post so I'll write it again. I had a similar issue with an F2 and it was a simple fix - perhaps it will work for you. Remove the bottom plate (simple procedure). There's a prominent 3-armed rocker in the centre of the mechanism and one of the small moving parts beneath this rocker on the tripod-socket side had become jammed. All it took was a small nudge with a screwdriver to free up the mechanism. You can try gently pressing the winder to see which parts want to move, and gently nudge these to see whether they will free up (it took me 10 minutes of trial and error to find the jammed part). Take care not to dislodge any springs or fine parts
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Old 01-08-2019   #30
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I think that's why the Nikkormats don't have this problem colker. They have Copal shutters. Never saw one w/ a shutter problem. Really sweet sounding shutters! Darn, now I'm lurking on the auctions looking for another one.
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Old 01-08-2019   #31
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Quote:
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I think that's why the Nikkormats don't have this problem colker. They have Copal shutters. Never saw one w/ a shutter problem. Really sweet sounding shutters! Darn, now I'm lurking on the auctions looking for another one.
I have that trouble on a FM and a FE...
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Old 01-08-2019   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve M. View Post
I think that's why the Nikkormats don't have this problem colker. They have Copal shutters. Never saw one w/ a shutter problem. Really sweet sounding shutters! Darn, now I'm lurking on the auctions looking for another one.
The Nikkormat EL, ELW, and EL2 have a common jamming issue caused by mishandling the camera when winding. You have to take the bottom plate off to clear it, and it involves a lever in the middle of the body below the film gate. I don't think it is related to LF's problem, as his is likely a different lever involved.

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Old 01-09-2019   #33
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Quote:
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Sprockets will not turn to wind shutter.
Are you sure ? This requires quite some strength in your fingers. You have to turn it to the right of the camera when you look at the camera from the back. Locking the mirror up before trying this will help (the mirror mech. won't be part of the deal then).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luddite Frank View Post
If I press the "Rewind" release button in the bottom plate, the sprockets will freewheel, enabling film to be wound back into cassette, but once the back is closed and the camera resets to "advance", the sprockets are locked.
Once the back is closed you can't try to make the sprockets shaft turn nor can you see it...

Closing the back will only actuate the frames counter. You can remove the camera back (there is a spring pin at the hinge) for good until the problem has cleared, this might be of some help to understand what's wrong with this F2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luddite Frank View Post
The film take-up spool will turn with the thumb against the knurled flange of the spool (as it should?)
This is normal, the take-up spool is on a passive friction shaft.

Bottom line : I'm very skeptical about the posts in that thread telling about a design plague of the Nikon F2 shutter or the shutter jamming up because of some long time no use. This shutter is all ball bearings design and as one poster wrote it's probably the most reliable and robust 24x36 focal plane shutter made ever. Of course there is something wrong with this one but this might be for some other reasons than some related to how the shutter was built. One previous careless owner might have damaged something for instance. Even the best built cameras can be damaged by the "operator error" factor.

I have owned several F2 and still have two. None of mine have failed so far. The only problem I had was with dead CdS cells in a DP-11 finder.
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Old 01-09-2019   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luddite Frank View Post
I will play with the DOF button and the motor-drive release plunger a bit, and if that fails, I might get brave and pull the bottom plate.
Re bottom plate: I found my F2 today, and hence I can say: please, do it only if you have the proper tools. In my F2's case, since the previous owner used brute force apparently, several cables are broken and at least two screws too. (I'm even not at all sure whether the thing is complete, I find that there's too much wiggling in the entire bottom area.)
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Old 01-09-2019   #35
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I have this anecdote from Navy photo school I tell about the F2.
My instructor was being dropped into Afghanistan with a team of combat cameramen in the early 2000s. All the gear was on a sled with a drogue chute. Personnel parachuted and the sled wasn't properly netted down so when it hit the desert floor at a few hundred mph, everything flew apart. Pelican cases containing D1s and laptops destroyed. The only camera to survive was a Nikon F2 which was dug out of the hole it made in the earth, dusted off and put back into operation with no hiccups. One sailor said "I've never seen anything kill an F4" but there it was, dead on impact along with everything else but the faithful F2.
So a jam from non-use is probably not the cause. They are not Leicas. They are like AK-47s, just a little quieter.
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Old 01-09-2019   #36
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Another update:

Fiddled some more with the beast last night... tried every (?) combination of working the DOF button, mirror lock-up lever, rewind release button, motor-drive shutter release plunger, trying to turn the sprockets, etc.

Nothing worked. Advance lever would not move beyond "meter-on" and shutter release button still won't depress or trip.

In a "what have I got to lose" moment, holding the camera body in my left-hand, I whacked the bottom of the wind-end against the heel of my right hand a couple of times.

I then tried the wind-lever, and it easily moved through its cycle, the shutter cocked, and then fired nicely ( 1/250?).

I was able to wind again, and this time set the shutter to 1 sec; it fired and ran nicely, perhaps a little slow.

I tried to wind a third time, and things "locked-up" again, as they were at square one.

I fiddled, tapped this way and that, without success.

It showed tantalizing signs of life for a few moments.
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Old 01-09-2019   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Highway 61 View Post
Are you sure ? This requires quite some strength in your fingers. You have to turn it to the right of the camera when you look at the camera from the back. Locking the mirror up before trying this will help (the mirror mech. won't be part of the deal then).



Once the back is closed you can't try to make the sprockets shaft turn nor can you see it...

Closing the back will only actuate the frames counter. You can remove the camera back (there is a spring pin at the hinge) for good until the problem has cleared, this might be of some help to understand what's wrong with this F2.


This is normal, the take-up spool is on a passive friction shaft.

Bottom line : I'm very skeptical about the posts in that thread telling about a design plague of the Nikon F2 shutter or the shutter jamming up because of some long time no use. This shutter is all ball bearings design and as one poster wrote it's probably the most reliable and robust 24x36 focal plane shutter made ever. Of course there is something wrong with this one but this might be for some other reasons than some related to how the shutter was built. One previous careless owner might have damaged something for instance. Even the best built cameras can be damaged by the "operator error" factor.

I have owned several F2 and still have two. None of mine have failed so far. The only problem I had was with dead CdS cells in a DP-11 finder.

You are right about closing the back of the camera; to re-set the rewind release, one must turn the take-spool in the Advance direction.

I was reluctant to put too much force into trying to turn the sprockets; I have enough finger / hand strength to break stuff, so discretion was the better part of valor.


Thanks,

LF
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Old 01-09-2019   #38
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Yep had this problem a few times. The fix described is a good place to start; a lever on the bottom has another small lever that has a thin spring and that spring is just off its proper positions. You wouldn't think that small extra pressure would make a jam but if the body is dropped flat it often happens. I seem to recall the process to unjam is to release the main spring tension and before the next wind cycle identify that small spring (wire like not coiled) and reset. The next wind cycle should go proper.
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Old 01-09-2019   #39
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Have you tried contacting Nikon? I would ask their take before any of the extreme measures described in this thread.
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Old 01-09-2019   #40
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Nikon might look at you crooked if you asked them about a F2.

If your at a loss, contact the expert, Sover Wong.
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