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Nikkormat FTn, or something like that?!
Old 11-09-2018   #1
Sumarongi
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Nikkormat FTn, or something like that?!

As mentioned in my recent Nikkor 24mm 1:2 OR Nikkor 24mm 1:2.8 -- BUT: Heavily Used!-thread, one of my daughters got for her birthday a Nikkor Ai 24/2.8, Ser#679xxx, plus a nearly new Nikon FM-10.

I said: «I'm glad I've bought both: the slower one — having the long focus throw — is IMHO the better one for my daughter, the other one is for me (via adapter).»

Now I'm considering to buy a Nikkormat FTn, or something like that (real Mirror-Lock-Up ist a must), since ... hey, I do have rational explanations!

E.g., if the youngest one (6 y/o now) wants to play with a camera, he's definitely not clumsy, but he's really strong, so he needs a really robust one. Or so...

So, I should buy another old style Nikon SLR, I guess?

Hmmmm.... Can you please try to talk me out of doing that?

Or not?
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Old 11-09-2018   #2
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Get an FT2. If you decide to use it, it takes a readily available silver oxide battery and they can be found for about the same prices as an FTn. Build is the same as an FTn but it has a built in hot shoe.
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Old 11-09-2018   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madNbad View Post
Get an FT2. If you decide to use it, it takes a readily available silver oxide battery and they can be found for about the same prices as an FTn. Build is the same as an FTn but it has a built in hot shoe.
Thank you, this makes a lot of sense, but: unfortunately, the FT2 model appears to be very scarce where I live (Central Europe).
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Old 11-09-2018   #4
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I'll second an FT2. It'll take pre-AI, AI and AIS lenses and like madNbad mentioned, you can use modern SO batteries. Literally built like tanks and pretty cheap to buy.
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Old 11-09-2018   #5
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I have an FTn, it feels very agricultural, comparable to the Zorki 4 I tried long ago, and sounds tinny. I know they have their following and I'm sure it's a very competent camera, but it doesn't feel nearly as nice as a simple Spotmatic, Retina etc. to me. Mirror lock is very unergonomic. The shutter release feels nice though.

What's really cool is the meter read out on top of the camera, I don't get why this is such a rare feature. Hearing aid batteries are very cheap. Six for one Euro or so. If you really want to use the internal meter.
If you're still interested, I'm considering selling mine. Black with dented prism housing. In Germany.
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Old 11-09-2018   #6
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Forgot to mention, that you cannot see what shutter speed is set until you look through the finder is very annoying.
Edit: And in the finder, you can't see what aperture is set!
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Old 11-09-2018   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retinax View Post
I have an FTn, it feels very agricultural, comparable to the Zorki 4 I tried long ago, and sounds tinny. I know they have their following and I'm sure it's a very competent camera, but it doesn't feel nearly as nice as a simple Spotmatic, Retina etc. to me. Mirror lock is very unergonomic. The shutter release feels nice though.
Agricultural? Like say a Haflinger, e.g.? That's uber-!

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Originally Posted by retinax View Post
What's really cool is the meter read out on top of the camera, I don't get why this is such a rare feature.
Absolutely!

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Originally Posted by retinax View Post
Hearing aid batteries are very cheap. Six for one Euro or so. If you really want to use the internal meter.
Yes, here next to the main chain of the Alps, everything costs some Pennies more, but they're still cheap
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Old 11-09-2018   #8
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A chrome F2 with the DP-1 is a easy choice for a body cap... cheap as well.
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Old 11-09-2018   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sumarongi View Post
Agricultural? Like say a Haflinger, e.g.? That's uber-!

Absolutely!

Yes, here next to the main chain of the Alps, everything costs some Pennies more, but they're still cheap
I don't know much about horses, but I think more like an old ox .
The sweet top plate meter readout is next to useless unfortunately because you need to bring the camera to the eye to set shutter speed, if you want to see what is set.

Are there "1 Franken" shops? Well they have the cheap batteries here in "1 €" shops
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Old 11-09-2018   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retinax View Post
Forgot to mention, that you cannot see what shutter speed is set until you look through the finder is very annoying.
Edit: And in the finder, you can't see what aperture is set!
OTOH, it's like driving a car —— after some time, one can activate the wipers without looking —— heck, we Europeans can even shift gears without looking

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Originally Posted by B-9 View Post
A chrome F2 with the DP-1 is a easy choice for a body cap... cheap as well.
That's true, but there's (see above, 6 y/o) the risk that the prism comes off too easily...

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The sweet top plate meter readout is next to useless unfortunately because you need to bring the camera to the eye to set shutter speed, if you want to see what is set.
Like many Japanese I'm myopic, so I just lift my glasses and I can see everything nearer than 100 mm perfectly sharp
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Old 11-09-2018   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retinax View Post
Forgot to mention, that you cannot see what shutter speed is set until you look through the finder is very annoying.
Edit: And in the finder, you can't see what aperture is set!

The shutter speed can be easily read from the shutter speed ring around the lens.
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Old 11-09-2018   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kai-san View Post
The shutter speed can be easily read from the shutter speed ring around the lens.

You're right! The position on the right side isn't ideal though. Still embarrassing that I haven't found that.
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Old 11-09-2018   #13
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I have six years old daughter and recently added FTn. And from this perspective...
OP, just as many threads like this, it is nothing but excuse for having GAS.
Kids have nothing to do with it. Especially with FTn.
If it is about kid of this age, get point and shoot and show kid how to develop and print. Not for doing it, but for knowing it at earlier age.
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Old 11-09-2018   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
I have six years old daughter and recently added FTn. And from this perspective...
OP, just as many threads like this, it is nothing but excuse for having GAS.
Kids have nothing to do with it. Especially with FTn.
If it is about kid of this age, get point and shoot and show kid how to develop and print. Not for doing it, but for knowing it at earlier age.
Noooooo, nooooo, noooo, dear Kostya, I.Do.NOT.Have.GAS!

O.K., touché.

But honestly, my children, particularly the two younger ones, belong to the rare breed that love complicated manual/mechanical challenges in conjunction with producing pieces of art. —— And in deed I'm considering which room in my house's "Lower Lobby" or "Semi-Basement" can be adapted for a lab
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Old 11-09-2018   #15
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"
E.g., if the youngest one (6 y/o now) wants to play with a camera, he's definitely not clumsy, but he's really strong, so he needs a really robust one. Or so...

So, I should buy another old style Nikon SLR, I guess?

Hmmmm.... Can you please try to talk me out of doing that? "


Talk you out of it....what does that mean, I do not understand.............

But I have an idea. Buy the Nikon SLR for occasional play by the 6 year old. When he does get too rough, confiscate it and play with it yourself :^)

And yes, a Nikkormat Ftn is not a bad choice. I have a late one (which had most of the appearance of the later Nikkormat FT2 but without the hot shoe. It is built like a brick outhouse.
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Old 11-09-2018   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterm1 View Post
Talk you out of it....what does that mean, I do not understand.............

But I have an idea. Buy the Nikon SLR for occasional play by the 6 year old. When he does get too rough, confiscate it and play with it yourself :^)

And yes, a Nikkormat Ftn is not a bad choice. I have a late one (which had most of the appearance of the later Nikkormat FT2 but without the hot shoe. It is built like a brick outhouse.
Yes! That's a sound plan
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Old 11-09-2018   #17
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For a 6 year old I'd start with a EM with a 50/1.8 and the bottom of a Never-Ready case. FM100 with the same sort of case bottom (build to a slightly lower standard than the EM, think Bessa with a view reflex finder/mirror and a nikon F AI mount). If you want a better camera you might wait a year or three, but you your kids better than anyone.

I lent my young son a Bessa rather than letting him use my Leica. He felt slighted but I'm not as stupid as I look.

Just about any Nikkormat FXX will do well, they are wonderful machines. Only head ache is the older battery style (FTn and older) needs adapting.

I learned to tell what shutter speed mine were set to by where the little arm was (like a hand on a clock).

B2 (:->
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Old 11-09-2018   #18
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Please all, bear with me, I'm a total novice regarding Nikon!

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Originally Posted by BillBingham2 View Post
For a 6 year old I'd start with a EM with a 50/1.8 and the bottom of a Never-Ready case. FM100 [FM10 I suppose?] with the same sort of case bottom (build to a slightly lower standard than the EM, think Bessa with a view reflex finder/mirror and a nikon F AI mount). If you want a better camera you might wait a year or three, but you your kids better than anyone.

I lent my young son a Bessa rather than letting him use my Leica. He felt slighted but I'm not as stupid as I look.
Yes, dear Bill, that's exactly my reasoning too!

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Just about any Nikkormat FXX will do well, they are wonderful machines. Only head ache is the older battery style (FTn and older) needs adapting.
Correct, but the hearing aid battery alternative is (here in Europe at least) an inexpensive work-around.

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Originally Posted by BillBingham2 View Post
I learned to tell what shutter speed mine were set to by where the little arm was (like a hand on a clock).
Yes, again exactly my reasoning too —— it's probably even easier than shifting gears!
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Old 11-10-2018   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retinax View Post
You're right! The position on the right side isn't ideal though. Still embarrassing that I haven't found that.

The FTn was my first SLR and I used it as an aperture priority camera without an electronic controlled shutter. You decide what DOF you need and set the aperture accordingly. Then put the viewfinder to your eye and turn the shutter ring until the light meter needle is smack in the middle. And since the shutter speed shows up in the viewfinder you can easily see if you need a tripod.
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Old 11-10-2018   #20
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Another point for consideration that has not been brought up, the early FTN has an all micro prism screen, the later FTN has a combination screen with a central split image focusing aid surrounded by a micro prism donut. This is known as a "K" screen. I have always found it easier to focus, especially in low light, with a split image focus aid. This is strictly a personal choice and everyone else is free to choose as they please.
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Old 11-10-2018   #21
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Yes, the FM10. I looked at the OM2000, same guts, different mount.

B2 (;->
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Old 11-10-2018   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spavinaw View Post
Another point for consideration that has not been brought up, the early FTN has an all micro prism screen, the later FTN has a combination screen with a central split image focusing aid surrounded by a micro prism donut. This is known as a "K" screen. I have always found it easier to focus, especially in low light, with a split image focus aid. This is strictly a personal choice and everyone else is free to choose as they please.
Later FTns with a plastic tip on the wind lever (ala F2 vs original F) had a K screen. The FT2 and FT3 had K screens standard.

I learned on a micro prism screen, but I love the P screen, but that's me. K's pretty close.

B2 (;->
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Old 11-10-2018   #23
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Another Nikon-noob question:
Do the cameras in question suffer from deteriorated *foam* mirror bumper and light seals?
— If yes, are these easily replaceable?
—— Is there anything else than foam that can be used as a replacement —— e.g. silk velvet like in the Leicaflexes and Rolleiflex SL35?
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Old 11-10-2018   #24
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Canon FX. Solid performer. Meter on top. FL lenses are inexpensive.
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Old 11-10-2018   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmattock View Post
Canon FX. Solid performer. Meter on top. FL lenses are inexpensive.
Thank you, also an interesting idea —— I like built-in non-TTL meters very much, and I love my Minolta SR-7v, sibling of the SR-1s which is according to Huss (IIRC) one of the most elegant 35mm ever.

But, the problem is: all these Japanese cameras and lenses made before say 1965 are scarce in Europe —— and hence good specimens fetch almost collector prices here!
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Old 11-11-2018   #26
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I snagged an original FT in mint condition at a camera sale.
I mean looking newr than new!
I offered it to a friend to use, but declined fearing he might damage it!
I feel same the same!
Guess time or Saki and a wild ride..
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Old 11-11-2018   #27
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The Nikkormat FT3 is the last of the Nikkormats (late '70s), has auto lens indexing (no need for a 6 year old to learn/remember to "wap-wap" when changing lenses) and uses easily available batteries.

An excellent camera to learn and improve on.
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Old 11-11-2018   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iphoenix View Post
The Nikkormat FT3 is the last of the Nikkormats (late '70s), has auto lens indexing (no need for a 6 year old to learn/remember to "wap-wap" when changing lenses) and uses easily available batteries.

An excellent camera to learn and improve on.
Thank you for your input! Unfortunately, like the FT2, the FT3 is pretty uncommon in Europe
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Old 11-11-2018   #29
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Quote:
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Thank you for your input! Unfortunately, like the FT2, the FT3 is pretty uncommon in Europe
A quick search on ebay.de shows a few, both the FT2 and the FT3.

If a pseudo-MLU (selftimer locks the mirror in its up position), then perhaps an Nikon FM or FE - they go for about the same prices as the FT series if you look around a bit.
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Old 11-12-2018   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerevan View Post
A quick search on ebay.de shows a few, both the FT2 and the FT3.
Well, yes, the FT2 and FT3 models are some 10% of all the Nikkormat offers on ebay.de? And: I have to add the German postage which is no bargain ^^

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If a pseudo-MLU (selftimer locks the mirror in its up position), then perhaps an Nikon FM or FE - they go for about the same prices as the FT series if you look around a bit.
I don't think that pseudo-MLU works properly with my non-Retrofocus Voigtländer SL 15/4.5 Nikon F Mount lens...
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Old 11-12-2018   #31
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Nah, the Voigtländer needs a real MLU. I guessed you had something like this in mind. BTW, the SL needs a hotshoe mounted viewfinder if I remember correctly, so in that case maybe biting the apple and get an F2?

Where are you located, then?
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Old 11-12-2018   #32
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Quote:
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Nah, the Voigtländer needs a real MLU. I guessed you had something like this in mind. BTW, the SL needs a hotshoe mounted viewfinder if I remember correctly, so in that case maybe biting the apple and get an F2?
See above, the F2's removability of the finder is a minus. (And I do even have a kaput F2 somewhere, bought years ago because I needed the working DP-something-finder, a present for my mother-in-law).

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Where are you located, then?
Carinthia —— next to the main chain of the Alps
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Old 11-12-2018   #33
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Ach so - had to look it up - seems like a beautiful place to hang out in.
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Old 11-12-2018   #34
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Sumarongi-I once read that the mirror bumper foam could be replaced with the light seal from the lip of a 35mm film can. I have never tried it myself and have no idea if it works. Also, more than once as I recall, the exact name of a sewing thread replacement has been suggested in this forum. I haven't tried it either.
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Old 11-12-2018   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spavinaw View Post
Sumarongi-I once read that the mirror bumper foam could be replaced with the light seal from the lip of a 35mm film can. I have never tried it myself and have no idea if it works. Also, more than once as I recall, the exact name of a sewing thread replacement has been suggested in this forum. I haven't tried it either.
Thank you

Exactly the same idea and quite a similar respectively I found here: https://www.photo.net/discuss/thread...-style.362863/

("peter_de_waal" sounds familiar, is he also a member here at RFF?)
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Old 11-12-2018   #36
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Does this one look good?






Seller told me, I'll have to replace the mirror bumper and light seals... Not sure what I should pay...
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Old 11-12-2018   #37
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It looks fine--and if the lens is clear--one of the best!
Replacing the seals is fairly easy--you just have to be careful. Maybe you can find a kit online--a fellow here in the US--Jon Goodman--sells ready made kits and really good instructions. Takes about 30 minutes for both mirror ans seals--good luck!
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Old 11-13-2018   #38
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Yeah, that looks like a fine kit!
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Old 11-13-2018   #39
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You can use the foam of the back of a computer mousepad to replace the foam strips of a Nikkormat. With good scissors and a bit a of patience it's easy to cut perfectly sized strips off the mousepad foam. The quality of this material is very good and very durable.

For the mirror bumper, the new strip has to be glued in place with some tiny dabs of neoprene glue.

For the camera back light seals, no glue is needed. The new strips will stay in place by themselves in their throats once the camera back has been closed a few times.

The old deteriorated foam bits have to be carefully and fully removed with wood dental picks, Q-tips and acetone. None of the darn black goo bits must land onto the shutter curtains or onto the mirror. You will have to use about five Q-tips to get a clean mirror bumper seat and about fifty Q-tips to get perfectly clean light seals throats. To get the Q-tips into the light seals throats you have to firmly flatten them with tweezers before soaking them in acetone.

On a Nikkormat you also have to replace the foam strip vertically glued at the right end of the camera back cover, near the hinge.

Fill the mirror chamber with a ball of very soft toilet paper and tape a piece of paper over the shutter gate before tackling the camera so that you don't end with black goo on the mirror nor on the shutter curtains, and regularly clean your workbench while working on the camera, because many black goo dabs will land on it over time.
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Old 11-17-2018   #40
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Yesterday's mail brought the Nikkormat FTn —— in fact, two of them. The one shown above is made in 1967/68 supposedly (serial # FTN3547***), but the seller had a second body (made in 1974 I suppose, serial # FTN4753***) which he added

Now, before I hand it out my children, I have to figure out some points:

IMHO, both the cameras' aperture pins and the speed levers move very sluggishly.

OTOH, it's quite cold in my Man Cave; nevertheless:

Is it a sound idea to use some drops of naphta? —— I have a bottle of Zippo «essence à briquet» for my leaf shutter cameras at hand, and in this particular case I guess the Nikkormat's circumferential shutter speed «wheel» is quite similarly built?
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