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Posted in : Featured / Shooting Film on July 28th, 2012.

Recently, I’ve had the good fortune to pick up some rather nice film cameras at some pretty great prices (given what I’ve seen on eBay and what I’ve been quoted in shops that still have some of these available for sale).

Amongst other things, three cameras and two lenses particularly stick out.  A chrome Nikkormat FTn type 1, a black Nikkormat FTn type 2, a black Nikkormat FT-3, a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 Ai-S, and a Nikkor-HC 50mm f/2 (this lens alone is worth far more than I paid for all of those if I can dismantle it, clean it and reassemble it without killing it).

Out of all of the above, only one item is truly what could possibly be considered “pristine”, but given what I paid, I’m amazed I’ve done that well, and at least two of the cameras should clean up just nicely.

All three of the Nikkormats will need new light seals on both the back and the mirror box.  The chrome FTn has an issue with the mirror not flipping up (I’m thinking some gunk fell off the foam and onto the mirror hinge).  The black FTn has a bit of a dent on the pentaprism housing (although it doesn’t affect the operation of the viewfinder) and no accessory shoe.  The FT-3 has an issue with the rear door that covers the film (the hinge is slightly bent).

So, I’ve been considering putting the black FTn out to pasture and using it for spare parts.  If my assumptions about the chrome FTn’s mirror box are false, and it needs a new one, that’s where I’ll get one from.  It also means I will have a spare film door and can attempt replacement of the one on the FT-3.  Then it’s just a case of replacing the seals and I’ll have two perfectly functioning bodies.

The Nikkor-HC 50mm f/2 is a whole other story.  It has a fair amount of fungus inside it, easily viewable through the lens.  Having never taken one of these apart before, I will be attempting to do so (I’d originally planned to do it after making the videos below, but my tools were substandard, and rather than risk permanently ripping the heads of screws I decided to wait until I had the right tools), hopefully without destroying the lens in the process.

Anyway, here’s a couple of videos. :)

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Oh, yes, there was one other issue with all three cameras.  The chrome FTn I picked up at a car boot sale a couple of weeks ago.  The fella who sold it to me (for a whole £1!) told me it had basically been sat in a box for the better part of at least 10 years.  Upon opening the battery cover, I wasn’t too surprised to see one in there.  The battery wasn’t in too terrible condition, but there was a tiny bit of corrosion.  Nothing a cotton bud with some isopropyl alcohol couldn’t sort out.

The other two cameras, along with the lenses, were purchased elsewhere.  I had been informed that both cameras had their batteries removed (I was told that these, too, have sat on a shelf in the back room for at least the last 5 years).  The battery in the FTn wasn’t so bad, but the one in the FT-3 was pretty majorly corroded.

I don’t intend to use the light meter in any of the three cameras, that’s what I have my Sekonic for, but I do plan to fully clean them out, and make sure the meters work, just in case I change my mind or eventually decide to sell them on.

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Until next time!