Nikon FE … lacks power.

So, I got a Nikon cause it was listed as “for pieces or repair”. I’ve don’t tend to get more modern cameras but it was going for a pretty fair price so I though I would try to repair one of these more electronic ones … well I was disappointed after I showed up !!!

The camera does not power up … hmm. It is missing a battery holder/cover. So I hunted around and found a replacement part …  and a couple of LR44 batteries … I really didn’t even have to clean the damn thing.

The only reason I am posting this is because it is a nice looking camera that also works great.

The Nikon FE came out 1 year after the FM, in 1978 … hmm, this camera is younger than I am. It shares much of the same body construction, and it is much more electronic. The FE has an electronic shutter (plus mechanical 1/90s + bulb) and offers aperture priority and manual exposure using a match needle system. It, like the FM, can handle Ai and non-Ai lenses (unlike the FE2) using stop-down metering.

You will notice that, like the FM, the model name is discrete. Nikon decided not to splash it in bold letters on the front like most other cameras (look for the tiny FE/FM beside the serial number on the back) … hmm, I wonder why? … oh, and it has a little dent (wasn’t me).



N.K.K.K. on … no I ain’t stuttering.

Nippon Kōgaku Kōgyō Kabushikigaisha … Japan Optical Industries Co., Ltd, ah this is the name that many of you people know of as Nikon.

Nikon’s origins begins underwater … well, sorta. Back during WWI a company named Mistubishi was making submarines for the Japanese Navy. During that time Japan did not have their own optical manufacturers to build the periscopes … so the President of Mitsubishi decided to make a company that could to remove reliance on foreign parts.

Nippon Kogaku was created in 1917 from a merger of three companies to produce advanced optics for the nation of Japan. Now I am not going to go into a lot of detail about them … sooo much has been already said already, I just point some things out.

  • 1919 – Nippon Kogaku invites German optical specialists over … not so uncommon later in time for many Japanese companies to take advantage of the advances already produced.
  • 1929 – The Anytar 50cm F4.5 was created.
  • Konishiroku (Konica) started using NKKK lenses on their cameras
  • 1932 – The Nikkor brand name appeared.
  • Nikkor lenses start showing up on various Japanese and European cameras
  • 1935 – A Nikon lens appears on a a Canon camera.
  • 1946 – A Nikon camera is made
  • 1959 – The F is made.
  • blah, blah, blah … eh, just Google it.

Finally … tech and Tse converge.

I have been waiting for someone to do this … with the advent of 3D metal printing it was just a matter of time before we would get access to new replacement parts, for cameras that are no longer supported, built on order.

One such part is the focus lever on the Minolta Autocord. Due to the crap pot metal they used, there are many Autocords just sitting on shelves (Minolta Autocord – the knobless one)… relegated just for show and tell. Now they can come back to life taking pictures like they were born to do.

Recently, a fellow film camera user decided to take advantage of his skills and produce a 3D model of the lever!!! I give much credit to Edward Tse for his efforts.

Thingiverse – Edward Tse

Note that he designed the knob shorter than the original to reduce the knob smashing effect by the back door.

Looking back at the Retina …

There was one thing that continued to cause issues with my Kodak Retina II type 142 … the focus action was sticking around the infinity mark. Squirting some lighter fluid in between the parts was not enough to free it up. This means I need to get access to the focus helix.

DSC00667Open the back up, and you can see the rear cell.

Do not unscrew the outer metal ring … just use a rubber tool to unscrew the cell so you have access to the retaining ring.

Note that you may just unscrew the rear element in that group first … just take it out and remove the rest of it.


Once the rear lens cell is out of the way you can now see the retaining ring that secures the shutter.

Use your spanning tool to unscrew this.
DSC00665 The shutter should now fall out.

Looking at the back of the shutter … you can clean the blades.






Now that looks better.

The focus helix is now partially exposed.

I decided not to take this completely apart … it was enough to clean off the old grease and apply new stuff.

Now it is a smooth ride.

Back to that F-1n needle … solution.

Soooooo, I got everything working on that F-1n except for that sticky needle. I really did not want to take the mirror box out to get at the mechanism as I tried it on my test subject and it is not an easy thing to remove and especially replace.

I figured if I washed out the area it will eventually run free … but every time the Naptha dried out the needle would stick. I figured that it needed some oil to keep the metal parts moving … but that means opening it up !!!

DSC00630Then I remembered a tip that someone told me … put a drop or two of Nyoil in a bath of Naptha. Well I did not have any Nyoil, but I did have some Moebius 8040 watch oil, so I made a bath … then dribbled some into the opening for the diaphragm sensing lever (or the servo port if it isn’t covered).

Some exercise of the lever and stop down switch … and then waited for the solution to dry.

Next day … the lever does not stick !! Thanks Dimitri.

The adventures of this guy who tries to restore and repair vintage photographic equipment … and wins (most of the time).

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