I bought a Canon F-1n some time ago thinking I could repair its shutter problem … I got it cheap so I did not press the seller much on details … well, it was fairly obvious what the shutter problem was; Canon F-1n, almost original. So, I hunted for a parts camera with an intact shutter.
Sooo, now I have two partially working camera’s … now to make one !!!
As the F-1 system is very modular in nature it was easy to swap out the parts. There were issues that I encountered, but I expected that since both cameras were somewhat non-working. The “working” camera had problems with the aperture indicator, so I had to start taking things apart.
I will have to warn everyone that this is not the sort of camera you really want to jump into.
Canon media documents state that there are over 10,000 parts, and I think they are right.
I did find some videos on youtube – (“fix old cameras”), but not a lot of websites of anyone specifically working on an F-1 … I guess not many wanted to tackle this one.
OK, so after I put the parts on the working camera I slapped on a lens to check the light meter … hmm, the needle is moving but the aperture circle is stuck at the top of the window? After some hunting I found an old article from the Classic Camera Repair Forum about this issue. The diaphram sensing lever was not freely moving up and down … it keeps getting stuck at its lowest position. I can lightly push it up and it then freely moves. As Brcamera states in his post, the ramp has some sort of abrasion/wear/gunk that makes it stick.
Hmm, I wonder if it has to do with crap getting into the inside of the camera? I say this because the door is broken off on my camera. What door ? The F-1 happens to have port on left side of the camera mount ring that is used to couple with the Servo EE Finder. This is covered by a plastic door. My camera has no door, so stuff can get in over time. If yours is like this also, I highly suggest taking the door parts off and then putting in something to cover over the port (I suspect that you are probably not going to use a servo EE finder). I used some leatherette material and screwed the remaining door cover over it.
Note, in the image I have removed the lens mounting ring, as I did notice that if the mirrorbox is not tightly screwed onto the body then it will affect the diaphram sensing levers movement.
I squirted some Ronsonol in the area to see if that loosened things up … and exersized the lever. It was not sticking … so I let it dry out. It continued to stick, so I did it again.
I will just continue to work on that method … I tried getting the mirrorbox out, but that proved to be too much … until it doesn’t stick, but in the meantime if you are looking through your viewfinder and see a circle in the sky you can just push the stop down lever to force it down.
Ok, so on to the next thing … the battery check is not working.
With the F-1 you set the ASA to 100 and shutter speed to 1/2000s, then turn the light meter switch to C. Looking through the viewfinder you can see if the need sits at the mark. Mine does not move … but it is getting power as the light meter needle is moving.
This requires getting into the top left side of the camera to check the electronic contacts, and give it a cleaning.
First you need to remove front cover plate that surrounds the lens mount, as it hides screws holding the top cover plates on … four screws
Remove finder and ground screen.
Top Left (backfacing) side
Remove flash PC socket … unscrew using clamp wrench
Remove meter on/off switch … unscrew center pin face screw … I used my pointy tweezers … then pull off switch knob. Note that there is a brass washer down in there also.
Remove rewind crank … open the back and hold onto the rewind spool while unscrew the rewind crank counterclock wise.
Remove three screws, pull off accessory shoe base. This is actually muliple pieces but can be removed whole.
Top plate is held by two screws one in back and one in front.
For anyone thinking of adjusting recalibrating the light meter … don’t try it. I can’t figure out how it is done without getting deeper into the camera. There is reference to some adjustment in the Service Manual which I note at the end of this post.
At the bottom of the image you will see some metal contact closures. The top and middle contact eachother when the battery check is switched. I found that the metal needed cleaning to make make them connect.
If your light meter does not turn on it could be that the bottom two metal contacts are dirtly so you can give those two a cleaning.
Now lets see what the right side looks like.
I really did not have much reason to look at this side but I thought … heck, why not.
Maybe you want to clean the counter dial or something … or just wanta take a look.
Remove shutter speed dial … note the speed it is set to.
Pop off centre cap, it is glued on (yes, I am as surprised as you are). Then remove screw, pull off speed dial. There is a plastic ring glued onto the cover (don’t have to remove it).
Remove the advance lever … remove centre screw, pull off lever, pull out the multiple parts … remember their order and position.
Remove shutter button lock … warning there is a ball bearing …
Loosen three screws around the outside. WARNING … slowly carefully pull off and look for spring loaded bearing. Then pull off lock ring … there are two indents on the ring where the bearing will sit that keeps the dial in A or L setting.
Top cover … three screws, back side and the front
note position of spiral plate
I was actually surprised to read up on the link between the shutter speed dial and the light meter mechanism … there are wires that span the back that link the two together. Thats what the service manual references for adjustment … but as I mentioned, that is a bit too much for me right now.
Below image from the Service Manual … it notes that fine adjustement to the metering needle position can be done by turning screw A.