My 30-year-old Nikon FG suddenly ceased working on Friday. Film wouldn't advance, mirror wouldn't close, and, though the film rewound (I thought best to get it out) and the button pressed to open the camera back, the button would not pop back out when back closed; and when I tried putting in a new role of film, I could not advance the spool to put it in. I tried new batteries and also cleaned the connecting plates/tabs that the batteries touch, which I thought would solve this, but it made no difference. Camera has worked for decades--only problem previously is that, for the past five years, the film counter starts at 14 instead of 1. Help!
Havin the same problem with a FG i got my hands on, apparently switchin to M90 on the shutter speed dial will release the shutter. Then its a case of replacing the batteries- haven't got that far myself mind, a job for tomorrow.
There's a post here about it http://www.flickr.com/groups/87785435@N00/discuss/72157603829521289/
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M90 is a battery independent setting - it requires no battery power to function. If it won't advance until put on M90 from other settings, then either you're not allowing for proper exposure, have the settings incorrectly set (film speed, etc), or you have shutter issues. The shutter is electronically controlled on all settings except M90. In the auto setting, your lense MUST be set to the smallest aperture (biggest number). On any other setting, you can use it however you'd like. I'd suggest unloading any film, setting the shutter speed dial to 1/125 or so, opening the back and looking thru and firing the shutter. If it's not snapping open and immediately closed, theres an issue and you need to consult a repair technician either locally, through Nikon, or through KEH Camera online.
Were the old batteries left in when you stored it? Alkaline cells can leak and cause corrosion, no matter what anyone says. A coating of metal salts on the battery contacts could be the problem. I hesitate to suggest that you may have put the cells in the wrong way up, or forgotten where the on/off switch is, but these will certainly stop the cameras working.
Jim, it really sounds like one of threethings. Either will require a repair shop. 1. the film sensor is not recognizing film in the film chamber, or film across the back, therefore not telling the advance motor to advance film... 2. The film advance motor itself needs replaced. 3. The rear door latch switch needs replaced. Since everything else seems to do OK, I doubt the main computer board is bad.
Remove the lens and look inside it. Do you see the mirror? If not, your mirror is stuck in the up position. Its flat up against the focusing screen. If the mirror is down, the problem is in the lens, or you still have the lens cap in place. Check your manual under troubleshooting. Try setting the shutter speed dial to the M90 position. Also be sure the batteries are inserted correctly!!!!
If no change yet, you can try to put the mirror back down yourself. With the lens removed, set the camera on its back. You can use your fingers, but I suggest a toothpick cuz they won't leave fingerprints on the mirror and the toothpick should break before you exert enough pressure to really break something. So just try to return the mirror to the 45 degree angle within the mirror box. Be careful not to damage anything in there, like the shutter or the arms that raise and lower the mirror. Depending on where you live, there may be some corrosion or rust on the mirror linkage. It should move easily. If you feel any roughness when you move the miror, that may be the reason it did not return on its own. Then turn it on, off again. At some point, you may want to have this camera cleaned, lubricated and Adjusted(CLA) - after all, its over 25 yrs old. If all that did not work, you'll need to send it in. Here are some good choices for repair places... Garry Airapetov in Niles, ILL Camera Repairs in Avon, IN. BTW here's a website with several pages about FG...http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/classics/emfgfg20/fg/index.htm copy and paste it into your browser.
When cameras are unused for a while the lubricants dry out and cause things to stick. In regular use the lubricants keep getting redistributed internally so thin films of lube do not get a chance to gum up. Another problem is that almost all cameras over around ten years old will have decaying foam light seals and mirror bumpers which not only gum the works up but the sticky goo is corrosive if left in place.
Ideally your camera needs a CLA service (clean, lubricate, adjust) and providing you haven't broken or bent anything by brute force the camera should be fine afterwards. All cameras (and lenses) need a CLA every so often to maintain peak performance and reliability, regardless. For a one off additional fee a CLA will also include a foam removal and replacement service in which the old foam is carefully removed and where necessary replaced with inert modern materials which last far longer.
If you don't want to invest in a service then you can sometimes get things ungummed by leaving the camera somewhere warm overnight (around 40 degrees C, 104F). If the lube hasn't dried out too much and if the foam hasn't thoroughly gummed things up then this can just soften any seized up parts enough to allow them to free off under gentle pressure and repeated operation. Note that if this works then it's not a replacement for a CLA but will at least confirm that there's nothing seriously wrong. You'll still need to invest in a CLA and foam replacement if you intend to continue using the camera.
In the UK you can typically expect to pay anywhere from £60 - £100 for a CLA and foam replacement and as demand far exceeds supply you can expect a six week turnaround time. In North America I find that repairs are typically a bit cheaper but the turnaround times are similar and in the Far East I can get these repairs done both cheaper and far quicker (especially in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia).
Once the CLA is done you can expect many years of flawless operation if you're an amateur photographer and if you're a pro you'll get a CLA done annually as it's essential maintenance and in most countries it's offset against business tax.
Check the batteries first. The electromagnetic shutter requires power to function. To free up the shutter and advance lever, rotate the command switch to "M90" (if I recall). That should re-set the shutter and allow you to advance the lever mechanically.
By "stayed up", do you mean that the mirror remained in the up position so that you could not see anything in the viewfinder or do you mean that the shutter actually remained open? I do not remember the exact features on your camera, but in general, this is what I would do.
1) Remove the film from the camera and take a picture. Note if you see anything in the viewfinder. If you see nothing, the mirror is in the up position. Verify this by removing the lens and opening the door on the camera back. Look through the lens hole. If you can see through the rectangular hole at the film plane, the shutter is open. If instead you something is obstructing the hole, the shutter is closed. In any case DO NOT TOUCH THE SHUTTER! The shutter is what is covering the hole.
2) If the mirror is in the up position, check to see if your camera has a feature that allows locking the mirror in the up position. Some cameras have this feature to allow use of lenses with very short focal lengths. If this is the case, simply unlock the mirror.
3) If the shutter is the problem, your shutter speed may be set to "T", which stands for time. In the time exposure mode, you press the shutter release once to open the shutter and a second time to close the shutter. Cameras with a "T" setting also have a "B" setting, which stands for bulb. This is a throwback to the old days when it was common to use air-powered shutter releases rather then cable releases. The bulb was a rubber bulb that you squeezed to force air through a tube and push a pin to activate the shutter. The "B" setting keeps the shutter open as long as you hold the shutter release in, but as soon as you take your finger off the shutter release, the shutter closes. Both of these settings are used to make timed exposures. If you find that the problem was that the shutter was set to "T", set the shutter speed to 1/25th second or so and try again. The following sequence should occur; the mirror will flip up and the viewfinder image will disappear, the shutter will open for the prescribed time and close, the mirror will return to the down position and you will again see through the viewfinder.
If this does not work, you may need to take it in for repair.