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#1 Tom Doolittle

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 12:29 PM

Hello,

A couple of weeks ago I posted about a Nikon R10 I picked up on ebay. The ad was a bit vague, and the pic was pretty bad too, but after a run of good luck with online auctions I thought I was immune to getting burned. Ouch. Lesson learned.

The short version:
The camera arrived with a non-functioning light meter. The meter was completely unresponsive, regardless of how much light was coming in through the lens, and operating the manual exposure control did nothing either. It was stuck, and I was not happy.

I could have sent it off to be repaired but, preferring to spend money on film and processing, I decided to open it up myself and at least take a look. I do own a nice set of screwdrivers, after all.

The surgery:
Opening a Nikon is not as difficult as one might think. Getting to the screws is the hardest (and most heartbreaking) part. The screws are all hidden under that leatherette stuff that makes the R10 so pretty. I read somewhere that it can be carefully peeled off and glued back down, but mine was not willing to come off that easily. I had to rip it off in little pieces. Once I had it off, the screws were exposed and easily removed. The next trick was to get the big aluminum exposure knob off. Not knowing exactly how it was attached, I simply guessed that there was another screw hidden under the black "EE-LOCK" label. Turns out I was right. I pried to little metallic label up and quickly had the knob off, followed by the entire side plate.

After that it was easy. Just aft of the zoom switch is a printed circuit board that controls the exposure. (I removed the fade/dissolve switch board and set it aside, allowing a better view of the electronics.) The servo that actuates the aperture can be seen just above the circuit board. It looks like a little silver motor. By removing the two screws that hold the circuit board in place I was able to tilt it out of the way, giving me a full view of the aperture linkage.

The manual aperture knob is a rather ingeneous device. When you pull that knob out, a switch opens to disable the electronics. At the same time, a little rubber cone engages the aperture linkage and the system becomes 100% mechanical. On my camera, the linkages were just plain stuck. The rubber cone was working properly, but was unable to exert enough friction to move the linkage. I gently prodded the output arm of the servo with the tip of a screwdriver and got it to move, but there was clearly way more resistance than there should have been. It should move freely, with virtually no resistance. I kept working it back and forth, and slowly but surely it got smoother and began moving easily. After several minutes of this, it seemed to be working well, so I put everything back together and gave it a try. It works!

While I had the camera apart I noticed that there had once been some sort of foam strip along the joints of the cover plate, almost like the weatherstripping you might see around a door. Most of this had long since decayed and turned into sticky black goo, and I figure it was either this or 30-year-old grease that had caused my aperture linkages to stick. All it needed was to be worked back and forth a few dozen times to loosen it. A complete overhaul would be nice, but in the short term, this did the trick, and it didn't cost me anything. The only downside is that, with the leatherette now gone, the camera no longer looks pristine. But what the hell, at least its not rotting in my closet.

Go shoot some film.


TD
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#2 Hal Smith

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 01:44 PM

The only downside is that, with the leatherette now gone, the camera no longer looks pristine. But what the hell, at least its not rotting in my closet.

Have a look at: http://pheugo.com/ca...nt/repaint.html for restoration hints including where to find leatherette. He poaches it off things like photo albums and also suggests talking to a bookbinder.

I've always said that at least 50% of the broken technology goodies in the world can be fixed by a motivated, smart individual who isn't a professional. You've certainly proved my point - in spades!
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#3 Sean McHenry

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 11:36 PM

I believe a lot of fabric shops will have this fake leather material in various thicknesses but heck, why not go for a nice obscure and updated black nylon cloth or something to set your camera apart from the pack while you are there? People will stop and stare and ask what kind of camera you have there.

Quick humerous note:
I like to wander around with my Canon 814 AZ once in a while and stopped into one of the Barnes and Noble book sellers some time back. The young man at the counter saw it when I set it down to pay for my magazine and asked me what kind of video camera it was. I had to answer him several times as he kept thinking it was 8mm Video. In the end he said he had never heard of or seen any film cameras like that. I smiled and told him he probably never would again, unless I bring it in with me again.

Sean

Edited by Sean McHenry, 26 October 2006 - 11:36 PM.

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#4 Heinrich Kronschläger

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 08:40 AM

At the Nikon R-8/10 you can easily pull off the leatherette when using a hair-dryer . But do not cook the camera !
Henry
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#5 Tom Doolittle

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 09:59 AM

Thanks for all the advice, guys. But to be honest with you, I couldn't care less what the outside of the camera looks like. The reason I didn't hesitate to do a little exploratory surgery is because I knew that, if it died on the operating table, I would probably have been doing it a favor. Now that it works, it will spend a good deal of time strapped to a dirtbike, and will most likely end up smashed to bits within the year.

Don't baby those cameras too much, folks. They're meant to be used. Kodak doesn't sell much film to museums. :P

TD
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#6 Matt Pacini

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 07:23 PM

I have an absolutely pristine, mint, virtually unused R-10 (I got in an estate sale) that I need to lubricate, but I've been scared to death of that leatherette stuff, because it doesn't look like it comes off easily.


I may try that hair-dryer technique though.

MP
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#7 Tom Doolittle

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 07:47 PM

I have an absolutely pristine, mint, virtually unused R-10 (I got in an estate sale) that I need to lubricate, but I've been scared to death of that leatherette stuff, because it doesn't look like it comes off easily.
I may try that hair-dryer technique though.

MP


I wanted to lube the camera while I had it open, but I was worried about getting oil on the aperture blades and all that. Even with the side plate off, I could just barely see down into the depths of this camera, where all the moving parts are. I figured it would require a major tear-down to get at the parts that need oiling.

Maybe I'm wrong. An oil bottle with a very long, thin applicator tube might do the job. Would still be tough to see what you were doing.
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