Service Tips | Industry & Tech Information

Nikon FM – Fatal Shutter Problem

Nikon FM – Fatal Shutter Problem | Original Model

After a meter repair, I was testing the shutter speeds on an FM body 2nd style, when the camera just locked up. So I pulled the bottom cover and a plastic collar fragment was preventing the wind DE lever from moving back to rest after the shutter had cycled. I had a really good idea where that collar was located. When I dis-assembled the camera to remove the shutter, my thoughts were confirmed. The collars, three of them, prevent the some shutter operation levers from making metal to metal contact.

Never force the wind lever on a film camera. Something will always give in and it won’t be the operator.

Nikon FM – Fatal Shutter Problem | Original Model

Since Nikon sold out of these shutters in ….1998? I just walked over to parts and took one out of stock. Only to find the collars on all my new shutters are in this same condition. This is such a special size collar, I was surprised to find a supplier in Japan who made tubing of correct density and the exact ID/OD that fit those metal contact posts perfectly. I can provide you enough of that tubing make at least 18 collars.

USCamera Since 1998

Basically, if you have a Nikon FM body, any of the 3 Types and your camera has not had the shutter collars replaced, your camera may jam at any time. You can remove the bottom cover, locate and remove the collar fragments and the camera may continue to operate. As long as you do not force the camera, it is a repairable issue though does require a major dis-assembly.

The shutter is completely serviceable if your camera needs new collars.

I don’t how long the shutter will operate with metal to metal contact before it is damaged beyond service.

I know of photographers using the 2nd and 3rd style of this model Nikon for thousands and thousands of rolls.

The shutter below is one of my new shutters with new collars installed.

Nikon FM - Fatal Shutter Problem

Note that collar #3 can be replaced without any disassembly to the shutter. Replacing #1 and #2 collars should not be attempted unless you are experienced with servicing this shutter.  You will need to remove the shutter blades, blade housing, removing the tension on at least 3 springs, shutter speed coupling cable, and the slow speed governor to gain access to all 3 collars. That’s the easy part.  Reassembling the parts into a accurately working shutter is where the skill required.

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.



Nikon FM – Fatal Shutter Problem | Model Changes

I wish I had serial number information on when the model changes began.

If I remember correctly the 3 models of FM.

The first gen model, black or chrome, had a knurled ring to lock the release button or close the MD switch. Also had a knurled ring around the speed dial. Lastly, knurled rewind knob body.

The second gen model, black or chrome, eliminated the shutter release ring to smooth style that didn’t turn, and retained the knurled speed dial ring. Some of the early 2nd gen models had the knurled rewind knob though Nikon started phasing out that knob for the smooth finish like the FE was using.

The third gen, black or chrome, had the knurled speed dial only. Since the FE was now in full production. The FE shared many common cosmetic, and film transport parts with the FM.


About Gray

As a veteran attending National Camera's resident camera repair school in 1979, is where I found my true calling for the demanding yet extremely interesting field of photo equipment service and sales. For 25 years we grew every year. The staff and I serviced tens of thousands of film camera items, trained many technicians, met thousands of wonderful customers and truly had a fantastic time. Within 2 years of 2004, my service experience was devalued somewhat by the internet, film camera sales/service flatlined. Camera stores 50 times larger than mine were closing. I could see a new opportunity on the Internet. USCamera started as information site then became a family run internet business. Our mission remains the same, • Specialize in Vintage film equipment, mostly after 1958 • Knowledgeable • Provide quality products • Superior Service • Always available via phone - contact form – email All of us at USCamera look forward to serving you. Gray

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *