As mentioned, the FG was on the fritz, so I did a good bit of research and then picked up a Nikon FE from the ‘bay for a decent price. Here’s the seller’s complete description:

This camera functions as designed and while used is in excellent cosmetic and functional condition. See pictures. Serial number is 3421078. Comes with a bottom half of a leather case as shown

What could possibly go wrong?Ends up, the purchase was not entirely necessary… After making it, I found some instructions on how to remove the top panel on the FG, and started to work on that. I managed to get the rear door off (easy) and the film advance/shutter release collar/shutter speed dial off (harder), but couldn’t for the life of me get the film rewind crank unscrewed, so, feeling somewhat discouraged, I started putting it back together when I noticed some oxidation on a little bit of metal near the shutter release that is usually covered by the shutter speed dial.

A couple of seconds with a pencil eraser later, the oxidation was gone, and 20 minutes later the dials and levers were all back on and I decided to try my luck: the FG now works perfectly again, and I shot a roll through it without issue that I’ll share maybe next week.

So back to the FE..

Take a look at this picture of the mirror box…

FE Mirror Box

Note the mirror bumper. See that little divot in it, just to the left of the lever that you would use to swap out focus screens?

Well, I noticed that, and, actually, the right half was hanging down a bit. I pushed it back into place, and it stuck there, but I had a bit of concern. I didn’t think much about it again, and then I saw the picture above and decided to treat the mirror box to some love from the Rocket blower…

Mirror box foam

That’s the right half of the mirror cushion. It looks like a previous owner stuck some new cushion into place, without removing the old cushion… Good times.

And then I scanned the first roll of pictures… (You might have an idea of what I’m going to say next, if you took the time to look at the image up top…)

view from the office, with severe light leaks!

That, my friends, is a fairly severe light leak… Worse even than the one on the Ricoh 35 ZF.

I took a close look at the door seals, and lo and behold, the top and bottom channel seals are completely missing in spots and completely compressed in others, and the light seal on the side with the take up spool is gone completely.

Alhamdulillah, looks like my camera repair skills are about to grow.

I’ve ordered a new seal kit, and In sha’Allah I’ll spend some time over the next few weeks figuring out how to give the FE a thorough cleaning. It’s not quite how I expected to be spending the first weeks with a new (to me) camera, but oh well. Learning new skills is good, and I like to play with things like this.

Hooray for projects!

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