How to fix unresponsive viewfinder illumination light in a Nikon F3

Discussion in 'Equipment & Media' started by Hamish Gill, Jul 2, 2011.

  1. Hamish Gill

    Hamish Gill Well-Known Member

    The Nikon F3 in arguably one of the best SLR cameras ever made!


    But like most things it does have its foibles!
    One of these foibles is the tiny little viewfinder illumination light button!
    It is designed to light up both the tiny little screen that shows the shutter speed as well as light up the aperture scale on the lens. This means that in low light shooting settings can still be seen through the VF!

    It can be seen here, its the tiny red button

    With familiarity it becomes natural to poke at it with your middle finger, but initially (for me at least) I found my self needing to look over the top of the camera to see it.
    Once I had done that I might as well have just checked the settings out side of the viewfinder!

    On top of this, the button its self was very unresponsive, often needing to be pushed with some force to activate it ... this is of course not only a frustration, but actually quite distracting to the shooting experience!

    So today I set out to fix it, and because it turned out to be quite easy I thought id post some photos and instructions on how to do it should anyone else be suffering with the same issue...

    First things first, un-clip the viewfinder.
    Underneath you will see 3 screws, remove these and put somewhere safe


    Next, gently lift and turn over the plastic casing for this part of the camera, is it attached to the camera by a ribbon of wire so be careful not to damage it or pull to hard on it!

    Once turned over you will see 2 more small screws, remove these and keep safe but separate from the others as they seem to be a slightly different size!


    Take the plastic part away, underneath you will see were the little red button pushes to complete the circuit


    If you have ever had an unresponsive TV remote you have fixed you will recognise this type of button. In the same way as TV remotes need to be cleaned after years of use, this button does too.

    To clean it I just poked my tiny screwdriver with a bit of tissue paper over the end in-between the button and contacts!

    Happy days, its works again with just a gentle push


    Put it all back together again and here is the view throught the finder with the light working



    But as with all my little diy tutorials, so this at your own risk! if you break anything its the fault of your fat hands, not my tutorial ;)

    (sorry about the slightly dodgy iphone photos)
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2011
  2. Pete Askew

    Pete Askew Admin

    Very useful Hamish, thanks (even though mine works fine at the moment - or did last time I pushed it!). And to round it off you've even thrown in a picture in the style of Martin Parr I see!! :)
  3. Hamish Gill

    Hamish Gill Well-Known Member

    Does he do that through the vf stuff does he ... someone i know was up to that sort of thing last time i spoke to her ... id wondered where she had got the idea from!
  4. Pete Askew

    Pete Askew Admin

    No, just immensely boring shots, often with in-your-face flash, that purport to be art. I just don't get it. I commend his championing of photography but do not like his work.
  5. Hamish Gill

    Hamish Gill Well-Known Member

    ... You know i used to have the same view, but recently i realised that i really like and "get" a lot of it ... i think it is just photography in its simplest form ... A moment ... he is just quite good at getting the moment i think
  6. Pete Askew

    Pete Askew Admin

    Yes I know and there are a few of his shots that I do like. I also understand what he's about - combating the barrage of glossy overworked images that surround us, documenting ordinary lives etc (which they / we are doing anyway - just not presenting it as clever observation, just keeping them in albums, on computers and in cameras and phones) and the everyday. Probably if it was only him I wouldn't mind but he appears to have inspired a whole generation who seem to think that any old wonky shot of a dull subject is somehow art! Anyway, that's my rant for today out of the way!!
  7. Peter Blake

    Peter Blake Member

    Parr once was the modern day Bert Hardy, who had discovered colour film, polarisers, and flashes. all a bit of social documentary, really, but then he got discovered by trendy people and hasn't looked back. I guess?

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