Can my camera be fixed?

I have a Nikon FG-20 SLR that I got used for my photography class in college, about 5 or 6 years ago.

2 or 3 years ago when I was getting ready for a trip, my friend (who is an amature photographer) offered to clean my leses for me. He used camera lens cleaning solution and special papers and one of those soft plunger-like things to clean.

If I recall, he also put some solution on the “lens” inside the camera. That is, the plate at the top of the inside the camera that gets a reflection from the tilted mirror inside the camera. I THINK this is considered the “focusing screen”

See how much I don’t know?

So now when I look through the camera, I see a fuzzy rectangle with a clear hole in the middle. It’s been this way for a few years now…been meaning to have it fixed.

Now I’m ready to have it fixed. I need to know a few things:

  1. Can this be fixed? looks like a part just needs to be replaced.
  2. If I call a camera repair shop, what do I tell them needs done?
  3. How much would it cost to have it fixed?

The camera cost, I think, $250. I can’t really afford more than $50-100 to fix it. Hopefully it’s easy…?

Sounds like the liquid si stuck between the focusing screen and the pentaprism. It could be an easy fix provided no electrical damage was done. Check your phone book for a local fullservice camera store, they might have rates to quote, or would more likely give a free estimate. Be prepared to wait, tho. When I worked in photo retail, we regularly got 4 - 8 weeksturnaround rime if it couldn’t be fixed by our own repair techs.

A clean and check shouldn’t be outrageous. The camera should certainly be worth repairing. Remember to slap your friend and not let him touch your toys. :wink:

That is indeed the “focusing screen”. Unfortunately it’s not interchangeable (i.e. user-removable) on this camera, but I imagine a shop can replace it.

If it’s not too bad you could just live with it. It’s only affecting the image in your viewfinder, not the image on the film.

Man, your friend did you no favors. Like danceswithcats says, and smack him one for me as well.

For the future, i.e., after Nikon cleans your camera, if you feel the need to use lens cleaning solution, only put it on the tissue, not the the lens. I realize you don’t say this is what your friend did, but if one of his cleaning tools is a ‘plunger-like thing’, I can only imagine…

A microfiber cloth works well, silk ties in a pinch.

I’d check the lenses very carefully,too; if cleaning solution was put directly on the glass it may have worked its way inbetween the elements.

While the cloudiness in the viewfinder won’t affect the quality of your pictures because of any physical obstruction, it sure will lower the quality of your focus and composition.

Are you sure that the problem is due to schmutz on the focusing screen?

Just out of curiosity, is there any chance that the mirror is locked up? Is there a diopter adustment on the viewfinder that might have been knocked out of adjustment during the cleaning?

If it were, the viewfinder would be dark, not fuzzy.

It could be a dirty mirror though, but I’d think the OP would have noticed that immediately.

By taking the lens off I have clear access to the mirror. I can move it up and down very easily with my finger, it doesn’t seem to be broken.

Once I located the focusing screen, I saw that it is definitely cloudy. It’s not really something I could “live with” for sure (good advice tho - if it just had a nick I certainlly could) because there is about 2% visibility through it. It’d be like taking a shot with my eyes closed :slight_smile:

I will call a shop today, and ask if they can replace my focusing screen. From what I found online it’s a “Type K” which can be purchased for like $35. Hopefully this is a readily available part for any shop.

Thanks all!

Yikes. In normal operation of a camera, there’s really no reason to need to clean anything inside the body. All you should ever need to do is buy one a them little air brush duster things and use it to blow the dust particles off the mirror. Trying to clean the mirror with anything is liable to leave scratches on it. That mirror ain’t like the one in your bathroom where the reflective surface is behind a piece of protective glass; it is right out front. (It’s not called a “front silvered* mirror” for nuttin’.)

*Actually, the reflective material is probably aluminum, not silver. And that is generally coated with something to prevent oxidation. These coatings are typically applied in a vacuum chamber by evaporating the source material with an electron beam; the vacuum chamber is gonna be an a cleanroom, too. But in any case, the coating and aluminum can be very easily damaged by touching it with anything. And you’re not likely to ever get it any cleaner than it was when the camera was assembled anyway.

Er, you shouldn’t be touching the mirror, let alone moving it with your finger. You shouldn’t be touching anywhere inside the camera. If you need the mirror out of the way for some reason (I can’t imagine why), set the shutter speed to B (bulb) and press the shutter.

Is it smudgy (irregular pattern), or just uniform frosty? The focusing screen is basically a fancy frosted glass, so it’s normal for it not to be clear.

I didn’t realize the FG-20 had an interchangeable focusing screen. If so, you can buy one and replace it yourself. It comes with the proper tool, I believe.

No, it’s definitely messed up. No longer translucent, it’s opaque. You can see the exact same cloudiness pattern by looking at it directly as you do seeing it through the viewfinder.

I found the part for sale on a couple of Web sites. I even found a sort-of-a-guide to doing it myself. However, I think I’ve put this little camera through enough crap that I should be going at it with a screwdriver :slight_smile:

I found a local camera repair shop, and emailed them with my problem and asked for an estimate. If they say they can’t/won’t do it, I suppose I might try it myself. I’d have to see if the replacement part I found is new in the box or not.