Once again my friend Enrique has lent me a camera whose previous job was to serve as a decorative object and collect dust. When I saw the Nikon EM the first thing I did was check that it worked, without batteries it would shoot in B, M90 (1/90 sec,) and Auto (1/1000 sec), I immediately decided that I could make an article with it, so I took home. It was like new with no scratches or wear.
When looking for information on the internet I was discouraged because there are many articles about it and even two in 35mmc although with different objectives. Suddenly my interest grew when I saw that the lens had oil on the diaphragm blades and they were stuck in the closed position. Fantastic, I had found my goal. I got down to work.
Disassembling the lens and cleaning the diaphragm was not difficult. I was quite quickly successful.
It was time to buy the batteries and a roll of Kodak 200 from my supplier Foto Joma (Barcelona). Now all the elements in my possession I got ready to start the tests, but…
The photometer needle almost always stuck in the upper position and did not measure the exposure in AUTO. Again, fantastic – another project! Searching the internet I discovered that the EM did not measure until it reached frame 1, but the one I had in my hands did not do it from 1 either. A new search suggested that the contacts under the shutter button, mode selector or counter frames might be dirty or rusty and I so decided to proceed to disassemble the top cover of the camera.
An article told me how to do it and I quickly disassembled the rewind part. The shutter button side looked more complicated and it was. I knew I had to turn the washer around the trigger clockwise to disassemble but it was impossible to unscrew it. After causing small scratches in the piece, I put, in moderation, sewing machine oil and – protecting the rest of the camera – I heated the area with a hair dryer. I was still unable to unscrew the washer. Discouraged, I put everything back together.
I didn’t completely give up though. I kept tinkering with the camera until, miraculously, the error became rare. If the meter got stuck I could fix it with some gentle percussive maintenance. From that moment on, I was happy to shoot it! I loaded the film in the camera and went out to take pictures with.
I gave the film development to Foto Joma and in 6 hours I had the results via Wetransfer. I liked it and it disappointed me at the same time. Some photos were out of focus (where was the AF?), others came with stripes of light that entered through the back of the Nikon and one with the image double exposed, which I assume was a film transport failure. The good ones came out well though.
I will show you several photos, all of them slightly edited to improve their appearance or cropped to eliminate the veiled part and two of them stitched to obtain a panoramic view.
I have had fun shooting this camera and making this article – which is the important thing. The Nikon EM reminded me of the Pentax ME that I used for 15 years (more than 3500 photos) in all kinds of conditions, but if I compare them I would say that the Pentax ME is more robust and reliable.
My Pentax ME did not stop working due to failure. I disassembled it to clean the viewfinder screen and I broke the electronic circuit and it was finished, RIP.
I hope you liked the article, thank you for reading it.