Jammed Shutter Fix for the Nikon FE Film Camera

Nikon FE Jammed Shutter Fix Tutorial for film photographers.

Are you having a problem with your Nikon FE and you can’t figure out why the shutter won’t click and why the lens won’t open up? I had this same problem recently and couldn’t figure out how to fix it. When looking through the viewfinder, my lens was black and I couldn’t see anything. I feared the worst. I also couldn’t click the shutter. It seemed like there was some sort of blockage.

Like most of you reading this, when my Nikon FE wasn’t working I wanted to find a quick fix. I didn’t want to go to the camera store and leave my camera behind for a few days. Luckily, I found a quick fix for a jammed shutter.

Fixing this problem with my camera made me feel more in tune with my equipment. I had to take it apart and get to know the parts working inside to fix it and something about that satisfied me. Without these parts I wouldn’t even be taking these photos so shouldn’t I know more about them?

Regardless, let’s get started on this solution. Here is my jammed shutter fix tutorial for the Nikon FE Camera.

Fixing your Nikon FE

After you have come to the conclusion that your shutter is locked or your film forward lever is jammed, you’ll need to go to the source if you want to fix this problem. In order to do this, you’ll need a screw driver or some sort of tool to help you remove the three small screws from the bottom of the camera. In this case, I used a handy tool with a screw driver head on the end of it.

Screwdriver and Film Camera - How to Fix Your Nikon FE if the Shutter is Jammed - FilterGrade Blog

Three Screws - How to Fix a Nikon FE Film Camera with a Jammed Shutter - FilterGrade Blog

Once you have undone the screws, lift up on the bottom plate and gently pull the camera bottom off.

Inside Parts - How to Fix a Nikon FE Film Camera with a Jammed Shutter - FilterGrade Blog

 

After you pull of the bottom lid, take a look around and get to know the camera and its parts. Doing this helped me to understand the camera more and learn how it operates, which in turn made me think differently when I went out to shoot the next time.

You’ll find the film receiving spool on the far right side with a small switch attached to it and a metal lever behind. If your problem truly is a jammed shutter than this is where your problem is taking place. The film winder may seem like it should work, but in actuality the small piece of metal behind the lever is preventing you from forwarding the film.

Don’t panic though!

Solution - How to Fix a Nikon FE Film Camera with a Jammed Shutter - FilterGrade Blog

The simple solution is to use your screwdriver to press the metal lever forward (left, away from the film winder). While doing this, notice what is happening when you move the lever to the left. When you move the lever to the left, the bronze switch sitting in front of it will move down, forcing the shutter forward which will release the jam in your camera.

Once you do this, click the shutter release button on top of your camera and try to move the film forward. If you are lucky, the shutter will click and the film forwarding mechanism will work smoothly.

Camera Bottom- How to Fix a Nikon FE Film Camera with a Jammed Shutter - FilterGrade Blog

From here, once your camera is no longer jammed, all you will need to do is screw the bottom plate back onto the camera and then you are set to go shoot again.

We hope this jammed shutter fix tutorial helps you out so you don’t have to waste your time and money going to the camera store! Feel free to check out some of our other film photography articles:

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions about fixing your Nikon FE or if you have any new topics you’d like us to cover on the blog!

30 Replies to “Jammed Shutter Fix for the Nikon FE Film Camera”

  1. Kainu says:

    Hi, i did the same thing and lever did advance, but the shutter didn’t open/fire. I noticed that the bronze part was a bit loose too when i move the silver part. What could be the problem?

    1. Mike says:

      Hi Kainu, sorry to hear that! Before you try firing your shutter, put your shutter speed to M90 (no battery mode).

      Also, sometimes if the camera is too old or the spring you’ve been trying to reset is worn out, this shutter fix may not work. You might need a new spring. The last time my film camera shutter was jammed, I had to buy a replacement spring. This fix only worked for so long unfortunately.

  2. Don Mathewson says:

    Hi, I had a similar issue after a long time not used, however as with above question and answer I followed footsteps but with the shutter set at M250 (perhaps my camera is older or vs verse ? does not have M90 – the lever cleared ok with normal clearance noises but the shutter did not fire once wound on, is that because my battery is flat ? i will get one tommorrow anyway. Thxs for info . ( just a wee note on screws, they were very tight but a little crc on one helped greatly). cheers

    1. Matt Moloney says:

      Hey Don, there’s a few different models of this camera so if you don’t have M90, then shooting in M250 is correct. Unfortunately if the lever cleared but the shutter did not fire then your battery is dead or there is a more serious problem happening with your camera internally. I would try getting a new battery like you suggested or head into your local camera shop and have them take a look at it.
      Thanks for the support, hope this helps.

      1. Don Mathewson says:

        Hi Matt, put in new battery anyway to operate meter, but does not effect shutter workings. My camera supplier said it will need checking by service person, but I don’t wish to send away at mo – meanwhile I can keep it going by just re-setting in M250 mode and then changing speed to suitable position and reset again. Thxs for help . My camera is same body as yours,
        Don

  3. Michael says:

    Hi. I don’t usually comment on stuff but right now I have to make an exception to say: thank you! I thought I screwed up my dad’s 37 years old Nikon FE today having the above problem while I was loading a new film. Followed your steps and yes, the mechanism is functioning again! Greetings from Belgium.

    1. Mike says:

      Hey Michael, thanks for the comment. So glad to hear this worked for you! Hope you get some amazing photos now. :)

  4. Phil says:

    I just got an FE and the shutter jammed as I was checking the multiple exposure function. I was going to open it up and try your fix but one of the screws won’t budge. I think I’m using the correct size JIS screw driver. Do you have any suggestions for loosening a stuck camera screw?

    1. Jim says:

      Phil, put a drop of acetone on the screw head with a small fine painter’s brush (you can get these and the acetone at Walmart) so it can dissolve whatever loctite Nikon or a previous owner used. Great that you have the JIS screwdrivers.

  5. asdf says:

    greetings from Greece thanks for the information, but for us it worked with just a replacement of the battery.

  6. Chris Gibson says:

    Is there something special about the 1/4 second shutter speed? The mirror stays up when using it and only releases when the speed dial is turned either way. I would be glad of some advice, Chris Gibson

  7. Lee says:

    Couldn’t have been any easier! My good looking little $5.00 FE works great now. Thanks

  8. Piotr says:

    Hundred times Thank You,
    You spared me a big mess, I bought used camera in excellent condidtion, but after some shots it jammed…I was ready to send it back to the seller, but I tried fix it by myself , and Your advice WORKS definitely!!!

    1. Matt Moloney says:

      Glad we could help!!

  9. Jaymie says:

    Can you open the bottom of the camera while there is still film in it or will that ruin the roll that’s loaded?

    1. Matt Moloney says:

      Hey Jaymie – I think that you should be fine if there is film in the camera; however, I would not recommend performing this fix while there is film in your camera, just in case light is able to leak through and ruin your film.

  10. Sam Golden says:

    I just tried this with my FE2 which was otherwise in mint condition. Worked like a charm. Thank you!

  11. Marc says:

    I had the same problem with my Nikon FE. I followed your instructions. It worked! When I moved the lever to the left, it allowed me to advance the film advancer, but did not moved the curtain, then I moved the lever to the right then I was able to advance the curtain. This is an awesome tutorial. Thanks a lot, I have a functional FE again!

  12. Iain Vass says:

    Hi Thanks for this repair tip, I purchased an FE from an auction site and after a few rolls of film the shutter and mirror jammed. During the repair I noticed that the levers were a bit stiff so I also lightly oiled the pivot points. Camera is now working perfectly.
    Regards,
    Iain.

    1. Mike says:

      Hi Iain, thanks so much for the comment. We’re really glad to hear this helped. Hope you get some great shots now that it’s working perfectly again! The FE is easily in my top three favorite film cameras. Cheers, Mike

  13. Frank Pearce says:

    I have an FE which has a mirror that appears to not be attached to one side. It is slightly cock eyed when in the down position and is loose and wiggles. I can push it up and see there is a pin on the upper RH position which may need to be attached. The shutter still works, but gives a distorted picture thru the viewfinder. Is this an easy fix or will I have to tear it down to get to the shutter box?

  14. Craig says:

    THAT WORKED !!! THANK YOU !!! :-) :-) :-)

  15. Noah Zaborszky says:

    Hi! I just bought a FE as well and the seller said it wasn’t working, because the shutter was stuck. So I bought it anyway because I knew it could be an easy fix. However, after I opened the bottom part, I saw that it doesn’t have that copper-colored lever like you have n your pictures. So I thought someone had taken it out at some point. But then I bought some batteries for it and it works perfectly?! Do you know if different models exist of the FE that don’t have that copper lever? Thanks :)

    1. Matt Moloney says:

      Hi Noah, thanks for reaching out and awesome to hear you got your hands on an FE camera!!
      I’m not too experienced with fixing other Nikon FE camera models, but I know for this first generation Nikon FE camera (one used in article), they should have the copper lever. Since using this I updated to a Nikon FE2 and haven’t taken it apart to look inside yet, but the copper lever may have been an older piece of equipment. Sorry I don’t know too much more to help!!

      Wish you all the best :)
      Matt

  16. Dylan says:

    Hi Matt, thanks for the article. I’m actually having the opposite issue with my FE: the catch does not engage the film spool and it allows me to advance the film again without activating the shutter. In the diagram where you move the catch away from the film spool, it seems to move significantly away from the copper-colored piece (bottom of the right-most red circle). Does it rebound very quickly? After advancing film, the catch has a gap between it and the film spool so I’m wondering if the spring-like band on the copper piece is too loose.
    Thanks.

  17. Kenet says:

    One of mine is jammed. I’m going to try this!

  18. Zo says:

    Hi Matt, I started having issues with the shutter and advance lever when I finished my film roll few days ago. The viewfinder is black. When it’s set at M250 the shutter and advance works fine. However, if I set it anything other than M250 the viewfinder is black. I can’t advance nor does the shutter work. I tried replacing it with new batteries and it’s still doesn’t work. Do you have any idea what could be wrong?

    1. Matt Moloney says:

      Hi Zo, thanks for reaching out – I’ve also had this issue in the past and was confused at the time. M250 basically just stands for ‘Mechanical 1/250’. This mode is available so you can still shoot even if your battery is dead. Once you replace the battery all the other shutter speeds and the light meter should start working. If they aren’t working after you replace the batteries you’ll probably need to take it to your camera shop unfortunately. I hope this helps and you can get your camera back working soon!

      1. Zo says:

        Hi Matt, thanks for responding to my questions. I appreciate it. This is embarrasing. It seems I haven’t screwed the battery clip tightly enough. Anyway, when I did I couldn’t automatically see through the viewfinder. I had to change it to M250 for the mirror to flip back up ( was that why the viewfinder was black?) and then I could use the other shutter speed settings, advance the lever and use the shutter button. I’m wondering is this normal?

      2. Matt Moloney says:

        Hi Zo!

        No worries hahah – happens to the best of em :) It’s pretty standard for this to happen – once you replace the battery, everything will be locked up still until you go to the M/250 for a quick reset then everything should unlock back to normal. Glad you were able to get your camra back working again!

        Happy shooting:)

Leave a Reply

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