This Nikon FE was spotted at a flea market by the manager of the helmet department. It came with a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 Ai lens. The camera was protected by a badly damaged leather case but otherwise looked quite fine with no scratches to the glass or anything like that. Upon closer inspection, it turned out that the lens unfortunately had fungus on its internal elements and that the light seals of the camera were old an gooey. The light seals were not a surprise and it is a quite easy fix (see bellow for the before/after pictures). The lens was a bit of a disappointment at first but it turns out that these old lenses are actually quite easy to take apart and clean. After cleaning this lens really performs well (see this comparison with my other 50mm f/1.8). After cleaning and replacement of all the old light sealing foam, this Nikon FE is in excellent condition and it is a very nice camera to use. It is a bit lighter than the Nikon F3 and the needle based meter is actually better than the LCD display of the F3 meter.
Here are a few pictures from the very first roll of Ilford HP5+. The meter of the FE seems very reliable. I have been using it in manual mode only but using the meter to select the exposure. All the picture so far have turned with very good exposure. I have not used it in auto mode because I suspect that something is not working properly. I need to investigate more to understand what is going on but in the mean time, I stick to manual mode (which anyway is my preferred mode when shooting film).
Cleaning and replacement of the light seals
Bellow are a few images of the before/after cleaning and replacement of the light seals. I used some "authentic" camera light sealing foam which I got from Micro-Tools. It comes in sheets of self adhesive foam which needs to be cut. This was quite easy to do, the difficult and time consuming part is to fully cleanup the old foam. The trick to put on the new adhesive foam is to wet the adhesive in order to "disable" it while positioning the new seals. This allows positioning the foam properly and in just a few minutes it dries out and sticks really strongly.
I think that I will be using this camera quite a lot and I will update this page as it goes.