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I have a Nikon D3200 and opened up the viewfinder compartment. There were two pieces, one plastic and one metallic (seems like copper). What does this metallic piece do and is it necessary for the camera to operate properly?

enter image description here

The metallic piece was originally wedged between the plastic square and the viewfinder itself.

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    It may help to take some pictures of the disassembly process and/or parts you've removed – drfrogsplat May 7 '14 at 2:52
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Thanks for adding the picture, it's a bit hard to tell exactly which part you're referring to, but will give it a go.

As best I can tell we're looking from the lens-mount into the camera, and you've detached the focussing screen from where it normally sits (i.e. normally parallel with the base of the camera). At the bottom is the Reflex mirror, which is semi-transparent.

Between the mirror and the focussing screen may be the piece of metal you're referring to? I don't know the D3200 but it could either be a mechanism to hold the focussing screen in place (it may be interchangeable on this camera?) or perhaps part of the spring for the reflex screen.

Above the focussing screen will be the viewfinder optics, which is probably a lens, pentamirror and the viewfinder lens.

The Digital Single-Lens-Reflex Camera page on wikipedia has a good diagram to show the main common components in most DSLRs.

  • Is this metal piece common in all DSLR's? Is it only in Nikon DSLRS? – dawsondiaz May 8 '14 at 4:07
  • It's just a hunk of springy wire to hold the focusing screen in place. See how it's shaped, curved upwards at the sides to apply the pressure on the edges? Somewhere up inside there near the front is a little hook or latch that will hold onto that front piece of wire. – Patrick Hughes May 8 '14 at 4:24
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    Ok, yep, sounds like it's for replaceable focus screens (which only some DSLRs offer). Can be useful if you use manual focus a lot, you can get a focus screen like on older SLRs with the central 'split' to assist focus, and a bunch of other types. – drfrogsplat May 8 '14 at 7:22
  • @drfrogsplat I found this diagram, the piece I am talking about is 1 copper shim – dawsondiaz May 9 '14 at 0:30
  • @drfrogsplat Is (1) on the diagram the piece you are referring to? – dawsondiaz May 9 '14 at 2:18
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The piece between the focusing screen and the top of the viewfinder is a copper shim. The shim is pictured in this PDF

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