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Camera Repair Shops - Main Page
Do-It-Yourself Camera Repair - Introduction
Sometime in the early 1960s I fell in love with a medium format folder camera waiting on the shelf at the local Goodwill store. For a few dollars I took the camera home.
It was a nifty-looking camera, covered in black leatherette. When unlatched, the camera's front folded down, revealing a lens and shutter attached to a chrome standard which moved along rails. Pull the lens and shutter forward and black folding bellows appeared. A mechanical masterpiece from the past! There was one minor problem, the camera didn't work, the cocking mechanism was jammed, the leaf shutter was frozen.
I had this adolescent fantasy of taking it apart, fixing the shutter problem and reassembling the camera. Hours later I had a box full of camera pieces, couldn't figure out why the shutter didn't work and couldn't put the camera back together. This was my first camera repair.
Years later at a garage sale, I adopted an electronic flash. Loaded with fresh batteries, the flash whined just as it should, but it didn't fire. Out came my jeweler's screwdrivers, batteries were removed and I quickly took the flash apart. Sticking my fat fingers into the innards, looking for a broken wire or bad solder joint, I got an unexpected surprise -- the worst electric shock in my life threw me out of my chair, the flash flying into the wall. My fingers had met a capacitor, a small canister-like device which stores electric current from the batteries until hundreds of volts are ready for discharge; that whining sound you hear from an old electronic flash is the capacitor being charged. Amateurs who tinker with electronics often learn about capacitors the hard way.
The flash with a wallop was my last attempt at photo equipment self-repair. Every camera I've owned since has been repaired by skilled professionals (save replacement of external parts.) I'm not a klutz with tools, I own almost every hand tool, including tools for working on miniature mechanical objects, and I know how to use them. I've repaired transistor radios, tape recorders, mechanical and electric typewriters, power tools and more, but I don't repair my own cameras.
Some of you write and ask if ACE can recommend a "reasonable" camera repair shop. When I see "reasonable", I know you usually mean "cheap." Professional camera service is not inexpensive because camera repair technicians are not shade tree mechanics.
(1) Camera repair technicians have specialized electronics training and attend factory seminars (2) repair techs have a significant investment in camera-specific tools (3) camera disassembly and repair is labor intensive (4) it costs money to maintain an inventory of common replacement parts, a library of repair manuals, buy diagnostic software for digital cameras and diagnostic test equipment (5) shop overhead.
Unless you already own most of the tools, having one camera fixed professionally will be less expensive.
Three Good Reasons for DIY Camera Self-Repair
(1) A camera repair shop advises your camera is "beyond economic repair" and strongly discourages getting it fixed. BER generally means repair will cost more than 50% of a camera's value. Your broken camera has a lot of sentimental value and memories; you'd like to get it working again but the repair estimate is more than you can justify spending. What do you have to lose by trying to fix it yourself?
(2) Camera parts are no longer available. Repair shops have lists of camera models they will not repair because the manufacturer can no longer supply replacement parts. If necessary, you are willing to buy a parts camera or junk camera and cannibalize it for parts.
(3) You want to become a camera repair hobbyist, fixing vintage broken cameras and restoring collectibles. Good candidates have mechanical aptitude, patience, basic electronics knowledge and some experience with miniature repairs, such as working with model trains and mechanical clocks.
All three scenarios are sensible reasons for repairing your own camera. That's why we've compiled our do-it-yourself DIY camera repair resources. Be prepared! You'll need all the help you can find.
In our self-repair resources, you'll be cautioned again and again about the risks of repairing your own camera. As Matt Denton points out "people usually ruin the first camera they try to fix. Practice on a camera you don't care too much about, like a $5 Argus. If it works when you're done, all the better, if not - no big loss!"
We've assembled the best DIY camera self-repair resources, camera repair forums, where to find camera repair manuals and training manuals, camera parts sources, sources for camera repair tools, lubricants and supplies, common repairs for specific cameras, do-it-yourself camera projects and DIY digital camera repairs. See the Locator below.
If we didn't include a camera repair resource, please let us know. It must be non-commercial and comprehensive (no businesses, no web pages surrounded by ads.) Please put "do-it-yourself camera repair" in the subject line. Now start reading.
Start your quest with basic camera repair resources.
|Camera Repair, States and Provinces A-D||Canada Camera Repair|
|Camera Repair, States and Provinces F-L||United Kingdom UK Camera Repair|
|Camera Repair, States and Provinces M||Australia Camera Repair|
|Camera Repair States and Provinces N||Repair Shops & More, 36 Countries|
|Camera Repair, States and Provinces O-R|
|Camera Repair, States and Provinces S-W|
|Do-It Yourself Camera Repair|
|California Camera Repair||Do-It Yourself Camera Repair Resources|
|Florida Camera Repair||Camera Repair Forums|
|Illinois Camera Repair||Camera Repair Manuals Training Manuals|
|Michigan Camera Repair||Camera Repair Parts Sources|
|New Jersey Camera Repair||Camera Repair Tools and Supplies|
|New York Camera Repair||Camera Repair for Specific Cameras|
|Pennsylvania Camera Repair||Do-It-Yourself Camera Projects|
|Texas Camera Repair||Do-It-Yourself Digital Camera Repair|
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Revised October 10, 2008