Go Back   Rangefinderforum.com > Cameras / Gear / Photography > Gearhead Delights > Repair / Camera Care

Repair / Camera Care This is a good place to discuss the care and repair of your photo gear. You can share Do-It-Yourself repair and maintenance, as well as your recommendations for pro repairs. This new forum was created 4/1/07. PLEASE title your thread wisely, so others searching for a certain make of camera or repair person can find your thread easily!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes

Learning Camera Repair
Old 01-05-2017   #1
unixrevolution
Registered User
 
unixrevolution's Avatar
 
unixrevolution is offline
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Waldorf, MD
Age: 36
Posts: 874
Learning Camera Repair

Hey all,

I am a DIY Computer fix-it, a DIY car mechanic, and a self-taught photographer. Seeing the general decline in the people who can fix our cherished film cameras, I was wondering how hard it was to get started really repairing camera gear.

What are the starting tools needed, are there any good books or self-teaching aids, and where do I get them?

I was thinking if I got good at it, I could even make it a second income. Not to tread on the toes of other Camera repair people, of course, but new people need to learn so there will be someone to fix Leicas and Pentaxes in 50 years
__________________
Please, call me Erik.
Find me on: Flickr | PentaxForums | Large Format Photography Forum

"I decided to stop collecting cameras and become a photographer."
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-05-2017   #2
tunalegs
Pretended Artist
 
tunalegs's Avatar
 
tunalegs is offline
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 2,533
A good set of jewellers screwdrivers, a felt mat to work on (to keep tiny screws from rolling or bouncing away), some tweezers or tiny pliers, x-acto knife (for pulling up leatherette or stickers that hide screws) and a decent adjustable lens spanner, probably the minimum required.

Then get some simple cameras like Argus C3, Exa, take them apart and put them back together again. Once you do that work on some "real" cameras. Stick to manual cameras. Once plastics and electronics started appearing in cameras, they tended to no longer be made with servicing them in mind and you can get in way over your head without special tools and a manual specific to the camera you're opening up.
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-05-2017   #3
Mackinaw
Think Different
 
Mackinaw is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: One hour south of the Mackinaw Bridge
Posts: 3,512
I’m not a repairman. I tinker with my old cameras and have fixed several that were “dead.” I’ve also have learned how to take apart a lens for cleaning (very helpful). Of course you’ll need a good set of tools (try micro-tools). As for books, Thomas Tomosy wrote two books on camera repair that are pretty good. Another, by Joe Lippincott, has also proved to be helpful. All are out of print but are available on eBay and other sites. Good luck.

Jim B.
__________________
My fancy-schmancy gallery:
http://snowcountryphotography.com

My RFF Gallery:
http://www.rangefinderforum.com/phot...user=1453&sl=m
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-05-2017   #4
Larry Cloetta
Registered User
 
Larry Cloetta is online now
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Jackson, WY
Age: 69
Posts: 1,422
Quote:
Originally Posted by unixrevolution View Post

Not to tread on the toes of other Camera repair people, of course, but new people need to learn so there will be someone to fix Leicas and Pentaxes in 50 years
Not that many toes left to step on, so I wouldn't worry too much about that.
I've been working with my hands on things with very small tolerances for decades, and have had the same thought you've had, for the same reasons, but doubt I will ever act on it.
Good luck!
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-05-2017   #5
mpaniagua
Registered User
 
mpaniagua's Avatar
 
mpaniagua is offline
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
Age: 46
Posts: 1,006
FSU like Zorki and Fed's are some pretty good "Learning Material". Try your hand on Fed 1 or Zorki or Fed 2. Those are pretty basic and give you some undertanding about "Leica like" mechanics. Not the same as Leica very similar. Also, they are plentiful so lots of spare parts available.

Regards and good luck

Marcelo
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-05-2017   #6
mpaniagua
Registered User
 
mpaniagua's Avatar
 
mpaniagua is offline
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
Age: 46
Posts: 1,006
Also, for FSU, Maizenberg book is pretty useful. Look for it on internet or PM.

Regards.

Marcelo
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-05-2017   #7
tbhv55
Registered User
 
tbhv55 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Devon, UK
Age: 63
Posts: 569
Quote:
Originally Posted by unixrevolution View Post
new people need to learn so there will be someone to fix Leicas and Pentaxes in 50 years
I thought someone should point out that you'll be 84 by then...!
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-05-2017   #8
mpaniagua
Registered User
 
mpaniagua's Avatar
 
mpaniagua is offline
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
Age: 46
Posts: 1,006
http://www.pentax-manuals.com/manual...icemanuals.htm
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-05-2017   #9
Bill Clark
Registered User
 
Bill Clark's Avatar
 
Bill Clark is offline
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Minnetonka, Minnesota
Age: 71
Posts: 2,505
Just a thought....

Perhaps contact some repair folks who are working in the repair business and see if you can find a mentor that could help you. Maybe someone who is retiring in a short while who could work you into their business.

Does Leica offer an apprenticeship program? Probably help if you could speak and write in German.
__________________
I make photographs as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone.
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-05-2017   #10
Dralowid
Michael
 
Dralowid's Avatar
 
Dralowid is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 2,573
Start by making a list of cheap cameras that held together with screws. These may get sacrificed to the cause but apart from anything else you'll learn the tools you need.
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-05-2017   #11
kiss-o-matic
Registered User
 
kiss-o-matic is offline
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Chicago
Posts: 424
Definitely want to hear how this turns out. I've had that hankering for a while but have never acted on it. Having seen many expensive cameras go for well above half their value if they have a known issue (which would seem difficult to fix) I always opted out. Who knows though... might give it a go.
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-05-2017   #12
CameraQuest
Head Bartender
 
CameraQuest is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: over the hills from Malibu
Posts: 5,686
For decades THE place to learn mechanical camera repair was a mail order school in Colorado, National Camera Repair. The change to electronics had a big part of them going out of business in the late 1980's.
They were the GOLD standard for professional camera techs
National probably trained something like 95% of all the camera repair techs in the US in the 1950's to 1980's.

There course was about two years longs with over a dozen camera repair textbooks written by National.

In my opinion the National Course is so far beyond everything else available,
it makes no sense to buy other course materials - unless you can't find the National Course!

Sometimes their course text books or service manuals are for sale on ebay.
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-05-2017   #13
nukecoke
⚛Yashica
 
nukecoke's Avatar
 
nukecoke is offline
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Sweden/China
Posts: 1,012
I started with tinkering FSU cameras. I found most of the tutorial on the Internet.

After FSU adventures, I've cleaned, calibrated, and fixed small malfunctions on some Canon RFs, as well as my Bessa-R, and various M39 lenses. I couldn't do fix any electronics, but managed to put a Yashica GX back to life that was mishandled by previous repairman (physical mechanic problem). But really, they were only small problems caused by ageing, or bumping into things, or carelessness of previous service work, and most of the problems were unbelievably easy to fix. For instance, 80% of the non working Canon-7 I saw on eBay were very likely caused by miss-installation of the self-timer lever, that can be easily fixed in 5 min.

I haven't purchased any camera completely dead but only with small problems here and there. So I wouldn't call myself a repairman. Plus I'm no collector but a shooter and I only put my gears back to working condition instead of make them shining like burning chrome.

Sometimes I'm not sure if I enjoy tinkering cameras more or shooting cameras more.
__________________
tumblr

flickr(abandoned)

About Film Cameras
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-05-2017   #14
brennanphotoguy
Registered User
 
brennanphotoguy's Avatar
 
brennanphotoguy is offline
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Nashville, TN
Age: 29
Posts: 934
Subscribed.

I've always liked tinkering with things. I'd like to add this to my list as well.
__________________
M3 / IIIg / Rollei 3.5E3
www.instagram.com/brennan_mckissick
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-05-2017   #15
Mackinaw
Think Different
 
Mackinaw is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: One hour south of the Mackinaw Bridge
Posts: 3,512
Quote:
Originally Posted by CameraQuest View Post
For decades THE place to learn mechanical camera repair was a mail order school in Colorado, National Camera Repair. The change to electronics had a big part of them going out of business in the late 1980's.
They were the GOLD standard.

Sometimes their course text books or service manuals are for sale on ebay.
This is a good point. I picked up several issues of the National Camera magazine, “The Camera Craftsman” to help me in my camera repairs. Each issue would frequently specialize in one camera and would do a total teardown, describing each step in detail, along with including many pictures. Very, very helpful.

Jim B.
__________________
My fancy-schmancy gallery:
http://snowcountryphotography.com

My RFF Gallery:
http://www.rangefinderforum.com/phot...user=1453&sl=m
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-05-2017   #16
johnf04
Registered User
 
johnf04 is online now
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Dunedin, New Zealand
Age: 68
Posts: 364
There is a youtube channel with videos of repairs:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_L...7fORCFtw97xhDg

Micro-Tools sells special tools, and some parts:

http://www.micro-tools.com/
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-05-2017   #17
nukecoke
⚛Yashica
 
nukecoke's Avatar
 
nukecoke is offline
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Sweden/China
Posts: 1,012
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnf04 View Post
There is a youtube channel with videos of repairs:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_L...7fORCFtw97xhDg
That's a nice channel. I removed the rotten light seal foam under the top plate on my Olympus OM-1n with the help of their video. Very handy.
__________________
tumblr

flickr(abandoned)

About Film Cameras
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-05-2017   #18
Peter Jennings
Registered User
 
Peter Jennings's Avatar
 
Peter Jennings is offline
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Seoul
Posts: 565
I've disassembled a number of cameras (and even more lenses) for maintenance, but I don't think I've ever repaired anything that was broken. This would generally require an inventory of spare parts and specific knowledge of individual camera designs. I have replaced the shutter curtains of two Nicca Leica clones - a tedious chore that I don't look forward to doing again.

I would advise getting a nice set of small screwdrivers and a spanner to start with and find a cheap leaf shutter rangefinder that needs some work to experiment on. Most importantly, be sure to meticulously document the process with a digital camera. I also like to use empty film canisters for storing and organizing tiny screws and parts.

Good luck!
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-05-2017   #19
mpaniagua
Registered User
 
mpaniagua's Avatar
 
mpaniagua is offline
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
Age: 46
Posts: 1,006
Also, be sure to buy the right tool for the screws. Some camera screws are pretty soft and get damaged easily. Sometimes Ive filed a screwdriver to adjust it to certain screw.

Regards.
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-05-2017   #20
johnf04
Registered User
 
johnf04 is online now
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Dunedin, New Zealand
Age: 68
Posts: 364
For storing parts as I dismantle a camera, I use a multipart plastic box, with a hinged lid, as you can see in the photo here



The box, the camera body, top and bottom plates etc all go into one of my developing trays.

Good magnifying spectacles, and a good light, are also needed.
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-05-2017   #21
dxq.canada
Registered User
 
dxq.canada's Avatar
 
dxq.canada is offline
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 135
I just started with a bunch of broken discarded cameras ... then worked on trying to get them working ... lots of Googling ... discussions with others ... more cheap stuff ... keep on doing it ... eventually you figure out what works and what does not ... oh, and keep discussing ... there are many "old timers" that have the knowledge and are happy to explain.
__________________
.
.
My repair blog: http://oldcam.wordpress.com/
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-05-2017   #22
dxq.canada
Registered User
 
dxq.canada's Avatar
 
dxq.canada is offline
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 135
Oh, and make friends with a machinist ... they like making metal parts !!!
__________________
.
.
My repair blog: http://oldcam.wordpress.com/
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-05-2017   #23
johnf04
Registered User
 
johnf04 is online now
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Dunedin, New Zealand
Age: 68
Posts: 364
If you find cameras that aren't worth repairing, dismantle them for parts. They are full of handy screws, odd pieces like rewind knobs, rangefinder and viewfinder parts. Lens shutters have escapements and delayed action parts that are often generic. A supply of SLR pentaprisms is also useful. Remove the leatherette - you can use it, recut, on other cameras.
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-05-2017   #24
nzhang
Registered User
 
nzhang is offline
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 32
Some people are mechanical smart, please give a try to see if you are such kind of person. I'd suggest to start with a folder or simple box camera. For SLR, Exakta is a good camera to start with.
__________________
<a href='http://www.rangefinderforum.com/photopost/showgallery.php?cat=500&ppuser=1977'>My Gallery</a>
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-05-2017   #25
farlymac
PF McFarland
 
farlymac's Avatar
 
farlymac is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Roanoke, VA
Posts: 6,155
I got started in repair because I kept getting all these cameras that had some serious issues. ShopGoodwill.com is a place where you can get cameras by the pound to play around with (usually from the Tucson store), and see if you can make them functional again.

PF
__________________
Waiting for the light
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-11-2017   #26
oftheherd
Registered User
 
oftheherd's Avatar
 
oftheherd is offline
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 7,899
I'm a nowhere guy on repair; something about having 10 thumbs. But I like to try.

I refuse to work with the repair experts as they are all snooty, refusing to work on cameras I gave a good honest try on even when I can assure them I can send them most of the parts in plastic bags. Whew!

And have you seen the prices they charge? They act like they are the only ones who know how to work on old cameras. At least the few I have been able to find and ask their prices.

And I have heard of a guy who only works on one brand of camera, and still has a long waiting list, like years. What's up with that? I have read some that say he is the best but you sure have to be patient to find out. Who wants to wait that long when you can just start tearing things down and learn on your own?

Seriously, as the number of qualified repair(wo)men continues to dwindle, some ability to fix at least simple things is a worthwhile talent. I really have tried to fix things, some times with more or less success.

I don't know the books mentioned above, but see them mentioned from time to time. If you are a mechanical klutz like me, you might find the Ed Romney books worth getting to start. He shows some of the older shutters and how to make your own tools if needed.

It is also worth knowing that the Japanese have their own standards in small screwdriver sizes. That doesn't mean you can't adapt others, but having them can sometimes made a job easier.
__________________
My Gallery
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-11-2017   #27
johannielscom
Ich bin ein Barnacker
 
johannielscom's Avatar
 
johannielscom is offline
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Universitas Terre Threntiae
Posts: 7,348
TIPS:
  • For rangefinder and Leica repairs, look for seller nobbysparrow on eBay. He sells parts, including shutter cloth, shutter ribbon and halfway mirrors for Barnacks. But also carries instruction booklets on Barnack repair and servicing the Elmar, Summar and Summaron lenses IIRC.
  • Also, get a few syringes with various diameter hypodermic needles to apply watchmakers oil, Loc-Tite, naphtha and lithium grease.
  • And a sheet of felt to work on, to make sure your bouncy camera parts stay put once they drop. And get a good light and magnifying glasses or a lamp loupe.

  • There's a good Facebook group on Vintage Camera Repair.


REQUEST:
Need a good (eBay) seller for precision screwdriver sets. I need Phillips, JIS (That's Japanese Phillips and yes it's different) and slotted. Don't care for the sets with one holder and umpteen thousand bits much... EU seller preferred but not required.
__________________
Gegroet,
Johan Niels

I write vintage gear reviews on www.johanniels.com |

flickr | instagram |
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-11-2017   #28
KoNickon
Nick Merritt
 
KoNickon is offline
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Hartford, CT USA
Age: 60
Posts: 3,107
Johan, I assume you have checked Micro-Tools? I think they have a non-North America site as well as North American.

Does Wiha sell directly? They are German-based.
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-11-2017   #29
unixrevolution
Registered User
 
unixrevolution's Avatar
 
unixrevolution is offline
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Waldorf, MD
Age: 36
Posts: 874
Replies I have snipped the original quotes to keep my post short. Of course, you can click the quotes to see the full originals.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tunalegs View Post
A good set of....
Thanks for the advice, especially the felt. And the newer ones are definitely more disposable, but i won't promise I won't try to fix them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mackinaw View Post
I’m not a repairman. I tinker with...
Thanks for the reccomendations!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Cloetta View Post
Not that many toes left to step on....
I still want to be mindful and curteous. I will give it my best shot!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mpaniagua View Post
FSU like Zorki and Fed's....
Good to know!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mpaniagua View Post
Also, for FSU, Maizenberg book is pretty useful. Look for it on internet or PM.

Regards.

Marcelo
I'll let you know if I can't find it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tbhv55 View Post
I thought someone should point out that you'll be 84 by then...!
84 is the new 65

Quote:
Originally Posted by mpaniagua View Post
That is VERY Helpful!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Clark View Post
Just a thought....
It's a *good* thought, and I'll reach out and see if anyone's willing to help me learn. I don't live geographically close to any of the camera repair people I know of, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dralowid View Post
Start by making...
Good advice!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kiss-o-matic View Post
Definitely want to hear how this turns out....
I will keep you updated, and believe me...with as much as I've spent on camera repairs and as many cameras as i've seen go cheap because of one issue, I am definitely thinking this is worthwhile.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwolf View Post
That sounds like a really nice gig...
That's a good idea, and thanks for the well wishes and good luck!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CameraQuest View Post
For decades THE place to learn mechanical camera repair was a mail order school in Colorado, National Camera Repair....
I will definitely look for their course materials.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nukecoke View Post
I started with tinkering FSU cameras. I found most of the tutorial on the Internet...
Tinkering is fun, and I've tinkered a little, but internet tutorials only go so far, and I want to be able to fix the major issues or even rebuild a dead camera completely; A full CLA, not just fix an obvious problem. But thank you for sharing your experience

And I will agree, tinkering can be just as much fun. I love tinkering on my cars.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brennanphotoguy View Post
Subscribed...
I feel honored And I love tinkering myself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mackinaw View Post
This is a good point. I picked up several issues...
Something else I'll have to look for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnf04 View Post
There is a youtube channel with videos of repairs...
Wow, helpful! Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by nukecoke View Post
That's a nice channel...
Always good to hear testimonials.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Jennings View Post
I've disassembled a number of cameras....
Thanks for the advice!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mpaniagua View Post
Also, be sure to buy the right tool for the screws...
Good advice, and I will. I am a "right tool for the job" person, not a "Jam something in there" person.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnf04 View Post
For storing parts as I dismantle a camera, I use a multipart plastic box...
I need to invest in some then, and I"ve already learned the developing tray trick, I have a half-dismantled XA in one. I have some good mag-specs, need to work on the light though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dxq.canada View Post
I just started with a bunch of broken discarded cameras...
That would definitely be a way to do it, but I don't want to rely entirely on the patience of others. Still, anywhere you can get advice, take it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dxq.canada View Post
Oh, and make friends with a machinist ... they like making metal parts !!!
I will try!

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnf04 View Post
If you find cameras that aren't worth repairing....
Yay! I get to start a junkyard

Quote:
Originally Posted by nzhang View Post
Some people are mechanical smart...
I tend to be very smart with mechanicals. As stated above, I'm a total DIY car mechanic and I made a career of fixing computers. I do OK with cameras, but it's a matter of the right tools and practice, and knowing what to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by farlymac View Post
I got started in repair because I kept getting all these cameras that had some serious issues...
I'll keep that in mind as a source.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oftheherd View Post
I'm a nowhere guy on repair; something about having 10 thumbs. But I like to try....
Very funny reply, and very good advice and information. Thank you!
Quote:
Originally Posted by KoNickon View Post
Johan, I assume you have checked Micro-Tools? I think they have a non-North America site as well as North American.

Does Wiha sell directly? They are German-based.
This is the micro-tools US Site: http://www.micro-tools.com/

and Wiha's direct sales in the US: https://www.wihatools.com/
__________________
Please, call me Erik.
Find me on: Flickr | PentaxForums | Large Format Photography Forum

"I decided to stop collecting cameras and become a photographer."
  Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 15:26.


vBulletin skin developed by: eXtremepixels
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

All content on this site is Copyright Protected and owned by its respective owner. You may link to content on this site but you may not reproduce any of it in whole or part without written consent from its owner.