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Where do you get a Nikon RF CLA in 2016?
Old 11-08-2016   #1
unixrevolution
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Where do you get a Nikon RF CLA in 2016?

Hey all,

I have a Nikon SP RF, with 50mm f/1.4 The lens is flawless, the camera needs serious help. The RF patch is super, super dim and the focus mechanism squeaks and chatters. Not good at all!

I have heard that DAG will CLA a Nikon RF, so will Stephen Gandy, but is there anybody else I should ask?

Also, I am thinking of simply selling the poor thing since I want to raise capital to upgrade my M outfit. Would it be worth having it fixed before I put it up for auction or in a classified ad?
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Old 11-08-2016   #2
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All I can tell you is that I had Stephen Gandy’ repair tech CLA my old Nikon M (a mess….gummed up shutter, cloudy lens, dirty viewfinder, etc.) and it looked and operated as if brand new, once the camera was returned. His repair tech knows his Nikon stuff.

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Old 11-08-2016   #3
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The SP is the same as a Nikon F as far as the mechanics inside the chassis go. Same shutter and winding mechanism. That said, if you need RF servicing beyond a simple cleaning, the previously mentioned techs may be your only resource. I'm not sure if Sover Wong works on Nikon RFs but he is the go-to guy for Nikon F2 and to some extent, F bodies. He is very good with prism work although the pentaprism is very different from the RF prism and beamsplitter. I'd recommend Youxin as he is a great camera technician and just an extraordinary person but he doesn't service Nikon RFs.

The squeaky RF is easy to cure. Both my S2 and SP had squeaky mechanisms which were cured by a few drops of Ronsonol, dried then a very small amount of 3 in 1 oil applied with a tiny paintbrush.

The dim RF patch can be helped but not cured by placing a tinted gel over the RF patch window. You may need only a simple cleaning of the beamsplitter, prism faces and windows. It makes a world of difference and if you're at all mechanically inclined, can be done at home.

As for servicing the camera before selling, don't do it. You won't recoup the expense of the service with the sale.

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Old 11-08-2016   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unixrevolution View Post
Would it be worth having it fixed before I put it up for auction or in a classified ad?
No, not to you. You'd pay big bux for the CLA, and will get very little if any return for it. The buyer benefits from that not the seller.
Sell it for less than the going rate for a properly working version of this camera, stating that it needs a CLA in order to work properly. About $200 less than others. Your CLA would be over $300..
Emphasize that the lens is great.
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Old 11-08-2016   #5
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Stephen Gandy quoted me 195+35 shipping.

Is it worth it then?

I am also wondering if i should list the lens and camera separately.
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Old 11-08-2016   #6
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Looking at ebay SOLD listings, good condition SPs with 50 1.4 sold for about $1200.
I think a recent CLA would help the sale if you show pics of the receipt in the ad, and you should be able to get $1300 as long as the CLA fixed things like the dim RF patch.
(changing my tune, I forgot how much these cameras are going for!)

But it is important that the CLA fixes the RF patch. If not a difficult to focus SP is not desirable, CLA or no CLA. Have you tried something simple like cleaning the outside glass cover of the VF and RF windows?
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Old 11-08-2016   #7
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Quote:
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Looking at ebay SOLD listings, good condition SPs with 50 1.4 sold for about $1200.
I think a recent CLA would help the sale if you show pics of the receipt in the ad, and you should be able to get $1300 as long as the CLA fixed things like the dim RF patch.
(changing my tune, I forgot how much these cameras are going for!)

But it is important that the CLA fixes the RF patch. If not a difficult to focus SP is not desirable, CLA or no CLA. Have you tried something simple like cleaning the outside glass cover of the VF and RF windows?
You are always allowed to change your tune for the right reasons.

I tried taking the camera apart to the limits of my comfort, and clean what I could, which includes, at a minimum, the outside RF and VF windows. IT didn't help, or at least not very much.

I think I'll send it in and see what happens. $230 isn't *that* much, and honestly...it'd be nice to get to at least use it before I let it go.
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Old 11-08-2016   #8
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Just beware, once it's had a CLA, you might not want to sell it. I've got an S2, and even though I love my Leica M system, the S2 is just so fun to shoot. I'm assuming the SP would be the same way.
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Old 11-09-2016   #9
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Just beware, once it's had a CLA, you might not want to sell it. I've got an S2, and even though I love my Leica M system, the S2 is just so fun to shoot. I'm assuming the SP would be the same way.
If it's really that good, I'd be happy to change my mind. But I think either the M or the Nikon will have to go, with my new initiative to distill my gear.

And if it is that good, I'd be truly sad to have owned a Nikon RF, but never had a chance to use it.
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Old 11-09-2016   #10
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Get it serviced and keep it. There are no comparable cameras out there IMO
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Old 11-09-2016   #11
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Get it serviced and keep it. There are no comparable cameras out there IMO
I will make the determination to keep or not keep once I've used it. But I'm definitely getting it CLA'd.

But I have to impress upon the generally affluent population here; I'm not rich. I have trouble making ends meet sometimes and my photo equipment budget is meager. I would love to keep every camera, but I simply can't afford to.

I also don't have unlimited space to store them, and even more so at the heart of the issue; I want to simplify and distill my gear to a small set of superb items, rather than the large set of OK items I currently have. And to do that, I have to make the hard decisions. But I won't commit to any course of action till I try it.
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Old 11-09-2016   #12
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The Nikon superb yet inexpensive lenses were the impetus that got me to completely sell off all my Leica gear: M8, M9, a host of lenses from 21mm to 200mm (except my combat tested M4 which I don't use much but keep for sentimental reasons.)
I first got a 3.5cm f/2.5 and an Amadeo adapter. Saw the results on the Leica digitals then got a 5cm f/1.4 and made up my mind to sell all the Leica. I got an S2 and an SP and they were amazing cameras. I really believe the SP is superior to the Leicas due to its robust mechanicals and excellent finder. As a mechanical analogue to the Nikon F with a shutter that won't get holes burned by the sun, the SP just keeps working. That whole system is just fantastic and if you want to shoot film while using outstanding lenses that largely outperform their contemporaries and do that for much less than Leica, then the Nikon SP is the way to go. You can get your SP repaired, add a 21mm voightlander, 3.5cm f/1.8, 10.5cm f/2.5 and a 13.5cm f/3.5 all for the cost of one used fast Leica lens alone.
Sorry to derail.

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Old 11-09-2016   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil_F_NM View Post
The Nikon superb yet inexpensive lenses were the impetus that got me to completely sell off all my Leica gear: M8, M9, a host of lenses from 21mm to 200mm (except my combat tested M4 which I don't use much but keep for sentimental reasons.)
I first got a 3.5cm f/2.5 and an Amadeo adapter. Saw the results on the Leica digitals then got a 5cm f/1.4 and made up my mind to sell all the Leica. I got an S2 and an SP and they were amazing cameras. I really believe the SP is superior to the Leicas due to its robust mechanicals and excellent finder. As a mechanical analogue to the Nikon F with a shutter that won't get holes burned by the sun, the SP just keeps working. That whole system is just fantastic and if you want to shoot film while using outstanding lenses that largely outperform their contemporaries and do that for much less than Leica, then the Nikon SP is the way to go. You can get your SP repaired, add a 21mm voightlander, 3.5cm f/1.8, 10.5cm f/2.5 and a 13.5cm f/3.5 all for the cost of one used fast Leica lens alone.
Sorry to derail.

Phil Forrest
I don't think this is a derailment, I think this is a very useful thing to know. This thread is just as much about what to do with my RF stuff going forward as it is where to find a place to fix up my old SP, and with that task done we can discuss other things

No apology necessary and thanks for sharing your experiences.
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Old 11-09-2016   #14
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But I have to impress upon the generally affluent population here; I'm not rich. I have trouble making ends meet sometimes and my photo equipment budget is meager. I would love to keep every camera, but I simply can't afford to.
I would add that getting rid of a Nikon rf system in order to upgrade a Leica M system is, in the long run, the surest way to burn through a bank account. Not sure that "I think I will concentrate on Leica" is the actual economy move here, but I imagine you realize that.
Yes, there are more lens choices for the Leica, but that's just more money, and how many choices do you need, and is there really much, if anything, you can't do with the SP and the nice lenses available for it. I doubt it.

Stephen did a nice CLA on my S2. Nice cameras which are exactly that, nice.
Good luck whatever you do.
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Old 11-09-2016   #15
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The Nikon SP is at the top of the list in the CFC (aka cool factor category), outdoing any M Leica.
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Old 11-09-2016   #16
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I would add that getting rid of a Nikon rf system in order to upgrade a Leica M system is, in the long run, the surest way to burn through a bank account. Not sure that "I think I will concentrate on Leica" is the actual economy move here, but I imagine you realize that.
Yes, there are more lens choices for the Leica, but that's just more money, and how many choices do you need, and is there really much, if anything, you can't do with the SP and the nice lenses available for it. I doubt it.

Stephen did a nice CLA on my S2. Nice cameras which are exactly that, nice.
Good luck whatever you do.
I can understand your reasoning, and realize that both systems will be expensive. However, I am bonded to my Leica, especially as I got it from someone I know. As far as burning through a bank account, I have the sales of my current RF kit (The Nikon, the Bessa R2, the 35mm f/2.5 Color Skopar, the Summarit) to work with and I will try hard not to exceed that. Especially since I'd actually like to keep the Bessa if I can. I also have an M2, which means that I only have 3 framelines. This is intentional. I like the 35/50/90 trinity (even if my 90 is an 85) and use it as an LBA limiter.

I may eventually get something MUCH wider than 35, to make using the external finder worth it. But I want to get to a 35/50/90 setup that becomes more or less permanent.

The 35s I'm considering are the Voigtlander Noktons, the 35mm f/1.4 and the 35mm f/1.2. For a 50, I am considering the Nokton 50 1.1, though the 1.5 and Canon RF lenses have caught my eye. I would also love to have a 50 Lux, but I'm not holding my breath that I can get a good one for within my budget. As far as the 85..I have a Serenar 85/2 and it's wonderful. I feel no need to change it, unless I can find the same sort of optics with a shorter focus throw.

Quote:
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The Nikon SP is at the top of the list in the CFC (aka cool factor category), outdoing any M Leica.
Cool Factor, the Nikon wins hands down. Rarer, more functional, more fully featured than an M2 or any unmetered M. But It'll all be about the shooting experience, lens inventory, and of course, the images.

I am intentionally trying to concentrate, "Distill" if you will, my current camera inventory into a smaller collection of nicer things with the same approximate net worth.
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