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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!

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When to stop repairing?
Old 02-24-2017   #1
DoctorSLR
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When to stop repairing?

I'm curious to what others opinions are on the value of repairing cameras and when you make the decision to repair or not repair a camera. When do you make the decision to repair, or not, a camera?

The reason I ask is that I've got a Canon F1 (Nov' '73' which I was given as a gift for a Christmas. It shows some minor battle scars, but the exposures are good and works like a charm... most of the time. However, there's a couple of issues; the 1 second shutter speed is erratic and the light meter needle gets stuck in positions f/2 and f/16.
I've been quoted about £100 as an estimate to get it repaired and once I get the money together I'm going to go ahead with it.
But why? I could easily just buy another camera for that amount, but for me I have this camera and I will continue to use it for as long as I'm interested in using an SLR and shooting film (I also have a Canon EF, which I use too). I feel that I affinity now with this camera and if we all keep on going junking and replacing old cameras, some day the only operational ones are going to be the odd hidden gems and collectors items.

Yes it's just a tool and means to an end, but it's my tool and means.

So, what's your opinion, when would you stop repairing a camera? Is it an economic decision or something more?
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Old 02-24-2017   #2
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I suppose if you can buy another of the same type of camera, in good condition, at a price the same or less than a CLA, then buy it.

Unless the camera that needs the CLA has sentimental or collector value.

As for your old F-1, 100 pounds for a CLA isn’t all that bad. And once done, you should get another 44 years of service out of it.

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Old 02-24-2017   #3
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For me it's definitely something more. Often to the point of "throwing good money after bad". I have been known, on occasion, to spend more getting a camera cleaned up than the camera is worth.

Why? I guess there are a few reasons. One is that I don't like seeing things going into a landfill if I know they can still be used. Somebody spent a lot of time and energy designing a camera to be used and I just think it's a shame for a beautiful machine to stop performing the task for which it was designed.

Sometimes I just think the camera is neat and I want to shoot with it so I'll invest in the repair knowing that it's an investment in the fun I'll have using it.

Also, I know that a CLA is a long-term investment for me. I don't shoot that much, and I switch cameras a lot, so once done, there's a good chance I won't have to get that camera looked at again for a good, long time.

Sometimes it's a sentimental reason; I have paid to CLA some of my older shooters and a couple of cameras that belonged to my grandfather and my mother-in-law, respectively. Were the cameras "worth" the repair costs? Probably not, but I knew they would have been happy to know somebody was using them to make pictures. As far as my older cameras go, I just don't want to throw them away... we've taken a lot of pictures together.

So, yeah, for me practicality goes out the window and I get cameras repaired simply because I think they should be repaired. If I have no emotional attachment to them, well then that's a whole different story. In that case, I'd have no qualms about just finding another, working example and keeping the broken one for parts.
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Old 02-24-2017   #4
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Do you have a few lenses for the Canon? It's worth it if you feel it is the tool for you. No one else can decide for you. There's a reason many old cameras are still in use today. They take a licking and keep on ticking! It would cost a lot more to replace it with a dSLR and a couple of lenses then the cost of the CLA.
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Old 02-24-2017   #5
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This, I'm afraid, is where the DIY thing comes into play. Very few of my cameras have sufficient commercial value to pay off the cost of a professional repair, it would be economic foolishness. On the other hand, there is something that feels very wrong about discarding fine machinery, the product of engineering genius and many hours of fine craftsmanship, relegating a piece of history to the garbage heap due to a bit of dried oil in the timing gears or some oxidation on a variable resistor. Learning to do some basic CLA level operations yourself becomes an attractive third option.
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Old 02-24-2017   #6
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"More than it's worth" doesn't seem like such a great criterion to me -- when you repair a camera you own you have a working camera with a known history that's been recently serviced. When you buy a camera you're always buying extra uncertainty along with it. For me it's more like "Would I buy this camera at that price if I knew with certainty that it had just been repaired and didn't have any other known problem the seller wasn't telling me about?" And if the answer's yes it's yes.
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Old 02-24-2017   #7
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If I want the camera and it's a classic film camera, Leica, pre 1990's Canon/Nikon, etc, I will pay as much to repair a camera as it's worth, ie it's replacement value.

My thinking is that I've 'created' a camera by fixing the one I have. I guess selling the broken camera gives the same effect if the buyer repairs it...

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Old 02-26-2017   #8
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Like a few others have said, it's really up to you in the end. You know what that camera has been through in its life time. If you were to just buy another camera, you don't know. I can understand purchasing another camera if your camera had to be repaired very often -because then it just becomes a money pit. But, if you get it repaired once every......3 years? or longer; then I myself would hang on to it. Like you said, it's a part of you, keep it alive.
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Old 02-26-2017   #9
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If you can get a camera that is recently serviced and everything works normally for the same price as the service on your current camera, you should do it.
The odds are the one you buy will need service also.
"better the devil you know"
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Old 02-26-2017   #10
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A lot of it is based upon body condition. It is entirely possible to obtain a working Canon F1. But, what do you mean by working? Will a 44 year old camera need a CLA? Now we are talking about a free camera. Since you did not pay for this camera the cost will be $100 + shipping. From Collectiblend, body only average condition $250. I purchased mint in the box never used for $40 last year. I felt it was worth $200 to repair. The only issue with the Canon F1 is the batteries. You can use a Wein cell hearing aid battery which are very cheap but need to be replaced every six months. Another way to go is the Criscam converter. It is about $40. The old Canon lenses were good lenses. Some say better than the Nikon. If it is only about money then toss it. If it is about experimentation and lifestyle then that is a completley separate issue.
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Old 02-26-2017   #11
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As economists tell us, value is subjective. The value is entirely dependent upon your intended use.

If you treasure it as a gift from a loved one, that you've used to document 44 years of your life with, and you intend to keep using it, then I would say to go ahead and get it serviced.

If you don't wish to use film anymore, and just wish to keep the camera in a display case for sentimental reasons, then just leave it as is.

If you wish to sell it, then don't repair it. The new buyer often has their own favored repair person. More importantly, you'll never recover the cost of the repair in the sales price.
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Old 02-26-2017   #12
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Sometimes I think we fix something because it has sentimental value to us, it is a rare copy and we enjoy using it, or for the best reason of all, "just because."

As for a camera being an investment, maybe. It depends. If you are looking for investments, why not buy stock in some commercial enterprise and get a return that way? Or any one of a number of ways to invest money other than old film cameras that nobody wants?

Fix it if you want to do that. Just Because. You really don't need any other reason than that if you can afford to have it fixed and you enjoy using it.

Just my $.02.

With best regards.

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Old 02-26-2017   #13
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Certain cameras I have given up on, like my Zorki-1d that I was constantly burning holes in the shutter. Most of my cameras that had issues I was able to get working again. A couple I have given up on out of frustration, such as a broken part no one has, or will part with. One I could not get the Bayer helical grease to dissolve no matter what I tried.

There are some I don't have the expertise or parts to attempt the repairs myself that are worth it to me because they are kind of rare, or I got them at such a bargain in the first place it's worth getting them properly fixed by someone with more experience on that particular model.

All camera repairs need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, there is no blanket formula for determining the worth of such work versus the worth of the equipment.

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Old 02-26-2017   #14
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The dividing line for me is whether or not I am fairly sure that the camera can be returned to full functionality and that it will stay functional for long enough to justify the expense and hassle of getting it repaired.

There are some cameras in the "unhappy camera" corner at my place. One is an Olympus OM-3Ti in great shape other than the Highlight button for the meter does not work any more. Since it is rare, I have not used it often, so there is no urgency to have it repaired. There is another factor, which is that some of the internal parts of the OM-3Ti are made of plastic, and by now those plastic pieces are brittle and prone to failure. So, even if the meter button is repaired today, how long before something else breaks? It's a dilemma. I have not felt like gambling with it yet.
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Old 02-26-2017   #15
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For me it's repair until I cannot afford it. Buying a replacement (use) may come with surprises (issues) like the feel of the shutter speed dial or wind lever.

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Old 02-26-2017   #16
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Very valid question...

If the item is a lemon, then good money after bad might decide which way to go, but if it's a daily shooter and has produced some of your better photos, then it's just the price of doing business. I recently damaged the ISO/Compensation arrangement on my F3P... oops. The parts in question are different from those used in the F3 & F3HP and difficult to find. I thought about it... but the repair shop is a trusted one, the price is 1/3 the cost of a replacement, so (after some thought) I went with repair this time...
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Old 02-27-2017   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoctorSLR View Post
... So, what's your opinion, when would you stop repairing a camera? Is it an economic decision or something more?
I consider it in the same way as I consider the right moment to stop repairing a particular car, and it's very simple: "When I lose interest in the car or camera as a project and feel annoyed when I have to shell out more money to fix it." It's the same rule whether or not I have an emotional investment in the particular car or camera. The emotional investment just adds weight, one way or the other.

Basically, if I have to ask other people whether it's time to stop, it's probably not yet time.

G
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Old 02-27-2017   #18
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A couple of years ago I made a decision on an Olympus XA2. I purchased it for the princley sum of £6.50 so when the shutter needed attention I put it to the sword. The resulting image wound up on 'explore' over on flickr. The rest of my cameras are nervously behaving themselves.

Olympus XA2 (Rest In Pieces) by Philip McAllister, on Flickr
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Old 02-27-2017   #19
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Personally I'll always have a go at repairing a camera. I'm an amateur and have made a hash of several but I enjoy the process thoroughly and will happily dedicate a day to tinkering. The feeling of succeeding at a repair is one of the few genuine joys I still get out of life. As soon as I learn to drive (I'm 30, but live in the city so never needed to) I'll be frequenting car boot sales to pick up junkers to repair and spruce up. Need to get good at fixing things before society collapses and we're left fending for ourselves in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

I've currently got an OM1n in for repair of a slow shutter curtain because it's beyond my skills to fix. Repair costs twice what the camera did but as soon as I held the camera I fell in love with it and knew it was a keeper. So it's worth it both for the peace of mind of it not exploding and for the soppy affection towards an inanimate object.
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Old 02-27-2017   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoctorSLR View Post
So, what's your opinion, when would you stop repairing a camera? Is it an economic decision or something more?
This thread really hits home personally for me, since I'm now struggling to make a decision regarding my 1980s vintage Pentax K1000 and lenses.

I've considered this to be my main camera until recently, when I started noticing focus issues with my main zoom and now with any lens I use on it. I've done several test rolls now and when very carefully focusing and examining the result, it's clear that the two zoom lenses both have focus issues, one which is WAY off and the other which kinda clicks in and out. In addition, I've found that the best plane of focus on the film, even with the prime lens, is in front of where it appears to be when focusing carefully.

Anyway, on one hand I realize that I've gotten my money's worth out of the whole kit, many years and thousands of great photos. I do have now two newer {d-word} cameras which I'm using more and more and I'm thinking that the best thing to do is "retire" the Pentax.

Doing it right would mean sending in the body and two zooms for a good CLA. I have a real good recommendation of a CLA for the body for about $175. The camera shop I sometimes visit has a lens repair service they can send the zooms to for a CLA and they say most lenses of that type are about $200 (each!) for a good once-over.

That's almost $600, and if I did it I would still have a 30-some year old camera with thousands of exposures on it. The replacement cost for similar ones, some which claim "recently CLAd" is less than 1/3 of that for a body and a similar zoom. Economically, it does not make sense to CLA everything.

On the other hand I LOVE the camera and would love to have it back to where I know I'm gonna get great images out of it again.

I really don't know what I want to do. I have several other cameras I can use for all kinds of shooting, including a Mamiya RF and a GIII (two actually) which all work quite well for film work.

Oh well, so it goes ...
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Old 02-27-2017   #21
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The camera doesn't need a cla it needs a repair, if it was me I would have it repaired the camera was given as a gift so its still only £100 for an f1.

That being said sorry dmr I wouldn't pay to get a pentax k1000 sorted I would either fix myself or buy another pentax unless it meant a lot to you!
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Old 02-27-2017   #22
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My take on repair vs replace is: if the repair cost is reasonable, I would rather repair. The idea that one can just replace camera "X" for less than the cost to repair is a bit suspect to me: the replacement is likely to have its own issues and you may still have to decide. But if you have a camera repaired, you then have the surety that the specific camera you have is now sorted. This presumes that there isn't much or any emotional or sentimental value to the particular camera and that repairs are available at a reasonable cost. And "reasonable" is certainly a variable number.

DMR, in your case, I would probably get the camera sorted (especially if it is Mr. Hendrickson you're considering for the work!) and replace the lenses, I think. But I may be misreading your attachment to the lenses.

Rob
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Old 02-27-2017   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoctorSLR View Post
I'm curious to what others opinions are on the value of repairing cameras and when you make the decision to repair or not repair a camera. When do you make the decision to repair, or not, a camera?

The reason I ask is that I've got a Canon F1 (Nov' '73' which I was given as a gift for a Christmas. It shows some minor battle scars, but the exposures are good and works like a charm... most of the time. However, there's a couple of issues; the 1 second shutter speed is erratic and the light meter needle gets stuck in positions f/2 and f/16.
I've been quoted about £100 as an estimate to get it repaired and once I get the money together I'm going to go ahead with it.
But why? I could easily just buy another camera for that amount, but for me I have this camera and I will continue to use it for as long as I'm interested in using an SLR and shooting film (I also have a Canon EF, which I use too). I feel that I affinity now with this camera and if we all keep on going junking and replacing old cameras, some day the only operational ones are going to be the odd hidden gems and collectors items.

Yes it's just a tool and means to an end, but it's my tool and means.

So, what's your opinion, when would you stop repairing a camera? Is it an economic decision or something more?
everyone has their own, equally valid reasons.

whether you value sentiment, repair cost, or camera resale value
there is no right answer.

just make the best decision for you.

that said, I would personally opt for repairing a Christmas gift F1 in a heart beat.
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Old 02-27-2017   #24
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I agree with the Head Bartender. This F1 was a gift so I'd have no qualms about money spent to keep it in good repair.
I've faced this same decision with cameras I've inherited. I sent my M3 off to be CLA'd and paid a good amount to have it done too. When it jammed the shutter two rolls of film later I was bummed, sure. But, I took it to a shop I'd found and trusted to do the right thing and I've now got an M3 that I can put film in with confidence that it'll turn out, barring any screw ups on my part. I found the first CLA really wasn't worth what I'd paid for it as now, I can fully understand the 'mystique' of owning a Leica. It is buttery smooth and is a pleasure to use/hold/operate. The fact it was my grandparents camera and traveled the world with them only adds to the pleasure.
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Old 02-27-2017   #25
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What is better to have camera repaired and CLA or to replace it with something completely unknown? For some it is easy to play lottery, but if camera is fixable at 100£ it is actually very good price.
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