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View Full Version : A Non-Ebay find


r-brian
02-24-2004, 18:44
It seems we (in general) are always looking on Ebay for that special find. Sometimes those finds show up other places unexpectedly.

I stopped by the only repair shop in Albuquerque that would work on a large format shutter. There, sitting on the bottom shelf of the glass display case where 'classic' cameras go to die was a HiMatic 7sII. I've been looking on Ebay at these cameras (and so has Bill because I've seen your bids) but they all go for over $100. I asked the owner if it was for sale. She said "If it works, I'll figure out a price." After running through the shutter speeds, it seemed that from 60 sec up, they were all the same. So I left it there.

After getting a quote for $125 for a shutter CLA, I have decided to learn camera repair. I went back to the shop a few days later and asked the owner what she would sell the 7sII for in the shape it was in. The first thing she said was "What do you want it for?" I said I wanted to learn camera repair and that was going to be my first one. As soon as I said that the flood gates opened. She gave me a catelogue for micro tools and a flyer for a correspondence course. She said to come back and let her know how the repair went and if I was serious, she had a shutter tester she would sell me. (It belong to someone in the business but he died. This is what is happening to camera repair people.)

To make this long story short, she sold me the 7sII for $20. All it needs is a shutter cleaning and since it has a Copal shutter, it should be that hard to figure out once I order my camera repair manual.

Brian

bmattock
02-24-2004, 20:16
Brian,

Great deal! Hope you get the shutter working well, sounds like a fun challenge!

I believe I've been to the shop you mentioned - if it is on Menaul, I know it well. I've only had one camera repaired there - my Olympus RD. I'm very pleased with the result, but they could not repair it locally and had to send it out (which I could have done myself, I was trying to give a local company my business). It took from July to late December, as I recall. However the result was fantastic - the camera is truly in 'like new' condition.

I had to sneak the camera in during a weekend - the main repair guy (I suspect he is the owner) was a rather nasty guy who rudely informed me that my camera was a 'piece of cr**' that shouldn't be repaired, but tossed out. He refused to look at it. He was also much more interested in having a conversation with a local ABQ policeman about hunting than in talking to customers. Sigh.

I'd love to give them more of my business, but I won't. I'll just send my cameras to Essex now. Too bad for them.

I truly am happy to hear about your find, though. I hadn't seen that one there - I saw a nice baby Yashica TLR, but never inquired about it's price. I believe they also have a nice looking Topcon Super D there in the display case. Nice stuff!

I've talked to the lady before, she's very nice!

Best Regards,

Bill Mattocks

Oldprof
02-24-2004, 22:26
Bill Mattocks wrote:

"... the main repair guy ... was a rather nasty guy who rudely informed me that my camera was a 'piece of cr**' that shouldn't be repaired, but tossed out ..."

I have encountered a few people like that over the years (not all were camera repairmen). Disdain for the customer is extremely stupid. In my opinion, such people deserve to go out of business.

bmattock
02-24-2004, 22:37
Originally posted by Oldprof
Bill Mattocks wrote:

"... the main repair guy ... was a rather nasty guy who rudely informed me that my camera was a 'piece of cr**' that shouldn't be repaired, but tossed out ..."

I have encountered a few people like that over the years (not all were camera repairmen). Disdain for the customer is extremely stupid. In my opinion, such people deserve to go out of business.

Strangely, I've encounted that attitude quite often when dealing with my two favorite hobbies - vintage cameras and vintage wristwatches. Both camera and watch repair seem to be dying professions - not that many young people entering the fields, and the older repair persons are retiring or passing away.

However, demand is still strong, at least for now, for their services. Whether they realize this and decide that they can behave however they want and still have plenty of business, or whether those professions just natually attract cranky guys, I haven't a clue.

But I do tend to see it a lot. I don't reward such behavior, but it becomes difficult to do business with local companies when they seem to go out of their way to behave like jerks.

Best Regards,

Bill Mattocks

pshinkaw
02-25-2004, 05:53
About 15-20 years ago there was a crusty old guy here in Austin who was renowned as a repair wizard on Retinas. However, there were so few competent repair people around that he didn't need much in the way of people skills to keep busy. The guys at the front counter would tell you if he was in a good mood or not. If not, it was best to come back another day because he would pronounce your camera DOA. On a good day, he would fix it.

Along the same customer service lines, When I was law school, I frequented the many camera stores in San Antonio. They sold a lot of Pentaxes, Minoltas and Nikons. The salesman were very ambivalent about Canons, and this was in the days when the AE-1 Program and A-1 were at their peak in popularity. In talking to them I found out that the Canon sales rep was universally disliked throughout his territory which included San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth and Austin. The store owners could care less if they sold any Canons.

Camera repair is actually a thriving hobby all by itself. I was very surprised to find a large number of websites by people who haunt old stores, garage sales and auctions, buy cameras and tinker with them. Most of them are very willing to share knowledge and swap parts. Some are from countries in Europe where different cameras and parts are much easier to get than in the US. I got into it through the following two websites which are excellent sources of information and help.

http://www.kyphoto.com/classics/forum/

http://members.tripod.com/rick_oleson/

-Paul

jdos2
02-25-2004, 09:11
I feel very lucky to have a good shop near me. I've brought real crap cameras to be fixed. They've never blinked, simply charged me. I just brought them a Mamiya Universal 65mm lens from the late 60's- Seikosha shutter (no parts available) There are far better lenses available for that camera, this one thought of as a "dog" by some (topogon design, &c). Just got a call from them. $160 for the shutter rebuild, please. I could get another for about that much. "Thanks, do it." and they do.

Simply wonderful work from them. Always measures up to my own standards, which, if I can talk myself into it to do the work, are high.

They never say anything to me negative.

back alley
02-25-2004, 14:15
i'm lucky in that the camera store i frequent i also worked at years ago. i was a part time salesman. so they don't give me grief but they do smile when i walk in with a minolta 7s on my arm. they think it's funny that with all the new stuff available ( plus they know i have 2 mamiya 6 cameras) that i also use some of these oldsters.
oh well...

joe

taffer
02-26-2004, 00:29
Brian, lots of luck with that repair ! Paul already share probably the best sources for camera repairing tips :-)

Yesterday I had a fun episode when looking for a small pouch to fit my RFs when they go into my "big" bag. I went to the small photo store in the campus, and probably they were expecting a digital compact from a student, so when they saw the Kiev they came up with a "hey these ones are not easily seen anymore!"

On repairs, well from my canonet story you already know there's a serious lack of parts to fix even the easiest problem, but with the necessary pieces they can usually work on older mechanical cameras without problem.

JD remember to take care of that people of yours and bring them some work from time to time to keep them alive! I think you're lucky to have such a great repair facility :-)

Oscar

SolaresLarrave
02-26-2004, 09:41
I use eBay sometimes as a kind of sick entertainment; it no longer makes me drool, though... My source of deals has been photo.net's Classified Section and the Leica Forum. I got my Hexanon and Elmar lenses there, as well as my one and only grip from forum members.

IIRC, there's already one successful transaction here: that of Alex and jdos involving a Konica Hexar, right?

See? We're becoming the next alternate sales hub! :D

jdos2
02-26-2004, 11:15
Yup!

Now, someone sell me an SP, quick!

Doug
02-26-2004, 21:15
Originally posted by SolaresLarrave
IIRC, there's already one successful transaction here: that of Alex and jdos involving a Konica Hexar, right?

See? We're becoming the next alternate sales hub! :D Could be! Add one more transaction here, in which I bought member Ross Macdonald's 43mm f/1.9 Pentax-L, used for this month's shadow shots. The transaction was last November, and I have not seen him here since. He was using a Leica M and a Fuji GA645, with eyes on a Mamiya 6.

Ross! Did you get that Mamiya yet? Let's see some pics! :-)

taffer
02-26-2004, 23:29
Originally posted by jdos2
Yup!

Now, someone sell me an SP, quick!
JD...

- Nikon SP ? (wow!)
- Oly 35 SP ? At least let me try mine before ! :)
- sp... sp... SPaner wrench ? ;)

jdos2
02-27-2004, 05:18
Nikon. I've been thinking of trading up from the S2- integrated finder and moving frame-lines, ya know?

I can dream, right? :-)