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View Full Version : Help! My very old camera doesn't work any more!


Roger Hicks
07-20-2010, 12:26
Well, yes. It's a very old camera. Either get it repaired properly (if ir's a good very old camera) or admit that it was cheap to begin with; cost you almost nothng; and ain't gonna work properly again unless you pay more than it would cost to buy another one. By all means try to fix it yourself, but don't sell it to some other poor sucker wnen you fail.

Nothing made by man will last forever. Am I alone in being astonished that some people appear to expect 30+, 40+ and 50+-year-old high-end happy snap cameras (pre-1980. pre-1970 and pre-1960) to work for the rest of time? If they work (and astonishingly many do), well, great. If not, well, what would a rational person expect? How many of you are driving 50-year-old mid-range cars that have never been serviced? Or even 1950s Rolls Royces that have never been serviced?

Cheers,

R.

newspaperguy
07-20-2010, 12:50
Roger, despite not being a carpenter,
you do hit the nail right on the head.

Well said, Sir.

Brian Sweeney
07-20-2010, 12:54
My 1968 Wang 360K Calculator has a stuck bit in the ALU and one of the Nixie tubes is out.

But my 50+ year old cameras are going strong. Much easier to work on. Although I hear Nixie tubes are available on Ebay.

Phantomas
07-20-2010, 13:01
I'd like to fix my old Kiev 4, shutter's broke. It's too pretty to be scraped. Repair will cost 6x its original price.
Help?....

DNG
07-20-2010, 13:02
Or put up on a display self of past, but great user cameras. And, when people ask about it... tell them a great story of great photographs this baby delivered in it's day.

feenej
07-20-2010, 13:10
I spent more than 10 times the worth of a camera to get it fixed 'cause it was a gift from a friend. That, plus it only cost $50 plus shipping to have repaired HAAHa. An old-model Minolta XG-1. And I love to use it. And it was Bruce Jenner's (model) camera. Worth every penny.

Roger Hicks
07-20-2010, 13:53
@ DNG and Feenej particularly: YES!

Others: yes too!

Cheers,

R.

chris00nj
07-20-2010, 13:57
What about:

For sale: Camera. Not sure if it is working. AS-IS.

Dave Wilkinson
07-20-2010, 14:00
My 1968 Wang 360K Calculator has a stuck bit in the ALU and one of the Nixie tubes is out.

But my 50+ year old cameras are going strong. Much easier to work on. Although I hear Nixie tubes are available on Ebay. really love your replies.....always full of 'aired knowledge' ! ;)

aad
07-20-2010, 14:07
Braun makes parts. Lots of service depots, too, even for dead NiCad units.

Very true indeed... Now granted, a "camera for life" is the hallmark of the Leica brand. But it's such a rare thing indeed in this day and age (and several before even). Leica (and independent repair folks) are in a rare position to be able to still service these bodies.

Most commercial items have a pre-determined, finite lifespan - if not a limit on parts availability after EOL (End-Of-Life). In the USA, depending on the product (or not?) I believe it's five years. At least for things like cars. Not sure how wide-ranging this is.

It's a different era now though. Everything is plastic. Everything is disposable. Not much exists today that I would expect to last 10, let alone 20 or more years. Not cars. Not TVs. Certainly nothing digital.

Case in point. I got a great electric razor about four years ago. Never a lick of trouble except replacing the foil/blade assembly yearly. Finally using Li-ion batteries, the old "death of the NiCd" was now no longer a reason to have to replace a razor. So what does Braun do? STOP MAKING REPLACEMENT PARTS! [email protected] I had had enough of them and their nickel-and-diming on the parts and cleaning fluid at this point anyway... So I promptly went out and picked up a new Philips/Norelco. It washes out in the sink! Of course, I'll probably still get screwed on the replacement heads... *sigh*

Benjamin Marks
07-20-2010, 15:36
Hmmm. I don't know if you are alone in your astonished state, but I have plenty of cameras older than I am that are humming right along. The Rolleis, the Leicas, the Nikon Fs and Nikkormats, my Hassie 500C, and several nice LF lenses. . . all were made to be serviced. I expect them to outlast me too, given that in my wildly irresponsible acquisition of cameras the cumulative MTBF of the shutters is, in the aggregate and given my usage, longer than the number of years that I will live.

Leigh Youdale
07-20-2010, 16:02
Amen to the razor issue. I've gone back to Gillette and foam and brush. Lightweight, compact, works anywhere in the world, parts readily available in any marketplace. Plus I get a better shave anyway!
Cameras? Well, the Nikkormat is now approximately 45 years old. Had to replace the felt seals once and yesterday I noticed that the strip that cushions the mirror when it flips up has gone a bit soft. (So have my bits that flip up).
The Rolleiflex, on the other hand, was designed not to need felt strips to seal against light leaks, so no problem there. It is just over 50 years old.
I did have a couple of Leica IIIf's which were about the same vintage but they were a bit of a pain to use compared to modern RF's so I sold them and got a couple of Bessa's. Just last week I succumbed to the Leica siren song again and bought an M6 from the 'bay. 15 years old. Described as 'minty' it is indeed so, and a beautiful piece of work. I'm going to enjoy playing with it. But you know what? Lovely as it is, and as indestructible as it feels, the M6 has only emphasised what a wonderful job CV have made with the Bessa as far as user functionality goes. There is nothing the Leica does that the Bessa does not do as well or even better in some instances. Except maybe last forever!

KenD
07-20-2010, 16:19
After a month's wait a battery for my 1977 2 stroke production racer street registered bike arrived today... same idea I guess.

tbm
07-21-2010, 06:30
In 1965, when I was 12 years old, my father gave me a new Baby Rolleiflex camera. Fast forward to a few months ago when I pulled it out of a drawer in my rolltop desk. I pressed the shutter release button and it didn't work. I then remembered that is why it had sat unused in the desk's drawer for decades. I called a Rolleiflex repair guy about it and he told me to put it in the trash because the cost to repair it would exceed the camera's value, and he opined that that camera was not a very good image maker. I accepted his advice and trashed it with no regrets.

Brian Legge
07-21-2010, 06:36
:(

Some of us are learning to repair cameras like that Rollei. I've been buying old broken cameras and working on them for the experience. I resurrected a Rolleiflex Old Standard a few months ago... but still need more Rollei shutter experience.

The problem is, even beat up cameras like that are expensive. Hearing about people trashing them saddens me.

robklurfield
07-21-2010, 06:40
50 years old? I'm fifty. Am I due for service?

maddoc
07-21-2010, 07:18
Am I alone in being astonished that some people appear to expect 30+, 40+ and 50+-year-old high-end happy snap cameras (pre-1980. pre-1970 and pre-1960) to work for the rest of time? If they work (and astonishingly many do), well, great. If not, well, what would a rational person expect?

Pretty similar to my thoughts about people writing that they buy the actual Leica MP as a "lifetime" investment that will serve them for... well for a long long time ... I think "rational" and "camera hobby" (to use the Japanese term for it) don' go well together... :D

Ronald_H
07-21-2010, 07:21
When you know a good repair guy, you only have to swallow that the repair cost is often higher than what you paid for the camera. I gladly do. Indeed, if it is a good camera.

Worst offender was my Canonet GIII QL17. Bought it for 20, had it serviced for 160. It's 25 years old. If it lasts another 25, I think it was money well spent. No, that's not true. I shot with it today and I think it was money well spent today!

Besides that, I fully expect my Leica M2, Hassy 500 C/M and Nikon FM to last me a lifetime. I'm 39 and in good health. We'll see...

Andy Kibber
07-21-2010, 07:51
Things wear out and break. A true and blindingly obvious statement. Carry on, chaps! :)

oftheherd
07-21-2010, 08:29
What about:

For sale: Camera. Not sure if it is working. AS-IS.

That sounds familiar, was that you offering that? :D :D Of course, I have bought things like that and gotten bargains that actually work. I've had better descriptions that didn't.

:(

Some of us are learning to repair cameras like that Rollei. I've been buying old broken cameras and working on them for the experience. I resurrected a Rolleiflex Old Standard a few months ago... but still need more Rollei shutter experience.

The problem is, even beat up cameras like that are expensive. Hearing about people trashing them saddens me.

Indeed! I have been getting brave of late. I got an Ibsor shutter to work properly only to have the shutter lever return spring break. Everything works except that one must return the shutter lever manually. Besides that, I have found a company that will make another identical spring for me as long as I send them another (or even attempt it if I don't). I just happen to have a second Ibsor I got back in working order. I don't really want to take it apart again, but feel I must.

Not to hijack Mr. Hicks' thread, but I suggest you offer such cameras here or even on ebay. Some people just like to tinker and even non-repairable cameras can supply parts.

healyzh
07-21-2010, 08:36
Case in point. I got a great electric razor about four years ago. Never a lick of trouble except replacing the foil/blade assembly yearly. Finally using Li-ion batteries, the old "death of the NiCd" was now no longer a reason to have to replace a razor. So what does Braun do? STOP MAKING REPLACEMENT PARTS! [email protected] I had had enough of them and their nickel-and-diming on the parts and cleaning fluid at this point anyway... So I promptly went out and picked up a new Philips/Norelco. It washes out in the sink! Of course, I'll probably still get screwed on the replacement heads... *sigh*

I'm using a Norelco made in West Germany. In another month or so I'll have owned it for 24 years. On rare occasions it has a little trouble starting, a few years ago it wouldn't start at all. I took it apart and got it working again. I'm amazed it still works, and dread replacing it, as I figure I'll be lucky to get 2-4 years out of whatever I replace it with.

Needless to say, it's not a rechargeable razor, can you even buy an electric that isn't anymore?

healyzh
07-21-2010, 08:39
Some of us are learning to repair cameras like that Rollei. I've been buying old broken cameras and working on them for the experience. I resurrected a Rolleiflex Old Standard a few months ago... but still need more Rollei shutter experience.

That is one of the best idea's I've heard in a long time!

polka
07-21-2010, 08:40
My oldest working cam is a Rodenstock Citonette half-frame folder : with a Trinar-Anastigmat 75mm/2.9 lens and a Compur-Deckel shutter. Dated 1933 never serviced and still working like a charm. Very advanced technology : solar driven (no battery) and another sensor for each picture : rolls of 16 sensors still available.:rolleyes:

Paul

healyzh
07-21-2010, 08:50
Well, yes. It's a very old camera. Either get it repaired properly (if ir's a good very old camera) or admit that it was cheap to begin with; cost you almost nothng; and ain't gonna work properly again unless you pay more than it would cost to buy another one. By all means try to fix it yourself, but don't sell it to some other poor sucker wnen you fail.

This pretty much sums up my Minolta A-2 Rangefinder. I would like to take some photographs with this camera, but there is no way I can justify spending the money to get it fixed. I have plenty of better 35mm cameras that work, including other rangefinders.

Nothing made by man will last forever. Am I alone in being astonished that some people appear to expect 30+, 40+ and 50+-year-old high-end happy snap cameras (pre-1980. pre-1970 and pre-1960) to work for the rest of time? If they work (and astonishingly many do), well, great. If not, well, what would a rational person expect? How many of you are driving 50-year-old mid-range cars that have never been serviced? Or even 1950s Rolls Royces that have never been serviced?


I expect a quality piece of machinery to work for well more than 50 years. Granted I also expect it to need servicing. The only cameras I currently own that are 50+ years old are some 3D cameras and a Yashica 44LM. The one 3D camera is definitely worth having serviced. I would probably pay to have the Yashica serviced, even though it is nearly impossible to get film for it, as I *REALLY* want to take photo's of my children with it, and am tempted to freeze some 127 so that photo's of the next generation can be taken using it, but that is due to silly sentimental reasons.

Never discount someone being willing to keep a camera, or other piece of machinery running long past its practical lifetime for sentimental reasons! :D

Roger Hicks
07-21-2010, 08:53
Dear Zane,

Quality, yes. But not mid-range. That's why I specified 'high-end happy-snap' - Canonets and the like.

Cheers,

R.

maggieo
07-21-2010, 08:55
50 years old? I'm fifty. Am I due for service?

Well...you might want a prostate exam. :eek:

healyzh
07-21-2010, 09:22
Dear Zane,

Quality, yes. But not mid-range. That's why I specified 'high-end happy-snap' - Canonets and the like.

Cheers,

R.

Thanks for the clarification, your comment makes a lot more sense. There is no way I'd pay to have my Canonet repaired, I got the camera store to throw it in for free when I bought a Hasselblad 500C. :D Of course the Canonet was basically a "gateway camera" which quickly had me looking to purchase a Leica.

I thought you meant high-end camera's such as my Leica, where the owner isn't very serious about taking photo's.