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Nikon F2 Shutter issue
Old 09-10-2015   #1
Timmyjoe
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Nikon F2 Shutter issue

My beloved F2 has an intermittent shutter issue that's driving me nuts. Wonder if anyone else has dealt with this. My best guess is that intermittently the first shutter curtain is hanging up for a split second at just about the end of it's travel (as seen by the dark part of the image below, on the right edge of the image). With the back of the camera open I can't seem to make this happen, but from studying the images, that looks like it might be the issue.



Anyone have any thoughts on this? The camera was serviced less than a year ago and this will happen on two or three frames, every second or third roll of 36.

Thanks for any and all input.

Best,
-Tim
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Old 09-10-2015   #2
Robert Lai
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Hi Tim,
It looks to me like your shutter is tapering. The sky on the right side of the picture (on the left of the original film in camera), is progressively getting darker until that noticeable band of increased darkness on the edge. If the shutter was being held back in some way, there should be overexposure instead of underexposure.

Sover Wong is the master with the F2 shutter. He tries to get the shutter times within 1/6 f/stop, which is better than Nikon's own specs.
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Old 09-10-2015   #3
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Hi Robert,

I was not familiar with the term "shutter tapering" so I looked it up. Also shutter capping. From the descriptions I found, my intermittent issue looks like shutter capping, where the second shutter curtain catches up with the first shutter curtain before the first curtain is completely out of the frame. Therefore leaving an underexposed strip on the edge of the image (in the case of this Nikon F2, on the right hand side of the printed image).

The light values of the blue part of the sky are pretty consistent across the image (it's a little optically deceiving with all the dark foliage on the right side of the photo), A and B are pretty consistent. It is when you get to C that everything goes down hill.



So now I just need to figure out why it only happens a couple/three times every second or third roll of film.
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Old 09-10-2015   #4
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Hi Tim,
Usually the tapering or capping is more evident only on the high shutter speeds with a narrow slit, such as 1/250 or faster.
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Old 09-10-2015   #5
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I don't write down my shutter speeds when working with this camera because it's my "walking around, Sunny 16" shooter. But I know the last five frames of the roll the above picture is from, were shot at 1/2000th of a second, and those images are fine. No capping, smooth exposure all the way across the image. Weird.
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Old 09-10-2015   #6
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Can you correlate to "bad shutter behaviour if the camera sits for a day", versus "nice shots if I shoot 5-in-a-row"? The shutter might be intermittent, but works okay for a blast of shots, then gets stiff again.

I recall that the shutter tension adjustment is easily accessible, but, to deal with this properly, the shutter system needs to be cleaned, relubricated and re-tensioned.
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Old 09-10-2015   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vickko View Post
to deal with this properly, the shutter system needs to be cleaned, relubricated and re-tensioned.
Thanks Vick,

What bums me out is that was supposed to be done last year when I had the camera completely rebuilt. The company that did the work has a 90 day warranty, but that has since expired.

The more I study the last few rolls I shot with the camera, the more I notice the shutter capping is on more frames than I thought, it is just not as pronounced as the image above.

I think it's going to need another CLA, or maybe I should say, a PROPER CLA.
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Old 09-10-2015   #8
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Well now I'm really upset. Went back and checked the service record on the camera, it was serviced last November 2014, and they put in (and charged me for) A NEW SHUTTER MECHANISM.

I would think that a new shutter on a Nikon Pro camera would last more than ten months, of fairly light use.
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Old 09-10-2015   #9
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Tim--call Jim at Vermont Camera Works--he's really good with F2s...
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Old 09-10-2015   #10
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I still recommend Sover Wong.
My F2 was serviced in 2011 by the former midwestern US Nikon service center. They did a fine job, but I've decided to add a few upgrades to my F2A, and it is now with Sover. He rebuilds from the ground up, including pulling the lens mount / mirror box off the main body of the camera.
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Old 09-10-2015   #11
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I think the design of the F2 shutter is that at 1/2000 it triggers the 2nd curtain straight away so I don't think you'd see it. (but that might be the F3? I think as well)
My sover-ed F2A was rebuilt in 03 or 04 and is still right on even with extended sittings.
Fix it right and they stay that way.
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Old 09-10-2015   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmyjoe View Post
Well now I'm really upset. Went back and checked the service record on the camera, it was serviced last November 2014, and they put in (and charged me for) A NEW SHUTTER MECHANISM.

I would think that a new shutter on a Nikon Pro camera would last more than ten months, of fairly light use.
That's a very minor shutter problem! I had a similar problem (diagnosed as shutter bounce) with a Nikon F2 a few years back, and the Nikon Service Center in Tokyo adjusted the shutter and had my camera back to me in five minutes. The camera worked fine after that.
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Old 09-10-2015   #13
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Hmmm... in 5 minutes? I'm guessing that they popped the bottom internal cover off, and increased the tension on both curtains. Hopefully that timed the shutter properly, but now it is operating in a higher tension regime, and hopefully overcomes the friction and tension mismatch that is causing the issue.

And hopefully they re-adjusted the shutter brake too, as now it is operating at a higher tension and the brake might need adjustment to ensure that there is no bounce when the shutter slams to a stop.

But the key is that if the shop knows what they are doing, and that adjustment can be done quickly, they'll do it quickly. The key is "know what they are doing".
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Old 09-10-2015   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vickko View Post
Hmmm... in 5 minutes? I'm guessing that they popped the bottom internal cover off, and increased the tension on both curtains. Hopefully that timed the shutter properly, but now it is operating in a higher tension regime, and hopefully overcomes the friction and tension mismatch that is causing the issue.

And hopefully they re-adjusted the shutter brake too, as now it is operating at a higher tension and the brake might need adjustment to ensure that there is no bounce when the shutter slams to a stop.

But the key is that if the shop knows what they are doing, and that adjustment can be done quickly, they'll do it quickly. The key is "know what they are doing".
Vick, I would certainly hope that Nikon know what they're doing with an F2

I recently had a chat with one of the repair guys at Kiitos Camera Repair, a specialist Nikon repair shop in Tokyo with very close ties to the Nikon factory (he's an ex-Nikon repair guy who set up his own repair business after retiring from Nikon) about a Nikon F he overhauled for me. He said after overhauling a camera with a mechanical shutter (F, F2, Nikon RFs) its normal for the settings to drift a bit until they "settle in", so they keep a camera for an extra week after its been overhauled and check the shutter daily to fine tune it before returning it to the owner. Perhaps the repair shop that replaced the shutter in the OP's F2 just returned the camera to him before the shutter had fully "settled in"?
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Old 09-10-2015   #15
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Been out all afternoon and missed all the posts. Thanks for everyone's input.

I did send an email to Sover Wong and his opinion was that it was shutter bounce. I sent the same image to the local shop who serviced the camera and they agreed that it was shutter bounce. They said they could adjust it for me while I waited, so that is one option.

I would like to get it "fixed for good" because it has become my "Walking around camera" that I have with me every day. I think I would be okay with losing it for a week if it then is reliable for the next number of years.
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Old 09-13-2015   #16
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Built a shutter tester and was surprised to find that the shutter bounce only occurs at certain shutter speeds. No bounce at 1/2000th, 1/1000th and 1/500th.

1/500th, no bounce


1/250th, considerable bounce


1/125th, bad bounce


flash sync speed, bad bounce


1/60th, less bounce


1/30th, even less bounce


1/15th, bounce gone


All the slower speeds were clean. Wonder why it's only on the middle shutter speeds?

Best,
-Tim
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Old 09-13-2015   #17
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Just a guess, but different shutter brake mechanism for slow and fast speeds vs. medium speeds?

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Old 09-13-2015   #18
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http://ss-it.de/data/servicemanuals/F2.pdf
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Old 09-13-2015   #19
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Sounds like the rubber first and/or second brakes are worn. You'd have to remove the bottom cover to access them so it would probably be better to let a tech replace them..
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Old 09-13-2015   #20
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Send it to Sover!
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Old 09-13-2015   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmyjoe View Post
Built a shutter tester and was surprised to find that the shutter bounce only occurs at certain shutter speeds.
Tim, very interesting! Could you give us some details on how you built your shutter tester?
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Old 09-13-2015   #22
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It's based on what this guy did, but his did not work for me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsmy0VBk5B8

I took that principal and used an iPhone for light source, the test camera without a lens, and a digital camera with a macro lens. It's pretty simple and works great for observing shutter bounce.

Best,
-Tim
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Old 09-13-2015   #23
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**Frustrated Photographer Rant**

If these stupid F2 cameras are supposed to be so darn reliable and bullet proof, how come I've had nothing but shutter problems with mine ever since I got it. After fussing with it not working right for the first few months, I brought it to a reputable shop and they said they replaced the whole stinking shutter. And that lasted less than six months. What the Heck! I've had more reliable disposable cameras.

**Rant Over**
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Old 09-13-2015   #24
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I have to admit when I looked at the photo you posted, my first thought was whether the first curtain was bouncing back a bit. Simply because the image shows such a narrow band of reduced exposure so close to the frame edge, that is reasonably crisply defined. Uneven exposure due to the second curtain catching the first tends to happen over a somewhat wider portion of the frame, in most cases. Sorry to hear of your problems. The Nikon F series have a pretty good reputation for reliability. Given that a new shutter has been installed, I suspect it's just an adjustment issue.
Cheers,
Brett
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Old 09-13-2015   #25
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Tim--face it--you probably have a bad example. I've used F2s since I bought one new in 1972 and have never had a failure. In fact, among the Nikons I have,---no failures. As cheap as F2s are, get another one. They are going crazy cheap on kehoutlet. Or--have the one you have serviced by Jim at Vermont camera repair and rest easy. I have several serviced by him and they work great! F2s were made by the millions; surely there is a good one for you out there somewhere---!
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Old 09-14-2015   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmyjoe View Post
**Frustrated Photographer Rant**

If these stupid F2 cameras are supposed to be so darn reliable and bullet proof, how come I've had nothing but shutter problems with mine ever since I got it. After fussing with it not working right for the first few months, I brought it to a reputable shop and they said they replaced the whole stinking shutter. And that lasted less than six months. What the Heck! I've had more reliable disposable cameras.

**Rant Over**
I once asked Sover Wong to replace a shutter in an F2/T that had a holed curtain. He advised against it. His advice was that the shutter is very difficult to replace and set up correctly afterwards and that problems definitely could arise.

His advice was to use the shutter crate from a known good donor body. I just wonder whether your repairer might have experienced those problems in setting the camera up after shutter replacement.

I noticed that you have already spoken to Sover, perhaps contact him again and ask his opinion on shutter replacement and its difficulties...?

Just my two pennies worth.

Regards

Simon
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Old 09-14-2015   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmyjoe View Post
**Frustrated Photographer Rant**

If these stupid F2 cameras are supposed to be so darn reliable and bullet proof, how come I've had nothing but shutter problems with mine ever since I got it. After fussing with it not working right for the first few months, I brought it to a reputable shop and they said they replaced the whole stinking shutter. And that lasted less than six months. What the Heck! I've had more reliable disposable cameras.

**Rant Over**
I've heard once that the F2 bodies with a s/n beginning by 74 could have repetitive shutter problems. Unfortunately I have one and I'm not too sure about its shutter, which sounds dry.

What about yours ?

I assume you have a finder. The good point is that late F2 bodies without their finders can be bought for not that much off eBay.

In my experience the F2 bodies with s/n beginning by 78 are indeed bullet proof. I still have one and had two others in the past.
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Old 09-14-2015   #28
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The serial number on mine is in the 73XXXXX range. The shop is insisting that they put in a new shutter mechanism, not from another camera. I guess it's just way out of whack. The camera looks like it's had a rough life, so maybe the body is better tossed in the ash can. I've already spent WAY TOO MUCH money and time on it, trying to get it working properly. In the short time it did work properly, I loved shooting with it.
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Old 09-14-2015   #29
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Hi everyone. First, I want to thank everyone for their input, it has all been really helpful. This is an issue that doesn't follow logical thinking as I have heard from a number of different technicians I've talked to about what it could be. Some thought it was shutter bounce, some others thought absolutely not.

Someone from another forum made a suggestion that I didn't know was possible. My crude shutter tester uses my Nikon 1 V2 camera. I was not aware that this camera can shoot 1200 fps video. Once I figured out how to do that, I was able to make a video, and sure enough, the first curtain is coming completely across, disappearing out of frame, and then bouncing back into the frame for a split second before the second curtain comes across.

The V2 will only capture a small area at that frame rate, so here is the slice I took of the shutter mechanism for the video.



And here is a Quicktime movie of the shutter at 1/250th of a second (the speed where the issue is the worst). If you watch the video carefully you can see the first shutter curtain finishing it's travel and then "bouncing" back into the frame.

http://www.timcarrollphotography.com/Forums/Bounce.mov

Here are a few individual frames from the video (the orange background was the light source showing through the open shutter):

First curtain finishing its travel:


First curtain starting to bounce back into the frame:


First curtain stops into the frame as second curtain is finishing its travel:


And finally second curtain finishing its travel (and maybe pushing first curtain back out of the frame);


Maybe I'm weird, but I do find this fascinating, although frustrating.

Thanks again for everyone's input.

Best,
-Tim
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Old 09-14-2015   #30
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Wow - good catch!

Then you know what it is at least - now on to fixing it!
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Old 09-14-2015   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmyjoe View Post
**Frustrated Photographer Rant**

If these stupid F2 cameras are supposed to be so darn reliable and bullet proof, how come I've had nothing but shutter problems with mine ever since I got it. After fussing with it not working right for the first few months, I brought it to a reputable shop and they said they replaced the whole stinking shutter. And that lasted less than six months. What the Heck! I've had more reliable disposable cameras.

**Rant Over**
You've had a bad time with one F2 body, a camera that is at minimum 35 years old (could be as much as 45 years old) and has an unknown history of use, abuse, damage, and repair. Any camera that old can have a huge number of problems dependent upon how it has been treated through its lifetime. F2s fully deserve the reputation they have for robustness and reliability, but any F2 can be trashed out from abuse, just like any other camera.

The shop that did the overhaul for you did a poor job. Either just the luck of the draw—the tech had a bad day—or they didn't evaluate deeply enough. What specifically does "replace the whole shutter" mean? New curtains, new support structure, new timing gear train, etc etc? Could mean any number of things, and they might not have gotten the right bit repaired.

Find another shop and have them assess the body. I've heard nothing but good things about Sover Wong's work on Nikon F2 bodies:
http://www.soverf2repair.webs.com

G
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Old 09-14-2015   #32
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After viewing your film clip it appears to me that the second curtain is bouncing as well.
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Old 09-14-2015   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goodtimes View Post
Could that not be just a little more tension required on the first curtain ?
I have no idea.

I sent it back to the first shop and when I get it back, if it still isn't fixed, I'll probably buy a body from Sover. This body has had a hard life and I'm not interested in spending any more money on it. I'll use the finder, focus screen, back, etc. on another F2 body.

Best,
-Tim
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Old 09-14-2015   #34
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Quote:
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After viewing your film clip it appears to me that the second curtain is bouncing as well.
Sure looks like it.
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Old 09-14-2015   #35
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Quote:
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What specifically does "replace the whole shutter" mean? New curtains, new support structure, new timing gear train, etc etc?
Given that there is a significant lack of spares, even more so when it come to the greater modules, like curtains, crates or escapements, if they did not lie entirely about that "new", anything new that got added probably was limited to dousing the shutter with fresh WD40.
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Old 09-14-2015   #36
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They used to be a Nikon service center and supposedly they have a wealth of NOS parts for the early F cameras. When I asked them they would not clarify what they replaced, but they did say they used all NOS parts. I know the curtains are the original ones because they have a slight wrinkle that I noticed when I first got the camera.
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Old 09-14-2015   #37
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So they never "replaced" the shutter. Any place that won't tell you exactly what they changed out is hiding something. And the curtains shouldn't be bouncing like that. If you're not satisfied with the work, I'd get a refund.

PF
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Old 09-14-2015   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmyjoe View Post
They used to be a Nikon service center and supposedly they have a wealth of NOS parts for the early F cameras. When I asked them they would not clarify what they replaced, but they did say they used all NOS parts. I know the curtains are the original ones because they have a slight wrinkle that I noticed when I first got the camera.
That makes me worry about their credibility.

When I had my Robot Star 50 overhauled, the invoice included a complete list with part numbers for all the bits replaced, and the old parts were returned as well. This sort of clear communications inspires confidence in a repair.

G
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Old 09-14-2015   #39
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Quote:
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When I had my Robot Star 50 overhauled, the invoice included a complete list with part numbers for all the bits replaced, and the old parts were returned as well. This sort of clear communications inspires confidence in a repair.

G
Yeah it would. Part of the reason I started this thread is because I don't have a lot of confidence in this shop and I wanted to get as much information about the problem as I could so when I talked to them I wasn't coming from a complete place of ignorance.
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Old 09-14-2015   #40
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As an aside, when 'you' use Sover, he sends you images of the work on your camera in progress! You get to see it apart in pieces, with him showing you what is being fixed/replaced.
Not only is his work incredible, but he is also cheaper and quicker - shipping to England and back - than my local Los Angeles shop.
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