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learning camera repair

Chad Eyanson , Mar 03, 2000; 06:00 a.m.

I am looking for advice on learning how to repair cameras and good books on that subject. Does anyone have experience with the Romney camera repair manuals or can you suggest alternatives? I am primarily interested in 35mm and medium format. Thanks.


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jeff Drew , Mar 03, 2000; 09:26 a.m.

Ed Romney's stuff is a great read even for general knowledge. Romney has some very good, common sense writings on the merits of models and brands. Repair manuals for specific cameras are generally useful. Having a good tool set and practicing on junk is also great education. Remember, you will be working with very small parts, springs, electronics etc. Many cameras are incredibly complex and wonderful works of integration. It can be daunting at first, but care and patience will be good teachers.

Lev Pertsov , Mar 03, 2000; 10:30 a.m.

Here are my 2 cents: I bought Romney's books, tools, etc and a couple of bodies that I thought it would be fun to tinker with. Well, it was fun! The end result? A plastic bag full of camera parts. Books are good and have a lot of info. However, reading a book and trying to do what it says are two completely different things. The second I opened my first body all sorts of small springs and doodats came flying out. Ever tried looking for a spring 1mm long in a carpet?

Since then I sold my Romney books and tools on eBay because I realized that some things are better left to professionals - they do much better job and it's cheaper in the long run (for the price of books + tools + effort!!! I could have bought a new SLR)

jeff Drew , Mar 03, 2000; 07:44 p.m.

Lev is smart! And I could not have stated the other side of the debate any better! But, sometimes a guy just has to toss the instructions and grab a hammer and learn! Many of us have done it, have lots of spare parts now, and learned from it. Curiousity is a good thing, tho'.

Jim Strutz , Mar 03, 2000; 10:32 p.m.

Romney's books are great. I've ripped cameras & other photo equipment apart with them and even gotten most of them back together. Home camera repair does have something to do with an aptitude for such things though. I spent many years fixing mechanical calculators & typewriters and can't seem to give up taking things apart just to see what's in side. I've gotten all kinds of advice from people right here on Photo.net to never do it, but it hasn't stopped me from fixing my own stuff when I can. That said, some people should never try it.

Chad Eyanson , Mar 04, 2000; 12:15 a.m.

Thanks for the responses. Just for clarification, I want to learn camera repair for the purpose of supplementing my income (and because it is interesting to me), so I will have to learn it to a professional level. I really don't want to have to leave it to the 'professionals' but your points are well taken. Thanks again.

Floyd Vaughan , Mar 04, 2000; 02:38 a.m.

Hi, I've taken to reffering to 'bus-fare'.

This is what you use to get back home.

You can take good notes, talk into a tape recorder, or anything else you can think of.

So far the very best is a video tape camera. Wonderful.

Just leave it running pointed onto what you are working on, with good lights. When you are about to take apart some stuff, take a tight shot of the item.

Carpet on your work bench can be a real saver, tiny things don't bounce quite so far, or else just thick fabric like upholstery.

I find dark colors are better for me for whatever reason.

Have fun, but if it's really important to get the item repaired, then you may wish to send it out to a real service person. At least they know where to buy lefthand threaded screws the size of a thought.

Hoyin Lee , Mar 04, 2000; 03:22 p.m.

I want to learn camera repair for the purpose of supplementing my income (and because it is interesting to me), so I will have to learn it to a professional level.

Chad, you can't be serious! You want to attain professional-level skill in camera repairing just by reading a couple of repair manuals??! With the complexity of today's cameras, you'll need a diploma in mechanical and electrical engineering if you're really serious about what your intention. Or you could do it the way my regular camera repair did--take up an apprenticeship from a real pro for a number of years.

Robert Segal , Mar 05, 2000; 10:02 p.m.

"With the complexity of today's cameras, you'll need a diploma in mechanical and electrical engineering. . ." - Hoyin Lee

Not so sure 'bout that! It used to take some rudimentary electrical engineering know-how to succeed in the field of computer repair (where I now occasionally fund my camera-buying habit). To keep costs low, PC manufacturers began using replacable modules. Now the tech just needs to identify and replace faulty modules. Cars are leaning the same way, it seems, with the only 'specialized' knowledge being how to hook up the analyzer and how to swap the indicated part. If today's cameras follow the pattern (I wouldn't know, as my stuff's manual and I can dismantle my FT-b with a Swiss Army knife on the dinner table), all you need now is the right digital test equipment -- which you probably can't get without the manufacturer's blessing -- and a repair flow chart. Keep dismantling, Chad! And to Floyd's advice I'll add: Don't work in a carpeted room if you can help it!


Lon Graham , Mar 06, 2000; 07:00 a.m.

So, is Romney's stuff the best or are there some other books out there that are better? Also, what about the kit that Romney sells? Does it cover most of what a beginner would need?

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