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Where to Get a Camera Fixed

by Philip Greenspun, June 1999 (updated January 2007)


If you have a modern digital camera or point and shoot, the most obvious thing to do is send it back to the manufacturer. So if you have a Canon EOS and live in the US, just send it back to Canon USA. You can usually find repair facility addresses and phone numbers by surfing the manufacturers' Web sites. If you live in a strange Third World country, you can still FEDEX in a camera body with a credit card number and get your camera fixed by the US importer.

Overturned Golf.  Entering the Wicklow Mountains south of Dublin, Ireland. If you have an old 35mm camera with sentimental value and are prepared to spend $200 to make it work again, you might think that sending it back to Nikon or Pentax or whoever would work. However, invariably the manufacturers don't want to deal with models that are more than 20 years old and will tell you that "parts aren't available." You need an independent shop that is willing to cannibalize junk bodies, machine parts from scratch, and otherwise exercise creativity. A traditional favorite is Professional Camera Repair in New York City: (212) 382-0550.

If you have a Hasselblad, consider sending it to Gil Ghitelman (referenced in our where to buy a camera article). He employs his own Hasselblad repair guy.

New England's only camera repair legend is Steve Grimes, 401-762-0857, www.skgrimes.com. He solves all kinds of strange large format problems with custom machining. He also does bread-and-butter large format shutter repairs, lens mounting, etc.

We're not experts on camera repair shops in every state. You'll probably get the best advice from our Neighbor to Neighbor service or the user-contributed comments (below). If all else fails, you may need to buy a new camera from one of the photo.net recommended retailers.

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Don Atzberger , September 26, 1997; 08:43 P.M.

Repair Shop in Tampa:

In my Nikon N-series Comparison Chart, I refered to a little repair shop near the Tampa airport that did a nice job on my Maxxum 2xi after hours at a reasonable price. A search yielded the name and address of the place.

V P Technical Inc.
3434 West Columbus Drive # 104
Tampa, FL 33607
(813) 876-7099

There seemed to be a lot of Kiev equipment on the shelves there so I believe that this is one of the few shops that repairs these cameras. Should you have trouble finding a repair shop that handles Kiev, I'd suggest you give this place a call.

Paul Wilson , October 01, 1997; 01:22 P.M.

If you live near but not in Boston, consider going to Sanford Camera Repair in Arlington MA. They are a factory authorized Nikon, Canon and Minolta repair shop(probably other brands also including medium format).

They do an excellent job and they have a display case that's worth visting for by itself. It's full of destroyed cameras plus the cause of destruction(things like being driven over and sprayed with salt water).

John English , March 01, 1998; 10:24 P.M.

If you have a Canon T-90 in need of repair don't bother sending it to Canon. They returned mine with a note stating that the "service life of the T-90 has just ended" and they no longer have repair parts. After several phone calls I found an independant repair shop with parts. Good luck.

Ken Eng , March 06, 1998; 12:48 P.M.

If you live in/around Baltimore and need your medium format and lighting equipment serviced, go see Peter Whedbee!!! This guy KNOWS Hasselblads and has a really good reputation amongst the local working photographers. His number is (410) 435-4481.

Cris Pedregal Martin , June 08, 1998; 05:18 P.M.

A (the?) source for out-of-print user and repair camera manuals is John Craig, http://www.craigcamera.com

If he doesn't have the original he will sell you a photocopy, in the same size and binding as the original.

As usual no relation other than as a satisfied customer, etc... (found him by recommendation of the folks at KEH).

Stephen C. Murphy , July 01, 1998; 01:02 P.M.

In the Boise area:

Photek (3075 N. Cole, Boise, ID 83704, (208) 323- 7568) is a really great place. Their repairs are reasonably priced, and they seem to have a nice supply of used parts. They also have a nice selection of used lenses and bodies in good to excellent condition.

Dave Miller , February 05, 1999; 02:43 P.M.

This is a confirmation of the recommendation of Photek in Boise, Idaho. They can be depended on for superior quality and a reasonable price, in my experience. They've also more than once had in stock what I just couldn't find elsewhere. http://www.allworld.net/photek/index.html is their website.

Manfred Mornhinweg , May 21, 1999; 05:34 P.M.

Why don't try to repair your stuff yourself? Many camera repairs turn out to be just cleaning, replacing light seals, or replacing broken levers. These jobs can be done by anyone who has reasonably good fine motricity, some patience, and a set of small screwdrivers, ring openers and a few other tools. The time invested is often less than what you would take to find out a service shop, pack the camera, ship it, etc. Living in one of those "strange third world countries" mentioned by Phil, I have no real option other than doing my own repairs. Shipping a broken camera to the USA would involve a very complicated and quite expensive "export and re-import" procedure. I have repaired a few dozen cameras and accesories over the years, both my own and those of friends, and found that in almost all cases the problem is something mechanical, often quite obvious. Electronic problems are much less common. It can be necessary to machine some part (this can get difficult!), but more often than not the sick camera can be healed without any special medicine!

If you have a quite new $2000 camera that broke, and a nearby highly recommended service shop, and your hands are hardly able to handle any tool more delicate than a chainsaw, then by all means get it fixed professionally. But if the camera is 30 years old, worth $200, you have reasonable skills, and the nearest service shop that may accept it is a continent away, it would be a good idea to fix it yourself! If you mess up, at least you had the opportunity to see how cameras look inside! :-)

Keep a tube of cyanoacrilate glue at hand. A lot of failures in autofocus mechanisms go back to cheap plastic gears sliding on the shafts!

And a small anecdote: Once a friend asked me to repair his Canon (I think it was a T50 or so). It looked like an electronic problem. He had replaced the battery without results (first things first!). Being an electronic engineer, I dived into the camera's circuitry, reverse-engineered it until understanding what was happening - power supply problems! I removed the battery, connected the camera to a bench power supply, and it worked like a charm... I put in a new battery - problem fixed! The explanation: The battery had a manufacturing defect, manifesting itself in very high internal resistance, while the voltage at no load was perfectly normal. When my friend replaced the battery, he bought the new one at the same shop, and got one from the same manufacturing batch, with the same defect!!!

So, don't take anything for granted.

David Marhadoe , August 16, 1999; 10:51 P.M.

Southern California? Camera Tech of Anaheim for all old cameras. The guy has been doing it for 30 years and does a great job for a great price. Doubt he'd be too good with the newer stuff, but if it's a mechanical, as opposed to an electrical, problem, bring it in.

David

Tony Padilla , October 17, 1999; 10:28 A.M.

if in jacksonville, fl. and need repairs, check out southern technical photo services. factory authorized for at least nikon and canon. super good prices and quick turn around

Michelle Dose , May 13, 2000; 05:59 P.M.

My Canon T90 needed a major overhaul a couple of years ago. The Camera Clinic in Reno, NV did a great job getting my favorite camera back into service.

waikit lau , June 28, 2000; 07:00 P.M.

trial comment.

Christian Deichert , July 03, 2000; 12:57 A.M.

In the Atlanta area, I highly recommend Camera Repair Japan (CRJ) in Norcross, just off Jimmy Carter Blvd. Excellent pricing and service. Compared to other service I've gotten, they certainly went the extra mile in CLA'ing my gear; it's the cleanest it's been since it came out of the factory 20 years ago. Tel: (770) 849-0555, Fax: (770) 449-7999, Email CRJCO@aol.com. I doubt you will be disappointed.

Chris Pitassy , July 09, 2000; 09:01 P.M.

If you own an older Canon A-series Manual focus camera, send it to Karl Aimo in Mass. His E-mail address is AE1REPAIR@aol.com, he cought a problem with my AE-1 and repaired it for a very good price. He charged $65 to fix a jam, a dead hotshoe, and give the camera a CLA. The local camera shops in my area wanted $120 to fix the hotshoe alone. Great service and fast turn-around along with great prices.

Michael Kmiec , October 02, 2000; 05:48 P.M.

In Philadelphia, try to avoid Camera Brokers of Philadelphia (CBOP). Took a camera there for cleaning/adjustment in early August. Went back a week later to find out their repair technician wasn't (and hadn't) been around, so my repair waited until he returned. Received a phone call from him later, saying that my Canon SLR needed some other work - shutter repair, mostly - and that it would be another 2.5 to 3 weeks, and I would get a call.

After waiting for the call (in the meantime missing the opportunity to take the camera on a trip) I returned to the shop today (October 2) asking the whereabouts of the camera since I had never been called. I was told that "the camera just got in today" by one employee, and then "the camera came in a while ago, and we called you." (The number I provided was a work number, so there's no chance I "missed the call or there was no answering machine" as I was told. Even so, wouldn't good customer service dictate that you keep calling until A.) you speak with someone or B.) can leave a message? )

In any case, the second employee I dealt with "didn't like my tone" and told me to "take my business elsewhere." I suggest you do the same.

Bob Benzinger , May 26, 2001; 10:32 A.M.

In the Washington D.C. area, I have experience with three repair shops:

Mora Camera Service: Just off Wisconsin Avenue, near Tenley Circle in the District. Nikon only. Small, personal, and they can do most anything on a Nikon. Reasonable prices and decent turnaround times. Their work for me has always been first rate. They also sell used Nikon and Nikon-compatible equipment. Last time I was there, they had a rare 500mm f5 mirror lens at a competitive price.

Alpha Camera: In the Clarendon area of Arlington, at the corner of Washington Blvd. and Wilson Blvd. This is another small shop, run by a Vietnamese guy who fixed Nikons for the war correspondents in Saigon. He has done some first-rate work for me on older mechanical equipment, cleaning fungus out of lenses and that sort of thing. Rates are quite reasonable. Don't be put off by the funky storefront, this guy does good work. I don't know how knowledgeable he is about the latest autofocus wonderboxes, but he is definitely the first guy I would go to for work on an older camera.

Strauss Photo: Big, institutional, diverse, and slow. In a part of the District I would prefer never to set foot, Strauss does repair work for most of the camera shops in the DC area. They are factory authorized by several major manufacturers. I have had mixed results with them. They are basically good, but the operation is big enough that some sloppy work can slip through. Their size does mean they can fix a lot of stuff that a smaller outfit wouldn't have parts for. I don't send them Nikons any more; I wasn't real pleased with the last overhaul on my F3 and the camera wound up at Mora a few months later. I would still go to Strauss if Mora or Alpha couldn't help me.

John Verity , February 04, 2002; 02:41 P.M.

Stay away from MACK CAMERA and Repair, in Springfield, NJ. They are arrogant, ham-handed thieves. Unfortunately, they provide lots of extended-warranty service to camera shops all over, so many consumers may have no other choice.

I live near Mack and recently brought them a Rollei TLR for servicing. I asked specifically to speak with their repair person before they worked on the camera. In fact, nobody called me, they went ahead with the work, and they returned the camera to me in much worse shape than it was before -- an exterior part entirely missing, a lock-lever detached, damage to the film transport mechanism and to the camera back/latch. This is beyond belief. When I complained that nobody had called, they said take your camera and leave, don't pay us--thinking I would be mollified. It was only when I got home that I saw what a botch job they had done.

Now, the company president refuses my phone calls, ignores my faxes. My next step will be Better Business Bureau, then Small Claims Court, I imagine.

Clearly, this company knows nothing about fixing real cameras. It is to be avoided at all cost.

I would be happy to hear of others' experience with them.

John Wright , April 07, 2002; 01:34 P.M.

I highly recommend Superior Camera Repair and Exchange, in Woodland Hills, CA. The owner has done excellent work with my Minolta SRT-101 and XD-11 cameras, which most shops refuse to even look at. I had a short in my XD-11 which drained fresh batteries in less than a month; no problem, he fixed it inside a week. He loves working with classic cameras.

David Bembo , August 04, 2002; 01:35 P.M.

For Olympus OM repair I can really recommend John Hermanson's Camtech (www.zuiko.com; Huntington, NY). He did a great service job on my OM-1, repairing a shutter fault and updating to silver oxide battery at a very reasonable price. I sent my camera across from the UK after throwing money away with a local repairer who was well below par.

This isn't to say that there are no decent UK based OM repairers, but after a bad experience I wanted the best and Camtech are well respected in the OM world.

Angelo Bedolla , September 22, 2002; 08:56 P.M.

International Camera in Chicago and California provide repair for just about every type of camera. I have purchased a few of the older A- and F- Canon models and lenses all to be in great, almost new condition. I have had a few lenses and the AE-1P repaired by them. Very knowledgeable and impressive operation. I have seen everything form a Leica to a Canon Elan. They also perform repairs on dark room equipment and 8mm cameras and projectors.

Sam Johnson , October 28, 2002; 09:35 P.M.

I have been absolutely delighted with Peachtree Camera Repair of Marietta, GA (northwest of Atlanta). The owner and some of the techs worked for Nikon when they had a shop in Norcross, GA. They can repair just about any kind of 35mm and medium format film SLR or even point & shoots. Not sure if they can do rangefinders or LF. They specialize in Nikon, Canon and Hasselblad (listed on Hasselblad site) but can do Olympus, Pentax, Minolta, Mamiya, etc., etc. Best of all, the price is right and the speed is right now, even though they seem to be always busy! Please use them so I can be sure they will always be around (I've received 1-day turnaround service on lens CLA's)!

D.F. Griffith , February 28, 2003; 05:42 P.M.

Just wanted to add another plus for Karl Aimo, and the repairs he made on my Canon AE-1P. Performed a CLA, replaced the light seals, and replaced the rewind knob spring for $55 plus $7 for shipping. Great, friendly service and fast turnaround. Around 3 weeks, including shipping time. The old shutter sounds like a new one again. You can email Karl at AE1repair@aol.com

Richard Lowery , June 21, 2003; 02:26 A.M.

Saving a camera (35mm electronic) that has been dunked in water or otherwise become very wet!! I dropped a 35mm Pentax zx-7 into a frigid mtn. stream. It floated for a few seconds, then sank. I retreived it within minutes. 1. Removed the film and batteries . 2. Remove lens 3. Sponged off with a clean , dry towel after gentle shaking 4. Air dried at room temps. for 24 hours under a high velocity fan. 5. Placed in a vacuum bag for 6 hours. 6. Further air drying without a fan for 4-6 hours 7. Vacuum bagged again in bright sunlight for 1 hr.(mild heat source) 8. Mirror cleaned. Batteries reinstalled, lens attached and film loaded. 9. CAmera was fully operational -auto focus motor worked as well as all other functions. ;-)

Rino Sanchez , August 05, 2003; 01:21 P.M.

I just wanted to recommend Professional Photographic Repair in San Diego (http://www.procamerarepair.com/). I went in with a 100mm/f2 Minolta autofocus lens that appeared to have some fungus. The focus ring was loose and the diaphragm slow. Their quote was $75. It ends up that it wasn't fungus. An inner element had been scratched from tampering. They fixed all that, repaired the auto-focus, cleaned and lubed it up, all for the original estimate. I highly recommend them.

Jaimie Sirovich , January 19, 2004; 12:19 P.M.

Has anyone heard anything about www.camerarepair.com ?

Mike Primamore , August 25, 2007; 12:31 A.M.

Stay FAR away from MACK Camera and Repair! Located in Springfield NJ. The worst. They took 2.5 months for them to fix my Nikon D100, under their warranty. Its never been correct since. I don't know how they stay in business-arrogant and incompetent.

DO NOT BUY A MACK WARRANTY! WORTHLESS!

George Dempsey , September 27, 2007; 01:42 A.M.

I have a warranty from Repair Tech Inc for my Sony HD video camera. The video camera quit recording and I was instructed to contact Precision Camera for repair. They sent a box with the UPS label included. I sent it in, they repaired it as quickly as possible and shipped it back to me. The camera works great again! I am very pleased with Precision Camera and their service.

Matthew Janski , March 30, 2008; 06:20 A.M.

If you end up in East Sussex, England a great place to get your camera serviced is CAMSERVE. They are quick and professional.

dan Mar , September 14, 2008; 06:42 P.M.

i have 3 cameras i want repaired One is my minolta x-370 wich after i advance the film with the advance lever i have to use my finger nail to twist a little more on the bottom (where the motor drive hooks up) to be able to fire the next shot. the second is my Diacord L TLR that i would just like to be CLA because the slower shutter speeds dont seem accurate to me. ay can get and maby they can get the light meter to work, And the last is a Range finder that the range finding part is not working. The 3rd is a Rare Amica Eyelux RF with 45mm 1.8 Amicor Lens, and the range finder is not wirkin at all. I put a roll through it and tried to guess the distance and most came out out of focus for the less thain 30 feet shots. and a couple wer over exposed , i remeber a couple shots not sounding as fast as they should. Anyway is there one person that i can send all these to , insted one to a minolta guy and one to a TLR guy. I'm even thinkin of having my Kodak signet 40 CLA'ed since i been using it alot latly. By the way i am in central NY if that helps, but im not aversed to shipping.

Don Boyd , September 26, 2008; 07:17 A.M.

CANON FD Equipment Repair (Canon 'F', 'A' and 'T' Series bodies and FL & FD lenses). Due to very high production and quality construction there seems to be an endless number of Canon FD users. I'm not a DIY fan so, in 2002, when I got my "new" Canon F-1n (made in Mar 1977) I did a lot of research looking for a top-notch CLA. Found it. Mr. Ken Oikawa, 28288 West Worcester Rd., Sun City, CA 92586, Tel (951) 246-9136. Mr Oikawa is not on the web so contact is either telephone or snail mail. He worked in the Canon West Coast Service Center when FD was new and has some spare parts. As of 2008 I've had five FD bodies, 9 lenses, a Pwr Winder A and Pwr Winder F CLA'd by him with complete satisfaction. My 24-35 f/3.5 L lens needed replacement of the focusing ring assembly. He had the parts. He also refurbished a tripod collar on my nFd 200mm f/4 Macro lens so it held lens position. I can recommend Ken without hesitation. I have no connection other than as a very satisfied customer.

Michael Haft , May 31, 2009; 12:51 P.M.

I have some updated information for Washington D.C.

Mora and Alpha Camera talked about above have closed.

Andy Nguyen the owner of Alpha Camera is still in the Camera repair business and can be found at (703) 524 2031.

I have only had positive experiences with Andy. Recently had a Nikkor 18-200 completely overhauled, the lens is now back to flawless condition.

Matt Wood , September 25, 2009; 02:51 P.M.

Ditto for what Mike just said. Andy nguyen is an amazing Camera repair guy! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!! 703.524.2031; anviraphong@yahoo.com

Myra Stas , October 03, 2010; 04:14 P.M.

I have a canon powershot SX 100 IS that needed repaired.  I used CamerasAndParts.com     They were very reasonable identifed all problems and did a good job.   They had excellent customer service.

Tom Berlin , July 03, 2011; 03:22 P.M.

I would like to highly recommend CamerasAndParts.com as a great source for fixing digital cameras. I have a canon S5IS camera that developed a lens error problem. I used CamerasAndParts.com web site and paid a flat fee for the repair. I shipped the camera to them after calling them and getting a very knowlegable employee who answered all my questions. This employee even when out of his way to get me a further discount for "rush" service. I got the fixed camera back in less then two weeks and it how works like it did when it was brand new. I will not forget this company for any future camera repair needs.

 

Dave Grabarczyk , July 09, 2011; 08:20 P.M.

I recently had my Canon Power Shot SD970 lens repaired at Cameras and Parts in El Paso, Texas.  I found them through a link in my search for a lens repair.  I found their service top notch.  The lens was repaired promptly for a reasonable price.  They also included a cleaning and any software upgrade that was needed.  The repair also includes a 90 day warranty not for just the lens repair, but for any reapir that comes aong within that time period.  I'm very pleased with their work.

Dave (grabbydave)


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