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Repair costs for a Nikon F

Eric Simth , Nov 29, 2002; 03:11 a.m.


I just took some of my photo equipment to the local repair shop to have it serviced. I have a Nikon F 35mm camera body, nikkor 50mm lens, nikkor 135mm lens, nikkor H 2.8 lens, and a light meter.

Basically all of the eq. needed a good cleaning and lubing as aperatures on 2 of the lenses get stuck sometimes. I don't know everything about cameras and costs for repairing them. So I thought I would ask for everyone's estimation for repair costs.

The camera shop called me back with a $396 repair estimate for the equipment! 8| I was shocked and am not sure if they are trying to rip me off. Here's a sum of "what needs to be done":
--- Body: repair speeds & run times, adjust transport. $139
--- 50mm: fungus on lens, oil on blades. $62
--- 135mm: oil on blades. $62
--- 2.8cm F 3.5 Lens: aperature sticks. $64
--- Meter: calibrate. $69

I would appreciate it if someone could give me a heads up on those prices. I did not think it would cost THAT much to clean/adjust equipment. I know just taking apart delicate things can get expensive, but I was expecting around $30 per lens at the highest.



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Richard Ilomaki , Nov 29, 2002; 08:05 a.m.


That is not outrageous today. I had an old FM cleaned, lubed and adjusted for 188 Cdn last month, almost more than the camera cost new, and there were no lenses involved.

Considereing it takes the best part of an hour to dissambe a lens, clean it, save all the parts, and know how they go back together again, it is not out of line with what doctors charge for a flu shot or a consultation for a simple prescription, and certainly less than you would pay a plumber for a day's work.

After you will have a well-functioning camera for another 30 years. Guess what a competant Leica job would cost?!?! I was quoted 350 US to clean a bit of haze off a Leica lens, AFTER I paid to ship it to Germany from Singapore.


Colin Carron , Nov 29, 2002; 08:54 a.m.


If you have only got one quote I would suggest you might try to get some more. Look for camera repairers in photography magazines and ask them for a quote. I live in the UK so prices will not necessarily be comparable but when I was looking for quotes for getting my FM2 body CLA'd the quotes varied from about £100 (about $150) to £70 (about $110). I would also go direct to the repairer rather than through a shop as you are paying the middle man for his cut.

Bill Mitchell , Nov 29, 2002; 10:06 a.m.

It sounds about right to me.

Mike Kovacs , Nov 29, 2002; 11:30 a.m.

Try here for a comparison:


He specializes in repairing broken meters and can probably do a lot more thorough checkup for you than a $69 calibration ($85). See the details.

He recommends Robert Kipling compur1@yahoo.com for repair of the actual body. I haven't used his services.

If your lenses are all non-AI, none of them are probably worth fixing for that kind of money unless they are in collector's condition. You can probably replace them with AI or AI-S spec lenses for about the same amount! The 28, 50, and 135 are all inexpensive lenses to buy on the used market.

I have the benefit of a weak Canadian dollar to lower the figure, but I would pay about $35-40 USD per lens through my repairman.

Edward Ingold , Nov 29, 2002; 11:36 a.m.

The price seems reasonable. I'd recommend sending the camera to a Nikon service center. It's your best guarantee to get the job done right the first time. It's also generally the quickest turn-around. A CLA and mirror-foam replacement for my F3HP cost $150 last year. That included a meter calibration.

Eric Simth , Nov 29, 2002; 01:51 p.m.

Thanks to everyone for providing me some feedback about this question. I will definately get a second opinion on the repairs for comparison. After I posted this question, I did some searching on the net for repair shops in my area. I found a couple of places that I can check into. I definately might even consider sending the eq. to a Nikon authorized repair shop.

At first the prices seemed a bit steep. Now I have a different outlook by the feedback from you all. The camera I have is old and used to be my grandfathers. So I do want to get it in prime condition no matter the costs. Thankfully I have a Canon EOS that I will continue to use for my photographic works. :)

Thanks again, Eric

Henk , Nov 29, 2002; 03:02 p.m.


The only alternative to these prices is to look for a decent watchmaker who could use some extra work. Be sure to tell him up front its about an old mechanical camera. Tell him as clearly as possible what you want and what you are willing to pay for it. Providing documentation to the CLA/Reapair you want helps too. The experiences i had with this are very good, and prices are affordable. Meteradjusting is something better left to the camera repairman IMO.


Kelly Flanigan , Nov 29, 2002; 03:28 p.m.

The Nikon F body is made out of 918 pieces; according to the old Nikon Nikormat handbook; and its shutter is good for 100,000 cycles.(1968). My two old Nikon F's have never needed repair; or either my Nikon F2. They get used alot. All three were bought used for 99,79, and 139 dollars several decades ago. The second Nikon F was bought from KEH 20 years ago as a spare body. They had many bodies in the 60 to 80 dollar range.

If the nikon F body repair was done correctly; the body might outlast you.

Whether one should get a lens repaired depends on the used lens market. Many used lenses on E*bay might be cheaper than getting an older one repaired. Labor rates for repair vary alot. A good well done repair is not free. I sent two leaf shutters I took out of my Rollei's to Marty Forscher in 1976; and they still work fine today. They cost 38 dollars each for a CLA in 1976. That is 81 cents/year; if they die today. I read threads on this board saying "The camera is 10 years old; you should get a CLA"; and wonder if it just because people dont use their cameras as much; and they shutters get all mucked up due to lack of usage.

Using ones cameras from time to time is a good way to keep them in shape.

Mike Kovacs , Nov 29, 2002; 04:45 p.m.

Since you consider them of sentimental value, I'd recommend getting them fixed and using them at least once in a while to keep them from getting flabby and out of shape. You will either appreciate your EOS more or you may come to dislike it. The old manual cameras are such a simple way to shoot and are well-built gems of a time long past.

Your tuned-up F and lenses will probably be working for your grandchildren. 35mm film might well be a historical curiosity by then! Scary stuff.

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