35mm and 120 Medium Format Film Camera Repairs

35mm and 120 Medium Format Film Camera Repairs

35mm and 120 Medium Format Film Camera Repairs

Looking for 35mm film camera repairs near me? Or, digital DSLR camera repair near me?

So, you found a camera at a thrift shop or a garage sale or your dad gave you one. Repairing film cameras is expensive. Why? Because they no longer make film cameras so, if parts are needed, another identical camera has to be purchased and the parts from it used to repair your film camera.

Folks that know how to repair film cameras are few. Overall in the US, there are less than 15 knowledgeable repair technicians. Most of them are retired and unfortunately, knowledge transfer has not taken place to train the younger generation on film camera repairs. Sadly, their knowledge and skills will be gone in a few years. Since 2019, I have been sending cameras to different retired technicians that specialize in specific brands to get them overhauled before selling them. As a result, I have a good grasp of who to send cameras to and who not to send cameras to.

The cost to repair a film camera is high. And, the wait is long. It is common for camera repairs to take 6-8 weeks and for some higher-end models more than six months. Another thing to keep in mind is that most of the best repair technicians prefer doing only a complete overhaul as they do not want to be responsible for a Customer claim that something else stopped working after the camera was sent to them for repairing a specific problem.

So, unless your camera is of sentimental value or the camera costs more than $400, I do not recommend seeking a repair. Typical 35mm SLR repairs cost $225 + parts. This includes shipping both ways, fully insured and the technician's fee. For 120 medium format cameras, fees range from $300-750. Some of the cameras require specific tools to open and repair the cameras that only a handful of technicians for a given brand have. And, are factory-trained to use them.

Instead, buy a film camera that has already been overhauled and comes with a 30-day warranty. If you are looking for cheap, you will get what you pay for. Light leaks due to deteriorated light seals, problematic film advancing, skipping frames, double frames, inaccurate light meter and more. What folks don't take into consideration when they are ecstatic to get a cheap killer deal is that each film costs about $12-18. Add to that the cost of developing + scanning $14-20. Now you are at $26-38 per roll. Now, the pictures come out all blank. Or, skipped frames. Or, light leaks. The bigger cost is the cost of disappointment. Friends and family waiting for amazing film pictures. The $12 thrift store camera purchase no longer is a killer deal in a good sense. It kills the joy.

Digital or DSLR Camera Repairs

Best to send it to the factory even though it is more expensive. Or, send it to a factory-authorized repair facility. If the cost of repairs is close to half the cost of new camera, best to sell your broken camera as a parts camera and use that money to buy a new camera. Sorry, no digital cameras or video cameras or movie film cameras repaired.

Lens Repairs

This is a tricky one as it typically involves glass or optics. Fungus is rarely 100% fixable. As it typically eats into the glass. Loss of coating, haze, separation, superficial or deep scratches on smaller focal lengths are problematic compared to a higher focal length lens as such problems may barely be noticeable or fixable in post-production. Have a lens that makes a rattling noise when you shake it. Avoid it. Could be a part, a screw or optics becoming unseated.

The common problems to look for in a camera lens - haze, seperation (purple, violet, magenta colors that are around the edges as opposed to uniformly on the lens surface), fungus (super fine cobweb in white) and scratches. Cleaning marks are light scratches from years of cleaning the lens with an improper cleaning cloth. The end of your shirt, for example. Other scratches can only be seen when pointing the lens at a light source - be careful, don't point the lens to the sun to check scratches or anything else. Haze can also be checked by pointing the lens to a light source. Such scratches or haze may or may not impact the image taken with the lens.

Evaluation Fee

Digital or film camera repairs, be prepared to pay an evaluation fee. The technician's time is money. The evaluation fee will typically be applied toward the repair fee if you decide to go through with the repairs. Otherwise, you can decline the repair, pay the evaluation fee and get your camera back. This is standard industry practice.

I offer a paid visual inspection for film cameras and also offer a film testing of the camera. The visual inspection is exactly that - visually checking the camera for common problems and making a recommendation of the repairs needed. Film testing is where I load a roll of film and test the functioning of the camera. The roll is developed and images taken are shared with the Customer as appropriate. It is a more thorough test that is recommended when the Customer has used the camera and the results are problematic. Neither service includes the actual repair of the problems. They are evaluation services.

Other McAllen Based Repair Shops

You may want to try contacting Mary at Vital Camera Repair in McAllen for repairs. Tell her Pino referred you. 

 (956) 687-4558

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