Canon FD Repair Experts

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by 2F/2F, Aug 13, 2010.

  1. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    When it comes to Canon FD equipment, who are the surviving "expert" service and repair technicians still working? I've had less-than-stellar results here in L.A. (including work by techs who have been highly recommended by many people), and the next time I get work done, I want absolute perfection, even if it means shipping my cameras.

    I want to find someone who is truly an expert on FD cameras specifically, not just a list of favorite general service technicians.
     
  2. flatulent1

    flatulent1 Subscriber

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    I've had good luck sending my EOS to Steve in Sparks NV. I see on his website that he specializes in FD bodies, the T90 in particular. Call him; he prefers the telephone.
     
  3. 5stringdeath

    5stringdeath Member

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  4. loman

    loman Subscriber

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    Well Michael Spencer in the UK currently has my canon f-1. He's done a stellar job with both my olympus om-1 and a minolta srt 303 and I know he has a great reputation for canon fd equipment as well.

    I'll report back when he's finished if you want.

    Regards
    Mads
     
  5. jmck

    jmck Subscriber

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    I will 2nd Steve in Sparks Nv phone is 775-829-2244 Mon-Fri 11-5
     
  6. Andrew K

    Andrew K Subscriber

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    As a former Canon Australia camera tech if you want to send it to Australia I can recommend a couple of ex-Canon Australia trained technicians who are expert in most Canon FD cameras.

    To be honest asking for "perfection" from a 40 year old electro mechanical camera could be asking a bit much. You do get what you pay for. I can service a AE1 Program in under 2 hours - this includes removing the mirror box so you can not just lubricate the mirror governor (the main cause of the squeak), but also clean the shutter release & AE magnets, plus the AE resisitor plate.. I also relubricate the shutter rollers and guides so the shutter curtains run consistantly. Then I clean the release switches, the shutter switches, the shutter and release magnets - then reassemble and adjust...oh - and I'll replace all the light seals - in the back and in the mirror box..

    So how much are you prepared to pay for 2 hours solid work? Most people baulk when I say I will service their camera for $120 AUS..I don't think $60 a hour is unreasonable.....so I usually charge people around $90 to do a service because I know the cameras, and they are usually not a problem to service...

    Problem? How can you have a problem servicing a camera? I mean when I sent it to you it was working perfectly...yes - the mirror was a bit slow, and it did squeak, and the shutter speeds were a little off..but it was working...

    You need to remember these cameras are 30+ years old, and things happen. I don't like working on AE1 and A1 cameras - the actualy circuit board goes brittle with age (not always, but it happens). So you go and do a service on a camera, put it back together - and it won't work! An hour and a half later you've found which tracks on the circuit board have broken and jumped them (the record I can remember was 7 breaks in a AE1 flex - out of a total of maybe 12 tracks that could have broken??). Can you charge for the extra work? No....

    The next problem is a lack of parts. This has been a problem for over 15 years. You just can't get new parts to repair FD cameras anymore....And I'm not talking wierd parts - shutter release magnets, rewind knobs, main IC for AT1, tungsten wire (the wire that connects the ASA dial to the shutter reelase dial on some A series cameras), T90 shutters (or even new circuit boards or magnet assemblies), T70 motors, T50 & 70 shutter blades..and don't even ask about lenses.....I have a NFD300/2.8 sitting there with a damaged rear mount - can't get a part to fix it......

    So for me it's not so much a question of finding someone to repair something, but finding someone who will tell you if the camera you are sending them is worth spending the money and time on.....

    Cheers

    Andrew

    PS - for the record I used to repair many and varied cameras, and have always tried to do my repairs correctly without any short cuts...but I've never repaired a Minolta SRT series camera correctly....a little know fact - to do a full service on one you need to dismantle it and replace the light seals (like you see in the back door and on the mirror buffer). Only thing is on a SRT there are 21 of them - including under the prism, and behind the shutter unit.....

    Only met 2 people who ever did them correctly - and one of them was the camera technician who while working for Minolta in Japan wrote the SRT 101 service manual ... (he came out to Australia in the 70's to head up the local Minolta repair department).
     
  7. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I paid $150 U.S. each for my first services on my F-1s and FTbs. My first CLA (Whilton Camera in Pasadena) was a disaster. My shutter bounce returned within a year. There was lubricant running all over the inside of the camera and underneath the bottom plate. This was my third (and worst) bad experience with the place, and that was the final straw. I went to another place that had come highly recommended, and paid $175 each for the services (supposedly "overhauls," not just "CLAs"). I told the guys I needed the camera to be free of any issues that would affect the actual shots, and that they didn't have to worry about the meter, the flash connector, or any of the electronics. I just needed a shutter that didn't ever bounce, and what have you. I requested an inspection to find any looming issues. My shutters appear to be fine, but the mirror fell out of position on one of the F-1s when I was on a trip. I had noticed that the viewfinder image was not sharp at infinity when I had the lens focused on infinity, and eventually one side of the mirror completely fell out, along with a tiny little part. I want to get this fixed, but I don't want to go back to the same place.

    I would never spend the money to service a cheap electronic camera like an A-1 or AE-1 unless it had sentimental value...but then again, none of my AE-1s have ever had an issue of any kind. Kind of ironic, considering how cheesy they are compared to F-1s and FTbs.

    I would gladly pay an expert $50 an hour or more to get it perfect on my mechanical bodies. That sounds cheap to me.

    I guess what I am looking for is an old-school Canon-trained repair person with an obsession for detail in his or her work, and an extremely good work ethic; not some Joe repair guy looking to get the job done quickly and "good enough" that the average person will think it is a fine job.
     
  8. ghostcount

    ghostcount Member

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    Best repair guy ever for manual cameras in Canon, Olympus, Pentax, etc...

    John Titterington
    8109 Wenonga Road
    Leawood, KS 66206

    JTCamera@aol.com

    I think he is old school Canon trained.
     
  9. Andrew K

    Andrew K Subscriber

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    Welcome to the world of using old cameras.....

    I'll talk about the Old F1...these are getting close to 40 years old, and most have had a hard life....mirror falling out? I've never seen it, but on a old camera I'm not really surprised. Use some superglue and stick it back in...I doubt anyone will have a replacement part for it, and you basically need to strip the camera down to it's chasis to replace the mirror holder....

    As for shutter bounce - this has always been a problem with OLD F1's and FTB's....I can remember there were a couple of modifications in the service manuals to try to fix the fault. You really need to replace the shutter brake (which is a very thin piece of leather) every 10 yerars or so - and you haven't been able to get them from Canon for 20 years......

    I ave cut down an old chamois to the right size/thickness and it has worked perfectly, but it isn't a fun job!

    OH - and you can never tell whats going to fail - I could have looked at the camera and said it looked good, and the mirror could have fallen out the next day....you honestly can't tell...

    I actually have a different opinion on FD Canon gear to most people - if I want a reliable camera then I would spend the money on servicing a AE1 Program, a NEW F1, T70 or T90 - these were all great cameras. And if you can find someone who knows FTB's then if you service one correctly it will last for years...I have a Pellix that I serviced in the early 90's thats still running perfectly (a Pellix is mechanically a FTB without the mirror mechanism...)

    Sorry to tell you but shutter bounce has always been a problem with Old F1's, and they have never been the easiest thing to fix long term.....

    And if you want to send the cameras to Australia I have a freind who is still repairing who is a brilliant technician on all FD Canons (Canon send anyone with a FD camera to him directly...)

    Cheers

    Andrew
     
  10. wakarimasen

    wakarimasen Member

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    Can you post contact details for Michael Spencer please? I've an A1 that I'd like serviced.
    Best regards,
    RoyM
     
  11. Denverdad

    Denverdad Subscriber

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    I am surprised no one has mentioned Ken Oikawa yet. He is quite often recommended on both the Photo.net and Yahoo Canon FD forums. I believe he can be contacted by phone only (no internet presence), at (909) 246-9136.
     
  12. Jose LS Gil

    Jose LS Gil Member

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    I called Ken's number above. I got a recording indicating that the mobil number had been disconnected and no new number was available :-(
     
  13. Denverdad

    Denverdad Subscriber

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    I may have given you the number wrong! I just checked again and there is one posting on the Yahoo Canon FD group which lists the number above, however every other reference I can find shows a different area code: (951) 246-9136. Try that.

    Apparently I was repeating someone else's mistake. Sorry for the confusion!
     
  14. Jose LS Gil

    Jose LS Gil Member

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    Not a problem. The 909 area code was split into 951 and 909. Don't know why I didn't think of that myself.