Please help me!:CLA

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by peters8, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. peters8

    peters8 Member

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    Hi guys!
    Often reading messages here about old cameras, always someone recommends to do a "CLA".

    Please could you help me explaining the meaning of the word "CLA"?. Thank you very much for the patience.

    Regards:smile:
     
  2. dnjl

    dnjl Member

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    CLA stands for "Clean, Lube and Adjust". It's a basic overhaul of the camera, preferably by a professional repairman. The camera is cleaned thoroughly, lubricated where necessary and the mechanics are adjusted back to original specifications.

    It's like the annual car checkup, except that it doesn't need to be performed that often.
     
  3. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    My advice is always to check the light seals, replace if necessary, compare the metering to a camera which is known to be reliable, then try a film.

    A roll of film and developing same is a lot cheaper than a CLA. If it needs attention then find a repairer, but a lot of old cameras just need a bit of exercise.
     
  4. Peltigera

    Peltigera Member

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    I agree with Matt. I have a number of old cameras - dating back to 1030 - and have never had any of them cleaned or adjusted. They all work fine, and that includes sixty year old selenium light meters. People can lead you to worry too much about photographic kit.
     
  5. pentaxpete

    pentaxpete Subscriber

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    The CANON 'A' series are very prone to the famous ' Canon Squeak' if you do not exercise them -- I have an A1 given to me with the squeak as it had not been used for 7 years since the owner died and I have been trying to lubricate it as I read on some forums but not with any success at the moment. I have several Weston Master V meters and some just given recently -- not working as the cells are probably gone with age.
     
  6. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    I couldn't resist... The old Shen Kuo cameras never need work...
     
  7. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    A camera with a shutter that buzzes anemically like a dying bee would benefit from a CLA.

    If it fails to open the film gate at top shutter speeds.

    If you can't see through the viewfinder.

    If you feel like you are pulling teeth when winding.

    Then it might be time for a CLA. It could be a case of a "bird in the hand"... where fixing your known camera is better than anything you could buy. Or you could just look for cameras where the seller says it recently had a CLA.
     
  8. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    The main things I check:

    Set the camera to the fastest shutter speed, remove the lens, open the back, place your eye close to the shutter and press the button. You will get the very briefest glimpse of daylight, but with practice this can be enough to spot shutter capping.

    Shutter capping happens when the second curtain catches up with the first, giving you either an unexposed portion of the frame or no exposure at all. It tends to happen at the faster speeds. If you can see light both sides (or the top and bottom) of the film window when the shutter fires then you're ok - I go by whether I can see the corners of the mirror box while looking closely at the left hand side, then the right. This is less common with electronically controlled shutters than it is with older models relying on spring tension. If the shutter is capping then it needs a CLA to sort that out.

    If it passes that test then I set it to the slowest speed and fire it again. Usually this is a second, doing it a few times and comparing it to my watch's second hand will show how accurate it is. Again, more commonly a problem with the old clockwork shutters. One of my MXs had a very interesting idea of how long a second was but woke up after I wound and fired a few times. I already had an accurate MX so sat the two side by side on the table and compared the shutter sound at various speeds - the second body sounded identical so was obviously fine.
     
  9. Marc B.

    Marc B. Member

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    Peter,
    Where on our little blue planet are you located?
    If the OP would tell us specifically which camera he is concerned about...at the moment,
    we would be able to help him identify any unique issues/problems, specific to a given model,
    and also, we would be better able to direct him to repair shops for said make/model.

    Marc
     
  10. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    When I buy a used camera, I checked it out carefully. I checked everything including accuracy of the meter and shutter speed. And then I take test roll of film. If everything is ok I use it like that. I don't believe in CLA a perfectly functioning camera just because it's 30 years old.
     
  11. Yashinoff

    Yashinoff Member

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    This is a good way to check for problems with capping or dragging shutter curtains: http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-135.html
     
  12. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    I would always replace light seals/mirror bumper foam however. Even if they don't leak, the sticky goo they normally decompose into after a few decades is a complete pain. It ruins focusing screens and won't do film any good if it manages to get onto there.
     
  13. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    The "A" in CLA is quite important.

    It is very useful to know whether or not your camera's shutter is reasonably accurate, and the aperture is performing correctly.
     
  14. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    My old Pentax H1a really needs a CLA, but I don't want the shutter speeds adjusted. I'm sure I should 'cause they're likely to only get slower, but they're just at the point where I can meter for the box speed and the shutter's actual speed ends up perfect.

    I haven't looked on here, but is there a good listing by continent and brand of shops that can do CLAs very well? It would seem that great service techs would be disappearing as fewer of the cameras get used regularly.
     
  15. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    thanks bill,

    but i have a magyar and its a little slow, maybe louis got ahold of it :wink:
     
  16. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    TBH the aperture is very easy to check.

    With bayonet fitting lenses I just set it to the smallest aperture and flick the lever with a finger. If it moves snappily and forms a reasonably even shape then all is well. With M42 mount I do the same but prod the trip pin.
     
  17. Ric Trexell

    Ric Trexell Member

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    Don't try this at home is my suggestion.

    Peters: I went to National Camera Repair School in Denver after I got out of the Navy. I had to do several CLA's of cameras and had the equipment to check the shutter speeds and curtain travel times and everything else that was needed. I remember taking a Nikon F all the way down once and when I put it back together the shutter was off. I took it all down again and when I put it back, the same thing happened. I asked my teacher and he said to take it all down again and clean it like crazy. I did and it worked perfectly. All it takes is a little piece of crud and you are out of luck. We had shutter testers which were really ocilliscopes made for that. A focal plane shutter can be a puzzle to get the curtains balanced without a tester. Taking down a camera also sometimes can mean a spring that flys off to the Twilight Zone, and a ball bearing that disappears into the unknown. If you do want to try it though, you can test a shutter with a phonograph record player with a marker to determine how far the marker traveled as it was photographed. You will have to do the math. Ofcourse if your record player is off, so will be your camera. NatCam went out of business years ago, and most of the teachers are now gone. Phil Zimmerman was with C&C training which you can find on the net. A professional tester costs about $2-3000, but you can get the shutter checkers that only check to see if your speed is correct for $100-$200 and they are handheld. (If they are still made.) For the old leaf shutters, I didn't tell you this but you can sometimes dump the whole thing into a cleaning solution and blow dry it out and it will work. (Remember I didn't tell you that.) If you just want to see if you can get an old camera to work, go for it, but I would not do it on any camera that I wanted to use to shoot a wedding. Ric.