Rust & Corrosion in a Minolta X-700?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Chazzy, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    I took my Minolta X-700 to my local camera store for repair and a CLA (they sent it out to someone in Texas). It came back today with a note saying that there was rust and corrosion in the camera, and that it could not be repaired economically.

    I don't understand this. What kind of parts could be in there that would rust--particularly when it was never exposed to water? Frankly, I'm skeptical--but maybe someone here can explain it to me.

    Secondly, the camera has sentimental value, and the thought occurred to me that I might get a second opinion on it. Can anyone recommend a repair shop which is excellent for Minolta manual focus cameras?

    Thanks very much.
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Local humidity can be very high, poor storage - yeah I lost a collection of cameras through poor storage, they rusted in the summer, because I'd stored them in my cool cellar (basement) and that's the dampest place in a house on a hot humid day. Luckily the value of the ruined cameras was low, but I laernt a sharp lesson.

    Ian
     
  3. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    I've heard good things about Garry's Camera Repair (www.garryscamera.com). He's in Chicago suburbs but likely does most of his business via mail.

    I recently took 2 bodies to him (one Nikon and one Minolta). Turnaround was quick. Haven't picked them up yet to see the results.
     
  4. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    Well, I've been trying to think of when the camera might have been exposed to high humidity. I am in an apartment with central air, and the air conditioning is ALWAYS on from Spring to Fall (I don't believe in opening windows).

    But apart from that, I am surprised that critical parts were apparently made of the kind of steel that rusts. I expected that camera parts would be brass, maybe stainless steel, or even plastic in lighter, more recent cameras like the X-700, but regular steel? Wouldn't that be the kind of design choice which would lead to lots of problems along the same lines that I have apparently experienced?
     
  5. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    As you can imagine, I'll be very interested to hear whether you are a satisfied customer, after you have the cameras back.

    I could probably pick up another X-700 body on eBay in excellent condition for a hundred dollars or less--but, as I said, the camera has sentimental value and I would like to keep using it if that is practical.
     
  6. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    How specific were they when they said "rust and corrosion"? Was it a generic comment?

    Rust is caused my moisture, but corrosion could be caused by a leaking battery or capacitor.
     
  7. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    "Not economical to repair due to rust and corrosion" is all that they said." I'm still leaning toward getting a second opinion.
     
  8. elekm

    elekm Member

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    Gearing in the film advance mechanism is often made of hardened steel -- although not stainless steel. Camera makers began to use some plastic gears (not a good idea), so there might be a mix of plastic and metal or simply all metal.

    Also, sometimes there are clips here and there to hold down parts or wires.

    I agree that corrosion could be caused by a leaking battery. I don't know if that camera would have a capacitor (quite possibly).

    Rust can often be removed. Corrosion is a different matter. Get a second opinion and ask for more details. But also be prepared to replace the camera. You probably could replace the body for $50 or less.
     
  9. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    x700 woes - me too

    I hear your pain. x700 -my first slr, in service with me from 86 to 06. Mine inadvertently went for a swim, while turend on. The electronics in it have never forgiven me, even after I lovingly and promptly sucked the moisture out with dessicant packs, and warm air from a dehydrator to boot.

    Actually, for the Minolta X line, the capacitors are usually the things that die. Other x line cameras I have had used electrolytics - and the 2 large 10uF ones, that I surmise store charge for shutter release, poop out over time, and , take it from my experience, are a bitch to swap out. I have tried with one camera after it started to go intermittent , and it never regained its health.

    Usually the first sign is the metering LED's in the viewfinder become intermittent.

    Other x-line cameras have tantalum capacitors for the 2 10uF units - which are a vastly more reliable technolgy, albeit more expensive too.
     
  10. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    Including the XD-11?
     
  11. Frank Hoerauf

    Frank Hoerauf Member

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    i love my x-700 my first "real" camera. they probably sent yours back to you because it would cost more to repair than its actually worth. you need to cut out the middle man and have it repaired by someone you have direct contact and explain your reasons for wanting that camera repaired. i cant imagine your camera rusting to such a degree that it cant be repaired when you have always cared for it properly. a similar thing happened to me with my x-700 so i decided to buy another body on ebay. the film counter went bad on mine, not a big deal really but they told me the same story that it could not be repaired. good luck, long live the x-700!!!
     
  12. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    There's no camera made that uses stainless steel for shafts or gearing. It just not economical. There are also the circuit boards and components that can fail with exposure to liquids & a voltage going through them. Most shops don't have someone competent enough to trouble shoot down to component level, mostly it's parts swapper-outer guys.
    Corrosion can be from high humidity, a simple splash from fresh or salt water, pop being spilled on it etc.
    Some shops won't service a camera with corrosion because they don't want to warrantee it. Face it, if you camera mysteriously stops working 90 days after being "fixed" you are not going to be a happy camper.
    I've serviced some in the past and had about a 50/50 success rate.
     
  13. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    actually I was thinking x-700, x-570, x-370.

    I thought XD and XG lines were in production earlier than x-700. In my mind at the time the x-700 brought so many of the right things together. They sold a lot of them, that is for sure. Not like the Pentax K-1000, but I would not be surprised if there was more than one factory or country making them.

    For my family of Rokkor lenses I now have an x-570 (actually the third one - first went capacitor wonky, ebay'ed a replacement with a broken film wind, and then finally a working one as a replacemnt from the ebay seller), as well as an srt101. The x570 I like because it gives more metering information in manual mode than the x-700 did.

    The srt's are great cameras - no electronics, but a useful meter built in but non automated to match needle against - its only downside is that it is heavy. Somewhere I have instrictions to convert it from mercury cells, once the last spare one, presently somewhere in the bottom of our chest freezer, gets put into service, and in turn dies.
     
  14. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    The XD did precede the x-700. IMO the x-700 may have been the high point in terms of features, but the XD and XE were tops in terms of function and ruggedness (with a nod to the XK, which never really took off).

    I'm anxious to pick up the SRT that I just had repaired. Probably not a very wise economic move, but the SRT was my first camera that I made a decision to buy. Cost a lot of money then when you factor in what a dollar could buy back then. (Whoops, veering off topic.)

    Thinking a bit about what John said, I have to wonder if they simply started stripping the camera, saw a bit of corrosion, and stopped there. Then gave you a form response.
     
  15. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    It really depends on the technician and the (apparent) severity. I hated working on corroded circuit boards. By the time you were done looking for the problem you may have been able to repair two or three other pieces. The shops I've worked in, paid on commission so the more time you wasted on something that was a total write-off was money out of your own pocket.
     
  16. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    The contact information on his website only has an email address--no phone number. I would really like to give him a call and explain the situation. Do you have a phone number for him?
     
  17. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    Will send you an email or PM.
     
  18. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    I just picked up the 2 bodies (FM2 and SRT201) this evening. I won't have time to test until next week but, at first glance, all seems well.
     
  19. nemo999

    nemo999 Member

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    Bearing in mind your supplementary comment that you could probably buy another example for $100, the repairperson to whom the camera was sent spoke the literal truth - cost of repair maybe $150 or more, therefore uneconomic.

    There may be additional factors - for example, given that repair is not economically viable, the repairperson may rarely if ever work on this type camera and therefore be out of practice - what is more, repairpeople tend not to like working on cheaper cameras, which in some cases (I know nothing specific about the X-700) were not designed to be dismantled and are therefore more laborious to fix than a Leica or pro Nikon.

    Corrosion as such (unless from total submersion in sea water or similar) is not a deal-breaker - I have sent a Leica M2 for repair with a seized shutter release due to corrosion, it came back fine, and have also have several Leica R3 models (a close relative of your Minolta) serviced - all of these were in near mint condition, had been stored well but still had inaccurate meter operation due to corrosion, which cleaned up just fine.

    If you really want to get your camera fixed, call repair services direct and ask if they work on this model - it may take 5 or 5 tries, but you will find somebody.
     
  20. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    I've called Garry's Camera a few times, and have only gotten his voice mail. I guess the next time I will leave my number and see whether he calls me back. Incidentally, a couple of weeks ago I picked up an absolutely mint MD 135mm/f2.8 for less than $30. It would be nice to have the f2 version, but they almost never come up on eBay and I suspect that not many were made.
     
  21. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    The Minolta XE-7 was a close relative of the R3. The Minolta XD's were similar to the R4. But the Minolta X-700 is an entirely different camera from the R3 and the ability to repair one shouldn't imply that the other is also repairable.

    Lee
     
  22. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    When these older cameras were made, they sold for $200-300 with a lens.
    At that time it would cost between $60-100 to repair one. Today the cameras are selling for 1/2 that and less & the prices on repairs haven't gone down.

    There's no reason an Xcamera couldn't be repaired except for two things. Finding someone familiar enough with it and with some used or new parts available and cost.

    All of them were designed to be repaired, some more modular than others & easier to swap parts on.