Camera Repair on the Road
Eric's post about equipment problems on his recent trip reminded me of some of my own problems I've repaired or not repaired here in Hawai'i, where I'm spending the summer. So far--
Originally Posted by eric
1. Disassembled and cleaned the contacts on my Gossen Digisix. I think the humidity and salt air combined with accumulated dust inside the meter just made the buttons unreliable. I've also got my Minolta Flashmeter III here, but I like the Digisix as a compact field meter.
2. The adhesive that holds my Linhof polarizer in its 70mm drop-in frame turned to goo. I cleaned it and recemented it with 2-ton epoxy.
3. That epoxy came in handy again when the 4x5" mask for my Linhof zoom finder became detached from the ring that it's mounted in. Upon inspection, I think this happened to a previous owner and was repaired before. I also made a 6x7 mask for the finder out of paper and gaffer's tape.
4. The fastener that holds the front tilt lock on my Tech V seems to have broken off somewhere. This one will have to wait for a trip to Marflex when I get back. Meanwhile, I can use rear tilts, or rear tilt + front rise/fall for indirect front tilts. The detente holds it in the neutral position.
I usually have a lens spanner, a Swiss Microtool with large and small straight and phillips screwdrivers and a small pliers, pocket knife, gaffer's tape, microfiber lens cloth and a 4" Kinetronics brush in my bag when I travel. I've purchased other screwdrivers, super glue, and epoxy en route.
So what have you fixed while traveling? Does anyone have a basic repair kit that they carry? Any must-have tools or supplies that are hard to find in local hardware stores?
Fine screwdrivers are the real necessity. Worst I have had to do was disassemble and fix a stuck waist-level finder on my Yashicamat while I was in Toronto for 10 days.
I feel, therefore I photograph.
Im following this thread with interest; as I'll be taking a trip into some rough territory next month. Thus far, I have the following packed:
Set of fine screwdrivers
A foot or so of strip magnets (all sorts of uses, holding fine screws from rolling away, etc)
3x/6x magnifying glass
I had some empty model paint jars that I filled with grease, and one with solvent
The usual lens paper and fluid lens cleaner
Spare batteries for the light meter
The epoxy sounds like a good idea as well...maybe some 5min epoxy will find its way into this kit as well.
Tape, gotta have tape. My biggest field repair ever was the time I got to Belize with my 35mm kit, and the focusing screen retaining clip broke off. With careful application of a piece of tape borrowed from the front desk of the hotel, I was able to re-attach it in the right position, and continue shooting. I got really lucky that I was able to properly reposition the focusing screen, as everything I shot turned out in focus (this was a manual focus camera).
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I carry these things in my lens bag. There is a larger tool box for more serious repairs back at the car. I rarely go more than a mile or two from the SUV. As mentioned before, at age 66 all gear travels in a baby jogger with 20” wheels.
Duct tape roll
#0 Phillips screw driver
Small slot blade screw driver
3 foot tape measure
Spare 3/8 tripod bolt and wrench
Lens cleaning fluid and treated rag
Needle nose pliers
AA batteries for light meter
List of reciprocity times for different film
Bellows factor calculator
Spare shutter releases
Small first aid kit
Pad of paper and two pens
Cell phone and police whistle to call for help
Contact information for me and my wife
Contact information for my Doctor
List of current medications and medicines that give me allergic reactions
Unfortunately I know from experience that the Emergency Room people really appreciate these last three repair items. This of course brings up the question, "what am I repairing?"
there's that new Richard Ritter DVD on field repairs for field cameras - haven't checked it out yet, but it sounds full of useful hints
(like a scotch tape ground glass... etc)
I have found duct tape and a Swiss army knife or a leather man knife is all that one needs to carrier into the field, more then a half mile from the car. The car has a tool kit in it that has everything I may need. And for those lenses that like to go swinging most corner stores have a cure. I have found that repair that happen in the field fall into two areas. Minor break or problem that can be repair in the field or major breakage and cannot be repaired in the field. I like to travel on the light side and my feeling is if I can’t repair it with a Swiss army knife or tape its time to pack it in.
Richard T Ritter
The main reason I carry screwdrivers is to try and head off easily preventable problems - travel seems to loosen things you couldn't free at home!
OT: When I was cycle touring with a university group some er... decades... back, one person had a tyre blow out. Broke the wire in the rim bead. He proceeded to put in a new inner tube, inflated the tyre to about the right profile, then strapped the tyre and rim with about 50 small nylon cable ties. Put in some more air, disengaged the brake on that wheel, and led the group home. Great things, cable ties.
I feel, therefore I photograph.