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  1. #1

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    Parts for old film cameras?

    Hey everyone!

    I have a question about the parts industry in film photography. When a camera technician or a do it yourself hobbyist wants to repair on old film camera, where do they typically get the parts for said repair?

    I'd assume it's easier to get parts for older models if the company (Rollei for example) is still in business, but I can't seem to find anything significant on the web.

    What then for an older film camera who's manufacturer is no longer in business? Does a technician buy an entire second broken camera and use it for donor parts? Or is there another way?

    I ask because I'm curious, but also because I came into a broken rollei B35 and after being told it would be more expensive to repair it than to buy a working one (sidenote: does this expense problem cut out the market for used parts then? )--I took it apart for fun to learn more about it.

    Best regards,

    Dan

  2. #2
    cmacd123's Avatar
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    The techs will not give away their sources, but places like "Microtools" will sometimes have parts.

    The makers are all over the map as far as parts go, with some closing the door after 3-5 years, and others keeping parts until they run out. the fact that folks do buy cameras for parts is proven by compairing the e-bay results for working and broken cameras, sometimes particularly for Digital cameras the broken ones sell for all most as much as working ones.

    Many parts for real old cameras can be fabricated with a lathe and milling machine. And the depths of Chinese industry will also make reproduction parts for some items.

    The cost of labour does mean that some cameras can be replaced with working ones for about the cost to repair the old one. one shop I sometimes have used charges about 80 bucks to go over a camera. A lot of nice working cameras go on e-bay for less than 80 bucks.
    Charles MacDonald
    aa508@ncf.ca
    I still live just beyond the fringe in Stittsville

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by cmacd123 View Post
    The techs will not give away their sources, but places like "Microtools" will sometimes have parts.

    The makers are all over the map as far as parts go, with some closing the door after 3-5 years, and others keeping parts until they run out. the fact that folks do buy cameras for parts is proven by compairing the e-bay results for working and broken cameras, sometimes particularly for Digital cameras the broken ones sell for all most as much as working ones.

    Many parts for real old cameras can be fabricated with a lathe and milling machine. And the depths of Chinese industry will also make reproduction parts for some items.

    The cost of labour does mean that some cameras can be replaced with working ones for about the cost to repair the old one. one shop I sometimes have used charges about 80 bucks to go over a camera. A lot of nice working cameras go on e-bay for less than 80 bucks.
    That's really good to know! Thanks for the answer . I'd love it others could chime in, but in the meantime...

    Cmacd, does that mean then that there is no peer to peer market for used camera parts on this site or anywhere else besides occasional listings on ebay and between these techs that may or may not divulge sources? :/

    Say for example if all I needed was XYZ part (shutter lever, screw set, backing, etc) where would I start to look to get it?

  4. #4

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    idea

    There seems to be an idea in a lot of folks' heads that parts for old cameras are worth a fortune. So I would not expect to get parts for an olde film camera for peanuts. I have been scrounging around for parts for a Crown Graphic I found with several parts missing, and other cameras, too. I have most of the parts for the Crown but I had to do a lot of looking on the Internet, camera stores that still have film and darkroom items, thrift shops and so on.
    You can find parts for a 1967 Volkswagen Bug but try to find parts for a 1961 Simca Versailles. I had a Simca V., which was a model of an English Ford made in France after the French bought a Ford factory in that country. It is the same with cameras. But Bug part prices are cheaper, you might say, than well known brands of cameras, in my experience.

  5. #5

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    Good repair shops typically have a large boneyard to dig for parts on cameras that no longer have new old stock parts available. Essex in New Jersey did, and its lost in the hurricane a few years back was a huge blow to the industry as a whole.

  6. #6

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    Most common thing I've seen is entire, non-functioning cameras sold "as is" for parts. There's no business upside to time spent in dismembering and cataloging obscure camera parts individually versus cannibalizing parts one at a time as they're needed by a tech for repairs.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kawaiithulhu View Post
    Most common thing I've seen is entire, non-functioning cameras sold "as is" for parts. There's no business upside to time spent in dismembering and cataloging obscure camera parts individually versus cannibalizing parts one at a time as they're needed by a tech for repairs.
    I completely agree. Many camera internals (especially on older mechanical ones) can be more complicated than some watch movements with different linkages and all. However, would maybe lots of misc parts for certain areas of certain models (IE say Praktica LLC externals, internals) or something that broad across different brands, periods or models be a bit more viable?

    It's really sad to hear about the wealth of parts at Essex camera being lost though. I live in NJ, and some areas are definitely still struggling to recover.

    I say this coming from a both a digital and analog photography enthusiast's perspective, but also from a business perspective too. Something similar was the case for the paintball industry around the time of the 08-09 recession, but there was a small peer to peer market for parts on a forum and the industry has not been around as long. Now there are a few dedicated websites (two + ebay + forums) for filling that need.

    Could something like that happen within the analog photography and/or digital photography industry? Any and all input towards this questions and more input towards my original question would be awesome!

    Thanks guys

  8. #8
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    eBay. For example a while back a seller had many Yashica fx3 repair parts like mirror box, new top, meter Pc board, etc.

  9. #9
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    I was given my Grandfather's Sears KS-2 35mm (re-branded Ricoh XR-7). Through ebay and garage sales/flea markets, I have at least 18 compatible cameras I keep for parts. They were sold "as-is" and "not working," though many of them are fine after putting in a fresh battery, or merely need to be re-sealed. It's easy to find serviceable parts this way, when people get rid of old cameras that have been floating around their homes for years.

    A shop I'd taken the camera to for repair also had a lot of "parts" cameras for their repair work (they messed up my repair, though, which is why I now have my own stash of parts).
    Truzi

  10. #10
    AgX
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    18 cameras as reserve/for parts!


    And I thought I was hoarding cameras when having 3 of the same model...

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