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  1. #1

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    Cheap Camera, Expensive Repair

    Hi all,

    I finally found a cheap rangefinder (Minolta Hi-Matic 9 with 45/1.7) on the weekend but the blades are stuck (so I realised at 9pm when the film came out of the tank transparent). Great camera but repair cost is $150 and replacement value is $60.

    I lack the patience and fine motor skills to try fixing it myself, but feel a nostalgic obligation not to dispose of it! So what do you do with a camera needing a repair that exceeds its value?

    Cheers,

    Mick.

  2. #2
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    You repair it.

    Why?

    Because the money you spend is not really for the REPAIR of the camera. It's for your subsequent joy in then being able to USE the camera after it's been repaired.

    One of the most unfortunate aspects of the eBay mentality these days is that all things in life end up being assigned a monatary value, which is then assumed to equate to their life value. The true value of your repaired camera is in its ability to bring you happiness via its use. Not in its monetary value sitting unused on a shelf.

    Most of the time functional and broken cameras look identical. But they don't act identical.

    Ken
    Last edited by Ken Nadvornick; 05-18-2011 at 02:59 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Spelling...
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

  3. #3
    Newt_on_Swings's Avatar
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    dump some lighter fluid on the blades and work it for awhile. thats only if the camera doesn't have any sentimental value, you might find one in brand new excellent shape for the cost of your repair.

    I actually have one of these at the place where I work, but the alignment is broken/off in the viewfinder. So i never got a chance to use it.

    I have two classic rangefinders (VT and Retina 3c) I've been wanted to get repaired and CLA'ed professionally at Nippon camera (NYC) but I'm very afraid of the price as well. I'm guessing starting price for just a CLA would be $150 for each for me.

  4. #4

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    Look at it this way, for the cost of a cla you have a camera that will give you a lifetime of pleasure shooting it, and that way the cost does not seem so great, same thing applies to a Retina IIIc, at the price they ae going for, and the price of them seems to be increasing, think of the years of pleasure you will get for the cost of a cla,
    Richard

  5. #5
    Newt_on_Swings's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by R gould View Post
    Look at it this way, for the cost of a cla you have a camera that will give you a lifetime of pleasure shooting it, and that way the cost does not seem so great, same thing applies to a Retina IIIc, at the price they ae going for, and the price of them seems to be increasing, think of the years of pleasure you will get for the cost of a cla,
    Richard
    yea the Retina is in 100% perfect shape cosmetically, the never ready case is even perfect, all original. Everything is spotless inside including lens. the shutter is will not fire though. It was my grandfathers so it has very high sentimental value. but they go for about $150 on Keh. I want to get it working but I probably would never really get use out of it, as I'd worry about it to much to bring it around. I only work part time with free lancing on the side, so most of my money goes into film, paper, and chems. I guess I'll bite the bullet after the next paycheck and do the Canon VT first and see how that goes and try to get a quote for the retina.

  6. #6
    Laurent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Nadvornick View Post
    You repair it.

    Why?

    Because the money you spend is not really for the REPAIR of the camera. It's for your subsequent joy in then being able to USE the camera after it's been repaired.

    One of the most unfortunate aspects of the eBay mentality these days is that all things in life end up being assigned a monatary value, which is then assumed to equate to their life value. The true value of your repaired camera is in its ability to bring you happiness via its use. Not in its monetary value sitting unused on a shelf.

    Most of the time functional and broken cameras look identical. But they don't act identical.

    Ken
    Very well said (and I know what it means, I had my AE1-Program Cla'ed for twice what a "new" one would have cost me !)

    Another aspect is that, once the camera has been repaired, you know that it's been checked. When you replace it by a cheap one, the replacement may well break after a few months use.
    Laurent

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  7. #7

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    Don't underestimate how nice Retinas can be. My Retina IIIc (little c) has one of the sharpest lenses of any of the cameras I use. It floored me. I take this camera out over others if I'm shooting 50mm, want something sharp and compact.

    Check these out at full resolution to see what I mean. The lean easily out resolves the films I've been using:


    http://www.flickr.com/photos/cannelbrae/4941740123/


    http://www.flickr.com/photos/cannelbrae/4941698653/

    If yours is in salvageable condition and has sentimental value, its worth saving in my humble opinion.

  8. #8
    CGW
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    Minus any sentimental value, it's a cheap, busted, mass-produced camera. Get another cheap, mass-produced camera that works. The film doesn't know the difference. It can be a hard reckoning but ask what matters most: making a film image or fussing with gear?

  9. #9
    Rick A's Avatar
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    The really nice better than consumer entry level stuff gets gifted to anyone willing to get them repaired. The cheap stuff gets dismantled and parts go into bins for "projects" that usually never materialize.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

  10. #10
    Laurent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CGW View Post
    Minus any sentimental value, it's a cheap, busted, mass-produced camera. Get another cheap, mass-produced camera that works. The film doesn't know the difference. It can be a hard reckoning but ask what matters most: making a film image or fussing with gear?
    I'd agree with you IF you could make sure the "new" one works. Of course, this depends on the value you give to your photographs, but if you are to discover later on that the camera failed on you, then you'll be fussing with gear when what you want is make a film image.

    This was the reason why I got both my AE1-P and my Rolleiflex CLA'ed. For both I could have found a replacement for the price of the CLA, but I want my cameras to be reliable.
    Laurent

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