Keep to a system you like and buy spare bodies and backs so as they wear out roll onto the next one - Pity I can't do that with my body and back
The technicians are the aspect that I worry about. In theory, one could always machine spare parts as one-offs. It's expensive, yes, but if you love the camera that much, some wizard CNC machinist can do it. (And I've read posts about people having done just that.) However, once the repair knowledge is gone, we're in trouble. I've often thought that in forums like this -- photo.net, rangefinderforum.com, and here -- the camera users ought to pool funds to endow a few apprenticeships for young people -- which I loosely use to mean 40ish or under! -- who are very interested in learning the trade. Apologies if this has been proposed already elsewhere; I'm not that widely read.
Originally Posted by brian steinberger
This approach would obviously require the cooperation of the well-known repair wizards -- Mark Hama, Ken Ruth, Eric Hendrickson, Krikor Maralian, etc. -- to be willing to train their successors. And fairly soon before they're off to the golf courses. I don't know how old they all are, but at least some must be getting on in years, given that their experience includes things like "been servicing these since 1969" or "bring 43 years experience" etc. As I think about it, funding this is probably less problematic -- frankly if some people here can afford $10,000 Noctiluxes, we should be able to crowdsource enough funds; and mostly we're talking about covering apprentices' travel costs and maybe remunerating the technicians a bit for the opportunity cost of time they spend training the apprentices and maybe therefore having slightly lower CLA throughput. It's finding those apprentices, and maybe convincing the old guard technicians to go along with it, that could be harder. Thoughts?
You are not the only person scared about this. Honestly though, Bronicas seem to be particularly difficult cameras to repair. The older models like the S and S2 are a complex maze of gears, and the newer ones are electronic.
Originally Posted by brian steinberger
I wonder if anyone in the US specializes in Bronica, and whether KEH shops around for repair people or not. Case in point: I had a Contax T break down on me, and all my local dealers told me to trash it. I ended up calling my favorite dealer in another city, who called around the country and found someone. Two and half months later my T was back in better condition than before - much to the surprise of everyone. My favorite repairman can replace half-mirrors in LTM cameras and copies bringing them back to life, which most people say is impossible, but original or not it can be done, which is why I keep going to him.
In my experience, some repair places care more than others, which is sad. When you find a good one, make them your best friend and send them lots of business
Those who know, shoot film
Good mechanical cameras will last a lifetime. Chances are that your cameras will outlast you, if they are given a good CLA and treated gently.
Personally I look for cheap "parts" cameras for my favorite models (all 1950's or older), and these are easily available.
How far are we from being able to make a 3D scan of part that we can produce with CNC machining equipment economically? A brand new Contax IIIA made to order? Why not? Now *that* would be a digital camera.
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Buying a working Speed Graphic or Graflex kinda requires that one learn to repair or rebuild a shutter from scratch because none are available.
Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!
Nothing beats a great piece of glass!
I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.
On the other hand, the technology is only slightly more advanced than a window shade.
As long as I can get your old junker RBs for parts, I'll be around for a long long time to repair almost any RB67 problem you may have. Many of the parts can be hand made by any skilled mechanic. So don't toss that old junker in the trash, donate em for parts to be recycled?.. this is for your future benifit.
I love mechanical cameras for their simplicity, quality of build n longevity minded designers who had foresight.
BTW The old Bronica ETRS has such primative electronics it can be repaired but I doubt that will be the major probem with em... the shutters are the achilies heel.
The thing with these old pro cameras is maintenance; amatures just simply hate to pay for it since a replacement is much cheaper these days.
BUT... It's like going to the dentist, neglect em, you'll lose em sooner than later. The lack of miantenance kills cameras of this grade when not properly lubed n pampered or just left to sit in a closet for years on end. The pros did regular pit stops, they were making a living off their equipment.
Anyone can make a Digital print, but only a photographer can make a photograph.
Embrace pinhole photography.
There are a lot of Leicae out there, and a lot of people very attached to using them, so it seems fairly safe to assume that there will be enough interest to keep someone making the needed parts for a good long time. But for something like the OP's Bronica, is it clear that the specs to make the needed precision parts will even be known, or are people going to have to reverse-engineer the parts and then fabricate them?
Originally Posted by vedmak
The really old stuff has the virtue of simplicity---I've seen the innards of a Vario shutter and it doesn't look like rocket surgery in there. Large format lends itself to Frankenstein solutions; if you can't get parts for shutter X, find shutter Y, or get a Packard, or fabricate a guillotine shutter, or take up wearing a hat. Newer equipment, particularly if it has a large user base, should find ready support for a long time. But there's an in-between range where long-term maintenance seems like a real concern.
San Diego, CA, USA
The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
-The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_