My Contax G1 winding is kaput - Melbourne members, please help!
Woe is me! The winder on my beloved Contax G1, owed since virtually new and often used with the four (28mm-90mm) lenses I have had to count my one and two dollar (Aussie) coins to purchase, has passed away, and I am in a terrible emotional state. I want to get it repaired, even if I have to mortgage my other cameras and the cats to pay for it - but where?
I live in Melbourne, and since I bought the G1 in 1999, it has been once for a CLA and a minor repair to the focusing system, by a highly capable Contax trained technician (Vic, formerly of the Camera Exchange) who has now, I believe, retired. What to do?
On a somewhat limited income (part pension, part time work in a community agency which provides me with great fulfilment, but very little spare dosh) buying another G model even is probably more than I could afford, not to overlook perhaps risky, given the age of most of the G cameras. Will a repair be worth while in cost terms? And if yes, who would be the most qualified person, not necessarily here in Melbourne but it would be preferable if I could take the camera to the repair person myself? Or will the cost be so expensive that the time may well have come, o horror! for me to bite the bullet yet further into the lead, and go digital? I believe it is now possible to adapt the wonderful Carl Zeiss lenses to some DSLR systems. The only stumbling block, for me, at this time is cost. Presumably (someone please correct me on this if I am wrong) it would still be cheaper for me to get the G1 repaired and use it for a few more years til I exhaust the mega stocks of frozen film in my freezer (I probably have more Kodak Panatomic and Technical Pan safely stored in Antarctic conditions, than Kodak would have!) at which time I will consider maybe going d*g*t*l, pardon the term, f by then I am still able to hold a camera... The images I have consistently had from the G1 are so good, the thought of losing this beloved and oft used part of my photographic arsenal, makes me want to.. cry. Not yet go d*g*t*l.
Anyway, any advice from Australian members will be most welcome. Due to my limited means, cost is a factor, but not time - I do have a Rolleiflex E2, a Kodak Retina I and a Nikkormat EL to console me while I wait for the G1 to be brought back to full functionality, even if the work takes a few months.
Please let me know. I am anxious to follow this up and get my beloved G1 back on the road to recovering its full health. Everything else on the camera functions A1++ and other than the winding, I believe the G1 would be good for a few more years of loving use.
Aussie members, many thanks in advance for your good advice.
Shutterbox in Hartwell may be useful. A couple of years ago, they replaced the cloth shutterblind on my 1930's FothFlex, and have also repaired the shutter mechanism on a Rolleiflex of mine - both repairs were fine, and both cameras continue to work well. I didn't know Vic at the Camera Exchange had retired? He fixed a couple of shutters of mine over the years - lovely fellow!!
1163 Toorak Road
Camberwell, Vic 3124
Marc, thanks! As you surely know, Camera Exchange has reavatar'd to Box Hill, which to we inner city dwellers is well behind God's back and two suburbs yet beyond, but I intend to phone them come next week to verify if Vic has truly retired. He is, or perhaps was, an absolute wizard with seemingly insoluble camema problems, and a true English gentleman of the old school. I will most definitely query Shutter-Box next week. If they can do the job for me, I will happily shout you two good beers or a glass of choice Victorian red!
CameRa, not cameMa. My mind must be in the gutter today, a good indication of the stress I am feeling over my beloved Contax's demise.
Ha ha! I think the phenomenon of "camera repairers retiring" will become a real problem for folks hanging onto old analogue treasures shortly... Although, I did take a camera into Vintech (5th floor Mitchell House, opp. Michaels) in the city a week ago (a dSLR - I know!!!), who do say they will repair film cameras of all kinds, and I was delighted to see the two techs in there appeared to be "younger than 30", which gives the trade hope. I suspect most of their work would involve throwing away circuit boards and various modules and ordering new ones, but I'm sure they could do a CLA and other basic repairs. It'll be interesting to see what sort of job they do...
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Marc, thank you again. A local friend who saw my posting in fact phoned me and told me about Vintech. They are close to me (I live in North Melbourne) in the CBS and on my To Visit list. He recommended them highly with the same comment as yours, albeit somewhat differently put. His quote was, "They aren't as old as the rest of us!" Too true, in my case anyway. Your comment re circuit board replacement is to the point, but heck, if a repair however expensive prolongs my beloved G1's life by a few more years, that is all I ask for. The Contax G is, in every way, unique, and I am sure this comment will be reinforced by anyone who owns a G1 or G2 and has used those superb (Japan made!) Zeiss G lenses, unlike any others I have produced images with in my 49 years in photography, 35mm images in the true Rolleiflex TLR Planar style!
A late response to my original posting - thank you, everyone, for your most useful information. Let me add by way of passing on information, that the Camera Clinic in Collingwood do NOT, repeat not, repair Contax G cameras, for reasons they prefer to keep to themselves, non-availability of G parts perhaps, but then who knows? As well I contacted Vintech, a nice lot of friendly young experts, but the price they quoted me was enough to turn my already grey hair a shade lighter. In fall fairness, I doubt I would do better here in AUS. But I am exploring other local options to get my G1 back into working condition again. And BTW, I also checked and found out KEH will not accept overseas repairs at present due to government postal problems. Which ended one possible plan.
Plan B will be to buy another G1 body as suggested by at least one respondent - this may in fact be the best option given the current high value of the Ozbuck against the Yankee dollah, while it lasts.
I will consider all options, and decide in the next week or so.
Again, to all who came to my assistance, a very loud and sincerely meant THANK YOU.
PS I hereby promise to never ever double post on APUG again. I also promise to become a subscriber as earlier indicated, next month.
Kaput is not a helpful description of the problem, but remove the batteries and clean all the contacts with a q tip moistened in zippo lighter fluid or nail varnish remover, the nail varnish remover is risky stuff be careful, rather aggressive to paint or plastic.
Also wipe the pressure plate area with dry q tip especially where the light emiting diodes are, then put in batteries you know are good, after you clean their contacts with (moistened zippo or nail v remover) q tips.
Might work, even if it does not there might not be much wrong with the camera, if you are lucky... lastly try all the switches i.e. change all the switches positions.
Mine has a bad habit of turning green, all it needs is some green on a switch contact and kaput.
Contact Dirk Rosler of Japan Exposures. He may be able to find a repair service in Japan on your behalf.
Due to the earthquake, Japan Exposures is closed until sometime in April.
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