I think it happens to most camera collectors: the time when you decide to pare the collection down to just the ones you’re likely to keep using. I’ve been slowly giving away and selling all of my other cameras.
I want to slowly invest in having my remaining cameras restored and, as needed, repaired. I realized early on that I don’t enjoy camera repair. I’m willing to do some work myself, but only if it’s straightforward and doesn’t involve major disassembly. For example, my 1930s Certo Super Sport Dolly has broken part in the focusing mechanism. A replacement part is on the way, and as part of the repair I’ll have to recalibrate its focus. I have good instructions and the process seems relatively straightforward, so I’ll give it a go. Still, I tend to procrastinate this kind of work. Fresh light seals have been sitting here waiting to go into my Canon Canonet QL17 G-III for four years now.
My Nikon F2A works well mechanically, but the meter inside its DP-11 head reacts erratically. I’d like to have it cleaned, lubed, and adjusted (CLA’d), and have that meter repaired. And I know just who I’ll have do it: Sover Wong, the world’s foremost F2 expert. My other F2 has been “Soverized.” It works like brand new, and should for decades to come.
I enjoy my Pentax ES II, but it blows through batteries like our government blows through tax revenue. Reader J.R. Smith recently sent his to Eric Hendrickson for a CLA. Eric has repaired Pentax cameras almost as long as I’ve been alive. Perhaps he can fix the battery problem. I might also send him my Spotmatic SP as it is mighty stiff.
In exchange for some cameras he wanted from my collection, reader Derek Wong made one working Yashica Lynx 14e out of two broken ones I owned. It works pretty well, though its meter is a full stop off. Fixing that probably requires parts Derek didn’t have on hand. So I’ll send it to Mark Hama, who worked in the Yashica factory years ago and repairs Yashicas today. When I bought my Yashica-12 last year, it was fresh from a Mark Hama CLA. It works like new.
I’ll take my time getting these cameras repaired and restored, as I’m hyperfocused on making sure money is there to pay for my two sons’ college educations (one’s at Purdue now; the other will head to college next fall). But send them off I will, sooner or later.
Do you know of other people who do good work repairing cameras? I wouldn’t mind having several other of my cameras CLA’d, such as my Minolta SR-T 101, my Kodak Retina IIa, and my Konica Autoreflex T3. Share your recommendations in the comments for anyone and everyone you have used and can vouch for.