Camera Repair Recommendations

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Ian
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#1
My Leica M3 & 50mm Summicron is soft. Softer than my AE-1 and 135mm f2.8.

As far as I can see it could be...

- Bad scanning (don't think so because the AE-1 scans are fine)
- Bad focus (don't think it's this because nothing in the image(s) is sharp - not 100% sure though)
- Movement (don't think it's this because I've shot a recent test roll of stationary things at 1/125)

I'm guessing it could be...
- Rangefinder patch out of alignment by loads
- Lens issue (lens looks clean)

I think I've reached the point where I can't do much more to look into this. Cameraworks (Bury) have yet to reply to my query and The Classic Camera shop seem to be v expensive. Anyone have any other suggestions or have used either of these? I'm thinking that I'll get a CLA done at the same time as any repair but it would be nice to know. Thoughts appreciated!

Edit to add a list...

http://www.pjcrdirect.co.uk (recommended by AG Photographic)
Miles Whitehead (recommended by many - next post)
https://www.cameraworks-uk.com (Leica rangefinder repairs, no experience)
https://theclassiccamera.com (no experience)
http://www.camserve.co.uk (recommended by realspeed and possibly me...)
https://www.mathersoflancashire.co.uk (recommended by aliengrove)
 
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RaglanSurf

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#2
Miles Whitehead, although he is very busy and tends to favour his pro clients, he's good value and thorough.

Drop him an email, it's the best way to contact him. mwcamerarepairs@gmail.com
 

excalibur2

My F4's Broken...
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#3
If any of the lens elements have moved I don't think you'll get that repaired as you would need special optical equipment to re-align them and our usual recommendations e.g. Miles..... doesn't have the equipment
 
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#4
Could also be the thingy that keeps the film flat not keeping it flat. Pressure plate I think it's called.

To rule out the lens try that on something else first. Try another lens on the same body too.
 
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#6
Perhaps someone local-ish might have a lens you could try and try your lens on theirs?

You can test the range finder by finding a long wooden fence or other such linear feature with clearly defined detail in it and focusing at the start, the middle and the end of it (making accurate notes as to which shot is which and the exact point you focussed on - you could use removable markers such as post it notes on the fence/wall as targets). Then review your negatives and check where the point of focus actually is.

On the other hand, it could simply be the fact that Canon are wonderful cameras and comparing anything with them would make it look soft? ;) :canon:
 

sirch

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#9
This is an idea that just occurred to me and might not be feasible but would it be possible to put a piece of tracing paper across where the film goes, put the camera on a tripod and focus on something with the back open using a loupe to get it as sharp as possible and then check the lens setting against the range finder? That said, if the range finder was off then it would seem likely that something in the photo would be in focus but the tracing paper idea may at least allow you to see if the lens is capable of producing a sharp image.
 
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Gav
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#10
You don't have a collapsible Summicron that you've forgotten to extend, do you? :p Seriously though, if nothing is in focus, perhaps someone has taken the lens apart at some point and reassembled it incorrectly. I can't imagine the rangefinder would be that far out.

If you're ever down Essex way, you're welcome to use my M3 and Summicron 50 to test against.
 
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Harlequin565
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#11
This is an idea that just occurred to me and might not be feasible but would it be possible to put a piece of tracing paper across where the film goes, put the camera on a tripod and focus on something with the back open using a loupe to get it as sharp as possible and then check the lens setting against the range finder? That said, if the range finder was off then it would seem likely that something in the photo would be in focus but the tracing paper idea may at least allow you to see if the lens is capable of producing a sharp image.
This is worth a try I guess.... I've just got to finish a test roll shot at 1/250 first. I've even got a ground glass plate for my Tomiyama which I might be able to jury rig. If I can get the image sharp, that will be a clue.

Thanks for the offer @spark303 but I'm up in Cheshire. I'm almost toying with ordering a lens off Amazon, taking a few shots, then sending it back. Not sure I could do that with an M9 though... Although I could get an adapter for my X-T2....
 
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Harlequin565
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#13
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#14
LHS of the frames all look the sharpest. The bit of the wall is in focus. It seems to be focussing only on the left hand side at a particular point. It seems to be fixated on that spot and nothing else.
 

excalibur2

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#15
Is there any way you can fit the lens to a digi camera (assuming you have one or a friend) to check it out.
 
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Harlequin565
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#17
The lens is sharp. Just stuck it on my X-T2 and it's fine.

Waiting on scans from Filmdev to disprove my scanning technique and also to check the rangefinder vs the fence (shot a few as per Mr B's suggestion above)
 
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#18
Also, use a tripod and cable release for some of the shots (keeping careful notes as to which ones they are), so as to eliminate the possibility of camera shake. Just because the camera is set to 1/125 sec doesn't guarantee all shake/movement bur will be eliminated if shooting hand-held, particularly if the shutter speeds are running a bit slow and you're getting 1/100 sec and not 1/125. Also, sometimes, if the shutter release is a bit stiff, this can cause the camera to move when you press the shutter and this can be evident as 'soft' shots even at 1/100 sec, as I've found out with an old folding camera I use.
 

excalibur2

My F4's Broken...
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#19
Also, use a tripod and cable release for some of the shots (keeping careful notes as to which ones they are), so as to eliminate the possibility of camera shake. Just because the camera is set to 1/125 sec doesn't guarantee all shake/movement bur will be eliminated if shooting hand-held, particularly if the shutter speeds are running a bit slow and you're getting 1/100 sec and not 1/125. Also, sometimes, if the shutter release is a bit stiff, this can cause the camera to move when you press the shutter and this can be evident as 'soft' shots even at 1/100 sec, as I've found out with an old folding camera I use.
Well I was thinking that i.e. is the shutter firing at 1/125 could be say 1/30 sec
 
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Harlequin565
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#23
So thanks @realspeed for your tip.

Cameraworks never replied to my emails, and the Classic Camera shop wanted £25 to look at it. Miles offered suggestions but recommended going back to the seller.

Camserve though offered to "take a look" and quoted based on body/lens service. I sent it yesterday and had an actual phone call from them today saying it looked like the lens (hazing). Rangefinder was acurate, shutter speeds accurate, film plate was fine.

After getting some Filmdev scans done with proper high shutter speed test shots, they looked much better than my home scans.

The upshot of all this is that I reckon this is a combination of lens hazing, bad scanning, and shutter speed too slow as well as a high expectation of sharpness in 400 ISO film. I'm getting the lens serviced with Camserve then I need to look at a scanning solution because Filmdev are expensive for B&W+Scans. (although their service is very good)

Would recommend Camserve. Well... Would recommend so far.... :)
 
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Jon
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#24
Mathers in Bolton have a very good camera/lens repair guy they use. Fixed my A7rii for 149 quid, after 3 places said it was not fixable and Sony said it would be a minimum of $700
 
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#25
Camserve are only about 20 minuites from me so I have been able to see their premises and meet the staff. What impressed me is how helpful they are and knowledgeable. if you talk to them again say the guy that came in with the Nikon 24-70mm lens that needed a new retaining ring and also a stuck zoom ring put you onto them
 
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#26
For anyone who's used Miles Whitehead, does two weeks mean it'll take him two weeks to repair or the whole process from start to finish is two weeks? I've pestered him enough about a services and re-calibration and he has had my camera since last last Wednesday so don't want to be sending him emails that I'd now deem as unnecessary. I just wanna play with my Rollei as I've not done anything with it yet :)
 
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#27
For anyone who's used Miles Whitehead, does two weeks mean it'll take him two weeks to repair or the whole process from start to finish is two weeks? I've pestered him enough about a services and re-calibration and he has had my camera since last last Wednesday so don't want to be sending him what I'd now deem as unnecessary. I just wanna play with my Rollei as I've not done anything with it yet :)
It will usually depend how busy he is at the time. I've found most classic camera repairers have similar turn-around times, so I usually allow 2 to 4 weeks if I send a vintage or classic camera in for repair. If it's quicker than that then it's a bonus. As time goes on there seem to be fewer experienced repairers of classic cameras and, as the use of film cameras has increased in the last few years, the good ones who are still in business tend to be busy, so they often have a few weeks waiting time.

As for pestering the repairer (particular if it's a sole trader) bear in mind that when they're replying to your emails or talking to you on the phone, they aren't working on cameras, so I try to keep any correspondence (pre or during the repair) to a minimum in the hope that this will quicken things up. (y)
 
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#28
It will usually depend how busy he is at the time. I've found most classic camera repairers have similar turn-around times, so I usually allow 2 to 4 weeks if I send a vintage or classic camera in for repair. If it's quicker than that then it's a bonus. As time goes on there seem to be fewer experienced repairers of classic cameras and, as the use of film cameras has increased in the last few years, the good ones who are still in business tend to be busy, so they often have a few weeks waiting time.

As for pestering the repairer (particular if it's a sole trader) bear in mind that when they're replying to your emails or talking to you on the phone, they aren't working on cameras, so I try to keep any correspondence (pre or during the repair) to a minimum in the hope that this will quicken things up. (y)
100% on the last statement. Miles advised he was on a 2 week turnaround at present. I know he does work for the Police and pros as well. I was just wondering if 2 weeks meant 2 weeks end-to-end or 2 weeks for him to do his thing then extra for return. Happy to wait either way based on his reputation. I'm just being an eager beaver.
 
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#29
The time specified will usually be upon receipt of the item to be repaired. However, this will always be an estimate, as jobs can overrun, or go easier than expected, and sometimes parts may have to be ordered in, etc.
 
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RaglanSurf

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#30
^^^WHS^^^

I never send stuff to Miles if I'm in a hurry, he may be on a 2 week turnaround today but tomorrow that may change and unfortunately its the 'hobby' photographer that goes to the back of the queue.

It's frustrating I know but part of the fun of the world of film photography is not doing stuff in a hurry and learning to wait ;)
 
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#31
^^^WHS^^^

I never send stuff to Miles if I'm in a hurry, he may be on a 2 week turnaround today but tomorrow that may change and unfortunately its the 'hobby' photographer that goes to the back of the queue.

It's frustrating I know but part of the fun of the world of film photography is not doing stuff in a hurry and learning to wait ;)
I usually just buy enough cameras to cover any repair delay.... :film:
 
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#32
^^^WHS^^^

I never send stuff to Miles if I'm in a hurry, he may be on a 2 week turnaround today but tomorrow that may change and unfortunately its the 'hobby' photographer that goes to the back of the queue.

It's frustrating I know but part of the fun of the world of film photography is not doing stuff in a hurry and learning to wait ;)
I'm not in a rush and more than happy to wait and understand things can and will change with timescales. I'm just excited as I've had it for a year and only put one roll through it but found the lenses to be off calibration and I kept putting the service etc off until now as I was moving into a new house. It takes as along as it'll take, I was just wondering about the time scales.
 
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Matthew
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#33
Another option, if others are busy, which I can recommend from personal experience:

http://www.pjcrdirect.co.uk/

They recently repaired 2 Nikon FE2 bodies for me - both of which were dead. Now perfect working order.

And serviced / repaired an 85mm f1.4 Nikkor which had various faults, aswell as being dusty and dirty. now perfect.
 
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