What is better CLA or Overhaul?

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adefreitas

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Hello,

I'm hoping someone can help me find a place to send or drop off my Nikon F3HP for a full CLA and refurb. Where it comes back almost looking and feeling as new as possible.

Recently was given one and it is very dirty outside and inside and I just want to make sure all is in order.

Any one have experience with a top notch technician in Toronto? Ontario? Canada? North America?

I know Japan Camera Hunter can have it serviced in Japan by Nikon, but that just seems a bit extreme if not expensive. Any ideas?

While I am at it might as well ask also have an Olympus OM-4Ti and OM-2N that could use a could clean and overhaul, any help for those?

Thank you!
 

Sirius Glass

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I do not know what the round trip shipping will be, but consider Dead Link Removed if you cannot get Nikon to refurbish it.
 

Pioneer

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There really is no easy answer to whether a CLA is better or worse then an overhaul.

In simple terms, Overhaul is very expensive and CLA is much less so. Of course you always get what you pay for. On overhauled camera should be like new where a CLA's one will only have been lubed and adjusted. Think of it kind of like a tune up and oil change for your car. A great idea and one that will keep your car running well for a longer period of time but it certainly will not return the car itself to a like-new status.

Obviously an overhaul means that the camera is taken apart and rebuilt to a point where all tolerances are back to like new factory standards. This means the replacement of parts, springs, etc. if that is necessary to restore the proper tolerances and action. By its very nature an overhaul is quite expensive. The other thing you should keep in mind is that if the camera is old enough new parts may no longer be available. In that case, short of machining new parts, it will not be possible to fully return your camera to a new state.

A CLA means that the camera is cleaned, lubed where it is needed, then adjusted. However, parts are not typically replaced unless they are broken. As a result adjustments are only as accurate as can be accomplished with the parts currently in the camera. Shutter speeds, particularly high speeds, may not be nearly as fast as they were when the camera left the factory, and other functions may not be as tight and accurate as it was when the camera was new. Of course a CLA is a lot less expensive then a full overhaul as well. For most cameras a good CLA will provide years of additional usefulness to a good camera.

If you camera is in generally good working order now and only requires a bit of cleaning, some new seals and lube, and a nip or a tuck here and there to adjust it, then a CLA should be a good way to go. Of course it could also break a week after you got it back from the CLA because most parts are not replaced unless they are obviously broken, bent or inoperative in some manner. This shouldn't happen with a full overhaul.

How you spend your money is certainly your business but it would seem that a complete overhaul for a camera you don't forsee keeping and using for a very long time may be a waste of your funds. In this case a CLA may be the best move. However, if you do own a camera that has some personal meaning that is important, and you really want to be able to use it as well as pass it along to your own children when the time comes, than an overhaul may be the right move for you.
 

darkroommike

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have you talked to your local camera store and asked for suggestions?
What's a local camera store? In my case I have to drive 90-100 mikes to find ANY camera stores and today, sadly, they all stock mostly digital stuff.
 

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In my experience, one does not normally tell the camera repairer what to do. If there is something that you know is broken or not working properly, certainly, that fact needs to be communicated. What usually happens is that the repair technician will evaluate the camera and make a recommendation. A discussion of cost may follow. Most of the places that I have dealt with tend to charge about $75 for a very minimal service and about $120~$200 for an "overhaul".

Sometimes, it does take some leg work - mostly in the form of phone calls - to find an appropriate place to have you particular camera worked on.
 

E. von Hoegh

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In my experience, one does not normally tell the camera repairer what to do. If there is something that you know is broken or not working properly, certainly, that fact needs to be communicated. What usually happens is that the repair technician will evaluate the camera and make a recommendation. A discussion of cost may follow. Most of the places that I have dealt with tend to charge about $75 for a very minimal service and about $120~$200 for an "overhaul".

Sometimes, it does take some leg work - mostly in the form of phone calls - to find an appropriate place to have you particular camera worked on.
$ 200 for that amount of work is a STEAL. Think what six or so hours of labor on your car would cost; these guys don't pay themselves enough & anyone who whines about the cost is just plain ignorant.
 

BradS

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$ 200 for that amount of work is a STEAL. Think what six or so hours of labor on your car would cost; these guys don't pay themselves enough & anyone who whines about the cost is just plain ignorant.

I totally agree. I also find the "just buy another one in good condition" attitude kinda bizarre.

I was engaged in a conversation just the other day on the subject of the economics of having a 1970's era 35mm SLR overhauled. He was emphatic that it wasn't worth it...until I pointed out that there is nothing available today like this camera...nothing! If I could buy this camera or one like it brand new today for $750~1000, I would... but, obviously, I cannot so the next best thing is to find a skilled technician who will go through it and make it as close to "good as new" as possible. It is an easy and obvious decision for me.
 
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It also depends on camera brand, parts availability and camera complexity.

Last time I quoted a M5 overhaul, it was in the $350-450.00 range.

An overhaul for a more common camera (an Leica IIIf) was in the $180-250 neighborhood.

Also, on my experience, overhaul is, most of the time, not a monetary sound investment. If you sell your camera after overhaul, most likely you will lose money. Normally you overhaul a camera that your are going to keep and use for some time.

Best regards

Marcelo
 

E. von Hoegh

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There really is no easy answer to whether a CLA is better or worse then an overhaul.

In simple terms, Overhaul is very expensive and CLA is much less so. Of course you always get what you pay for. On overhauled camera should be like new where a CLA's one will only have been lubed and adjusted. Think of it kind of like a tune up and oil change for your car. A great idea and one that will keep your car running well for a longer period of time but it certainly will not return the car itself to a like-new status.

Obviously an overhaul means that the camera is taken apart and rebuilt to a point where all tolerances are back to like new factory standards. This means the replacement of parts, springs, etc. if that is necessary to restore the proper tolerances and action. By its very nature an overhaul is quite expensive. The other thing you should keep in mind is that if the camera is old enough new parts may no longer be available. In that case, short of machining new parts, it will not be possible to fully return your camera to a new state.

A CLA means that the camera is cleaned, lubed where it is needed, then adjusted. However, parts are not typically replaced unless they are broken. As a result adjustments are only as accurate as can be accomplished with the parts currently in the camera. Shutter speeds, particularly high speeds, may not be nearly as fast as they were when the camera left the factory, and other functions may not be as tight and accurate as it was when the camera was new. Of course a CLA is a lot less expensive then a full overhaul as well. For most cameras a good CLA will provide years of additional usefulness to a good camera.

If you camera is in generally good working order now and only requires a bit of cleaning, some new seals and lube, and a nip or a tuck here and there to adjust it, then a CLA should be a good way to go. Of course it could also break a week after you got it back from the CLA because most parts are not replaced unless they are obviously broken, bent or inoperative in some manner. This shouldn't happen with a full overhaul.

How you spend your money is certainly your business but it would seem that a complete overhaul for a camera you don't forsee keeping and using for a very long time may be a waste of your funds. In this case a CLA may be the best move. However, if you do own a camera that has some personal meaning that is important, and you really want to be able to use it as well as pass it along to your own children when the time comes, than an overhaul may be the right move for you.
I've CLA'd quite a few old cameras, some of them have seen a good deal of use, one was used professionally and looks it. Without exception, they came back to factory specs. In the past, CLA was regular maintenance intended to keep the camera within specs, otherwise you were notified of whatever repair was needed.
 

Pioneer

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I've CLA'd quite a few old cameras, some of them have seen a good deal of use, one was used professionally and looks it. Without exception, they came back to factory specs. In the past, CLA was regular maintenance intended to keep the camera within specs, otherwise you were notified of whatever repair was needed.

I have also been very happy with most of the CLAs conducted on my cameras. This is certainly the recommended route.

I have only opted for a complete overhaul a couple of times. In both situations I continue to be thrilled with those results as well. Both of those cameras get very regular, almost daily, use and they are a true pleasure to work with.
 

Sirius Glass

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If a CLA will do the job, then get a CLA. If the camera needs an overhaul then get the overhaul. Have what needs to be done done.
 

E. von Hoegh

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If a CLA will do the job, then get a CLA. If the camera needs an overhaul then get the overhaul. Have what needs to be done done.
My point is, and I have attempted to make it more than once, is that periodic CLAs (regular maintenance) will prevent the need for an overhaul for a very long time. Dirty mechanisms wear faster.
Then you have the case of the guy who bought a NOS Canon F1. It didn't work. Sitting for 40+ years will do that, it needed a very thorough overhaul even though it was unused. Each needs to be treated individually.
 
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adefreitas

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Well I have decided it will probably do well for a overhaul. It has been sitting in the storage closet for over a decade. And it shows signs of internal dust, not sure where it was last used but it was dusty or sandy or I don’t know what. Other than that it looks practically new. But it needs a clean before I use it to prevent damage.

I just don’t know where I can find a repair man that is trusted to overhaul a Nikon F3. I will try reaching someone at Nikon Canada and see what they say.
 

BradS

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...I just don’t know where I can find a repair man that is trusted to overhaul a Nikon F3...

Here are a few suggestions in the USA. These are all (except the last one) reputable Nikon Authorized service centers.
I suggest simply calling each one and saying something like....
"I have a new-to-me Nikon F3.
It appears to be in generally good working order but it looks like its been neglected.
It needs to have routine maintenance service done on it.
Is that something you do?"

(conversation ensues about specifics...defects, mirror foam, light seals,etc)

Then you ask, "and about how much would that cost? and what is the approximate turn around time?"

Probably there are shops closer to home but the conversation is the same....
I don't know how much more help anybody can give you.
You need to call people and engage them in a conversation..
It will help you, set your mind at ease and help you to feel confident in the repair person talk to them...even more so if you do it in person. :smile:

So, Make some calls!


California Precision Service
1714 28th Street
Sacramento, CA, 95816
Phone: 916-451-1330
email: cpsinc@camrepair.com
http://www.camrepair.com/

Camera Service Company, Inc.
4391 West Atlanta Rd SE
Smyrna, GA 30080
Phone: (770) 432-4257
http://www.cameraservicepro.com/

Albuquerque Photo Technologies, Inc.
4503 Menaul Boulevard NE
Albuquerque, NM 87110
(800) 962-4749
Dead Link Removed

Abilene Camera Repair
401 Neas Rd.
Abilene, Texas 79601
(325) 676-2524
http://abilenecamera.com/
 
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paul ron

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I've CLA'd quite a few old cameras, some of them have seen a good deal of use, one was used professionally and looks it. Without exception, they came back to factory specs. In the past, CLA was regular maintenance intended to keep the camera within specs, otherwise you were notified of whatever repair was needed.

Regular maintenance is a thing of the past when photographers depended on their equipment to earn a living. Now, most are just joy riders looking for nostalgia fun.

Labor in the camera repair business these days is about par for a burger flipper. In most cases the price of a CLA cant even justify the time invested in it and what the camera is actually worth.... unless you have a true collector's item. If your camera was $50 AS IS... will it be worth $300 after an overhaul... or even $150 to break even for the CLA? Probably not, there are so many AS IS cameras out there these days and so many DIYers doing lighter fluid CLAs then flip them just as fast before they gunk up again.

So the deciding factor... will the camera be worth the cost of restoration?
OR will it be cheaper to find a working sample already in running condition?

Then again on the other side.....

Overhaul it, use it, have fun then put her in the closet with the others. I have hundreds of cameras in my collections that I enjoyed playing with that just sit around for years now. BUT I got so much pleasure from each n every one that I can say it was worth the time n cost. Chalk it up to the cost of pleasure today.
 
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