When to CLA

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by elmartinj, Mar 8, 2018.

  1. elmartinj

    elmartinj Member

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    I've been relatively new to film photography and got a little GASsy on my first year. So now after selling some cameras, got around 5 or 6 cameras in my petite collection. What I wonder is when to know when it is a good time to send a camera to be CLA'd. Normally, I just sent them when something wasn't working, but I wonder if personally, you send them periodically or something like that. I recon this answer should be very varied and subject to use, abuse and type of camera.
     
  2. shutterfinger

    shutterfinger Subscriber

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    I've never sent a camera in for servicing as I don't use one enough. As a Pro making a living with a camera I would have it serviced at the intervals recommended by the manufacturer, as an armature with older equipment I would send it in when any shutter speed went out of tolerance or if I wanted to be assured of a reliable camera.
     
  3. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    When considering the purchase of any camera, I include the cost of a CLA, or even a full overhaul, in calculating the total price. After that, some have required repairs, but none have seen enough use to require another CLA.
     
  4. jim10219

    jim10219 Member

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    I would only send them in for a CLA if something is wrong with them. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" as they saying goes. When I get a new camera, I'll check the light seals to make sure they're not deteriorating. I'll also check the shutter speed with a shutter speed tester (but you could just use a test roll of film). If it those are fine and all of the other buttons and gadgets work, then I don't see any point in wasting the money. Photography is expensive enough. Save that money for film, travel, or other things.

    Even if you're a pro, I don't see the point. Why risk believing that because you've had your gear recently CLA'ed that you're immune from camera or other issues on a shoot? If you're ever in a situation where you NEED to make sure that you can rely on your gear, carry a backup. I learned that when I was in the music business. Hell yeah it sucked carrying two of everything around with you when touring. But it didn't suck as bad as driving all that way and have to cancel a show at the last moment because something that worked yesterday suddenly isn't working today.
     
  5. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Subscriber

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    I agree with Jim10219. As long as the camera checks out and runs smoothly, I'd never send one in for a CLA. I just picked up two Rolleiflex TLRs on Craigslist that have not been used for 10 or more years. But, they wind and operate smoothly, glass cleaned up and my film tests show the speeds are true. They are not going in for a CLA.

    I think you will get two basic responses from the users here. Either don't mess with a working camera or get a CLA on any camera that you plan on using regularly. Both strategies have their merits. Suggest you pick the strategy that best fits you and go with it.
     
  6. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I send a camera in for service if there is a problem. Many years ago I would have cameras serviced every year or two because I would take them skiing in very cold weather, but back then Minolta service was nearby and very inexpensive.
     
  7. guangong

    guangong Subscriber

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    A couple of years ago, after four or five decades of use I sent my Leica Ms and Leicaflexes in for a CLA to keep them working. Did same with my Minoxes. Although my Medalist was bought from a reputable dealer, a CLA brought it back to like new condition. I have a Kilfitt 300mm Macro Kilar that is waiting to be sent in because a little stiffness plus large diameter and large number of diaphragm blades could become a disaster. Oh yes, and I felt that my 1934 and 1936 Leicas deserved a CLA. But in general, most high end equipment is pretty tough.
     
  8. P.johnson14

    P.johnson14 Subscriber

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    It depends.

    I like to shoot canon T series slrs. They aren't typically thought of as being worth a CLA, with the exception of the T90. I prefer the T70. When they break, I can get a new body for less than $20. Most of the problems are with long obsolete electronics.

    My Retina is going in for a full service once I get my test roll developed. These cameras need to have everything lubricated or parts break.

    I'm a maintenance mechanic for a living. With some equipment, preventative maintenance can extend the lifespan significantly. On other pieces, it won't help at all. I aquire cameras that in some cases haven't been serviced in 70 years. When I use them, I want them to work properly. I don't want to have to re shoot something, just because a 70 year old camera needed maintenance.

    For how most of us use a film camera today, get the CLA when you get the camera, after that if there is a problem.
     
  9. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I send my equipment out for servicing at that “magic time” when something appears to be going wrong but before it breaks. Same with my car, watch, etc. Or... when I get used equipment that I need to be reliable.
     
  10. btaylor

    btaylor Subscriber

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    I vote for P.johnson14's opinion. Old mechanical cameras need their maintenance. Old dried up contaminated lubricants need to be cleaned out and replaced. My cameras also don't get much use, so when I buy one I usually send it out for a CLA and have rarely had to have one serviced since. When I buy something 50 years old with no service history I'm going to have it cleaned and lubricated.
     
  11. CMoore

    CMoore Subscriber

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    I have never Read/Heard Anybody Propose that a CLA makes a camera "Immune to other issues".

    Does your car need to be broken before you change the oil.?
    Do your tires need to be flat before you buy new tires.?
    Does your roof need to leek before you replace it.?
    Etc etc etc
    Cameras Have Electronic and Mechanical attributes, and Those Things need Care/Calibrating from time to time.
    If you would not do a CLA on a 30/40 year old camera.....When WOULD you do it.? :wink:
     
  12. film_man

    film_man Member

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    It depends on the camera. A modern dry system camera (ie no lubricants, no seals) either works or it doesn't. An old camera that needs springs adjusted, lubricants changed, etc needs a service to prevent it from breaking. Just like a car needs servicing of certain bits to prevent them from breaking whereas others you don't touch till they break as there is nothing to service anyway.
     
  13. Scott Micciche

    Scott Micciche Subscriber

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    Meters go out of calibration and shutter speeds drift. If you notice over/under exposure, it might be time to consider getting a cla and having these items brought into normal tolerances. Cameras can be far from broken but still not deliver image quality. Saying not to examine or adjust because a camera isn't broken is silly, especially 100% mechanical cameras.
     
  14. JWMster

    JWMster Subscriber

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    In the last year, I bought a Leica M4-2 and M6 and both were given CLA. There was other small work I had done (window upgrades) and these now operate like new IMHO. Wasn't necessary per se, but it gave me more confidence that at least I was starting with a solid piece of equipment. WIth the Rollei 6008 I bought recently, I'm taking a wait and see. Some of the things I've noticed might need looking at... but could also be products of my initial unfamiliarity with the camera. Haven't determined whether there's a systematic issue or not, but tending to think not. I rebuilt the batteries myself with inspiration off this list. But for the most part, I'm thinking if I do anything it might be early winter next year... the so-called "off season".

    So I'm in both the wait-and-see and fix-it-up camps. CLA doesn't have to cost a fortune, and if you have more than one camera lying around... and most of us do, it doesn't mean you lose any time shooting. I will say this, when I'm done with a camera, I make sure it's in pretty decent shape for my use and has all the bells and whistles needed or that I "thought" I needed. And it's trying not to repeat this too often that seems to have moved me from one camp to the next... and why I'm in both at the moment. No sense in fixing up a camera and gathering all the goodies if it doesn't suit you, and you're just gonna sell it to someone who finds it more suitable. Fix up and gear up only the keepers! And this is a problem because? Well, because if you're buying film cameras, you're buying goods not inventoried in any store or available for rent so far as I'm aware.
     
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