A Tragic Tale of Classic Camera Repair

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by rusty''''''''s pics, Nov 27, 2007.

  1. The tragedy is that after at least 20 years in business, the last classic camera
    repair shop has closed it's doors in St. Louis, a city of about 2 million.
    The reasons are not entirely the obvious; the fellow who ran Winkeler Kamera
    Klinik had to shut his doors because he could no longer afford private health
    insurance. He did note a decline in business, because nothing is made to be
    repaired anymore. This fellow is under 60, thinner than me, 15 years his junior.
    In good physical shape. But his monthly premium skyrocketed to over $1000 a month!
    He still had plenty of cameras to repair, but was offered a job building custom
    cabinets for an aviation firm in town. Group health benefits included.
    So he shut his doors within two days. Anything not repaired went back to
    customers as is! Luckily I had used his services a lot in the past 2 years. I
    knew when this guy closed, it was goodbye to quality in town repairs.

    Seems to me that the death of classic cameras and death of social responsibility
    are going down the drain at the same time in the USA. I'll sure miss the Kamera
    Klink. THis guy totally refurbished a 1947 Rolleicord IIc for me this year,
    right down to scrounging a new mirror from a Yashicamat. He did an amazing job
    on my Olympus Pen FT last year too, reviving the long dead meter and
    re-calibrating for alkaline cells.

    SO give your classic repair guy some business. He or she probably needs it!
  2. "But his monthly premium skyrocketed to over $1000 a month!" That's f-ing sad!
  3. It's a sad thing that not only affects photography, but every object that requires craftsmanship. I collect old tube radios and used to belong to a collectors club,I would say more than half of the members who really knew how to repair and restore the old radios in the past 10 yrs, are now dead.
  4. It seems that once the expert knowledge of how to fix things is lost, it's gone forever. No one really knows how the Roman aquaducts were built, or what went into their concrete. I'm surprised more people haven't commented on this thread. Maybe people who buy classic gear do their own repairs? Seems that may be the best thing to do....
  5. People now just consume and dispose... nothing is made to last.

    Saddens me no end!

  6. Agree with Tony. Most users/collectors that I know are happy to do the small repairs themselves where the item is not high value or rare. This is good in a way as it adds to the enjoyment and knowledge of the hobbyist. Other items will need to be shipped as repairers become scarcer and more specialist.<br>
    On the other hand quality mechanisms always attract collectors and cameras are no exception, so I am pretty optimistic about the on-going existence of niche repair services. After all, mechanical pocket watches can still be repaired and there is strong parallel here I feel.<br>
  7. "Nothing is made to last"? Plastic bags are. Ewwww...
    BTW, this man would probably benefit a lot from internet advertising, or did he try without success? This is one thing that I really love about 21st century - any "freaks" find it easy to network worldwide, be it "old camera freaks"... ;-)
  8. The real issue here is health care and skyrocketing costs. Mention the word socialized medicine near any politician type, and they spasm. When are we going to learn that some things need to be distributed equitably. IMO, medical and legal help are two of them.
  9. Ken, when we stop calling ourselves the US of A. Sorry to digress but the story of merchandising is the story of social ananomity and social irresponsibility. I do not have health insurance and am 57. I cherish my film cameras and at least feel that I am creative when I take pictures and process the results. Something is wrong here; those of us 'left out' have to carve a niche (or semblance of a 'status') out of thin air. In the end, the 'purported' winners are really the losers because they have not learned to cope with adversity, fickle adversity. As hackneyed as this sounds, the only real value is in the intangibles: ethics, honesty, consideration. Other 'values' are evanescent. - David Lyga.
  10. That is sad. There is an excellent repair guy here in Vegas, who has been working his way through my Dad's old cameras and a few of my online purchases. It's a treat not to have to mail my treasures off to be examined and to have a craftsman available here in town. I've felt a sense of urgency to get cameras fixed before there's no one left who knows how. Kinda like my decision to learn film before photoshop, I want to learn how to use the darkroom before the classes are no longer offered.

    By the way contact info for Jeff Akbarzadeh my Repair guru can be found at arpacam.com.

    I lost my health insurance when I quit my job to take care of my Dad at home. Every time I start looking for private health insurance it depresses me. If I ever get seriously ill, I'll have to rob a bank or something, at least I can get free health care in jail.
  11. It's a sad comment on our health care system, not really about the classic camera situation since there are repairmen and spare parts, but they can't survive in business because of other issues. [Health Care]. The only segment of the U.S. civilian population that gets free health care are those in prison and those held in Guantanamo Cuba. Very sad for such a wealthy country.
  12. Many of you guys got the point that when we and our cameras get old, there is no one willing to "fix" either of us for a reasonable cost.
    Every other civilized nation in the world, including China has a national health insurance program. It makes good economic sense for the USA because our industry cannot compete overseas and bear the burden of paying health costs for an increasingly aging population.
    I'm sure Winkeler would've happily kept fixing cameras if the vultures running our private health insurance companies had not decided to triple his rates overnight.
    All I know is that I want to be buried with my WORKING Rolleiflex 2.8E loaded and cocked with Ilford HP-5+!
  13. I'm lucky to live in Australia, where we have a national health service for everyone. OK, sometimes it's a bit like sending your Contax to Henry Scherer - you have to wait a while. But it's worth the wait, they do a great job and you probably end up paying less for a CLA of your hip than you would for Henry to do your Contax. [And his charges are very reasonable for the quality work he does, I might say].
    It's sad when you can get a 60 year old camera fixed but not a 60-year old body.
  14. Good, Mike. At least you know that the 'good old USA' distances itself from its attached myth. Here in Philadelphia, 75% of the city looks like the Third World. (Go to the main branch of the Free Library: it's run like a prison). Go across the Delaware River to Camden: it IS a prison.
  15. George: You note that only prisoners and people in Guantanamo are the only two groups
    with free health care. Not so! Please don't forget that group known as America's only
    indigenous criminal class--------> congress. (Mark Twain) Yes, the same group that is
    so opposed to "socialized" medicine is the main beneficiary of socialized medicine.

    While normally conservative on economic issues, I find the issue of health care too
    important to quibble about. Everyone should be covered and it should be available without
    a tax write off because too many of the poor and needy need more direct aid. Personally,
    at 64, I am OK. I have good coverage, at least average, and as a former professor in Ohio,
    the system is supported by the state pension system. But I am very lucky. It costs me, but
    no more than most people pay. I would be happy to keep what I have and let all federal
    tax dollars go to make sure EVERYONE is covered. -- I live in Appalachia and rural poverty
    is....crushing. You have to see it to understand it. ANY system that would cover
    EVERYONE, is worth supporting. Perhaps philosophical niceties would mean some systems
    are better than another, but as long as people have no health coverage, this is all
  16. Well, I didn't comment earlier in this thread because of a simple reason: I know of no repair shop for old cameras here in Bergamo, Italy. They are building a new hospital, the old one barely 70 years old wasn't enough anymore and bet it occupied the area of a small village. At least they will retain the nice architecture...

    But my old Miranda? My Original Fujica? My two Exaktas? They sit there broken. I cannot fix everything myself, I don't have enough time and knowledge to repair everything. Small works yes, but... shutters are complicated. Thus valuable stuff can be maybe shipped, but a shop is different. I love talking to the guy operating.
  17. In my home town, there is still a repairman who spends more time answering the phone than doing bench work. Long may he run.

    Health care? This seems to be one of the last, profitable, capitalistic industries in this country.

    When my heart failed, an enormous amount of dollars were were spent keeping me alive and helping me get back on my feet. I had insurance, then.

    At present, I am without health care and having problems again. My former doctors would not even consult at the ER because I have limited income and no real means of affording payment.

    This is an excellent thread on a very close to home subject.
  18. Witness the death of an era. Enjoy these old machines while they still exist.

    On topic of the thread, this is the nice thing about our form of capitalism, it serves the cause. Health care is a carrot that keeps people glued to the grindstone. Ask your congressman that has money invested in equities in companies that are rebuilding Iraq, how much are we spending per each Iraqi that we have so far liberated from the tyranny of stable electricity, and how much we are spending on rebuilding everything we have blown up.

    As a conservative, I want to puke. Ok, I'm out of here, I'm going to go watch Fox news to learn more on how the Liberals are screwing up this counry....barf.
  19. All this talk of politics & health care. What a bunch of liberal - socialist garbage / trash talk. Please load it up and ship it elsewhere. Try keeping a topic on cameras please.

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