Friday, February 5, 2010

Know Your Camera Repair Person

Blog_20091010_1 You may look at the title and wonder if you are on the right photography blog, but you are. This blog is more on the business/relationship side of photography than the art side. Sooner or later if you are out shooting a lot you will have an “accident”. They hit when you least expect it. For example, last year I was done with a shoot one day walking on the shoulder of the road back to my vehicle and suddenly my feet started slipping on some loose gravel and down I went, camera, lens and tripod. While the tripod and camera got a couple scratches the lens took the brunt of it (and so did I). You get a wonderful sinking feeling about how much this is going to cost (after you get past the shock and pain). Time to visit the camera repair person.

This brings me to the title subject. Over the years I have been fortunate to find a good local camera repair shop. I have had them clean sensors, repair lenses and cameras, etc. They have always done good work, given me the repair options vs. cost and guaranteed their work for 1 year. But it wasn’t until yesterday that I realized one of their greatest values.

When picking up a lens from an inspection yesterday I had the opportunity to just talk and ask questions of the owner who had inspected the lens. The more I talked with him the more I began to realize the wealth of knowledge and skills he possessed after a couple of decades in his business. He knew details about lots of lens, compatibility issues, which were best, how they might fail and what it would cost – just good practical knowledge that  I usually look up on the internet. The big difference was that I could ask follow-up questions, get opinions on tradeoffs, etc. I also found out he offered services that I never even thought of but could have used (and will use).

In this age of the internet, it can be easy to overlook the wealth of knowledge and skills that might be next door. So take the time to talk with your local camera shop or repair shop owner. You might be surprised what you can find out.

If you don’t have a local repair shop let me recommend Advance Camera Repair, they do great work for reasonable cost and the service photographers all other the US.

Blog image: Just thought I would throw in another train image that I am submitting for a calendar. HDR double processed with the headlamp turned on courtesy of Nik Viveza.