Mechanical cameras of yesteryear seemed to last forever; there were few if any moving parts and camera computer components didn’t exist yet. The most common repairs were for broken film door latches or stuck shutter blades. Fast forward to today and we find the complete opposite; many moving parts and buttons, and tiny circuit boards under the hood presenting a variety of things that can fail.
Consider if you really need a camera repair, and if so, decide where to take or send it. Also, consider whether buying a new one might be a smarter option.
1. Check these things first to see if you yourself can fix the problem.
- Check the batteries.
- Try inserting a new memory card, a corrupt card might cause the camera to stop function properly.
- Try to reset the camera. Most cameras have a menu setting ‘RESET ALL’ which puts the camera back to the manufacture’s default settings. Look in your camera manual or do an internet search for this option.
2. If you determine a repair is needed your options are to send it to a repair center or take it to a camera store and have them send it off for you.
- Online, you can visit your camera manufacture’s website and see what they offer. Many of them will have you complete a repair form (online) in which you’ll state your camera model, serial number and the problem you’re experiencing. After you complete that, they can give you an idea of the fee for the repair. You can then decide if you want to go ahead with it or not.
- Some manufacture’s may not list the amount to repair but will list a fee to give you an estimate. For example, they might have you send the camera in for an evaluation of the problem provided you agree to the estimate fee. Those fees might range from $25 to $100 but if you go ahead with the repair, the estimate fee is waived.
- Most repairs can take between 3 to 6 weeks so plan accordingly. If you’re going on vacation soon, a new camera might be a better idea.
- Visiting a camera store can be helpful as someone trained in cameras can help you determine if a repair is needed and if so, they can ship it off for you.
3. Consider whether a repair is worth it or if you’d be better off buying a new camera.
Consider price and technology.
PRICE – You may have paid quite a bit for the camera years ago but camera prices have come down considerably. You may find a new camera at half or less than half of what you paid years ago. Or, you may find the price of the repair is almost as much as a new camera.
- Point and Shoot camera repairs can run from $100 to $250 depending on the problem.
- Digital SLR cameras repairs can run from $150 to $350 depending on the problem.
- Purchasing a new Point and Shoot camera can run from $175- $300 while DSLRs and mirrorless cameras can run from $400 to several thousands.
TECHNOLOGY – Digital cameras and the technology under the hood has improved exponentially in the last decade. Today’s camera perform better in low light, file format and quality settings, focus systems, speed of capture, processing power and so much more. If you thought your images from your 5 year old camera were good, wait until you see how much better they can be with a new one or how much nicer the camera performs.
An ounce of PREVENTION can save you money and headaches.
- Sand and grit can be extremely damaging to our cameras, just a single grain can ruin a zoom lens in an instant.
- Leaving a camera in a hot car in the summertime can fry the electronics.
- Of course we all know liquids and electronics don’t mix, especially sticky liquids like sodas.
Tips if PURCHASING a new camera.
- Purchase from a dealer or a legitimate online source and make sure your product has a U.S. Warranty. If not, it might be a “gray market” product and no one in the United States will service it. (Gray market products are those that really shouldn’t be sold in the U.S. and they are not supported here.)
- With anything new, there is a learning curve but if you were happy with the brand you had in the past, or you have lenses and accessories, it’s worth exploring if these things will fit and work on a newer body and if so, that would be recommend. Otherwise, you’re a free agent and can explore all the options available.
- Visit the camera manufactures websites to view the product lines and give the website DPREVIEW.com a look to find tons of helpful info on specific cameras as well as camera comparisons.
Your local camera store can assist in determining if a repair is needed and can act as the middle man between you and the repair center. Find a store near you at this blog article link, Where The Stores Are, Shopping Locally...
Note - Much of the above also applies to lenses, again, visit the service tab on the website of the lens manufacture or visit your local camera store to see if a repair is needed and worth the expense.