The collectors or the users of old cameras regularly put themselves the same questions about the repair or of the maintenance of their cameras. This page is intended to answer, we hope for it, with the majority of these questions.
In a general way, the questions concerning the maintenance, the repair and the use of the cameras can be asked on the forum of the web. The members will endeavour to answer you or to switch towards websites where the answer is.
Here some questions with their answers:

Where to make repair my old cameras in France, Belgium or Switzerland ?

Where to find film? ?

Where to find tools, supplies ?

How to measure the opening of the shutters of your cameras ?

How to glue back peeled off claddings?

How to remake a cladding of front face on a Box? ?

Data bank of the templates of cladding ?

Dismantling of a FED 5

Access to the shutter of a Yashica Mat (EM, LM, 124 and 124-G) ?

Dismantling of the hood of a Canon 7?

Where to make repair my old cameras in France, Belgium or Switzerland ?
With your help, we built and update regularly a list of repairers able to repair or maintain your collecting cameras. Contrary to other websites, it is not about a recopy of the yellow pages of the repairers, but of the addresses tested by you and recommended by you. These repairers are selected for their know-how, their capacity to have spare parts of old cameras.
You are invited to deliver your opinion on the repairers whom you mention.

List des repairers

Where to find film?

FilmThe purists (or the curious) want to make working the cameras of their collection. However very often, the film which would be enough to satisfy them, remains desperately untraceable, disappeared from the shelves of the camera dealers But nothing is for good lost! Here’s a list of websites of sales in line which will enable you to order some of these films

Do not hesitate to inform me of your own experiences:
MX2 (France)
Fotoimpex (Germany, Berlin)
Central Camera (USA, Chicago)
Frugal Photographer (USA) (France)

Some informations:
The 620 film can be replaced by the 120 film, on condition that [having two axles of reels 620. The process is regularly on the discussion forum, and the website of JC Boussat. Its tutorial will facilitate the process to you.

Where to find tools, supplies ?

The question is recurring: “Where to find such tool to repair my camera?” It is anyway possible to adopt resourcefulness and to arrange oneself its tools, but the thing can be risky for the camera. It is to be better addressed to a specialized seller who will have sometimes the tool adapted to YOUR model of camera.
Companies also sell supplies to repair the cameras: bellows, covers, etc…
This page offers to take an inventory of them.
Do not hesitate to inform me of your own experiences
Micro-tools : probably the most known of the sellers of tools and accessories. One regularly finds his catalogue on the large specialized fairs, but it is also downloadable on the website].
Camera Leather: this company sells only coverings for cameras. You can choose a pre-cut covering, identical to the original or more fun – From where do you believe that they all these Russian cameras in red, blue, etc… come out? - or to buy the matter and to make your cutting yourself.
1001 piles :if you do not find your battery there, then, it badly start

How to measure the opening of the shutters of your cameras ?
Alfred Kientz freely offers at the disposal his small software and his electronic diagram.
What do you need?
A PC working with Windows XP and having a serial port.
To realize the “sensor” describes below.
To download the software called « mesure.exe ».

The diagram of the sensor


Example of realization of the sensor


Component of salvage mounted on a small “plate with holes”
The support is made out of foam of mouse pad, the whole assembled by adhesive tape double-side.

Mesure Mesure

Housing for the electronic assembly.
The projection in front face of the sensor, with format 24 x 36 makes it possible to adapt it instead of the film, in the camera to be tested.
To download on the desktop the software « mesure.exe »

The sensor is placed in the camera to test, back open instead of film. The diaphragm is opened to the maximum and a source of light (torch e.g.) placed in front of the lens.
When the sensor is connected on a serial port, one can launch the software (double click on the icon of the desktop).
A message is displayed then to indicate if the sensor were, or not, detected.


The acquittal of the message starts the phase of measurement] (or the end of the program if the sensor were not detected!).
In the new window, the local time is displayed (to show that works). One can then to release the shutter as many times as one wants, the time of opening of the shutter is indicated at each time.

Measure of a FOCA SPORT 1B adjusted to 1/50

How to glue back peeled off claddings?

The problem

To properly gluing back any end of a cladding with cutting edge recovering an area (generally on himself)
or ending at the edge of a metallic frame (for example front face of a box or higher hood of a body 24x36 there are two methods:
The first which consists in applying the glue directly by slipping the tube under the cladding.
Undoubtedly it is the best means of making overflow the surplus of glue around!

Rather than to risk the disaster it is to better proceed as follows:


Cut a sheet of strong paper (Bristol-board), slip it under the part to glue back and draw the edges of the area which exceeds.
Lay down this sheet of reference on a sheet of paper, and apply the adhesive by spreading out it using an other piece of Bristol-board and by making it overflow.


Raise the cladding, and slip below completely the pasted Bristol-board (glue upwards)
Push moderately while extracting the Bristol-board: the glue settles progressively well uniformly


Strongly push on all the surface of the cladding.
If one took care not to put too much glue, there is no smudge.


Contrary to the  glues neoprene a little “strong” and whose solvents risk to attack the synthetic claddings, one can use less aggressive glues as the Despé glue “for paper and cardboard”, but I am not sure that this ”product of the families” is still manufactured…
Nevertheless, for small areas the neoprene is very well appropriate.
Some use vinyl glue successfully, but the time of drying is rather long, which obliges to maintain in place all the parts glue back together to prevent that “does not stick up” as soon as one has the back turned!

To finish, one can give again a little brilliance with cladding: to use silicone in spray, or products used on dashboards by project them on a paper handkerchief (Kleenex) which will be then used to spread the product without putting some everywhere.
(Caution: never not to use silicone near an object which one plans to paint: silicone is the enemy of the painters.) Top of the page 

How to remake a cladding of front face on a Box?

The majority of Boxes did not know the happy retirement of the more prestigious cameras, and it is frequent to find some from which the cladding suffered or even partly disappeared.
One day, my eyes were lay down on the common diary which I use daily, and its cover pointed out to me the stripped front face of a Box Mecaoptic.
I made the turn of the wall cupboards and surrounding drawers and I bring out four covers with different grains, of which one will remake very well a presentable face for this camera. After all, for cameras preserved in exhibition and whose value does not justify an authentic restoration, to give again a presentable appearance to them nearest to the original is always better than to expose a damaged camera.
Examples of grains

The cover of one diary should be enough re-cover a Box

projet mecaoptic
With each model… its diary!

A concrete case

Finally, a Beier “Box I” of German manufacture between 1928 and 1935, found on eBay with a “front face painted in black” (whereas this characteristic is not referenced…) and gained for 4 euros was used as test bench.
The suspicion was confirmed with the receipt of the camera: The front face had been recently repainted, of course very carefully and after disassembling, but nothing has to see with the cladding of origin which imitates leather. Here is the opportunity to try a restoration without pretension or big expenses.



On this model the metal front face is maintained by pinching by the body of the camera, out of metal as well, in which it is encased.
After having removed it, and dismounted the rings which maintain the lenses of centring and “the lens” it remains to remove the painting which recovers it using a diluent, and to take advantage to remove with a Brillo pad the marks of oxidation which appear on the surround, and to re-polish it with the felt and the paste to give again a brilliance close to its nickel plating of origin disappeared.
The material of replacement
The main operation consists in trying to replace the cladding disappeared by a modern material which could make illusion.
Among all the imitations of various leather grains which one finds on the covers of documents as those of these diaries salvaged it exactly finds of them one of aspect very close to the cladding of origin.
When the coin of replacement cut out with the cutter is placed on the naked plate, the aspect is very good, but it appears a difference immediately: the surface is entirely uniform whereas the cladding of origin have, like the others side, a decoration made up of two concentric rectangular frames probably obtained by crushing of a matrix in relief.
Through lack of having the tools of origin (and PVC without becoming deformed would resist it?) the only solution remains to realize a “hot” impression.



There still remains to find with what to realize these prints. According to that the principle of Marcel Lavoisier well-known second-hand dealer who said “anything is lost, all is salvaged]” I plunge in the box of scraps and bring out from it some stainless steel blades which are used to give spring and support… to the scrapers of windshield wipers (the next time that you will change some, dismount them, you will see it is very easy)
In one of them of low thickness and of 2.7 mm wide, 4 pieces are cut out and assembled flat together with metallized polyester ribbon to form a frame. In another, thick of one millimetre, it is this thickness which is used on edges” as print, and the blade must thus be formed by successive foldings with right angle.


Hot printing

The first “matrix” is placed delicately on the PVC part, and to immobilize it in position and to prevent to stick at the time of the increase in temperature it is covered with a little of grease with silicone.
Small Bristol-board rectangles recover the rest of the part of cladding to prevent which it does not become deformed under the action of heat, and the whole set up is covered with a very fine aluminium foil for well spread out the strength of pressure and heat on the surface of the matrix.


An iron of 500 Watts whose thermostat is regulated between wool and cotton is put to warm up, and after having await some cycles of heating so that heat is quite homogeneous, one applies it while pressing firmly without brutality during 15 to 20 seconds. (several preliminary tests can be made over scraps to refine its own adjustments of temperature and time of heating…)
Then the part of cladding is released and if all is correct one discovers a rectangular print of form in light hollow.
The same operation is renewed with second form. Intended to reproduce the less wide inner decoration, that is centered compared to the first print. This matrix requires to be heated a little longer, but its pressing surface being reduced, caution not too much marking the cladding by dissolving it.



The most efficient method is to glue the back of the part with a fine layer of neoprene glue, and to apply it without waiting too much until the solvent did not soften the PVC After having well flatted it on all area, best is to let the whole to one day under a load.



It does not remains any more, but to cut out the places] of the viewfinders and the lens using a blade of cutter, put back them in position, and to fix again the front face on the body of the camera. If need be, a “cosmetic " finishing brilliant or mat can complete the similarity of the part of substitution, but with the classic black cladding that should not pose problem.


Data bank of the templates of cladding

The templates are provided by the readers of the website, you can thus share yours. They must be provided to format pdf in order not to have problem of size with the printing.

Olympus Flex
Contax 139
Ricoh Diacord
Yashica mat
Voigtlander Bessa 6 x 9 pre 1935
Universal Mercury Cx II
Foca PF2
Kiev 2A

Dismantling of a FED 5, par Philippe Hulin

Dismantling of a FED 5 n° 102172

Fed 5

Make slip the black plate towards the left (A). Raise this plate while getting out with delicacy by cutting of the viewfinder] Caution, there is a spring blade under the window of cell.

Fed 5

Front face, for the adjustment of the rangefinder It is an optical instrument making it possible to know the distance between a subject and the camera. It can belongs integral part to the camera or be an accessory. The vertical adjustment is carried out by rotation of ring A. the screw B allows the horizontal adjustment.
In my case the vertical adjustment was optimum, the rotation of ring A on the right or on the left did nothing but increase the vertical shift. From where required remove the hood. Remove screws A and D. don’t remove the screws B and C, they fix the cell] and the modulation meter to the hood.

Fed 5

Remove screws A and B. Remove the ring of adjustment of dioptre by unscrewing slightly screws D and E. After having well memorize the position of the selector speed (for the reassembly), slightly unscrew the 2 screws of the barrel of the selector and take it off. Here only one screw is visible F.
Unscrew the screw of the hood of exposure counter C
Fed 5

Unscrew the rewinding knob A by maintaining firmly the fork B.

Fed 5

To take off the exposure counter, unscrew central screw A clockwise. Remove the start of the return spring B.

Fed 5

Remove the small notched wheel

Fed 5

Remove screws A and B. Give off the trigger D of the spike E of reset.
Remove the screw C.

Fed 5

Remove screws A and B. Unscrew slightly the screw C, not need to remove it. Then make revolve the ring counterclockwise and remove it.
The hood is now free, one can remove it.

Fed 5
View of the viewfinder with washer A (don’t less it)
Fed 5

View of the rangefinder system.

Fed 5

Here is the heart of the adjustment of the rangefinder. It is an optical instrument making it possible to know the distance between a subject and the camera. It can belong integral part to the camera or be an accessory. The screws A and B maintain a steel ball C which rests on the block D (parallel blade?). By unscrewing very slightly the two screws AB one releases the block D. It is then enough to go up or lower the block (according to the shift).
Attention, act with delicacy, a quarter of millimetre is enough to shift sufficiently.
Control the shift with the viewfinder, then tight screws AB.
Obviously the optimal adjustment of the rangefinder will be done with the ad hoc adjustment screws, see photo 2.
The reassembly does not pose a particular problem. Proceed in reverse steps of dismantling.
It is just necessary to think of well tightening the return spring of the exposure counter before to put it.  

Access to the shutter of a Yashica Mat (EM, LM, 124 and 124-G), by Mael Bilquey


Using a spanner, unscrew the ring which surrounds the shutter release button and remove the lever with the arrow.



Take off carefully the cladding of the plate lens-holder. Take care not to tear it, considering the poor quality of this one (vinyl) (with the need to make use of a little alcohol in order to dissolve the old glue).


Once the vinyl removed, one can remove the small Phillips screws which maintain the casing surrounding the two lenses:


Before extracting this one, check that the lever of synchro flash is on position M and that the self-timer is not engaged.


Normally, if all is correct, that is seen:
One sees the cam and the touch needle which transmit the information speed of the shutter towards the photographic exposure meter. This system does not exist on Yashica-Mat EM and LM (cell not coupled) If one wishes to remove the cam and the touch needle, take care because there are two /wedges not to lose below (red arrows)
One can if one wants to extract the second plate with taking care to remove the four smallest screws. (white arrows)


Caution, with the shutter release button which contains a small rod which is used for the use of the cable release.
One can now unscrew the front part of the light unit, in order to remove dust, fungus, filings, etc….
For the back unit, it will be enough to be put in pose B for a side, and to reach by the back of the body for the other face. 

If one wants to go further, one can dismount the whole of the plate, but I strongly disadvise indeed unscrewing the 4 big screws which maintain the entirety of the fronting, one is likely to disturb the centring of the lens carried out by the factory. If it required there to remove it, draw using a screwdriver a mark around each screw in order to put back the unit EXACTLY in the initial position.

Take care well re-engaging the forks of return of speed and diaphragm information at the time of the re-engaging of this one.

Dismantling of the hood of a Canon 7, by Andre Bessot


Here the only tools which you will need, of course please prepare some small clean boxes to collect the various elements which you will dismount.
At the top of the picture, a receiving film reel 35 mm which will be used to unscrew the rewinding knob.
Thereafter I make reference with the designation of the parts according to the exploded view Canon which you find at the end of this document.


IMPORTANT: Start by noting the position of the speeds button and that of the indicator of sensitivities ASA (1/60s, 400 ASA).
Do not unscrew any other parts but those which are indicated in this procedure.
This picture identifies the first 3 parts to be dismounted. I explain at the following step how to dismount the selector speeds. Take care not to lose any of parts constituting the system of friction of the cocking lever 2 C2520.
It is enough, without bring out them of their hole, the 3 punch screws S1796 to extract the button 3 C2113 located around the shutter release.


The C2466 button is fixed using 3 punch screws: 2 short S3818 and 1 long C2601.
Only the long screw, located between speeds 1s and 2s, must be unscrewed completely. The 2 small screws must only be unscrewed partially. As C9326 can prevent the access to one of these small screws, you must make turn this part to release the access from them.
Take care with the handling of the indicator of sensitivities ASA C9326 when you extract this part, the printed plate out of aluminium is very fragile!
According to the layout of your camera, there exist 1 or 2 bulged washers C2464 between the indicator of sensitivities ASA C9326 and the C2466 button.


Unscrew the small screw S4651 located on the left side of the hood.
Caution, this screw is very short.


Your can now unscrew the socket for flash made up of the 2 parts C9166 & C0600-05. The electrical contact is a rubbing contact, therefore no wire to be unsoldered!


Use the film reel 35 mm to help you to dismount the knob of rewinding.
Take care not to lose the B8312 washer.


It is very important to note the relative position of the various elements identified in yellow on the picture to preserve the photometric adjustment during the reassembly. If unfortunately you lose this information, it is necessary to replace the selector speeds (intern, but using the higher button) on 1s, then to bring back it on speed 1/60s. Using the “pinion” of the sensitivities, move the indicator (window on the left of speeds button) so that the indication 22 positions as shown on the picture. When it is done, start by tightening the long screw C2601, then the 2 small ones.
As long as the hood is removed, take advantage for cleaning the electrical contacts (friction) between the cell and the galvanometer, this greatly improves the reactivity of the cell.

Document Canon