Over the past fifteen years, we have seen the rise of the digital camera and the general abandonment of film cameras, with many photographers giving them away or just leaving them to collect dust. It’s also true that with digital cameras, we tend to replace rather than repair, either due to costs associated with the repair or the fact that digital cameras have significantly improved, generation to generation. This has led to a demise of the once-common camera repair shops that dotted most major cities or suburban strip malls. But of course, film cameras never really went away; in fact, we are seeing a resurgence in film photography, and people do get their digital cameras repaired when it is cost effective, so this article will present a short list of camera repair shops in New York that are still providing services, and we encourage readers to comment about their favorite repair shops, whether here in the U.S. or around the world. Think of your comments as a service to your fellow photographers, who right now may be considering abandoning a digital camera due to a minor repair or giving away a perfectly good film camera that just needs a quick tune-up or cleaning.
Photo Tech Repair Service
Let’s start close to home. Just around the corner from our offices at B&H is Photo Tech, which was founded in 1958, but with its current owners, Frank Naraine and his sons, Michael and Paul, has existed since the 1990s. Chrysler Camera, which was famously located in the Chrysler Building, is now also under the umbrella of Photo Tech. They are one of the busiest shops in town, offering quick turnaround for working pros and a brisk business for tourists visiting New York. They work on a wide variety of cameras and lenses and are authorized repair technicians for Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fujifilm, and Sigma. Check their website or call to be sure they work on your camera brand. Having had my cameras repaired there over the years, I can testify to their professionalism, quick turnaround, and fair pricing.
Nippon Photoclinic has been around since 1984. I first took my Canon T50 SLR to Nippon in 1989 for a minor repair and it is still working today. Recently, I dropped my brand-new Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens and Nippon was able to fix it at a price that didn’t make me kick myself too hard. Their service parameters have changed over the years, but they are certified in Linhof, Wista, and Contax repairs. They also service medium and large format cameras by Leica, Hasselblad, Mamiya, Rolleiflex, and Pentax. Interestingly, when Contax went out of business, Nippon received all their spare parts and now specialize in Contax point-and-shoot cameras, as well. They do not repair Sony cameras but do repair Canon, Nikon, and Fujifilm, if they have the parts. For major repairs, the manufacturers are reluctant to send parts to the repair shops, so Nippon will send your gear to the manufacturer if need be.
Frank Rubio is the “Camera Doctor” and, after having worked in one of New York’s premiere rental houses for many years, he hung his own shingle. Within a relatively short time, has hired a team of technicians to work with him. Presently, the Camera Doctor repair shop is located in New York's Midtown West. They repair a range of film and digital camera brands and formats, including Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Rolleiflex, Graflex, Deardorff, Fujifilm, and are known for large format shutter repairs and for their customizing services, which include the occasional “Frankencamera.” For more on that topic, tune in to the B&H Photography Podcast conversation on “Frankencameras,” with the Camera Doctor himself.
Brooklyn Film Camera
A relative upstart, Brooklyn Film Camera was founded by a small team of film enthusiasts and former Impossible Project employees and has quickly become a hotspot for film photographers, in Bushwick, Brooklyn. They sell a range of film cameras, including Yashica-Mats and Zero Image Pinhole cameras made from teak wood, but they specialize in Polaroid Instant cameras. In addition to selling cameras, film, and accessories, and hosting workshops, BFC is sought after for their repair, restoration, and customization (skinning service) of Polaroid SX-70 and SLR 680 Polaroid cameras.
Gleaning a bit of information from friends, I have been told that Precision Camera Works, in Chicago, is good for a range of repairs, especially large and medium format camera systems, that DAG Camera Parts near Madison, Wisconsin, is the go-to for Leica and Minox. Walters Camera Repairs is an all-around locale for vintage film and digital cameras.
Help Us Build a List of Repair Shops
Again, this is not meant to be an exhaustive list, and the main purpose of this article is to have readers comment about repair shops in their area and create a viable listing for fellow photographers to reference when they need to repair their digital camera or revitalize the film camera they found after doing a bit of spring cleaning. Please let us know about your favorite camera repair shop, and in which city it is located.