Questions to ask your potential F2 repairer
Taking your beloved F2 to a repair shop for service is just like taking your car to a garage for service. You need to shop around, ask questions, get the best value for money, and most importantly don't let the 'repairer' take you for a ride. The F2 is over 30 years old, and most repair shops are not equipped (lack of knowledge and parts) to service or repair it. There are many cowboys out there, and they could even damage your F2 - see my 'repairers from hell' pages. Most repairers are "Jack of all trade, and master of non". Also, most of them would only provide the equivalent of my Basic service (or less) as their standard CLA service. Their fees can be quite high, but often very poor value for money. Here are some questions you should ask your potential repairer, before you hand over your F2 for service/repair.
1) How long does it take to evaluate the camera? One day, one week, one month or longer? (Shops can take several months to evaluate the camera and then return it saying it can't be repaired.)
2) What exactly does the service involve?
- Removal of the top, bottom plates and the front assembly for external & internal refoams and CLA?
- Calibrate all the shutter speeds to 1/3rd stop accuracy or better?
Calibrate the meter from EV5 (1s f8 200ASA) to EV15 (1000s f8 200ASA) to 1/3rd stop accuracy or better?
3) Has he got a complete set of the body, finders and motor drives repair manuals?
4) Has he got all the spare parts to rebuild the body, finders and motor drives?
5) Does he use F2 dedicated tools, and foams from Japan to match the original Nikon's.
6) Does he use a professional Kyoritsu tester? Can his tester check the exposure accuracy at the beginning, middle and end of the frame. Also does it check for first and second shutter curtain bounces, and flash synchronisation?
7) How much does it cost, including parts, and return shipping? What is his hourly rate, and how long would he spend on the camera? (Most repairers would only spend less than one hour on each camera)
8) Details of the work done?
- Shutter speeds accuracy report?
- Service report?
- Photos of the work done?
9) Any damage to the camera or prism during the service? What compensation if the camera is damaged, or returned in a worse condition or in bits?
10) How long does the service take, from time of arrival?
11) How long is the repair warranty? Is it transferable to another owner, in another country?
12) When did he last service an F2 body, finder or motor drive? Last week, last month, last year, last decade?
13) Any customer references?