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Camera Repairer


Cameras are truly amazing instruments. They capture moments on film and let people remember and document various events throughout time. For camera buffs, old manual cameras are almost a marvel these days with the advent of digital cameras and other new APS modes. Yet with time, old cameras tend to get rusty parts, which often need the expertise of a camera repairer. If someone's camera breaks down and they do not know how to fix it themselves, then a camera repairer will diagnose and repair the malfunction. Camera repairers fix cameras and photographic equipment, including motion picture cameras, flash units, light meters, lenses, slide projectors and other equipment, using specialized tools and testing devices.

When a customer brings in a camera, keep in mind that the repairer must tackle each problem head on based on the information given to them by the customer. They inspect the camera and check for different problems like loose parts or electrical shortages in order to make an educated diagnosis. Working on different cameras requires a broad knowledge of various brands and models; for example a 35mm and a digital video camera do not work the same. Therefore, some camera repairers many specialize in one particular type of camera, but many are at least knowledgeable about all kinds.

In order to repair a camera, technicians often disassemble it and look inside for signs of wear and tear or corrosion problems. When they have found the problem, camera repairers estimate the time and cost of the repairs. With the customers approval, they replace and repair defective or worn out parts and components using screwdrivers, tweezers, film pickers, switch pens, push-pull tools, soldering guns and mini-flashlights. Once complete, they clean up the camera and tighten, align and lubricate parts where necessary.

There will always be a need for camera repairers, since cameras do break down and average people do not know how to fix their cameras. Nevertheless, advances in technology, including digital film and computer chips are helping the quality and lifespan of cameras. Therefore, camera repairers must keep up-to-date with changes in today's cameras.
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  Interests and Skills  
Interested in working as a camera repairer? They need good hearing, eyesight, agile hands and manual dexterity, as well as a mechanical aptitude. Most enjoy paying careful attention to details, and they like solving difficult problems on their own. They can work both individually or in a team and should always be open to suggestions. Finally, camera repairers should be interested in keeping up-to-date with changing technology and constantly learning as much as possible in their approach to each task they undertake.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Determine why a camera is not working by getting a description of the problem from the customer, checking the appliance and troubleshooting for the most likely causes
  • Diagnose faults by checking controls, condensers, timer sequences, flashes and other components using test equipment
  • Replace components and subcomponents and reassemble cameras using intricate hand tools and other equipment
  • Consult manufacturers' service manuals and bulletins when the cause of the problem is not readily apparent, and use specialized tools and testing devices to locate the source of the problem
  • Disassemble the appliance, clean all internal parts, replace any faulty or worn parts, reassemble the appliance, and test it to be sure it is working properly
  • Answer customers' questions, give cost estimates, advise customers on correct appliance use and care, and demonstrate the proper operation of appliances
  • Prepare work orders, complete the necessary reports for billing, and maintain records for parts inventories and future service calls
  • A typical day for a camera repairer varies since they are always working on different products, however, they do spend a majority of time inside repair labs. They often work alone with little supervision in a shop. Most generally work about 40 hours per week, with longer hours consisting of emergencies or at busy times of the year.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Camera repairers work for camera repair shops, camera retail stores, photography studios, camera manufacturing plants, large appliance dealers, independent appliance service companies, department stores, universities and owners of rented cameras.

  Long Term Career Potential  
What does the future hold for camera repairers? Those employed in larger stores or companies may become specialists, or they may advance to supervisory positions. Some may choose to start their own independent camera repair stores or appliance sales and service outlets. They may also become factory service representatives employed by manufacturers, supervising authorized repair depots in a particular region.

  Educational Paths  
While there is no set educational path to becoming a camera repairer, some secondary school education is usually required. Accordingly, completion of college or other courses relevant to a particular equipment or product repair or completion of several months of on-the-job training is usually required.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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