Mark A. Overton


I collect and shoot with classic mechanical cameras as a hobby. They often need repair, so I have accumulated over 20 years of experience in repairing them. Some cameras benefit from modifications as well. The articles below describe various repairs and modifications you can make to popular cameras and shutters, plus some special tools that you’ll find helpful. I add new articles periodically, so drop in and take a look every now and then.


Retina rackRestoring ruined Retina racks
Retina rackPreventing rack-damage in Retina cameras
Retina LVSDefeating the LVS-linkage in folding Retina cameras
Retina auto IIIUpgrading a Retina Automatic III, making it reliable and enjoyable
Retina emblemNeatly removing the emblem from a rigid Retina
Synchro-CompurA modification to improve reliability of Synchro-Compur shutters
Pin-face toolA home-made tool for neatly turning pin-face screws
ApertureReassembling a many-blade aperture (using a home-made tool)
Trip 35 and Pen EE Adding manual shutter-speed control to the Olympus Trip 35 (and Pen EE family)
Trip 35 cleaningCleaning aperture- and shutter-blades in the Olympus Trip 35
Reducing flareWays to eliminate sill-flare (flare near edges)
CanonetReducing high shutter-button force on large-body Canonet cameras
Mamiya MetraMachining a new focus-ring for the Mamiya Metra
CollimatorAn auto-collimator to calibrate focus and assess lens-quality
DeveloperMocon: XTOL-quality in a long-lasting concentrate

Warning: Most of these articles are intended for experienced camera repairmen, so they don’t describe the materials and tools you will need nor the proper ways of using those tools. If you are new to camera repair, I suggest looking at the website Learn Camera Repair. This site contains an enormous amount of free information, including the classes taught by the National Camera school for camera repairmen. I also suggest buying Thomas Tomosy’s books: Restoring Classic & Collectible Cameras, and Camera Maintenance and Repair (books 1 and 2). Also, some of the repair sites listed below contain introductory and general material. Then, practice for a long time on a representative low-value camera such as a Petri 7/7S, Praktica, Olympus OM-10, Pentax ME, Fed/Zorki/Zenit, Ansco Autoset, Optima, Retinette 1A, Agfa Silette or Ansco Memar. Be sure to practice for at least 10 hours until you can hold and use tools correctly out of habit. Without proper habits gained from hours of practice, you will frequently slip, bend, gouge, and tear, damaging your camera. Also, you’ll need somewhat steady hands for this kind of work. You can get by with some shakiness by cleverly bracing your fingers and tools, but this fine work will probably be impossible with severe shaking. If you damage your camera, don’t blame me; I’m just sharing what I’ve learned by experience, and you might encounter problems that I didn’t.

When repairing a camera, I all too often encounter munged screwheads, crude scratches, and damaged or missing parts. Upon seeing that, I say to myself, “A slob has been in here!” Don’t be that slob. Practice on a junker or two until you are adept at repairing cameras.

Links to Other Repair-Sites

Learn Camera Repair: A library devoted to camera repair
Good intro to repair (Matt’s classic cameras)
Dan Mitchell’s articles
Roland Givan’s articles
Michael Feuerbacher’s articles
Robert Ian Axford’s articles
Rick Oleson has composed a large number of notes (articles)
RetinaRescue by Chris Sherlock is mostly Retina, but some others too
Many articles by various authors, including intro, plus manuals (kyphoto)
Pentax service manuals (collected by Mark Roberts)
Repair-manuals and instruction-manuals
Repair-forum in Photrio
Repair-forum in rangefinderforum (click Repair Forum in left column)
Over 6000 instruction-manuals (collected by Mike Butkus)

Would you like to write an article for this site? Would you like to contact me for some other reason, such as a correction or suggestion for this site? Email me at, but substitute that company-name with gmail.