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Several makes of classic (i.e., old) film cameras have just one or two people consistently recommended for repairs. Typically, these are retired factory techs from when the cameras were current, and as such they tend to be pretty old. For example:

  • Pentax mechanical cameras: Eric Hendrickson — "Servicing Pentax equipment since 1969"
  • Rollei TLRs: Harry Fleenor — "Servicing Rolleiflex since 1966"
  • Yashicamat TLRs: Mark Hama — "40 years of experience"

What happens to such cameras after these individuals retire or die? Will they become unrepairable?

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    That calls for speculation and is not answerable. You could have a discussion about it but no way to give a definitive answer. : Just because there are no technicians to repair something does not render it UN-repairable. – Alaska man Nov 3 '18 at 21:25
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These extremely experienced people are recommended to people that do not want to attempt their own repairs and are looking for the BEST and most likely to be successful repairs.

There are loads of people attempting and often enough succeeding at their own repairs, as evidenced by there being several extensive online resources (websites, youtube channels...) dealing with camera and lens repair. Not all of the authors are of older generations. And given that it is likely the exception that someone is willing to both learn camera repair AND document it online, there will be far more people that know something about it. Also evidenced by activity in big forums - questions for repair advice are often answered. Also, while these might be bootleg copies, a lot of manufacturer repair documentation (service manuals) has leaked into the open internet.

1970s and younger cameras using true custom electronics parts will probably be the most problematic someday: If you look at the integrated circuits used, a lot of them seem to have been designed for exactly one camera and manufacturer. Since there was no intent to market these parts alone to anyone else, and since even authorized repair facilities weren't meant to use these parts for new designs, there hasn't been any public offline or online documentation (databooks and datasheets) ever. Even a person extremely skilled in electronics, but without a spare integrated circuit at hand, would be forced to essentially redesign the circuitry around available parts. A mechanical part could almost always be replicated by a skilled machinist - and some of these will always be around since you do need them for prototyping in science, research and design...

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There's a local shop in my area, Advance Camera (Beaverton, OR, USA), that I recently used to service up my Canon SII and an Ikoflex Ic. Both are looooong out of production and any techs that may have produced them are most definitely retired, if not already in the ground.

There was a delay in my service because they were training a new technician.

Yep. That's right. In 2018, a business is training a new camera repair tech capable of operating on items made over 50 years ago.

The number of people with the skills to repair old cameras will always be small - but as long as there are people shooting these cameras and willing to pay to have them kept up, they'll exist in the market.

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