Photographic Equipment Technicians
Exploring this Job
Larger camera stores often have an on-site employee who does limited camera adjustment and repair. This person can be a good source of information about opportunities in this field. You can also obtain information from technical schools and institutes offering photographic equipment courses. In addition, many schools and community centers have photography clubs, some with their own darkrooms, which offer an excellent chance to explore the field of photography.
Technicians diagnose a camera by analyzing the camera's shutter speed and accuracy of focus through the use of sophisticated electronic test equipment. Once the problem is diagnosed, the camera is opened and checked for worn, misaligned, or defective parts. At least half of all repairs are done without replacing parts. All tests and adjustments are done to manufacturer's specifications, using blueprints, specification lists, and repair manuals.
Most repairs and adjustments can be made using small hand tools. A jeweler's loupe (magnifying glass) is used to examine small parts for wear or damage. Electronic and optical measuring instruments are used to check and adjust focus, shutter speed, operating speed of motion picture cameras, and light readings of light meters.
Many modern cameras designed for amateur use include built-in light meters as well as automatic focus and aperture (lens opening) settings. These features are convenient for the user, but the mechanisms require careful adjustment by a skilled technician when they malfunction.
Cameras must be kept clean and well lubricated to operate properly. Photographic equipment technicians use vacuum and air pressure devices to remove tiny dust particles and ultrasonic cleaning equipment to dislodge and remove hardened dirt and lubricant. Lenses are cleaned with a chemical solvent and soft tissue paper. Very fine lubricants are applied, often with the aid of a syringe or fine cotton swab.
Occasionally technicians, especially those employed by manufacturers or shops servicing professional studios, fabricate replacement parts. They use small instrument-makers' lathes, milling machines, grinders, and other tools.
Technicians must be able to discuss a camera's working problems with a customer to extract the necessary information to diagnose the problem.