How to use Neutral Density filters


Filters used in the image above: A polarizer and a 3-stop reverse grad ND

Filters can make a big impact on an image.  Filters can enhance color, cut down glare/reflection, cut down the overall amount of light entering the lens, as well as cut down  light in specific areas of the image.  These altering affects take place the time the image is created, and can sometimes replace the need for photoshop.

It’s important to know what filters are available and how to use them, which is exactly what Brian Leary covers in this class. For more information, look at the link below:

Sunday, March 15               Time  3:00-5:00pm                       Cost – $60

Nikon D3 – USB connector repaired

Nikon D3 repair

From past experience, when the USB port on a camera breaks off the main circuit board, the manufacture requires replacement of the board, which can cost around $600 (parts & labor).  In this situation, the technician was able to disassemble the camera and repair the connection between the USB and main board.  When the camera is disassembled, the technician also cleans the contacts and switches.  After the camera is buttoned up, the technical checks all the functions, cleans the sensor and warranties the repair for 1-year.  The cost to do this on the Nikon D3 is $290.

Canon EOS 5D – Shutter replacement

Canon EOS 5D repair

Canon no longer services the original Canon EOS 5D, but depending on the problem and parts availability, we can still repair them.  In this situation, the shutter blades got out of alignment, but did not damage/scratch the sensor.  The technician was able to disassemble the camera, replace the shutter to bring the camera back to working order.  After the camera is reassembled, the technician cleaned the sensor and updated the firmware.  The cost of this repair was $250 in labor and $65 for the shutter.

The Canon EOS 5D also has a known problem where the mirror falls off, which we can reattach. When re-attaching the mirror, it’s vital the technician seats the mirror correctly.  If the mirror is attached incorrectly, the focus will be negatively altered.  The cost to re-set the mirror, clean the sensor and check the functions runs $100 in labor.

Nikon D800 – Fresh Water Damage

Nikon D800 USB port repair

Unfortunately Nikon does not repair water damaged equipment.  In fact, they won’t even look at it.  The good news is, Advance Camera can help.  Assuming it was fresh water damage, the battery is taken out immediately (before the camera was turned on) and the camera is brought in to the store as soon as possible.  The likelihood of us being able to repair the camera is high.  We have an $80 minimum labor charge to completely disassemble the camera, clean all the contacts, switches and connectors and then check the camera out.  In this situation, we were able to repair the camera.  The cost to clean the camera throughout, clean the sensor and update the firmware was $290 and the minimum labor charge was applied to the total cost.

Nikon 400mm f/2.8 AF-S lens repair

Another success story!

Dave our lead repair technician was able to repair the manual focusing system and clean the optics on a lens that Nikon factory refused to work on.  This Nikon 400mm f/2.8 AF-S is an expensive lens, one certainly worth repairing!  To replace it with a newer version (the VR II) is around $6000.  That being said, it’s hard for me to think the manufacturer would choose not to work on it, because it’s too old.

Angie’s List has just awarded us with the “Super Service Award” for 2012!

We are proud to announce… Angie’s List has just awarded us with the “Super Service Award” for 2012! This award is only given out to the top 5% of our service providers on the list. It is based on the number of reports received during this year, and the GPA of the reports.

This is an important award to us because we strive for quality repair at an affordable price.  Our repair technicians take pride in the repair services we offer by offering a 1-Year warranty on the work we do.  And our customer service representatives work hard and in a timely matter to make sure all of our customer’s needs are met.


Canon 7D – Cannot communicate with battery error

Canon EOS 7D “Cannot communicate with battery” error
The Canon 7D is an excellent camera and a true work horse. However, this camera is known to have problems which show up as an Error 30, 40 or 80. Since we specialize in camera repair, we see all sorts of problems. Recently, we received a 7D for repair, which was giving the “Cannot communicate with battery” error. Since we have the ability to plug the camera into the computer and download the cameras self diagnostics, we were able to pinpoint the problems, which were: the camera would not recognize the battery and would intermittently lock up, the self cleaning sensor function was also failing, all pointed to a problem with the lower PCB (printed circuit board). Now that we have identified the location of the problems, our lead repair technician Dave, disassembled the camera and found the following issues: loose ground screws and connectors going to the lower board, and the main flex connector between the lower PCB and main board had corrosion/tarnish on two of the points. After he cleaned all the switches, contact points, re-sealed the screws so they wouldn’t back out we re-programed the camera shutter through the specialized software the camera works flawlessly. In this situation, the cost to disassemble the camera completely, clean, adjust and reprogram the camera runs $249 in labor, which includes a 1-year warranty.

Canon 7D Testimony
Recently, we had a customer bring in a 7D for a standard sensor cleaning. The camera was used to shoot sports at Jesuit High School and used a lot, but very well cared for… I couldn’t believe that the cameras shutter actuation count was 256,868!!! The customer wanted to know if he should replace the shutter since the count was so high? In this situation, because the camera was still functioning fine, we recommended that he continue to use the camera until it starts to fail. We have replaced 7D shutters, all of which had lower shutter counts than this one. When the time comes to replace his shutter, the technician will disassemble the camera completely, replace the shutter (part cost $110), clean the camera throughout, clean the sensor and check all functions, which runs $249 in labor.

Canon 5d Mk II and Mark III – Error 30, 40 or 80

Since we specialize in repair, we see and here about all kinds of camera problems. Both the Canon 5D Mark II and Mark III have been known to show an “Error 30, 40 and 80″ code on the top LCD window, which is usually memory card related?

In general, when your camera locks up… the first thing you should do is turn the camera off, take the battery and memory card out of the camera (which will force the camera to reset) and then put the battery back in, turn it on and see if the camera works. If you have access to the menu settings, you can downloading the latest firmware version (found on Canon’s website) and update your camera in hopes it was a software related bug that Canon fixed after production.

If the symptoms/ error codes still appear, the camera will most likely need to be taken apart and repaired or at the least, reprogramed by computer. If you are experiencing any further problems, please contact us at or stop by with your camera and let one of our repair technicians check your camera out.

More than 50,000 service orders!

April 17th, 2012 marks the day Advance Camera reached it’s 50,000th service order!

First and foremost… thank you (all of our customers) whom have supported us and use the services that we offer.  We understand that there are plenty of places to shop and we greatly appreciate your business.

Since 1991, Advance Camera has prided itself on quality repair supported by a friendly staff. We continue to stay current with all the new technologies as they emerge. Over the years, the industry has dramatically changed.  Before the digital revolution, the manufacturers didn’t produce as many products, nor did they come out with a new replacement model every 6 to 18 months.  In addition, manufacturers would support their products by making parts and offering service for at least seven years.

Due to continual technological advancements, manufacturers pump out new models quite regularly and they rarely support their products for more than a few years.  On some of the less expensive consumer oriented products, manufacturers don’t even offer replacement parts at all. We at Advance Camera want you to get more life out of your photo gear! More megapixels doesn’t mean the newer model is better. Maybe you’ve been really happy with the quality your current camera produces. Not to mention you’re familiar with it. Rather than giving the manufacture more money and throwing your old camera away in the trash… Recycle! Let us check your camera out to see if we can repair it. We understand that repair has to be economical, or else it wouldn’t make sense.

I encourage you all to consider repair the next time your camera, lens, tripod, iPod/ iPhone/ iPad are in need of some TLC.

Again, we greatly appreciate the business!


The Staff @ Advance Camera