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


Nikon Parts-Repair Petition

For those of you that use Nikon equipment, you need to be aware that after July 13th of this year, they will no longer supply parts to independent repair stores like Advance Camera. That being said, you will be forced to send your equipment to one of 23 repair facilities in the US. This will most likely equate to higher repair costs and slower turnaround time. In addition, it’s important to know that Nikon farms out some of their repairs to a repair facility in Mexico. For more information on this topic click on the link below. You will also see that you can sign an online petition to help prevent this event from happening. Please take a moment and support your local repair shop by signing this petition… Thank you!

Dirty DSLR camera sensor?


For digital SLR users, dust on the cameras sensor is a fact of life. The web is filled with tips on how to minimize the build up, and some of them will actually help. We suggest making sure the back of your lenses and body caps are clean, and to vacuum out your camera bag every so often to minimize the amount of dust in your cameras storage environment. The truth of the matter is that no matter how careful you are, eventually you will see some spots on your photos.

Dust will show up as small gray or black spots in your photos, like in the example above. More often than not, the spots will show up the most in portions of your image which contain sky or solid white areas. Many people think this is a problem with their lens, but more times than not this is not the case. However, lenses can collect small amounts of dust which are visible to the eye, but due to the distance between the rear element and the camera sensor the dust does not show up in the image.

There is an easy way to check for dust on your sensor, and chances are when you look for it, you’ll find it! All you have to do is put the camera in “aperture priority” mode, and stop it down to F22 or so. Set the lens to manual focus and adjust the focus to infinity. Now your ready to take a picture. Try to shoot something with plenty of light which is a solid color like a wall or the sky (if possible, keep the image free of objects). Open the image in your image editing software (Adobe Photoshop) and perform an auto levels adjustment. At this point, if there’s dust, you’ll see it. Whichever cleaning method you choose, use this procedure to check your work after each attempt at cleaning your sensor to monitor progress.

I’ve been cleaning my own camera sensors for a while now. As the proud owner of a Canon 5D and 30D, I’ve noticed quite a difference in the amount of time spent on cleaning their respective sensors. The full size sensor on the 5D takes me much longer to accurately clean than the smaller sensor of the 30D. The larger sensor has much more surface area, less area around the periphery of the sensor, and is much higher resolution. All of these factors play a role in how much dust will show up in the photos, and ultimately how tough the job is.

Our skilled technicians used non-abrasive wipes and an instant dry cleaning fluid to swab the sensor. This method involves physical contact with the camera’s sensor and it is not recommended that you attempt it without proper training. It does, however, seem to be the most effective method of sensor cleaning out there.

If you have a dirty DSLR censor and want it cleaned by professionals, feel free to bring it by the store or ship it in. We can usually get the cleaning done within 1 business day and if you need it sooner, call in advance to set up an appointment. Our sensor cleaning service includes a full external clean, external lens cleaning, cleaning of the mirror box, mirror, screen and sensor, firmware update (if available), and a print of your sensor (before/after).  Standard sensor cleaning is $60, for full frame cameras the fee is $80.

Canon EOS Error 99

It is fairly common for Canon DSLR bodies to display the “error 99″ message.  Some folks say that it’s a memory card error and others say it has to do with the cameras battery. The truth is it that it could be either one, or a number of other issues that could be both body or lens related.

Here are some tips to help you diagnose error 99. These suggestions assume that you’ve already tried using a different lens (made by the camera manufacturer) and different CF memory card (freshly formatted).

1) Re-set the camera- Turn off the camera and take out the memory card and battery. Let the camera sit for 10 minutes and then reinstall your accessories. This will cause the camera’s “brain” to reset itself and will sometimes fix the error. If this doesn’t fix it then try the next option.

2) Remove the lens from the camera and use a BRAND NEW pencil eraser to gently rub the gold contacts on the back of the lens. It’s best to do this with the lens mount facing down (opposite of the lens picture below), which will prohibit debris entering through the rear mount. Clean contacts will insure proper communication between the camera and the lens. Dirty contacts can result in interference with the auto focus and or metering systems. Fingers crossed, this does the trick!

Unfortunately, these procedures will not fix the error 99 in every case. It’s a good idea to give them a try before taking your camera or lens in for repair since its not a difficult or time consuming process. If these procedures dont fix your error 99, head over to our repair department and let one of our qualified technicians evaluate your camera.