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Pop-up Flash Repair: Am I Being Ripped Off!?

Discussion in 'General Equipment Chat & Advice' started by Dudds, Sep 19, 2007.

  1. Dudds

    Dudds Member

    The pop-up flash on my Nikon D50 recently stopped working. No big deal, it's only a little bulb which has had a lot of fill-in work in the 12 months of the camera's life so I suspected the bulb had gone - the camera is still going through all the electronic readings and motions, just not firing the bulb.

    However, Nikon are quoting me over £100 (inc VAT) to replace the flash mechanism circuit board. Surely this can't be right? Does anyone have experience of the electrics in question here? My experience of electical circuitry tells me that if a circuit is at fault, it dies, it doesn't look like it's still working.

    Would be interested to know whether anyone else has a similar experience, £100+ is an awful lot of money.

    Many thanks.
    Dudds
     
  2. Lounge Lizard

    Lounge Lizard Well-Known Member

    It looks like the cost of a standard repair. Years ago, labour was cheap and parts and many repairs could be made quite quickly and cheaply. These days, parts are cheap and mass-produced but the labour and other overheads are expensive. A camera repair workshop is a bit like a top-marque car dealership. They have well-trained staff, all the calibration equipment in a clean environment designed for quality repair work. The flash circuit may well cost £2 to make, £5 to Nikon and £20 if you were able to buy it from them but it might take two hours of labour to strip down the camera to get to the circuit and replace it, rebuild the camera and test it. Two hours labour at, say, £35 an hour, plus the cost of the circuit board plus VAT can easily come up to £100.

    A couple of years ago I was quoted a £120 fixed charge to repair a Powershot compact. It might have just been a loose wire but the second-hand value was £100 and as my home policy had an excess of £100, the insurers would only give me £20 to fix a £100 camera and I'd have to find another £100. So, I wrote it off and bought a new camera. I'm not saying scrap your camera, simply that repairs out of warranty can be very expensive due to the skilled labour required.
     
  3. alanS

    alanS Well-Known Member

    "My experience of electical circuitry tells me that if a circuit is at fault, it dies, it doesn't look like it's still working."

    Well, speaking as someone who's sent many years fixing pesky little things to component level all I can say is that faults and their symptoms vary enormously from one device and design to another device and design. Unfortunately it is entirely possible for a circuit to develop fault symptoms which you'd think would point to one component when in reality the cause is another. Circuits can also, unfortunately, appear to go through all of the required motions and present no other indication or symptom other than a failure to produce the expected end result.

    It's also possible that there are fixed procedures in place and that, for example, for a particular fault the engineer may as a matter of course replace all possible faulty components rather than fault find and replace only the faulty component. The fact is that doing things in a way that we would think of being correct sometimes doesn't make economic sense.

    Anyway, I hope that you get is sorted to your satisfaction soon.
     
  4. Dudds

    Dudds Member

    Thanks chaps, your comments make a lot of sense, albeit depressing reading. My Practika BX20 has been running for over 20 years without so much as a sticky shutter but I guess the technological world has moved on - and equipment life shortened and total cost of ownership rocketed skyward!

    Thanks again.
     
  5. Burgy

    Burgy In the Stop Bath

    Not really. When I used to shoot with Canon F1n and A1 bodies, they wouuld generally last a couple, may three year (maybe 50-80,000 frames)

    The cost TCO also includes services costs (mine were sevices annually) the volume of film, costs of batteries (no rechargeables in the motors or bodies)

    Whereas my EOS1d bodies now cost more, there is no film cost involved, and I don't bother getting them services, my DCS520/D2000 bodies gave 5 years of service, the EOS1D bodies gave 3+ years and where still sold, I fully expect the EOS1D mk II N bodies to give three years, no battery costs.

    £100 doesn't sound bad at all, when I recall yeas ago, it used to be £45 just to have a camera body examined by a service department.
     
  6. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Huh! My BX20 failed after a month - couldn't open the back. The retailer in question wouldn't send it off for a warranty repair, as they said I had got it wet - I hadn't.

    Got it fixed eventually.... and I still have it.
     
  7. IvorETower

    IvorETower Little Buttercup

    First of all these days, it is usually cheaper to replace a whole circuit board rather than fault-find to component level and just change the offending item(s) on the board.
    Secondly with skilled labour charged being what they are, £100 seems almost a bargain for such a repair.
     
  8. Boothy

    Boothy Well-Known Member

    Maybe look at it from a different angle - if you say your flash does a lot of work then why not invest in a hotshoe flash, which will probably be above £100, but will also be more powerful, moveable and if you decide to change cameras, you can take it with you - meaning the flash would be much more lasting than the repair and say only a years more use out of the camera. :)
     

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