I woke up this morning and saw a link someone sent me to Chris Sherlock’s YouTube channel and I thought, hmm, I wonder what exciting new camera Chris is taking on today.
Quickly though, I saw the purpose of the short 46 second clip, in which Chris announces his retirement from repairing cameras. Chris, for the few people reading this who might not know who he is, has been the world’s authority in Kodak Retina repair. In addition to his skill and huge supply of spare parts for all Kodak Retinas, Chris would often take on other leaf shutter cameras like the Kodak Bantam Special, and the Suzuki Press-Van, which are two cameras I’ve reviewed that were once serviced by Chris.
I had a chance to talk to Chris for a One Hour Photo article back in December 2019 and I learned more about how he got started, his history working for Kodak in Wellington, New Zealand, and how he became to be such a respected member of the film community. In Chris’s own words, repairing Retinas doesn’t require magic, as other technicians are capable of servicing them, but what sets him apart from most others was his huge supply of spare parts that he had access to when the need arose.
Chris’s announcement didn’t include an explanation for his retirement, not that he needs to have one, but simply that he would no longer be accepting cameras from other people, but that he still planned on making more YouTube videos for everyone’s enjoyment.
While any announcement of retirement should be celebrated as a positive life milestone, without his services, the film community will definitely lose a valuable resource. As everyone who collects cameras knows, the number of people alive and capable of working inside a camera are dwindling, and without a new generation of younger technicians ready to take on work, the day will soon be here where our beloved cameras will no longer have anyone to repair them.
So to Chris, I congratulate you on whatever path life has in store for you, you will be greatly missed. Thanks for everything you’ve done for all those wayward Retinas out there and the owners who are keeping them alive!
Whether repairing cameras or simply giving advice, I am sure Chris Sherlock will be sorely missed.
I never sent him a camera for repair, but on the one occasion I contacted him for advice about my newly acquired mint condition Kodak Retina III he was extremely generous with his time. What I had envisaged could be something relatively easy to correct, Chris gave me much info about the inner workings of the camera and, importantly, dissuaded me from attempting to correct the issue. Better to have a camera working with functionality covering the most used and useful aspects of its operation, than a one that has become a pretty doorstop.
Stan Studzinsky, America’s resident Pentacon Six expert, has also retired. There seem to be no younger folks entering the profession of rebuilding analog cameras and lenses. Not good news, as self-taught hacks like Yrs Truly often do more damage than good when we approach the bench, brandishing our tiny screwdrivers!
I suggest that Mike’s readers join in starting a list of good repair services that are operational in the USA / Canada, and what their specialties are. Here are a few; please help expand this list.
1) DAG Camera Re[pair (Don Goldberg), Oregon WI: Leicas, Canon RFs, and various vintage lenses
2) Weber Repair (Greg Weber), Fremont NE: Konica 35mm cameras, Hexanon lenses, “maybe” Pearls if parts are not an issue
3) YYe Camera Repair (Youxin Ye), Canton MA: Leica and Canon RFs, Leica and Canon/Serenar M39 lenses
4) Eric Henderson, Knoxville TN: Pentax 35mm and “maybe” 645 / 67 film cameras (not sure if he works on lenses)