TBT – Alpa 6C – Restored!

Post by Paul Brodek our Used Equipment buyer

I don’t want to get into a Greatest Hits groove here, but we just got the Alpa 6C we featured in October back from our repair guy, and it’s freakin’ gorgeous. Must share.

Our repair guy, BTW, has asked to remain anonymous, because he’s supposed to be retired, but he still does work just for us, and he doesn’t want to be any busier than we keep him. Doesn’t mean he won’t work on your sickly camera if you bring it to us, just means he’s only taking on work that comes from us. He owned one of the premier large-scale independent camera repair facilities around before he retired, he’s been working on old-school cameras for decades, and newer digital cameras since they hit the market. We’ve rarely sent him something he hasn’t been able to sort out, I almost want to ask him to look at my car’s suspension, since it’s getting squeaky.

That said, we do regularly get busted cameras that are beyond economic repair. Doesn’t mean he couldn’t fix them, just that the repair cost would greatly exceed the camera’s value. Sometimes folks ignore that when the camera has strong sentimental value, but usually not.

It is also a fact that there are occasions when he can’t get the repair parts he needs, because they are no longer available, and he doesn’t have any camera corpses in his boneyard from which to harvest the parts. It is pretty shocking, even to an old codger like me, how quickly the big camera manufacturers stop supporting their older models with small and large parts. It’s not unusual to hear from Canikonujisony that parts for a 4- or 5yr old camera are no longer available.

And though this wasn’t supposed to be a repair rant, I gotta say that the cost of modern camera repairs is also astounding. Digital bodies that were $175-$250 to repair just a few years ago are now being billed at $500+. We used to be able to get high-end, $2k+ lenses repaired by the manufacturer for under $300, now the minimum cost is often north of $750. So when you’re buying a new camera/lens and one of suggests an Accident Protection Plan, that covers spills and drops and such, for a lot less than it would cost to repair your camera/lens once, think on it.

Back to the Alpa 6C, but I’m running out of room. Check October 10th posting or so. Modern-ish ’70s, high-precision construction with incredibly weird design decisions, like the film advance lever winding from front to back, shutter release on the front of the body, back needs to be removed to load film, a distinctly ’50s thing. And the coolest and weirdest rewind knob known to man.

We didn’t pay for a museum-level restoration, but compare some of the before and after shots to see how much prettier it looks. The rust and must is gone, just a little metal pitting left. And everything but the meter works smooth as silk. The meter is not repairable—no parts.

It’s always hard to price these kind of things, with Alpas being so rare, doubly so the 24mm Angenieux lens. I’m looking at $1,299 for the pair, and we’ll see what happens.


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