Friday, May 1, 2009

A Dandy Camera Repair Shop Find

A while back, I was lamenting the loss of the last photographic repair shop in the Roanoke Valley with the bankruptcy of the national chain Ritz Camera. Ritz had pretty much shut down all of Roanoke's locally-owned camera shops when it bought out home-grown Ewald-Clark some years ago. A couple of Ewald stores closed quickly, others took the new logo. The rest of the small camera stores in the area eventually withered and died, as well.

Now, because camera shopping has become almost exclusive to the Internet and because photo processing (that would be film processing) is almost non-existent, Ritz is in the toilet, as well. The result: no local camera shop service for printing non-digital photos, repairing cameras, getting advice on what to buy--and all the other service-related stuff.

So, who comes to the rescue? The Internet. I was desperately searching for a camera shop to repair my favorite lens a week ago (I dropped my camera on the street and it hit lens-first; the lens is like the one pictured here) and typed in "camera lens repair Virginia," coming up with one or two shops, notably Strauss-Photo Technical Services in Virginia Beach. I called and got a "this number has been disconnected" recording. I was pretty solidly disappointed until I returned to the Web site and found another Strauss in D.C. I called and dang if it wasn't open and ready for bid-ness.

I sent my lens up there a few days ago and today I got a call back with an estimate of $150 (including shipping) to repair this $900 lens. I was tickled to death. Ritz would not even accept a lens to evaluate for repair without a stiff advance fee, generally what a clerk expected it might cost to repair. It also required as long as six months to fix a lens (which I use in my work and really need NOW). So far, this has taken a week and I haven't paid a penny. I offered to give the man who called me today a credit card number and he said, "That won't be necessary until we are successful in repairing the lens."

Oh, my goodness. Not only a responsive shop, but a courteous one.

If you shoot, take down this name and number:

Strauss Photo-Technical Services
1240 Mount Olivet Road NE
Washington D.C. 20002
Phone: 202-529-3200

The Web site is here. Keep these people in business!


  1. I think Photo USA is still processing film. But since I haven't bought a roll since discovering the joy of taking dozens of digital photos in order to get that one usable one, I could be mistaken (so to speak).

  2. Beth:

    The problem with leaving anything with Ritz at this point is this:

    Will Ritz still be there when you return to pick up your photos?


  3. dan, have you gotten your lens back yet? i ask because i have some older equipment (linhof, leica) that need repairs and have been searching for a decent place in the DC area (I'd prefer walking in rather than sending away, though hadn't contemplated that much). anyway, let me know what the result was with SPTS if you could.

  4. Were you pleased with this service even after receiving the lens back? I'm in Roanoke and I'm having an issue with a camera I bought at Best Buy. I can take it to the Geek Squad but I'd rather not since I'm sure they don't specialize in cameras.