This is an unbelievable story about how a cameraman called Bebot resurrected a dead Yashica 635.
I have always wanted a TLR camera for myself, preferably a Yashica Mat 124G. However, it was not within my budget. My brother has always talked about such cameras still in possession among families of old photographers in the province we grew up in. Last month, he surprised me with three dilapidated Yashica TLRs; two Yashica 635s and one Yashica Mat. My brother said that he bought the three cameras for a mere Php. 1,500 (US$ 37). I was really ecstatic over these three! However, I was a less hopeful after examining each of them. All cameras were utterly in very poor condition. So poor, that I have actually considered to simply turn them into plant boxes. My only hope was that someone could actually repair them, or at least one of them.
There has been a buzz about a certain camera repair guy here in Manila, who goes by the name of Bebot. Although I have no personal experience in dealing with him, I have not heard anything but good reviews over his skills as a camera technician. According to others, too, he charges relatively cheaper than others. Still, I was a bit doubtful.
Two days later, I was in Bebot’s shop, showing him the three cameras. To my surprise, he seemed confident that he can bring at least one camera back to life. I told him that he may harvest some parts from the other two cameras. He asked me to give him two weeks.
As promised, I received a text from him after two weeks, saying that one of the cameras was ready for pick up. Could you believe it, he was actually able to do the almost impossible!
With haste and eagerness, I went to his shop, and lo and behold, there was one decent-looking Yashica 635 on top of his work table. His work is amazing!
He showed me what he has done; explaining how he used the other parts from the two other cameras to replace the parts of the one he was able to resurrect. Everything was working except for one or two trivial things. There was nothing that can be done with the lens scratches, but he assured me that they will not grossly affect the image. Most of the leather was also removed, but he painted the body instead. How much did he charge me for all his troubles? It’s so cheap, it’s almost criminal.
Bebot is a true hero in my mind! He is one of those guys that you just can’t help but to put on a pedestal. The next time I come across an interesting yet broken camera, I know that it is as good as working, so long as Bebot is around.
I will update you once my test roll has been processed.