Juho Leppänen

Passionately determined to save every analog camera in his path, Juho dreams of a future where his children will have the opportunity to shoot film just as he did.

June 29, 2021.

5 years of Camera Rescue + the Future

Camera Rescue 5 years

It is celebration time again! The Camera Rescue project turns 5 years old this week and just like the previous years it is celebrated by a look back at the year and with a big giveaway. However, this year the anniversary festivities are a bit different. In this article we will be looking into some big radical changes for the future, but first let’s still start with a quick look at the past year.

There are a few big pieces of news from the past year that you probably already heard about – firstly, we reached 100 000 rescued cameras. Then you might have heard that we started a Camera Rescue Technician School. But these are only a tip of the iceberg in a very interesting and turbulent year.

Camera Rescue has now been stuck at home in Finland for the past 15 months, a longer period than ever in our five year history. It has meant learning to do a lot of things remotely, when we can’t just fly or drive to assess a camera collection or an old repair shop on site. The international crew and other people helping have been instrumental in this.

The last year has seen us do 10 Outlet drops which have kept us very busy a few days a month. Furthermore, the Norwegian I picked up in Norway and drove to Finland for the summer team of 2020  managed to create a fascinating film scanning product during the last year and we have loved to be a part of the Valoi.co journey.

On top of all that, in February we moved from the beautiful old Camera Rescue Center to a new location. This new location will help us grow and let us process even more material here in Finland. Also the Paris testing center finally opened in June 2021. Looking back at all the new things that have happened this year, it really has been quite astonishing seeing how difficult of a year it has been globally.

Quality over quantity

I feel the project is now at a turning point. We did the numbers thing – reaching a quantitative goal of 100 000 – but now it is time for something a bit more human. It is not just that the massiveness of a number like 100 000 cannot be comprehended by the human mind, but it is also about highlighting the other side of the progress that the project has achieved – increasing and preserving knowledge.

Way before we had an official Technician school and a class of 2021, the project was based on teaching. Our master Jukka has worked for camera brands (Mamiya, Sinar, Konica, Plaubel, Leica etc) for longer than most of the team has been alive. Moving knowhow from Jukka to the next generations has been the cornerstone of our quality development.

And boy has there been development during the last 5 years. The checking procedures and machinery used in our process has gone from almost 0 to the most precise in Europe (a statement I am happy to have anyone prove wrong if possible). And its not only the Leicas or Mamiyas that have gotten special treatment, it is also the everyday compact cameras and kit lenses – all 25 000 items in the past year have gone through the testing.

A lot of the knowhow is deeper than testing, it is about repairs and that has been passed on too. Ari and Toni have been under the guidance of Jukka for two years now and although we have had no official graduation for them, they are already independent Cameramakers of their own. The next two or three apprentices will start their Cameramaker apprenticeship journey this fall.

The goals for the future five years

Now let’s start looking at the future. The future goals for the project have three main parts:

1) The Camera Rescue Technician and Mechanic School

The analog photography community needs to have many more film camera technicians and mechanics in the future than it does now. We have been surviving as a community, because there is still so many more working cameras than there are users. But we know from our testing that 90% of cameras coming in are outside of factory specifications – and that percentage has increased drastically in the last five years. Talking to people in the analog scene, most of us have more broken cameras than working ones at home.

In the coming five years we will need to train tens of professionals for our own needs in Finland, but that is nowhere near enough for the needs of Europe once the community starts repairing the millions of cameras in use instead of replacing them. So, in short we need to do something quite big to develop the physical school as what it offers is unique in Europe right now.

2) Spreading testing

Much before the global community is ready to start properly repairing everything, it will scour through the 100s of millions film cameras made through the decades in search of working ones. Getting a good camera will become more of a hit-or-miss game, where missing is the rule and hitting the exception. The film camera market will turn more and more into a big raffle with a lot of sorrow and headache for both sellers and buyers. It is not a very likeable truth, but it is what it is.

We want to try to be ahead of this reality by creating impartial camera checking guidelines. The first step in this journey is the opening of the Paris testing center this summer. You can read a bit more about the challenges in this department from the Paris center link.

3) Online education

This is the part we have mostly failed in the last year. We have worked hard and amassed knowledge here in Finland, but sharing what is shareable of it, has been very minimal. The only real reason for it is that we have been too busy working out the daily problems to share things online.

I want to point out at this point that learncamerarepair.com and the accompanying Facebook Group exists. There you get free access to an old post-order camera repair course from the US that you should definitely complete if you are interested in repairs.

But repairs is not for everyone. Most of us just want to have a working camera, or at least know what parts of a partially working camera one can use. Also the general understanding of camera conditions needs to spread to the whole community, to make the big obstacle in point number 2 less of an obstacle. The global analog photography scene has been a rather healthy, mentoring and encouraging one (compared to the average internet community) and we don’t want lack of knowledge to start to poison the atmosphere bit by bit.

So – the big news of this post – is that I have done a drastic move to make online education more accessible to you all. We have hired a new head of Camera Rescue and I am stepping down.

 

The new Camera Rescue

In the coming years the Camera Rescue project needs to go more back to it roots – serving the analog community with information. The best person I could find to do that should need very little introduction as he has been in a central role doing this for years – now he can just start doing it during work hours. I leave the Camera Rescue project in the hands of Nicolas Llasera from the Nicos Photography Show on YouTube .


I admit that his arrival to Finland will also help me take paternity leave, but it is a step that has been in the making for a few years as Nico was interviewed for a position here already in the first months of the project in 2016. Nico will have much more time and skills to focus on creating education for the community online than I ever had. It will be an exciting new time for Camera Rescue.

And then to other exciting new things, the Anniversary giveaway:

This year we have 5 tiers of prizes on our giveaway sponsored by kamerastore.com. One of them will be given to a lucky winner according to how widely the celebrations reach new people. There are two ways to participate in the giveaway: Get updates to your email or share the campaign on social media.

On the social media side you can:

1. Share (via stories) or comment on any of the Giveaway celebration week posts on our Instagram

2. Comment on the YouTube celebration video during the week.

On the email side, you can win by subscribing to either or both:

Each share, comment and each email subscription counts as one raffle ticket on the giveaway, so if you have already subscribed to the emails get your raffle tickets via our Instagram or YouTube.

Giveaway will be done July 6th 2021 at 15:00 (GMT +3) on our Instagram account.

You can also enjoy the special codes from Kamerastore.com for this celebration week:
WORLDCR5YR : Worldwide home delivery for free for orders above 80€
EUCR5YR : EU and Finland home delivery for free for orders above 30€

Tier 1:
Three compacts + Santa film + Salmiakki + Kodak film
Unlocked at 0 new email or YouTube subscriptions or Instagram followers

Minolta F2-E2 Olympus AZ-210 Yashica Clearlook

Tier 2:

Two SLR kits + Santa film + Salmiakki + Kodak film

Unlocked at 1500 new email or YouTube subscriptions or Instagram followers
Canon EOS 500n + 28-90mm Pentax MZ-6 + 35-80mm

Tier 3

Olympus XA + Santa film + Salmiakki + Kodak film

Unlocked at 3000 new email or YouTube subscriptions or Instagram followers

Tier 4

Nikon F5 with 50mm + Santa film + Salmiakki + Kodak film

Unlocked at 6000 new email or YouTube subscriptions or Instagram followers

Tier 5

Rollei 6008 + Santa film + Salmiakki + Kodak film

Unlocked at 10 000 new email or YouTube subscriptions or Instagram followers

 

 

And I want to end with a thank you. This 5 years with the project has been an amazing one because of all of you guys. I have been able to meet people from around the world – online and offline – and the embrace of the community has been overwhelming. Hospitality hasn´t been limited to only social media – I have had places to sleep from the US to France and Japan.

My third child was just born last week and Nicos arrival and moving to Finland came at a great time for that. Now I can have some time with family. But there will be some new things in the horizon when I come back so Nicos place as the head of the project is long term! That is why in a way this is some type of goodbye from me to you guys – or most probably a see you later – but it still feels like an end of an era.

– Juho

Here are the links for the giveaways once more. Enjoy the summer!
Email, Instagram and YouTube

 


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