Why not fix it yourself? Feeling brave?
If so, this Do-It-Yourself (DIY) camera repair walkthrough should boost your confidence when it comes to disassembling something expensive.
Just over four years have passed since Sony’s initial launch of the Sony FS7 (November, 2014), and if you heavily abuse your camera, chances are it needs a tune up and possibly the viewfinder has suffered.
Maybe you enjoy the convenience of having a pre-built camera, ready for use? If this is true, there is a chance items in your camera bag may knock into the viewfinder’s connection point. Should this happen enough, the video feed to the viewfinder will cut out, thus adding chaos to an ordinary shoot.
Facing a malfunctioning viewfinder, you are left with three viable options:
- Reassign the viewfinder output to either your SDI or HDMI connection, assuming you can still see the menu options on your viewfinder
- Send in your camera to a licensed repair specialist, or to Sony directly
- Grow a pair and fix it yourself
Reassigning the viewfinder output to your SDI /HDMI ports is a viable solution in the short-term, but keep in mind this solution is not bulletproof. When you change base settings, there is a good to fair chance that your viewfinder ports will also reset. In the event of a reset, you are back at square one: left flying blind, wiggling your viewfinder connection, in hopes of catching a fleeting menu glimpse.
Most people will settle with option 2. Sending in your camera to Sony or a licensed repair specialist, for most people is an obvious choice. Shipping your camera to a service provider buys you piece of mind — excluding gross negligence. The cost of repair can range from $600 to $800, depending on shipping costs and if you choose Sony or a third part like Video One Repair.
If you enjoy Do-It-Yourself (DIY) options, and cannot afford missed filming opportunities if you choose to ship your camera for repair (or can’t spring for a surprise $600 expense), fixing your camera yourself is a solid (and rarely explored) option. For this project, you’ll need tools and the replacement part (a small circuit board, easily found online).
If you’d like to hunt down a deal on the viewfinder circuit board, google the part number: VF-93 A2062509A.
The replacement part is listed as “Interface Board Adapter Plate”, “Mounted C.Board” and a few other names – so that can get confusing, but don’t worry, it is all the same part.
This chip is not unique to just the Sony FS7 (original model), as the Sony FS7 Mark II and Sony FS5 use the same exact circuit board!
Additional Advice Regarding First Time Camera Repair:
Remember to take your time and organize your screws.
It’s recommended that you attach a neodymium magnet (rare Earth magnet) to the side of your screwdriver. You could of course use a screwdriver with a magnetic tip, but using a magnet is a helpful bit of advice if your tools are not equipped.
Clear plenty of tabletop space and use a bright lamp so you can spot small screws.
In the past, I’ve found it helpful to lay down sheets of printer paper and a few rows of double-sided adhesive tape. After removing a screw, you can then stick the tiny screw to the strip of tape. Once the screw is stuck to the tape, write a note referencing where and how many screws are associated with that part of the camera.
An example of includes using a note of, “eight on top plate, four small and four large”, to remind you that those screws belong on the top plate.
The guide has easy to follow steps and visuals.
That’s it! Just take your time, be patient and pride yourself on your ability to fix your own gear.