By James Powers – Powers Films
Feeling brave? In this DIY camera repair walk-through, you not only learn to fix a common problem with the Sony FS7, but you also boost your confidence when it comes to disassembling something expensive.
Just over four years have passed since the initial launch of the Sony FS7, and if you heavily abuse your camera, chances are it needs a tune-up and possibly the viewfinder has suffered.
Sony FS7 DIY Camera Monitor Repair Guide
Do you enjoy the convenience of having a pre-built FS7, ready for use?
If you do, there’s a chance that items in your camera bag may knock into the FS7 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.
- 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 glimpse of the menu.
Most people will settle with option 2. Sending in your camera to Sony or a licensed repair specialist is an obvious choice for most people. 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 while your camera is being shipped for repair (or you can’t spring for a surprise $600 expense), fixing your camera yourself is a solid (and rarely explored) option.
What You Need To Fix the Sony FS7 Viewfinder
For this project, you’ll need tools and the replacement part, a small circuit board, easily found online. After purchasing the part, and some DIY time, you can get your camera up and running for roughly $150.
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.
Sony FS7 Viewfinder Repair Video Guide
My video guide has easy to follow steps and visuals to execute this repair job.
Additional Advice For A 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 built-in magnetic tip, but attaching a magnet is a helpful bit of advice if your tools are not already equipped.
Clear plenty of tabletop space and use a bright lamp so you can spot hard-to-see 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.
For example, you could make a note that says, “eight on top plate, four small and four large,” to remind you that those screws belong on the top plate.
That’s it! Just take your time, be patient and pride yourself on your ability to fix your own gear.