Olympus 12mm f/2.0 lens flex repair

In this article, I delve into the repair process for a damaged Olympus 12mm f2.0 lens. The issue stemmed from a metal fragment inside the lens, which later snowballed into a full-blown flat flex ribbon cable repair, a common challenge with modern-day lens designs. Facing the difficulty of sourcing a replacement cable, I chose to design a flex PCB (Printed Circuit Board) using KiCad. The repair involved soldering a new flex PCB to the lens mount contact block, a delicate process requiring precision and tremendous patience. I touched upon the availability of camera equipment service manuals and the historical lack of access to such crucial documentation. I discussed my experiences contacting well-established independent camera shops, revealing the very restrictive and secretive nature of service manuals even from around the height of the film era. The lack of uniform access to service documentation truly highlights the need for Right to Repair legislation such as those spearheaded in New York, Massachusetts, and California.

Furthermore, I explore the landscape of sourcing camera repair parts, detailing the boon of inexpensive duplicated components and bust of shady sellers on eastern market websites like Taobao, Alibaba, and AliExpress. A broader discussion on the evolution of electronics markets completes the picture, drawing parallels between Huaqiangbei in Shenzhen and historical electronic hubs like Akihabara Electric Town in Tokyo and Radio Row in New York.

This flex PCB repair was a worthwhile and cost-effective solution. Access to inexpensive small-scale flex PCB manufacturing is a true saving grace for repairs that were previously non-economical. I recommend this repair to anyone facing a similar issue with their Olympus 12mm f/2.0 lens.

See the full article here, which was originally published by Anthony Kouttron and used here with permission. Check his website for more interesting content.

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