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Painting camera bodies

Discussion in 'General Equipment Chat & Advice' started by IvorETower, Feb 8, 2020.

  1. IvorETower

    IvorETower Little Buttercup

    I've bought a few second-hand camera bodies over the years; generally they exhibit some damage to the paint (black or otherwise) exposing the "bare" plastic underneath. I've tried using various touch-up paints but it seems that nothing sticks properly to the plastic; the paint may initially go on, but it's not really "keyed" and slight knocks or rubbing soon has it peeling off.

    Any suggestions - primers to use first or type of paint to get etc?
  2. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    I find that the major attraction of using old but still working kit is the battle worn appearance. Should you have a classic gem that might be of interest to collectors just never ever try to tart it up.
  3. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    Would the special primer they use for fibreglass-bodied cars work?
  4. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    I wonder about enamel paint. That could adhere?
  5. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    Just tell people 'it's had a hard life' and live with its cosmetic appearance.
  6. cliveva

    cliveva Well-Known Member

    First clean surface with acetone or alcohol then try Hammerite primer then smooth black. If the surface to be painted is shiny rub down with a fine grade wet and dry emery paper.
  7. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    Generally painting makes equipment look worse imho. I remember somebody painting a Pentax 6x7 quite well and it still looked worse than it had done previously.
    Learning likes this.
  8. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    Well, you could always go for the Pentax Q approach, that would take people's minds of any slight imperfections...
    Andrew Flannigan likes this.
  9. neilt3

    neilt3 Well-Known Member

    I remember not that longer Leica did some special edition cameras .
    Instead of coming perfectly painted they had rubbed them down in certain spots to make the "pre-brassed" .
    People paid an extra thousand or do for this !

    Be happy that yours are naturally brassed and not faked .

    The issue I see with painting is that after adding an etch primer and topcoat the thickness off paint will be greater than the original layer and will show up as a bump .
    To redo it proper you would need to dismantle the camera , sand down the whole section and respray it completely to do a proper / convinceing job .

    I've got a hundred or more cameras and most of the older ones show brassing , I have no issue with this and would never try to cover it up .
  10. IvorETower

    IvorETower Little Buttercup

    Ah, but there is a difference in "brassed" on good old metal camera bodies and the modern plastic ones, which in general terms show black plastic once the paint has become damaged.

    Anyway I have found a small pot of "Rust-oleum" general purpose touch-up paint in a local hobby shop. So far so good, but I think I may need to apply some clear varnish over it at the end.
    I purchase a rather marked ex-demo body at what I think was a bargain price a couple of weeks ago, and applying some chrome silver paint over the damaged exposed black plastic has made a dramatic improvement. I will aim to post some photos in due course (if anyone is interested...)
  11. neilt3

    neilt3 Well-Known Member

    I missed the bit about the camera being plastic bodied .
    Yeah , that just looks bad rather than adding patina .
  12. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    Brassing can look OK but alloy bodied cameras show a dull grey where the paint has rubbed off, unless the area is regularly rubbed when the metal may show a shiny silvery finish. The latter is much more attractive than the former, and the paint on a Nikon is quite thick so repainting is practical, but finding the right primer isn't easy.
  13. IvorETower

    IvorETower Little Buttercup

    Let's try this...
    EPL9 damage 01.JPG
    EPL9 damage 02.JPG
    Above as advertised by what I consider to be a "leading Wiltshire camera shop"
    Application of silver enamel, now protected by a layer or two of clear varnish:
    EPL9 repainted 01.JPG
    EPL9 repainted 02.JPG
  14. neilt3

    neilt3 Well-Known Member

    That looks like a very satisfactory finish .
    If it proves to be at least as durable as the original coating , it would be a job well done .
    Either way , a small tub of that paint would allow the you to repaint it several times .
  15. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    I noticed in this week's camera review that the rather elegant Leica M10 Monochrom has brass top and base plates. It should age beautifully with frequent use. If I were to buy one and use it often then by the time that I pop my clogs it will be worth more for my family than the mere £7250 that I would pay for it.

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