Cleaning a used camera

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by MolBasser, Dec 13, 2009.

  1. MolBasser

    MolBasser Member

    Messages:
    115
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2009
    Location:
    Chico, CA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I just ordered a canon AE-1p. I know the guy that sold it to me remotely (good forum friend on another forum) and he says that it doesn't have the squeek, so I'm cool with that.

    What should I do with the camera when I get it. I will say that I have been out of film photography for some 20 odd years, but I'm pretty handy so I don't mind opening up the body to do maintenance and such.

    Thanks in advance.

    MolBasser
     
  2. elekm

    elekm Member

    Messages:
    2,059
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2004
    Location:
    New Jersey (
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    At the very least, you should replace the foam seals. By now, those are either crumbling, goo or both. Jon Goodman sells kits on eBay under the name "interslice." Good kits, especially if you only have to re-foam one camera.

    Otherwise, clean the mirror, and if you can clean the focusing screen (very carefully). I don't know if those are user replaceable, but if they are, remove it and clean it under running water with a bit of dishwashing soap using your fingers. Then let it air dry or dry it using compressed air. Be very careful, because these screens are plastic and easily damaged.

    Also, clean the underside of the prism before replacing the screen. That is, if you can remove the focusing screen.

    Ideally, you would want to pull the top deck and clean the eyepiece and prism, but that might not be easy to do for a first-timer.

    Also, clean all of the outer lens surfaces.

    Clean the body of the camera. I usually use a washcloth and dishwashing soap. If it's heavily soiled, you can use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Then wipe with a clean, damp cloth and dry with a towel.
     
  3. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

    Messages:
    1,118
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Location:
    Hamburg
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'd be wary of touching the mirror & focusing screen unless they really are filthy. Use a blower and/or soft brush to get dust off.

    For general cleaning, I use lighter fluid. I haven't managed to damage any lens coating or dissolve any plastic parts with it so far (used on *lots* of cameras)...
     
  4. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,541
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Location:
    U.K.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you want it to work again, send it to a professional for a CLA if you want a reliable usable camera , the Canon A series cameras are all more than twenty years old and the majority have never been serviced.
     
  5. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

    Messages:
    6,930
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2007
    Location:
    Richmond VA.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I agree with Ben. In the long run it is better for a professional to do it. It is a good camera and will last a good many more years.

    Jeff
     
  6. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,383
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Montgomery,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    External cleaning is no big deal. I've always used a soft toothbrush with the edge dipped in alcohol for the body. The toothbrush gets in the nooks & crannies around the switches, lens mount, stop down lever etc.
    Works well for the lens barrel too.
    I would stay away from the screen & mirror though, they are delicate. If there is dust in the light path it won't hurt anything because the miorror is up when the exposure is made.
     
  7. MolBasser

    MolBasser Member

    Messages:
    115
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2009
    Location:
    Chico, CA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Well see the condition when I get it. I'm pretty sure he kept it well. Looks like I have to wait untill the end of the week for him to ship it (he's busy). Of course this just makes me all antsy waiting for it.

    I just got word that one of my co-workers may be giving me an ae-1 body also.....Let the camera collection begin!

    MolBasser
     
  8. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

    Messages:
    1,118
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Location:
    Hamburg
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Practically all my cameras are over 20 years old and only a few (about 25%) have needed a CLA.

    Does that say anything about the Canon A series?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2009
  9. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,541
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Location:
    U.K.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The Canon A series in my experience ( I handled the camera servicing for a group of ten camera stores) in the period when these cameras were made, and after were that they were very reliable,but nothing last forever without any maintenance, I've owned an A1 for about twenty three years it has had a CLA for the first time recently because it developed the characteristic Canon A series squeak caused by the mirror bearings needing lubricating,also the foam light traps had perished and needed replacing.
    The point I was trying to make to the O.P.was for the average person to dismantle such a complex electro- mechanical device on the kitchen table without the right tools, knowledge,experience or test equipment, and expect it work correctly again is highly unlikely.
     
  10. jcorll

    jcorll Member

    Messages:
    63
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Location:
    Western PA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Camera Cleaning

    hahaha! Last time I said that (May 2009), I only had 2 cameras. Now I have over 9!