Conditions for Camera Storage/Rotation of Camera Bodies

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by BradleyK, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. BradleyK

    BradleyK Subscriber

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    A query for those - like myself - who (perhaps) own too many camera bodies: How do you store the cameras (thinking here longer term) and/or how often do you rotate through your inventory to keep all in "healthy" operating condition? In my case, I am currently using an F6 and an F5 for the bulk of my 35mm SLR shooting (on long treks into the hinterlands, I generally swap out the F5 for either an F2 or an F2AS). That said, through the course of the year (not on any regular kind of schedule), I rotate in and out an F3HP, a second F5, a second F2AS and a pair of F2 bodies. When not in use, all reside in an assortment of hard cases. Other than removing batteries and locking up the mirrors, all are sent into storage as is. Should I be taking any other precautions?
    The issue came to the fore a few days ago at a local camera store when I was picking up some processed film. The conversation evolved into a discussion about analog photography, the drop in prices of analog bodies over the past couple of years, and the fact that some of us had begun accumulating cameras as a result... At any rate, the individual I spoke to - in addition to the above - also places a sheet of tissue paper between the presure plate on the back door of the camera and the body itself. Is this necessary? Are there other precautions I should consider? I would estimate that I run through my entire inventory of bodies maybe twice a year...
     
  2. ArtO

    ArtO Member

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    Interesting. I don't take any special precautions with my bodies other than removing the batteries and insuring that there's a fresh supply of silica gel in the storage case. I've been trying to track body usage but haven't gotten too good of a system yet. I'm planning a project for 2013 where I'll use a different body each month and attempt to rotate through my lenses as well.
     
  3. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    If you go through your entire inventory twice a year, you're already doing it. I have some equipment that hardly ever gets used, I just pick it up and cycle it a bunch of times every six months or so. Flashes get powered up for several hours every 2 or three months to keep the capacitors happy.

    I store things in drawers, not cases or bags or wraps. No silica gel, silica gel is worthless unless you dry it out periodically.
     
  4. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Drawer, with silica gel.
    Silica is inexpensive even if you buy it in the cute little metal cans. They usually have moisture indicators on the can that tells you when to dry then out. An oven is all you need
     
  5. Peltigera

    Peltigera Member

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    I keep my cameras in bubble-wrap bags in a drawer. Every few months, when I am on my own, I take a drawer down to the sitting room and dry fire them a few times while watching the TV.

    Fairly dry here (about the same rainfall as Israel, I am told) so I don't worry about silica gel.
     
  6. Pioneer

    Pioneer Member

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    Remove batteries (if they have them) and store with camera.
    Store in heated room.
    Wrap them in a clean, dry, lint-free cloth. Use a tube of bubble wrap to protect from other nearby objects.
    Do not use sealed ziploc bags. Will promote moisture from condensation.
    Do use gel paks. Regen based on manufacturer recommendation. Write date of last regen on sticker, place on gel pack.
    Exercise all shutter speeds, film transport mechanism, self timer, etc. once every six months. Write date on string tag and attach to camera.
    Use camera body caps and lens caps. Buy cheapo e-bay ones if you need to.
    Wrap lens in sock and store in own case or a tube of bubble wrap. (Resist the urge to pop the bubbles.)
    If you use the camera fairly regularly, send to a trusted repair person for a professional CLA once every 5 to 10 years (based on your use.) Heavy use will require more frequent service.
    Wipe them down occasionally with clean, dry, lint-free cloth. Do not use armor all or other oils unless specifically recommended by the manufacturer in the user manual. Then use only what is recommended.

    If you actually do all that they will outlast you, unless the electronics puke on you.

    :D
     
  7. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    You need something interesting to occupy your mind whilst watching TV!


    Steve.
     
  8. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    I would add not to leave them with the shutters cocked, especially if they have cloth shutters. Over time this will stretch the springs and throw the shutter speeds out of adjustment.

    I just try to use a different body with each roll of film. This doesn't always work - there are some films which I can only use in two or three cameras, either because the rest don't have a high enough ISO setting or because the metering is less accurate on some than others.
     
  9. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    The secret is not to be too acquisitive, and accumulate cameras that you don't use, because the more cameras you have the more you need to protect, worry about, insure, and have serviced .
     
  10. Pioneer

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    You are certainly right, that is the secret. :D
     
  11. Pioneer

    Pioneer Member

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    he says as he proceeds to buy his fifth Minolta SRT body!!! :whistling:
     
  12. ArtO

    ArtO Member

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    I'm not sure how to define "too acquisitive". I've purchased a few very nice extra bodies just to protect myself. I can buy almost all Nikon film bodies for less than even a tuneup on an existing one. Repairs -- forget about it.
     
  13. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    no,send them all to me. i will take care of it!:wink:
     
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  15. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I have 3 Nikon F100, one Mamiya RB-SD, and a couple of digital.

    I don't do anything special. I keep them in my closet. My house is always air conditioned. I'm a bit more concerned about lenses than bodies. I still don't do anything special.

    After use, bodies and lenses get a quick burst of compressed air, then wipe down with a soft cloths. then they go back into my closet.

    If I don't plan to use it for quite a while, I usually take batteries out and put it into a ziploc bag with a descant That's if I plan to not use it for 6 months or longer.
     
  16. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I think this has been shown to be mythology as the difference in tension in an uncocked spring compared with a cocked spring is very small. i.e. in an uncocked state the spring is still in tension, probably around 80% of the cocked tension, in order to get a more linear response. If the spring went slack at the end of the movement there would be a huge difference in tension across the travel of the shutter resulting in it slowing down towards the end of its travel.


    Steve.
     
  17. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    i work allcamera speeds on all cameras every quarter. i just pick the major holidays to remember. in addition, batteries are exchanged at christmas and easter.
     
  18. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    What I mean is instead of spending more and more money on buying more twenty plus year old cameras that most probably have never had any maintenance that you rarely us, I.M.O. the money is better spent on having fewer cameras that you have serviced and use on a regular basis that work reliably, and having several SLR bodys at home isn't going to help you because you can't carry them all when the one you're using in the field craps out on you.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 2, 2012
  19. bobwysiwyg

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    I use a similar approach but use the switch to/from daylight savings time as th reminder. That 's when I replace the backup batteries in all household detectors as well.
     
  20. flatulent1

    flatulent1 Subscriber

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    I'm not terribly organized. I tend to keep things in felt bags and set them on shelves, or on chairs, or on the dresser, or in other out-of-the-way locations. Once in a while I'll pick up a bundle, open it up, and discover a camera I haven't seen for most of the year, together with a lens I'd wondered about a couple of months ago, with a roll of film half shot... It tends to be the next one I shoot with.

    Special precautions? No, not really. It's tempting to keep things in zip-loc bags because they're so convenient, but I don't because of the potential moisture damage that can accrue. I use AA Lithiums in most of my cameras; they're expensive, but long-lived and light weight. So when I tuck a camera away for an extended period I remove the batteries, primarily to use them in something else. I use body caps on everything.
     
  21. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    What potential moisture damage?


    Steve.
     
  22. Pioneer

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    For the most part that is very good advice benjiboy. I read a lot of posts where people buy replacement cameras and have no intention of ever fixing them if they break. But there are also those who buy and use their cameras because they enjoy them.

    For the first 30 years of my married life I used a Minolta SRT 101 that I bought new right out of high school, and a Pentax K1000 SE that I bought used at a pawn shop a few years later. They were, and still are, magnificent cameras and I still enjoy working with them almost continually. But I also spent those 30+ years avidly gobbling up every single Popular Photography mag that came to my door, drooling all over the nice, fancy cameras that came out year after year. Back then I could barely afford to buy 35mm consumer film after each paycheck was used to support a growing family. Now I can afford to go back and try out some of those cameras that I coveted way back then. Some I have fallen in love with, others I have tried and sold because they didn't turn out as nice as I had imagined.

    The point being, some of us truly enjoy photography for the image...and sometimes the tools as well. Sometimes you just want to hold and use a Leica...or a Nikon F...or a Crown Graphic...or a Pentax 645...:smile:
     
  23. ArtO

    ArtO Member

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    Amen to that. I love the equipment.
     
  24. Weasel_Loader

    Weasel_Loader Member

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    Couldn't agree more. I've given up on DSLRs (only have a Fuji XE-1 now). Tried film Leicas and rangefinders just don't work well for me (let alone the prices). I just recently received my fathers old Nikon F that he bought back in 1964. We all (including him) thought it was long gone. He found it way up in their attic. Never been so happy in my life! As the keeper of all our entire family photographs and kodachromes, I was almost overwhelmed when he handed it to me.

    I'll need to replace the seals and should get a good CLA. Can't wait to run film through it.
     
  25. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    try without replacing the seals first. my nikon fms work without the seals, because the door is designed with a light trap that seems to work without seals, at least with mine.
     
  26. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I'm not a camera fondler, or collector I like to think of myself as a practical photographer, and the equipment as a means to an end, not an end in itself.