Preventing sticky ruberized finish syndrome

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Oldtimer Jay, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. Oldtimer Jay

    Oldtimer Jay Member

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    Hi All,
    I recently unlimbered a Minolta Maxxum 7 and a Nikon N80 from their storage shelf in my air conditioned Florida house and was distressed to discover that the backs on both had become quite sticky. I have owned both for several years and they were fine about 6 months ago. I have researched correcting this problem extensively and tried a variety of solutions but none work well.
    What I'm looking for is good advice about how to PREVENT it from occuring on my numerous other cameras which have rubberized finishes. No one seems to know exactly what causes the problem because it can occur in cameras which are stored in cool, dry conditions and are not exposed to body oil, sweat etc. It could be simply a degradation of the material inherent with age, but it seems that some cameras of the same model and age get it and others don't.
    I am thinking that a paste wax, while making the camera slipperier, might seal the surface, or perhaps using something else with sealant properties to keep air from the rubberized surface, but I'm just not sure. Because they are so cheap, I have already replaced the N80, but I'm feeling sad about the Maxxum 7 because it is literally too gooey to use despite alcohol clean up attempts. I don't want to replace it untill I have some idea as to how to protect the new one.
    Any ideas from you rubberized polymer experts out there?
    Thanks in advance,
    Jay
     
  2. AgX

    AgX Member

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    This could be degradation due to skin fats. In this case the only remedy would be regular cleaning especially before longterm storage.
    But on "rubber" surfaces I also saw generalized stickiness as well as smoothness...

    Among my collection of stuff I've seen a lot of cases of material degradation. Mostly I relate those to their lifetime and not any special environmental agent.
     
  3. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    I've had cameras exhibit this as well, alcohol or naphtha usually cleans it up. I've also had cameras where the rubber develops a white coating I guess from drying out too. That's usually much more manageable.

    When I used to swim a lot in school the recommended way to prevent the rubber caps from sticking was to use a little bit of talcum powder (baby powder) and rub it in. Maybe that may work.
     
  4. blockend

    blockend Member

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    Talc will work on mild cases, but some of the soft-touch 1990s rubberised finishes are a time bomb. It may be finger sweat turns them to jelly - in which case why didn't the manufacturers test the stuff for normal human interaction - or it might rot away of its own accord. I have Sigma lenses that have turned to pure goo, you can scrape the rubber down to the barrel with a finger nail. They were kept in a Billingham with other Canon FDs and Nikkors which are spotless, while the Sigma stuff literally melted into the bag. I wouldn't purchase another Sigma on principle.
     
  5. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    I know the OP emphasized "Prevention" but I was never successful on my N90s. Since I didn't care much about trying to maintain a pristine, stock camera, but rather just a functional and usable one, I just removed all that remained. I'm a happy camper with it, and really like the N90s, it sees a good deal of use when I'm shooting 35mm.
     
  6. Mark Crabtree

    Mark Crabtree Member

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    It is hard to know for sure what preventative effect something has, but I feel like Renaissance Wax has helped.
     
  7. destroya

    destroya Subscriber

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    that was a known issue with a few nikons, especially the n90's. i took off the n90 door and went at it with rubbing alcohol and it worked. Not sure if there is any way to prevent it though.
     
  8. Oldtimer Jay

    Oldtimer Jay Member

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    My first camera which had this problem was my N90S and I got it usable by simply removing the goo down to the plastic back with alcohol. I didn't worry at that time since this is a widely known problem with that particular model. However, when it started to occur about 3 years later in the Maxxum 7 and N80 I got worried. I would hate to have this happen to my Maxxum 9 for instance! I followed Mark's link on Renaissance Wax, but it contains petroleum components which are generally destructive of rubber. Any other ideas?
     
  9. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    I think it's a degradation similar to the way in which mirror bumper foams and light seals go gooey over time.

    Like a previous poster I first noticed it with a Sigma zoom (which was in pretty nice condition apart from the gooey grip), the Pentax SF7 bundled with it had suffered a similar problem with the plastic eyecup/viewfinder trim moulding where it had begun to "sweat" and crack up. As it was only £7 (bought for a party where I wanted something automatic but cheap, it ended up shooting Ilford Delta 3200 with a Pentax-M 50mm f1.7 on the front which had made a full recovery from a serious mould infestation) I wasn't too worried.

    I initially thought that it was an enviromental thing and the lens had somehow damaged the part on the camera, but then I noticed my other SF7 showing early signs of the same problem. The rest of the camera is absolutely fine in both cases, I removed the eyecups and used lens cleaning spray on a cotton bud to clean the goo off.
     
  10. 2bits

    2bits Member

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    As a previous post mentioned, I use rubbing alcohol to stop it.
     
  11. sepiareverb

    sepiareverb Subscriber

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    Class action lawsuit? This might be just the thing to kickstart film camera production back into high gear...
     
  12. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    I might try the alcohol trick on the lens I have - it was essentially free (price paid was worth it for the camera) so I've not lost anything.
     
  13. BobD

    BobD Member

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    The only way I know of to prevent it is to not buy rubberized cameras. :smile:
     
  14. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    The material is also used by Canon, of which several professional level 35mm cameras (EOS 1N and early issue 1V bodies) have suffered the same malaise around the side (palm) door and in some cases the entire side where the hand grips the body and the grip itself. The only sure cure is to have the affected part removed and replaced, which in today's era, is drawing a fairly long bow.
     
  15. GarageBoy

    GarageBoy Member

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    I can't wait til someone recovers an F100 in leather...

    The F100 I use is sticky and soft, to the point that the camera strap will leave a nylon weave pattern on it
     
  16. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    The only sure cure for rubberised finish getting sticky is to never have anything with a rubberised finish.:smile:
     
  17. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Exactly. Why would anyone want one?:smile: Just more new-fangled crap that wears out in 20 or 30 years.:laugh:
     
  18. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    The SF7s I've noticed this on are at least twenty years old already. I see no reason for them to break down unless mistreated.

    The later MZ-series bodies however appear to be the proverbial time bomb. There's a tiny plastic drive cog on a motor near the lens mount (below and to the right as you hold the camera normally). As is common with many small plastic cogs it was moulded a bit too small for the motor shaft, so it eventually splits. You can buy a replacement motor with a metal cog but it looks seriously fiddly to install.
     
  19. dmschnute

    dmschnute Member

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    This may have no bearing on the problem, but for what it's worth .....

    Canoes made of Royalex (which I understand is basically vinyl) do the same thing in their later years. The recommended solvent is denatured alcohol. It removed the sticky nicely, and I followed it with a rubdown with Armorall, the milky-white stuff intended for leather and vinyl. So far, it has not recurred.

    d.