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  1. #1
    arigram's Avatar
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    Restoring Old Cameras

    I decided to start a camera collection recently. I got a few off EBay and have begun telling all my friends and the people I know and also going to local photo stores. Everyone has an old film camera that they don't use anymore collecting dust in a storage box. I am quite poor but so far it has proven to be a cheap yet very rewarding new addition to my photographic adventures.

    All the cameras I have so far are in excellent condition, some almost completely mint even being decades old. Yet I do not want to shy away from abused and battered treasures. I have been searching the web and also looking at online bookstores for information on learning how to repair and restore old cameras. From what I understand, unless the lens has a scratch and there is something missing, almost anything can be fixed. Leatherettes can be glued and painted, bellows patched, mechanics unstuck and so on.

    Can anyone point to me a resource or two I can use to learn to do atleast basic cosmetic restoration?
    aristotelis grammatikakis
    www.arigram.gr
    Real photographs, created in camera, 100% organic,
    no digital additives and shit




  2. #2
    Chaska's Avatar
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    http://www.kyphoto.com/classics/ is a great place to start. There is a repair forum there as well.

    Enjoy!!

  3. #3

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    arigram,

    email me off-line with a snail-mail address and I will send you a book:

    'Restoring Classic & Collectible Cameras - Thomas Tomosy'

    It should cover most of what you're looking for.

    Smile

  4. #4

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    hey there

    try this : http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...564345-6321753

    i have joe lippincott's book, and it is well worth the $$

    if you run into any falling plate cameras let me know, they are a piece of cake to get running again.

    if you have trouble id'ing box cameras check out: http://www.boxcameras.com/

    have a blast!

    -john
    silver magnets, trickle tanks sold
    artwork often times sold for charity
    PM me for details

  5. #5

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    I think you will find that if you are careful, watch how things come apart and are mechanically inclined you should do well. Read lots, and maybe ask around to see if there is some old fellow locally that used to fix cameras. Many older people will gladly help someone learn a dying art.

    And whatever you do, don't become discouraged when you screw up. You will make mistakes. Just don't keep making the same ones over and over again.

    Above all, have fun. The pride you will get from saving some mechanical marvel from the trash bin is well worth the effort.

  6. #6
    arigram's Avatar
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    Thank you all guys!
    Yes, it is indeed a wonderful thing to save an old camera from the trash.
    So far, the areas that need to be worked on I discovered are:

    - Patch the bellows
    - Paint the bellows
    - Glue the leatherette
    - Paint the leatherette
    - Get rid of rust
    - Shine the metallic parts
    - Clean the outside glass
    - Clear fungus
    - Clean the inside glass
    - Unstuck, lubricate the mechanics

    Do you have tips regarding the methods, tools and liquids for them?
    aristotelis grammatikakis
    www.arigram.gr
    Real photographs, created in camera, 100% organic,
    no digital additives and shit




  7. #7
    JLMoore3's Avatar
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    Here you go...

    Quote Originally Posted by arigram
    Thank you all guys!
    Yes, it is indeed a wonderful thing to save an old camera from the trash.
    So far, the areas that need to be worked on I discovered are:

    - Patch the bellows
    - Paint the bellows
    - Glue the leatherette
    - Paint the leatherette
    - Get rid of rust
    - Shine the metallic parts
    - Clean the outside glass
    - Clear fungus
    - Clean the inside glass
    - Unstuck, lubricate the mechanics

    Do you have tips regarding the methods, tools and liquids for them?
    Well, here's my input... I'm not sure how easy it will be to get some of these items where you are, but they've worked well for me!.

    Starting from the top:
    Bellows patch- I use Electrician's "Liquid Tape" made by the same company that makes "Plasti-Dip" for tool handles. I've found it in both black & red. It's pretty foul-smelling, so I take the camera out on the porch to apply. I paint it on with a couple of light coats, allowing a few hours between coats to dry. It stays flexible, and if you don't close up your bellows too soon the pleats won't stick together. If you have larger-than-pinholes in your bellows, dab some in the corners on the inside. You might want to tape off any areas underneath the bellows, in case of drips.

    Painting bellows- If they're black I use bootblack, I picked some up at the local shoe repair shop. Although, the last time I repaired a leaky bellows I painted the whole bellows with Liquid Tape & didn't need to re-dye them.

    Glue & Dye the leatherette- I use a leather contact cement, found it at the local leather shop. They also had the dyes for the leatherette.

    Rust- I usually just sand with fine-grit paper & then finish with 00 steel wool. If it's really bad there are rust removers at the paint shop.

    Shine- Brasso works for most of the older camera parts. I've also used "Flitz" or "Blue Max" which is a metal polishing paste. You don't want to use a paste on any surface that has been chromed.

    Clean outside & inside glass- If you mean lens elements, I'm not going to touch that with a ten-foot-pole... There are more opinions on lens cleanings than "angels who can dance on the head of a pin"! You might want to do a search for lens cleaning techniques & find the one(s) that work best for you.

    Fungus- This one I will touch... Mostly because if the lens has fungus on it, it might be a goner already- why not try to save it? I've used Ed Romney's suggestion of 50/50 mixture of hydrogen peroxide & household ammonia, as well as applying facial cold cream. If there is just a bit of fungus on the outside of the lens cell, then you can use a cotton swab to apply the 50/50 mixture. If the fungus is on the inside of the lens, then you have to disassemble the lens... no fun. I apply the cold cream on the cell, after it has been removed from the lens body, and then wipe it off with a soft cloth. Then follow with the 50/50 mixture to remove an residual fungus & cold cream. Settin the cell out in the sun for an hour or two should also kill off any fungus that is in the cement between the cell layers.

    Mechanics- This depends on which mechanics you're referring to... I don't have a problem opening up most of the older shutters (Alphax, Betax, Graphex, etc.) as long as I don't try removing any of the internal mechanisms (man, you should see how far those spings can fly!). I use an electronic contact cleaner to thouroughly soak the interior & remove any gunk. I then apply a couple of drops of watchmaker's oil (Ny oil) to only the points in the shutter mechanics that have a rotating post showing. You definitely don't want oil anywhere else inside. I've never used dry graphite lubricant on the shutter leaf pivot points, but others have suggested that treatment. I usually just leave them dry & haven't had a problem to date.

    If you're talking about camera body mechanics, the contact cleaner works well- but make sure you don't get any on the wood or leather parts... it can discolor them and can remove any glue/finish. The other option is to spray some WD-40 lubricant into a cup & use a cotton swab to apply it to the sticky part. I usually clean up the area with alcohol after using any lubricant.

    I hope this helps! Here are a couple of links to some camera repair/restoration sites that I've found:
    Richard Ritter has parts...
    DIY Bellows!
    Lotus View Cameras supplies bellows also
    Creative Dialog Photographic
    David's Cameras
    Kevin Bourke restored a B&J 8x10

    Parts (knobs, screws, bolts, etc.):
    Small Parts Inc. (oh, man, do they have cool stuff!)
    McMaster-Carr

    Tools:
    Micro-Tools Europe
    Aven Tools
    John (Alpha Flying Monkey) Moore
    http://www.flyingmonkeystudio.com

  8. #8
    arigram's Avatar
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    You are an angel straight from Heaven Mr.Moore, may your path in life be littered with rose petals and the air you breath perfumed with divine scents!

    A Kershaw Penguin shall be my first patient. Last night I treated its general dirt and dust, polished the metallic parts to shine and today I will work on the bellows. I don't think I can find the liquid tape thingie you mention in this capitalistic god forsaken island but atleast I can paint the faded out leather with black shoe dye.

    One last thing I forgot to add to the list:
    - Painting the metallic parts. The ones that are dyed black. What kind of paint should I use?

  9. #9
    JLMoore3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arigram
    You are an angel straight from Heaven Mr.Moore, may your path in life be littered with rose petals and the air you breath perfumed with divine scents!

    A Kershaw Penguin shall be my first patient. Last night I treated its general dirt and dust, polished the metallic parts to shine and today I will work on the bellows. I don't think I can find the liquid tape thingie you mention in this capitalistic god forsaken island but atleast I can paint the faded out leather with black shoe dye.

    One last thing I forgot to add to the list:
    - Painting the metallic parts. The ones that are dyed black. What kind of paint should I use?
    Thanks for the compliment... I'm going out to notify the neighbors that they may start littering my yard & throwing smelly stuff on me any time now!

    As for the body paint... Check out the MicroTools.com Europe site paint section. There is also the option of using black fingernail polish on the inside of the bellows to patch pinholes.

    We'll want to see before & after expamples of your work!
    John (Alpha Flying Monkey) Moore
    http://www.flyingmonkeystudio.com

  10. #10
    titrisol's Avatar
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    Clean the leatheretee:
    Can one use shoe polish/boot black?

    PS. Electrician liquid tape is great... smells ok, just like xyylene, which I used to clean the shutter.
    Mama took my APX away.....

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