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  1. #1
    TheToadMen's Avatar
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    Refurbushing old & battered Nikon F3??

    Hi,
    I was offered an old Nikon F3 with two focusing glasses (type K and type G4) for Euro 25 (USD 28). The only problem was that the leatherette was coming loose at the edges. But the camera was supposed to be in good working order.

    I already have a Nikon F3 looking and working as new. So I really don't need a second one. But then, my daughter (16 years old) is suddenly showing an interest in analogue photography, so this could be a nice extra camera for her to use and practice. I have somewhere an old 50 mm f2 Ais lens that doesn't look nice either (but in good working order) to complete the test set for her.

    I took the bate and said yes. The camera was mailed to me and it arrived today. First of all, the batteries were dead so I didn't know if it was in working order. But the shutter did fire at 1/60 with the manual release button (next to the lens). I went out and bought me two new watch batteries type SR44W / 357 (but a pair of A76, S76 or DL1/3N will fit also). I put it in the two batteries and the camera came alive. All the shutter speeds sounds good and it is as fast as my own F3. The LCD screens is also working, as is the light meter.

    But, it looks really terrible on the outside taped up like this:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    It doesn't look even that bad in these images (made by iPhone) but believe: it looks and feels bad enough. I won't send my daughter out on the street with this one.

    So, now I'm thinking of refurbishing it. I found a very nice DIY kit to replace the leatherette, see: http://www.cameraleather.com/nikonslr/
    I like the grey Griptac for USD 14.00. Gives a nice look and it doesn't have to look original.
    Look like this (on an other model Nikon and an Olympus):

    Click image for larger version. 

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    An other nice on (to me) is the Granite Kid Skin (Goat). It looks like this on a Leica M3:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I haven't decided yet, but this real leather costs USD 44.00. And since my F3 is black (not chrome as most examples on http://www.cameraleather.com) I think the lighter Grey suites better.

    I was wondering: has anyone done this himself? Was it "easy" to do?
    And has anyone uses a set from this company?
    Last edited by TheToadMen; 05-10-2013 at 05:41 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: (fixing problem with attachments ...)
    "Have fun and catch that light beam!"
    Bert from Holland
    my blog: http://thetoadmen.blogspot.nl
    my Linkedin pinhole group: http://tinyurl.com/pinholegroup


    * I'm an analogue enthusiast, trying not to fall into the digital abyss.
    * My favorite cameras: Hasselblad SWC, Leica SL, Leica M7, Russian FKD 18x24, Bronica SQ-B and RF645, Rolleiflex T2, Nikon F4s, Agfa Clack and my pinhole cameras

  2. #2
    ArtO's Avatar
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    Have never tried it. But best of luck with the project and let us know how it turns out.
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    Art

  3. #3

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    I would test the camera first with film. Replacing leatherette is not very difficult but time consuming - cleaning old residue. Also check the condition of the mirror bumper foam.

  4. #4
    erikg's Avatar
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    Griptac is a great surface. Hopefully Morgan will come through for you, I've bought 4 kits from him, but he never shipped #4. Stopped responding to my emails, I've given up. Too bad, nice product. F3 is a nice camera to start with for your daughter, you'll get her hooked!

  5. #5
    Richard Sintchak (rich815)'s Avatar
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    There're a few postings here of people not that pleased with that company. I'd read those if I were you.

    I've bought a few covers from this site:

    http://aki-asahi.com/store/

    Service was great, shipping quite fast and the quality terrific. Not hard to do.
    Last edited by Richard Sintchak (rich815); 05-10-2013 at 10:37 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    -----------------------

    "Well, my photos are actually much better than they look..."

    Richard S.
    Albany, CA (San Francisco bay area)

    My Flickr River of photographs
    http://flickriver.com/photos/rich815...r-interesting/

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    http://www.lightshadowandtone.com

  6. #6

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    my m4 has camerleather on it and it took me a while to realize it -- but as to type, shouldn't your daughter make that decision? Maybe a nice snakeskin or something fashionable.

    or just leave it looking battered and tell her to tell folks that it survived the Vietnam War...

  7. #7

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    They made the f3 up till 2005, so it shouldn't be too hard to find the original leatherette. I like a nicely used F3, it's a camera that wears well.

  8. #8

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    I am also one of the former cameraleather.com faithful. I bought several kits from the guy, then all of a sudden zilch. The outfit Richard S mentions has been top notch. I'd skip the hassle and go with them. The job is not too difficult.
    In life you only get one great dog, one great car, and one great woman. Pet the dog. Drive the car. Make love to the woman. Don't mix them up.

  9. #9
    agnosticnikon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by summicron1 View Post
    my m4 has camerleather on it and it took me a while to realize it -- but as to type, shouldn't your daughter make that decision? Maybe a nice snakeskin or something fashionable.

    or just leave it looking battered and tell her to tell folks that it survived the Vietnam War...
    If there were Nikon F3 cameras in the Vietnam war, it went on a lot longer that I thought. (heh, heh) But I get your point, I've always liked the look of the well used camera. Then again, a 16 year old might not see it that way. How about going to a hardware store, home supply store, or even a Walmart. There are lots of cool colors and types of duck (duct?) tape that would be cheap and easy to apply. (how about pink?) Tape the camera good, use single edge razor blade or exacto blade to trim at the metal edges. Also, I don't think that the replacement leather kits supply the smooth rubber grip on the right front of the body, that your camera seems to be missing also. Check first. I bought a replacement leather kit for my Contax 139 and it was easy to install, but a pain to prep the camera body. All old glue/leatherette has to come off completely.
    Good luck with your project, and I hope your daughter has fun with this camera, they're great!

  10. #10
    TheToadMen's Avatar
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    Hi everyone,
    Thank you for all the replies. Some interesting comments.

    1) I thought about letting my daughter decide on the type of covering, but wasn't sure yet. Maybe I'll keep it a surprise for now? And what if she doesn't like the camera after all? I won't go out shooting with an all pink F3. But oke, I'll get her opinion first.

    2) I saw the site of aki-asahi.com . They seem to offer 15 different prints/colors for the Nikon F3 but I can't see on the site what the look like? This is the link to the Nikon F3 page: http://aki-asahi.com/store/html/Nikon-F3/index.php . I've sent them an email inquiring about this.
    The site of www.cameraleather.com was much better with its info, but if they're not shipping anymore ...

    3) Is ther anyone who had good contacts & dealings with www.cameraleather.com recently?

    4) I didn't realize it at first, but the rubber grip is missing. They used extra thick tape to mimic it. Anyone got any ideas how to fix this? Has anyone a spare lying around? Or should I leave it out? The grip itself is formed on the camera body, the rubber grip is only a layer of rubber (it seems?).
    At www.cameraleather.com they offered a kit wrapping all around the rubber grip (loosing the red stripe):
    Owners of the F3 have the option of replacing the rubber grip and red stripe with a single strip of leather. Those who have made the change love the way it looks. Click image for larger version. 

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    Your kit can also be cut like the factory covering, leaving the rubber grip section alone.
    This would be a solution but aki-asahi.com doesn't seem to have this option.

    Here are some images from the sites about not including the rubber grip:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    "Have fun and catch that light beam!"
    Bert from Holland
    my blog: http://thetoadmen.blogspot.nl
    my Linkedin pinhole group: http://tinyurl.com/pinholegroup


    * I'm an analogue enthusiast, trying not to fall into the digital abyss.
    * My favorite cameras: Hasselblad SWC, Leica SL, Leica M7, Russian FKD 18x24, Bronica SQ-B and RF645, Rolleiflex T2, Nikon F4s, Agfa Clack and my pinhole cameras

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