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:
Nikon_F3_taped_02.JPG Nikon_F3_taped_03.JPG Nikon_F3_taped_01.JPG
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):
leatherette_grey_Griptac_Nikon_motorwind.jpg leatherette_grey_Griptac_Nikon.jpg leatherette_grey_Griptac_Olympus.jpg
An other nice on (to me) is the Granite Kid Skin (Goat). It looks like this on a Leica M3:
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?