Airbrushing/refurbishing an old camera

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by johnfantastic, Dec 22, 2020.

  1. I have an old Nikormat EL that looks like it was never used, How did they do it? Did they repaint the camera? Did the replaced the leather skin? I just can't believe that it was bought brand new then stored. :)

    loresA IMG_20201222_165528.jpg
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  2. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    In my opinion it is unlikely that a camera in this price range would be expertly restored. An expensive, rare Leica, certainly. I sold a Nikkormat FS in similar condition some years ago. Simple story, I had gotten it as a back up, rarely used it, and shortly after I bought it, had a job which paid for a black Nikkormat ELW. The FS sat in clean storage unused for a long time. Appearance similar to your camera. The Black one shows many years of use. One possibility.
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  3. Every camera I've gotten new has looked perfect it's entire life. Even some used ones. It's just a matter of taking care of stuff, perhaps a lost art. And it's not because I don't use them.
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  4. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Regardless of care, and I am a fanatic, with significant use over time, there are always signs of wear - Black finish film Nikons (and other brands) can be problematic.
    johnfantastic likes this.
  5. Was it kept in an ever ready case? These cases are much maligned, but I've noticed that cameras found in them are often in near mint condition.
  6. Believe it!
    Some people do that.

    I bought a totally mint SB-24 speedlight from a dealer that had bought a collection from the estate of a guy that had unused examples of almost every item Nikon had ever produced.

    A Nikkormat might also have been bought as a second or spare body and never used. Like my FM. It was bought cheaply from end-of-line stock as a backup body, and has probably had no more than half a dozen rolls of film through it from new.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2020
  7. The chrome finish on Nikons from the 70's is extremely durable and so was the leatherette.
    My first Nikon FE (1978) looked brand new for the first 5 years of relatively frequent amateur use, after that some paint started lightly to wear on the back door edges, but up until 2000 when I sold it, it actually looked very close to new.

    It is a Nikomat (as opposed to Nikkormat) - It means it is a Japanese market model. Did you buy it from Japan?
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  8. Some people take good care of their stuff and some people don't. I have seen old cameras that look like new and newer cameras that look they have been dragged behind a truck. Some people just seem to be hard on stuff. I have a friend who has a BMW motorcycle that he bought new in the 1970's. He has about 150,000 miles on it. He has ridden it all over the US and Canada and it still looks and runs like it just came off the showroom floor. I also have friend that bought a new car and in 1 year it was a total wreck.
    johnfantastic likes this.
  9. No NHSN,

    I bought it from a guy who was living 17kms away from my home in Pembroke. He did mentioned that used cameras in pristine condition are much cheaper in Japan. :)

    I guess I belong to those who can't keep their cameras in pristine condition just 1 year I purchase it.
  10. Related:
    My day job is a bicycle mechanic at a high-end high-volume dealership. Most people don't take good care of their bikes, but one customer comes in with well in excess of 10,000 miles on his bike, and it has no visual evidence of all those miles.
    I've also seen cameras, bicycles, and motorcycles purchased by people with lots of initial enthusiasm that quickly went unused and set aside. If stored properly, somebody down the road ends up with a pristine museum piece.
    johnfantastic likes this.
  11. I always strip off the "never-ready" case, but there is no doubt that (so long as mold doesn't intrude) they do protect the camera. Also I have found a much higher percentage of the 'cased' cameras have still functioning selenium light meters.

    I do keep them, and usually remember to put a slip of paper in the case to tell me what camera it was from. Organization sort of fails past that point.:oops:
  12. I found it hard to comprehend but a Kodak 3A folder I bought is in "as new" condition. It's a black one, not red bellows, and it sat on ebay for a while before I decided to place a bid because all the nickel plating was still bright and shiny, it's very rare to see that on those old folders. Turns out everything else about the camera was "perfect" also. I was the only bidder so acquired it at a very low price considering it's pristine condition - a hundred years old, couldn't really believe it. The long term storage conditions must have been ideal and maybe the camera was never handled or relocated all that much, if at all. I can tell, that by using it, it will be like shooting a camera that was made only last week. It would take a lot to pry it out of my hands, very rare in that condition.
    johnfantastic likes this.
  13. I generally prfer to have the "never-reafy" cases. Which reminds me anyone know which Yashica cases are compatible to the FX1. MAybe the FR series? I digress, Ambient conditions affect this argument. In Wesetern Europe, the neutral climate is a blessing. Certainly the cases may harbor and feed mold is a viable rik. But the dust is more a problem for me and cosmetics when rubbing shoulders with other cameras or stuff. I tend to keep the cameras in their respective cases. I try to collect the dry packets whenever I get them and I tosds them into the shelf or drawers to keep any moisture aways. In fact a good idea might be to simply slip a silica-gel packet in every case for just this purpose.
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