Brassing - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by marc_bergman|1, Jul 17, 2012.

  1. Reading and responding to Mark Stephan's post about cameras strap lugs and split rings got me to thinking about the damage some of us did to our beautiful cameras.
    Back in 1972 I bought a beautiful black Canon FTb. Everyone knew that "Black was Beautiful". All the pro's used black cameras, well at least those in the ads.
    One of the first things I did was to toss the skinny black camera strap. It was such the mark of an amateur to use the factory strap. I purchased the gaudiest strap, hey that was the style in 1972, I could find. 30 years later the camera top plate was a mess.
    A well used black camera can show a the emergence of the brass top plate where the paint has worn over the years. You know the owner got a great deal of use from the camera. They used it. They didn't abuse it.
    What some of us did should be considered a crime against the classics. I no longer have the original Canon FTb so I will show you my Pentax ES.
    First the culprit.
    charles_escott_new likes this.
  2. Now here is what this innocent looking strap can do.
    Feel free to show off you brassing, good, bad, or ugly.
    charles_escott_new likes this.
  3. [​IMG]
    That's enough.
  4. SCL


    Gene - NICE collection....really beautiful. I thought you'd be showing off some of those oldies which have attracted so much attention as you develop the shots from them.
  5. No. Actually, I've been know to take a few photographs myself.
  6. I never liked those "damn hippie" straps. Too noisy.
  7. Good thing too
    johnfantastic likes this.
  8. There is something about a clean, black camera that says..."shoot me"
    johnfantastic likes this.
  9. And I never wanted to store film on my strap either.
    johnfantastic likes this.
  10. I'll stop here. Apparently I only have the "good" ones, or perhaps they are only only ones I photograph which sounds more plausible.
    johnfantastic likes this.
  11. Marc, I had one of those groovy straps too, except mine was more rainbow colored. (Seems appropriate somehow.) However, mine came with two leather loops that went through the spit triangular rigs, and the strap hooked into a grommet in the leather loop. It was very gentle to the camera, while not cramping my style. My beloved Spotmatic F (satin finish!) looks almost as lovely today as the day I bought it.
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  12. Geesh, you guys and your clean, untouched cameras. Brass showing through the black paint is not wear, it's patina! It shows that your camera was not some poncy little doctor's camera (only taken out once a year on vacation), but a true working camera with a farmer's tan and dirt under it's nails. Like this:
  13. Or least this:
  14. Erik,
    That is what I am talking about. Most of my other black cameras look too pristine. I was hoping people would show their well worn cameras.
  15. Sarah,
    I wonder if I chose this type of strap because the camera and lens cost me half a months pay. I was in the Air Force at the time and dollars were few.
  16. Gene,
    It looks like you have a copy of every black SLR that Canon ever made. My next camera after the FTb was the Canon A-1 in black.
  17. Louis,
    So that is what a Pentax ES is suppose to look like.
    Your F-1 looks like it is right out of the box. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
  18. I recall stories in the 70's of photographers who the 2nd thing they did with a new camera was take some sandpaper or steel wool to artificially age their cameras so they would not look like novices with shiny new equipment. Perhaps this is why Canon added artificial brass paint beneath the black as on my 1981 Canon AE-1P?
  19. If you buy straps with the cheapest and most simple junk hooks available it's just your fault.
    By the end of the 70s an accessory manufacturer (don't remember the name) made strap hooks which were all covered with plastic except for a very small protruding loop. Using these hooks certainly avoided scratching your camera. I used a strap with these hooks on the Leica IIIa I bought around the same time, and there is not a single scratch caused by the strap hooks.
  20. You want brass? Here you go:
    charles_escott_new likes this.
  21. [​IMG]
    ] likes this.
  22. Quite a history there! Great collection.
  23. Great collection of cameras here, even if most of them ARE Canon :) Some called it patina, I always thought of it as character.
    Rick H.
  24. Sweet.
    Here's one with just the right amount of brassing to have character. ;)
    charles_escott_new likes this.
  25. Great thread.
  26. Yes it is, so much porn that I had to have a long cold shower....something about 70's cameras in black...back to the shower!
  27. B.J. ,
    I wonder how many thousands of roll of film have gone through that Leica M?
    Louis and JDM,
    Thanks for posting your rangefinders. Don't tell B.J. but I like black rangefinders best.
  28. "even if most of them ARE Canon :)"​
    You are right. Where are all the Minolta owners? Pull them out of your safety deposit boxes.
    I will get you started.
    johnfantastic likes this.
  29. OK, so's the classic output of the workers' and peasants' state is not left out of this back-in-black show, here are some very late, all black Prakticas.
    And no brassing either.
    Doubtless, as they told me in the DDR back in 1972
    "The conditions for brassing have been eliminated in the German Democratic Republic."
    Ricochetrider and johnfantastic like this.
  30. Almost everything I have is brassed. It's a great benefit to those who like to collect cheap working cameras. My brassiest one is probably an old F that's out in the car and I'm too lazy to go get it. I got it for $39 from KEH, in ugly As-is condition, lacking back and prism, said to have a cracked casting and no wind lever. It had no cracked casting and a late model wind lever, and shows signs of hard use and a thorough overhaul, ugly and mechanically perfect.
    I also got the pictured-below plain prism F, complete except for lens, from a local dealer's $5.00 junk bin. The shutter is a little wrinkled, and I had to open up the finder to retighten the loose and very slightly damaged prism. It also works perfectly. It's not heavily brassed but what it has it has all over and shows signs of a long traveling life which has not yet ended.
  31. Another local dealer who also likes to sell stuff reasonably had a nice F3 a couple of years ago. I was happy with my F's but this thing just yelled at me, so I bought it for bottom dollar, somewhere in the vicinity of what KEH might get for an ugly one. This one was internally perfect and came with a warrantee, but some owner must have used one of those guitar straps on it, making it worthless to collectors. I have a brassed and dented Rollei 35, too, which has the additional advantage of having a rare but apparently uncollectible Schneider lens. It isn't very photogenic, but it looks rather shabby while, of course, working perfectly
    Anyway, the nasty looking F3, a favorite for whose poor choice of straps I am thankful:
    charles_escott_new likes this.
  32. Matthew,
    Your cameras just look fine. I like the fact that they are working models.
    3 of my 4 XE-7s were parts only cameras. I managed to get them all working. They aren't the prettiest examples but I can put film through them.
  33. Nice collection of black bodied Canons! I never knew the AV-1 and AL-1 came in black.
    I sold/traded my Canons as I moved up through the line, never really regretting it. At least until a few years ago when I thought it might be neat to have copies of some of my former film cameras.
    I've been able to obtain an A-1, AE-1, AE-1Program and an FTb. Also an AL-1 which I didn't own in the past, but the price was something I couldn't pass on - $5.00! All of these bodies are in excellent condition with almost no brassing. I attribute this to them coming with their original "never ready" cases, well worn and ragged looking. Looks like the cases kept the cameras in such good shape. The only real brassing is on the pentaprism of the A-1, it looks like the continual removal of the top part of the case may be the culprit.
    johnfantastic likes this.
  34. I was hoping to see the "bad and the ugly", in this thread? I'm off on vacation or I'd be scaring you with pretty beat up, ex PJ Nikon F cameras. I have several with little finish still aboard. Friction and sweat have both long ago removed the black enamel finishes. They do look way cool though. Truth is these belonged to an old retired, long gone PJ I knew years ago. So if these could only talk. He went to hundreds of car crashes, fires, trials, crime scenes etc with these for many years.
  35. Steve Levine , I also wish they could talk because you would be very busy writing their stories:
  36. I also bought my F3 used. It has some wear on the edges from one of those disgusting hippie straps. That strap was the first item I threw away. Ever since then, I have used only straps with no or minimal amounts of metal buckles on them. Op Tech makes a few with all plastic hardware. Other straps such as the Leica strap do have some metal, but they are shielded with plastic guards.
  37. My Walkin'-Around F2AS (w/35-105 Nikkor zoom)
  38. [​IMG]
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