Nikon F Photomic Paint Repair

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by JLachiw, Jul 21, 2018.

  1. Hello all,

    I recently picked up a Nikon F with a Photomic TN finder in good condition, but I noticed the green shutter speed numbering on the finder was heavily faded. All the numbering is slightly faded but the green numbering has faded to an ugly greyish-green. Does anyone know a good source for restoration paint? Just about every post I find recommends Micro-Tools but they've apparently stopped selling their paint pens. Since my camera was always used with the Photomic finder, the actual shutter speed dial is just about perfect, so I could use that to match the paint.

    See, look at that nice neon green, versus faded pale green:

    Any suggestions are greatly appreciated, thanks!
  2. Use Silver Foam Jewelers Polish, gently run over the numbers with a cotton tip a little at a time, washing with water each time using a second dampened cotton tip, checking to see if brighter paint is showing through
  3. Here's a tip based on what vintage fountain pen collectors use to restore the imprints on pen barrels:
    Get a grease pencil in the appropriate color. Rub it over the area that has the engraved numbers. Buff the excess off and the color will remain in the recessed engraving. I'm assuming you can find a green grease pencil; I've only used white and black on pens.

  4. I'm really sorry to hear that the paint pens are no longer available from Micro-Tools. However, they seem to be available from Amazon and others.

    Search for
    Sharpie 37371PP Oil-Based Paint Markers, Fine Point ...

    I think they are superior to other solutions both in permanence and ease of application..
  5. Thanks everyone for the input, I tried a few things and finally found a good option.

    I tried cleaning the numbers first, I was able to remove some grime but the paint was still heavily faded. From other sources I looked at online enamel paints were recommended for their durability, so I got a green enamel paint-pen. Unfortunately, the green paint was too dark, and the pen wasn't as fine-tipped as I was hoping. However, the paint did seem to work well, so I bought some normal enamel paint, the kind used for modeling, and figured out a good method:
    1. Use a fine-tipped brush (I used a superfine Microbrush) to apply paint in the engraving. Going outside the number does not matter, the goal here is for good coverage of the engraving, however you will want light coverage and not a small puddle.
    2. Allow the paint to sit a minute, then begin removing excess from around the numbers. Avoid wiping the numbers with a paper towel or anything really absorbent as the paint inside the number will get picked up.
    3. Using a more detailed cotton swab (not a normal kind, I used Tamiya craft cotton swabs) to carefully remove the rest of the unwanted paint. Use the point of the swab around the edges of numbers, and the side of the swab for the general area. Avoid touching the numbers.
    Those are the steps I followed and here's the outcome, quite a big change from how it originally looked:


    If anyone's interested, the paint I used was Testors gloss enamel paint, the specific color being "Sublime Green".
    Moving On likes this.
  6. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Nice Job! I haven't experienced paint loss on any of my old Nikons - don't know if I'd follow your example, though I'm reasonably handy. If you look, you might find an undamaged battery cap - of course, you could easily make considerable improvement on the one you have. Thanks for posting!
  7. Very nice result!
  8. Thanks for sharing this! It looks great!

    I've used Testors enamels for years to touch up things like lettering on watch plates-I have some F and F2 finders that could use some attention so will give this a try. I have cameras with washed out lettering too that need attention.

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