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12-22-2008, 02:28 PM   #1
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Camera & Lens cosmetic refinishing

I am starting this thread as I have a lots of manual cameras and lenses sitting around. They are fine mechenically but will enjoy a refishing if availble. They mostly have some paint losses during years' abuse or engravings by prior owner, small dents, scratches, etc.

I notice there is a market for refinishing M Leica rangefinders from chrome to black or other fancy colours. I am just wondering if anyone is interested to explore the possibilities to doing so on Pentax, or make your beloved camera/lens close to cosmetically perfect.

Doing refinishing on Leica is complicated and expensive. Pentax camera/lens might be much simpler to dealing with. I am just brainstorming of what we need to find out:

1. which paint; as Leica fans already figured out the original paint on black M rangefinder.

2. process; sure we need to take camear or lens aprart, more detail will be better for followers.

3. tools; any special tools?

4. cost; I will pay $50-100 to get rid of the engraving on some camera lenses, or $100 to make MX from chrome to black, etc......(Leica cost $500+ to do the conversion)

I am inviting you all to offer your thoughts. Anything could be valuable for Pentax users.

12-22-2008, 03:06 PM   #2
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I'm sort of un-diligently working on this, mostly because I have a pent-up craving to try my hand at custom-coloring a camera. The biggest issue I see is about finding paints that'll be durable without laying down too thick. I've got some stuff I've been waiting to get around to testing on some less-valuable metal, actually: it's sort of a nostalgic-looking hammertone dark-bronze grey meant for toolboxes that might make an interesting Canonet color. (I don't give it good odds at all of both giving a decent-looking hammertone *and* laying down thin enough, but this is what experiments are for. )

Ought to be interesting, once I find a paint, there's a lot of prep work and probably masking and filling with wax or something, all the lettering and edges I wouldn't want to look rounded off by the thickness of the paint.

It's also made me curious if I could have the plates *powdercoated* somewhere and have that work out nice.
12-22-2008, 03:10 PM   #3
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Repairing the black paint on the lenses is not easy! First, you have to match the gloss grade - I never encountered that ready-made. You have to mix it yourself from matte and glossy black. I succeeded once to match the paint on an old MX and with literally spot retouching really improved its appearance.

Many lenses are not painted, but coated very thinly or even anodized. That finish can hardly be matched with simple painting. For anodizing you would need to disassemble the lens completely and anodize only the tubes.

The silver finish of the FA lenses is paint, but extremly thin. No way you can achieve that with a brush (at least not for me - I am anything but a master painter).

I think cpommercially this cumbersome process is only viable for Leica lenses and other high-value lenses. Pentax lenses are mostly too much of a commodity, to justify the expense. It will be up to the dedicated hobbyist, to do the re-painting. The only excemption I can imagine would be one of those rare Ultra-Apo Takumars...


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