Repaint Camera Lenses. Suggestions?

Started Aug 12, 2019 | Discussions
Ching-Kuang Shene
Ching-Kuang Shene Veteran Member • Posts: 6,356
Repaint Camera Lenses. Suggestions?

I bought a long telephoto lens with a significant black paint loss.  I am thinking to keep it that way so that it would constantly remind me that the lens has been used very frequently.  However, I also have the idea to repaint it to some other color I like.  So, I would ask you for tips and suggestions.

  • If I decide to repaint it, shall I scratch all the existing paint off from the lens barrel?  This could be a very time consuming work.  I hope I don't have to as I do not have the needed time.
  • What kind of tools I must have to get the job done?
  • What kind of paint I need so that it will stay on the lens for a long time without any problem?
  • Anything that I forgot to ask?

BTW, I don't want to repaint the aperture ring, focus ring, etc., because to do so I have to spend time to get the needed marking back.

Thanks.

CK

 Ching-Kuang Shene's gear list:Ching-Kuang Shene's gear list
Olympus D-600L Nikon D7100 Nikon Z7 Nikon AF-P 70-300mm F4.5-6.3G +2 more
Heritage Cameras
Heritage Cameras Senior Member • Posts: 1,908
Re: Repaint Camera Lenses. Suggestions?

Ching-Kuang Shene wrote:

BTW, I don't want to repaint the aperture ring, focus ring, etc., because to do so I have to spend time to get the needed marking back.

If the markings are engraved rather than just painted on, I've frequently used a paint pen to fill in worn numbers and letters. These are easy to use as you just paint over all the markings, then wipe off the excess.

-- hide signature --

Dave, HCL

 Heritage Cameras's gear list:Heritage Cameras's gear list
Sony a7
SiFu
SiFu Veteran Member • Posts: 6,246
Re: Repaint Camera Lenses. Suggestions?
4

Hello!

I use laquer pens that were recommended to me by my local repair shop here in Vienna. They have been using these for repairs for many years. I will check the exact brand once I am back from vacation.

I used them to black out my Xpro1 a few years ago - it is very wear resistant and the pens come in different tip sizes, so that painting larger areas should also be possible effectively.

Best,

Alex

-- hide signature --

carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero

ProfHankD
ProfHankD Veteran Member • Posts: 8,082
Re: Repaint Camera Lenses. Suggestions?
1

Ching-Kuang Shene wrote:

I bought a long telephoto lens with a significant black paint loss. I am thinking to keep it that way so that it would constantly remind me that the lens has been used very frequently. However, I also have the idea to repaint it to some other color I like. So, I would ask you for tips and suggestions.

  • If I decide to repaint it, shall I scratch all the existing paint off from the lens barrel? This could be a very time consuming work. I hope I don't have to as I do not have the needed time.

To change color rather than touch up, you should remove the paint. That should be done with solvents/heat, not scratching/sanding.

  • What kind of tools I must have to get the job done?

Disassemble the lens parts you're repainting. Not needed for touch-up.

  • What kind of paint I need so that it will stay on the lens for a long time without any problem?

Many choices, but generally stuff that sticks to metal. Acrylic can be used for engraved stuff.

  • Anything that I forgot to ask?

BTW, I don't want to repaint the aperture ring, focus ring, etc., because to do so I have to spend time to get the needed marking back.

Thanks.

CK

 ProfHankD's gear list:ProfHankD's gear list
Canon PowerShot SX530 Olympus TG-860 Sony a7R II Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Sony a6500 +30 more
Aoi Usagi Senior Member • Posts: 2,782
Re: Repaint Camera Lenses. Suggestions?

Trying to match the exact color, thickness and texture of paint is the hardest part.  It would be best to remove all the paint first and start from scratch.

MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 43,191
Never done it but I have skirted around the edges
1

This is something I hope that I would never have to do.

Easier to just buy a lens with perfect paint or with scratches/wear that can be lived with.

But for a lens that has serious paint damage and is worth something as rare then I can only guess based on my limited experience. Presumably the lens needs to end up looking with a professional finish or the lens will be truly destroyed.

I have painted small raw parts that I have made as camera accessories. At the very basic level I have used cans of spray paint and because the parts have been very small this has been satisfactory.

Very simple - a piece of light bent wire can hold each part and its entire surface is (more or less) accessible. Failing a rudimentary spray booth this can be done in open air if the painting effort is minor and you are not going to upset neighbours. Be sure to note which way the prevailing breeze is blowing Cover the open threads with masking tape and block openings where the paint is not supposed to be.

You will also have to consider the surface clearances where parts move inside one another - too thick a paint coating will cause the meeting parts to rub and jam.

Painting itself iis actually very quick and easy - just the setting up and follow up is quite lengthy and tedious and requires quite a lot of care.

Naturally the lens would first have to be stripped to its very basic parts first. Glass unpainted parts and parts that don’t need painting would have to be excluded or carefully masked off.

Old paint could be taken off by some sort of chemical stripper - I cannot advise on just what stripper would be safe and effective without damaging the base metal - but some research could find a suitable version. This would be quite messy. Heat might help but the original paint might be quite hardy. Scratching might also do the job but would be more tedious and risk damaging the metal surfaces.

The various parts once stripped and cleaned could be hung by their wires and painted using the same wires to hang them on a suitable place to dry o preserve the painted surface. Spray paint can be found sold in quick drying form. I have used matte black mostly. Depending on the surface finish consideration could be given to a light undercoat. In any case many thinner coats will give a better finish than a lesser number of thick coats. Paint in pressure cans comes pre-formulated for thickness and may or may not be suitable for the required quality of coverage. The level of cover from pressure cans can only be regulated by distance held from the object and the amount of paint applied on each pass/coat.

If this is serious business then consideration might be given to using automotive paint thinned to the best consistency. Best used with proper spray kit - air-brushing gear might be enough for such a small area and compact spray guns are also available for full size spraying systems which are more compact and carry less paint.

This paint is pretty noxious when used in confined spaces.

I have used such systems but not for camera gear - they would certainly give a more assured and professional level of finish.

Engraved lettering can be highlighted in another colour and the excess paint overspill outside the engraving carefully removed while the paint is still wet as Dave has already mentioned.

I could do it but would need to try it with some potentially sacrificial lens first to make sure I had my technique right. Proper spray equipment with automotive style paint would seem the best choice in order to get a thin enough coverage of hard wearing paint that would look professional. Pressure can spray paint has been quick, simple and good enough for my little oem projects. Doing a commercially satisfactory job on a lens just seems too hard.

Oh .... and dust on a newly painted slowly drying surface is a hazard to be avoided.

-- hide signature --

Tom Caldwell

Ching-Kuang Shene
OP Ching-Kuang Shene Veteran Member • Posts: 6,356
Thanks to Everyone Who Responded.....
1

Guess this is a way too much work for me, in particular the fall semester is right at the corner.  So, I will leave the big lens as is.

Thank you.

CK

 Ching-Kuang Shene's gear list:Ching-Kuang Shene's gear list
Olympus D-600L Nikon D7100 Nikon Z7 Nikon AF-P 70-300mm F4.5-6.3G +2 more
Kostas L
Kostas L New Member • Posts: 8
Re: Repaint Camera Lenses. Suggestions?

SiFu wrote:

Hello!

I use laquer pens that were recommended to me by my local repair shop here in Vienna. They have been using these for repairs for many years. I will check the exact brand once I am back from vacation.

I used them to black out my Xpro1 a few years ago - it is very wear resistant and the pens come in different tip sizes, so that painting larger areas should also be possible effectively.

Best,

Alex

Old thread, but worth a try: maybe you are back from the vacation and could check the brand of the lacquer paint? Also, recommended tip size for shutter speed/ expo compensation dial would also be appreciated. Thanks!

 Kostas L's gear list:Kostas L's gear list
Panasonic LX100 II Leica SL2 Sony a7R II Panasonic Lumix DC-S1R Sony Xperia Pro +1 more
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads