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Bessa R - door coating
Old 05-23-2015   #1
traveler_101
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Bessa R - door coating

Bessa R owners/former owners:

How did you handle the plastic coated door on the camera. Is there anything that preserves the coating? Did you finally replace it?

Mine is is surprisingly good condition, though it has some hairline fractures in it and it "sweats" on occasion. It's a pretty darned stupid kind of surface to put on a camera - smooth and potentially slippery, though mine has not yet begun to become sticky to touch, which I hear lies inevitably in the future. Any suggestions/experiences?
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Old 05-23-2015   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by traveler_101 View Post
Bessa R owners/former owners:

How did you handle the plastic coated door on the camera. Is there anything that preserves the coating? Did you finally replace it?

Mine is is surprisingly good condition, though it has some hairline fractures in it and it "sweats" on occasion. It's a pretty darned stupid kind of surface to put on a camera - smooth and potentially slippery, though mine has not yet begun to become sticky to touch, which I hear lies inevitably in the future. Any suggestions/experiences?
My R has the same issue you describe, and I have yet to do anything about it because it hasn't become tacky either. I agree, somewhat of a silly decision as far as materials used goes, but I don't find mine to be slippery at all. I actually use the bottom plate from a Ricoh SLR (KR-5 Super II) that uses the same body as the R, and that works fine...so I wonder if a film door from the same body would work as a direct replacement. If so, it would be quite handsome but would lack the built in grip. If I can find my old KR-5, I'll try it out soon and report back. Could be a cheap, fun DIY. Cheers.

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Old 05-23-2015   #3
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The back on my R has never cracked, but did become sticky. I used ethyl alcohol and a lot of "elbow greese" to clean it up. Not as pretty now, but no longer sticky. Goes along with the paint loss around the strap lugs. Looks a bit rough, but still a damn fine shooter.
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Old 05-23-2015   #4
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I'm not good on searches especially on RFF. But I remember someone had this problem and had a fairly simple fix. It did include removing the back material.

I have a Bessa R and it is OK for now, I keep mine in the case and only handle the back when putting in film and removing film.
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Old 05-23-2015   #5
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My Bessa R has been in a case most of its life so I don't have a problem.
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Old 05-24-2015   #6
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Except for some paint rub around the shutter button, mine is fine after 10 years of use. In other words, the camera has weathered better than I gave it credit for when I bought it used.

I do what you mean by the smooth covering on the back door. I use the O.E.M. grip - which allows the attachment of a wrist strap on the right side of the camera.
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Old 05-24-2015   #7
John E Earley
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I had the same problem with a Nikon N80 and my solution was to clean the back with alcohol and coat it wit ArmorAll Conditioner, the type used for car dashboards and trim bits.
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Old 05-27-2015   #8
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Yeah, Armorall that should work. And I forgot that I have one of the head bartender's camera cases. After much rooting around, I found it and it doesn't look too bad on the camera.
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Old 05-27-2015   #9
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I melted the back of a Bessa R with Goof Off. Turns out I should have used Goo Gone instead.

The back off a Nikon FM10 was a perfect replacement. Used it for years without a problem. The Olympus OM2000 back may also be suitable.
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Old 05-30-2015   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tktk View Post
I melted the back of a Bessa R with Goof Off. Turns out I should have used Goo Gone instead.

The back off a Nikon FM10 was a perfect replacement. Used it for years without a problem. The Olympus OM2000 back may also be suitable.
Good to know. Where did you get the door from?
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Old 05-30-2015   #11
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Ebay. Just did a search for "Nikon FM10 door" and got lucky. If not, I would have just bought a broken one for the part.
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Old 08-13-2015   #12
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Update on this thread for anyone out there that might be interested.

My solution, as far as it goes: I used an ordinary vinyl protectorate from an auto supply store and it seems to have helped stop the "sweating" and stabilised the surface . . . perhaps. Interestingly, after the treatment the suface shows more scuff marks than when I received the camera - someone must have used alcohol on it to deepen the black colour.

It is fine as is for now, but I still don't "like" the surface. I probably won't do anything as long as the door holds up, but here are some further responses to a couple of your suggestions for a replacement:

Quote:
Originally Posted by tktk View Post
The back off a Nikon FM10 was a perfect replacement. Used it for years without a problem. The Olympus OM2000 back may also be suitable.
Good suggestion, but it appears to me that it is practically identical in material to the door I have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by awbphotog View Post
My R has the same issue you describe . . . I actually use the bottom plate from a Ricoh SLR (KR-5 Super II) that uses the same body as the R, and that works fine...so I wonder if a film door from the same body would work as a direct replacement. If so, it would be quite handsome but would lack the built in grip. . . .
Andy
Thanks and I agree that would be a great looking back door to have on the camera! Don't care about grips, particularly when you have a good surface to hold onto. Here is photo of the Ricoh . . .

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Old 12-17-2015   #13
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After reading through this thread I purchased an R with visible damage to the rear door coating otherwise the camera is in like new condition. I also ordered a Nikon FM10 door just in case. So I tried the above mentioned solutions starting with Armorall. Unfortunately this left the surface both sticky and greasy. The surface basically resembled the residue of deteriorated light seals and was now showing holes through the coating.

Since I had the FM10 door on order, I decided to clean it up with a rag soaked with denatured alcohol. This worked great. The door surface has a nice matte black finish. I noticed that the body of the camera was sticky so I cleaned it too. The alcohol removed the dull tacky coating leaving the surface plastic looking like new.

When I received the FM10 door, I found it to be no better than the Bessa's, so I cleaned off the surface on it too. It only takes a few minutes to make it look like new, however if your used to the feeling of the rubber coating, you may not like the feel of the plastic surface. I would have avoided all of this buy using a half case but then I would not be able to use the accessory hand grip.

So if anyone is looking for a lower priced Bessa, you might consider those with ugly door coatings that are otherwise in good condition.
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Old 01-04-2016   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uglee View Post
After reading through this thread I purchased an R with visible damage to the rear door coating otherwise the camera is in like new condition. I also ordered a Nikon FM10 door just in case. So I tried the above mentioned solutions starting with Armorall. Unfortunately this left the surface both sticky and greasy. The surface basically resembled the residue of deteriorated light seals and was now showing holes through the coating.

Since I had the FM10 door on order, I decided to clean it up with a rag soaked with denatured alcohol. This worked great. The door surface has a nice matte black finish. I noticed that the body of the camera was sticky so I cleaned it too. The alcohol removed the dull tacky coating leaving the surface plastic looking like new.

When I received the FM10 door, I found it to be no better than the Bessa's, so I cleaned off the surface on it too. It only takes a few minutes to make it look like new, however if your used to the feeling of the rubber coating, you may not like the feel of the plastic surface. I would have avoided all of this buy using a half case but then I would not be able to use the accessory hand grip.

So if anyone is looking for a lower priced Bessa, you might consider those with ugly door coatings that are otherwise in good condition.
Thanks for posting!

I haven't gone any further with this, but you have inspired me to get on it.

What I want to do is get ahold of the denatured alcohol or an equivalent, dissolve the rear coating and order a pre-cut leatherette covering. I found this site http://www.cameraleather.com/online_ordering.htm) that sells kits for many cameras, it says the following about the Bessas. "Some of these only have leather on the front, and some also have a small grip piece on the back." This discouraged me at first, but I noticed that the back of my Bessa T, which unlike the R is covered in leatherette, is exactly the same dimensions as the Bessa R. So potentially I could order a T kit and use it to cover the R back.

The issue is the grip. T and R have different grips. So my question is: when you removed the plastic coating was the grip moulded into the door or was it removable?

I also have to figure out what resembles "denatured alcohol" here in Norway.
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Old 01-04-2016   #15
Uglee
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Traveler 101,

The rear thumb grip is molded into the door of the R. For alcohol, anything strong enough to be sold in a hardware store and not found in the cosmetic section of a drug store should work. Denatured alcohol is a poisoned version invented by our government during prohibition to kill off anyone desperate enough to try to distill it. It works very well in removing light seals.
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Old 01-05-2016   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uglee View Post
Traveler 101,

The rear thumb grip is molded into the door of the R. For alcohol, anything strong enough to be sold in a hardware store and not found in the cosmetic section of a drug store should work. Denatured alcohol is a poisoned version invented by our government during prohibition to kill off anyone desperate enough to try to distill it. It works very well in removing light seals.
Thanks, uglee. I will have to try cutting my own piece of leatherette to fit the door then. By the way, Norway is no better about alcohol than we are/have been. Indeed it much worse these days. It is the only other western country to have had prohibition, and today isopropyl alcohol is priced as if it were drinkable alcohol. A small bottle is $15. This prevents people from getting a cheap drunk off it.

I suppose you removed the door before subjecting it to the denatured alcohol?
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Old 01-06-2016   #17
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My back is progressively ripping apart chunk by chunk. I think in the future when it gets really bad I will try and use spray on plasti dip on it or liquid electrical tape. It should mimic the rubber material and conform to the grip protrusion. Plus it's removable.


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Old 01-13-2016   #18
joe bosak
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Quote:
Originally Posted by traveler_101 View Post
I suppose you removed the door before subjecting it to the denatured alcohol?
I cleaned up my Bessa R rear door using isopropyl alcohol [from an aerosol can], there seemed no need to remove the door just be careful. It took quite a while and a lot of repetitive rubbing to dissolve the rubber.

I also rubbed the front over a few times - although the front doesn't seem to be coated in the same substance [I think], a good deal of stickiness from the back seemed to have been transferred there by the previous owner.
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Old 01-13-2016   #19
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Cosina made a lot of cameras on the same pattern, it seems. A lot of Cosina-made backs from other camera companies look to me as if the might work.
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Old 01-15-2016   #20
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I did not bother to remove the door when I removed the coating. I simply worked in one area at a time. The entire process took about 15 minutes for both the rear door and body. I really like the finish with out the tacky coating even though it is clearly plastic composite, it is of a high quality and does not look out of place.
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Old 01-16-2016   #21
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Thanks for the helpful comments. Seems best (when I tackle this project) to use denatured alcohol; it apparently works better (faster) than isopropyl alcohol.
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Old 01-16-2016   #22
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Cheap camera = garbage materials. You get what you pay for
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Old 01-16-2016   #23
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Cheap camera = garbage materials. You get what you pay for
How helpful and pleasant.
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Old 02-08-2016   #24
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Just tried with alcohol bought on the supermarket (65% denatured, 35% isopropyl), the one used on wounds, and works perfectly, leaves the door smooth and without any rubber residue.
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Old 05-01-2016   #25
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Most of the discussion on this thread suggest removing the rubber coating with denatured alcohol. I was prepared to go that route, but was somewhat reluctant since the rubber had not really deteriorated to the extent that some people had experienced. The main problems was fading of the black colour and "sweating" through the rubber.

What I have done thus far. I began with vinyl conditioner (e.g. Armour All, for use on vinyl in your car). I first used a cloth soaked in very hot water to 'open' the surface of the rubber; I let the cloth sit there a minute and then poured the vinyl conditioner onto the surface, letting it sink in and dry overnight, removing the excess with a dry cloth. After a couple of these treatments, I switched to car polish. I vigorously rubbed the self-cleaning car wax onto the plastic, let it dry and rubbed it off. Repeat. The problem SEEMS to have been resolved - the coating looks much better and there is no more "sweating". Whether it will last over time and especially with warm weather around the corner, is of course another question.
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Old 01-12-2017   #26
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Hey guys, I have the same problem that the back door became very sticky and I bought the methylated spirit in the supermarket (In Australia you can buy it from Coles or Woolworth). It works great and the camera just became like a new one!
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Old 01-12-2017   #27
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Good to have your report! Do you find the plastic surface less tactile than a rubberised surface?
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Old 01-12-2017   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by traveler_101 View Post
Good to have your report! Do you find the plastic surface less tactile than a rubberised surface?
Hi, traveler_101.
Yes, the plastic door feels a little bit more smooth than it was when coated with rubber. However, the feeling is not bad at all, since the plastic doesn't feel cheap. On the contrary, it gives you a solid feeling.
Of course, it depends personally, if your coat is still in a bearable condition, I won't recommend you doing this. However, if you are facing the same problem I had before (which was very sticky), then just remove the rubber!
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