Repainting an iconic 1980s film camera is a lot of work

Jun 21, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Repainting an iconic 1980s film camera is a lot of work

Jun 21, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Painting your camera is nothing new. We saw it back in 2010 when Kai Wong, then of DigitalRev TV, painted his Nikon D90 hot pink. And more recently, we saw a more careful approach from Caleb Pike at DSLR Video Shooter. Caleb’s approach certainly looked more impressive than Kai’s. At least Caleb’s camera still worked at the end of it.

Both of those, however, pale compared to the tedious detail put into this particular paint job by Patrick Nichols. He took apart a Minolta X-700 35mm SLR down to its core components to be able to redecorate his camera. He even removed individual springs, cogs and clips to be able to put paint exactly where he needed it and nowhere else.

Patrick already owned one Minolta X-700, which he chose not to modify as it works and still looks to be in good condition. He ventured into the land of eBay to find another X-700 on which he could perform his painting experiments. He intentionally looked for one that already had a particularly bad appearance. In fact, the camera wasn’t even working when it arrived with Patrick. He managed to solve that issue pretty quickly.

The rest of it took much longer. Patrick’s 28-and-a-half-minute-long video goes into excruciating depth into some parts of the camera. But it goes into detail because it needs to. While the mechanisms required to take other cameras apart and reassemble them might differ slightly, Patrick’s thought process offers some valuable insight if you want to try dismantling a camera yourself. It lets you understand the mindset of how to try and safely dismantle gear without killing it.

And, as always, take lots of photos during the dismantling process to remember what hooked up where and what stacked on top of what!

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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