I'm using an old Canon New F-1 body. Its finish is completely black, but along the edges the paint has worn away. Is there a viable way to touch up the camera and get the nice black surface back again?

A lot of people seem to use marker pens to paint the cameras black again, but I don't know what the result will be. I'm searching for a method that yields quality results, but if there are none (not involving a huge investment) I guess it's better to leave it as is.

  • I've heard of people using lead-based touch-up pens designed for firearms, depending on what country you live in they could be easy or difficult to get hold of...
    – Matt Grum
    Oct 20, 2014 at 11:05
  • 1
    I'd leave it as it is. I have a feeling that "quality" and "not involving a huge investment" are incompatible.
    – JenSCDC
    Oct 22, 2014 at 21:10

6 Answers 6


That wear on the camera edges is called "brassing", and it's usually considered to be a badge of honour for a camera. It means the camera has led a productive life of being used, which is exactly what it was designed to do.

Although you've asked how to fix it, I'll offer you an alternative: leave it as it is. It doesn't affect camera function, and in the eyes of many (including me), cameras actually look good with some brassing.

I don't know of any easy permanent way to repair the damage, if you end up not subscribing to my opinion. The metal can be repainted, but to do so durably isn't an easy matter. Felt marker and the like will not have a terribly long life and the brassing will be visible before long.

Avoid dropping your camera and knocking it into things (these can cause functional damage), but edge wear like brassing is harmless.

  • As you say: leave it. Brassed Leicas get sold at auction, and Leica have made pre-brassed cameras which rich people buy so they can pretend they are photojournalists. Brassing is, as you say, a badge of honour.
    – user82065
    Jul 13, 2019 at 14:18

I collect old cameras and have used various cheap methods to cover up scuffs and fill in small dings.

These have ranged from Simple Markers as suggested by yourself to using car touch up paint. Several coats of that stuff often fills in very well and gives a good finish.

Another way that I have used, and quite possibly the best results, was Epoxy Based Paints. They can bring your camera back near to its full glory. Check out brownells.com and look for Aluma-Hyde. Its a very good product and gives really good results

Hope this helps

  • If you are not able to purchase Aluma-Hyde in Sweden, then try using black floor paint. This should also be an epoxy resin based paint. A small drop will mould itself to its surroundings and work as a filler. It will be better than a marker. Oct 20, 2014 at 15:55

I have restored 2 Nikon F5 film and 1 Nikon D3 digital cameras using the following materials:

I discovered this method while restoring a second hand Nikon D3 camera and have since mastered the technique while restoring 2 of my 3 Nikon F5 film cameras. I am currently restoring my third Nikon F5 camera.

I have to apply Cerakote Gun Black ceramic paint into the scratched part of the camera using small cotton tips, let it dry until I see that the newly applied paint when dried is of the same height as the original camera paint, meaning the applied paint is not noticeable and does not look like a blob of paint covering the scratched part. I used cotton Q tips to apply the Cerakote Gun Black paint in small quantities until the applied paint entirely cover the scratched part without looking like a blob. I have to re-apply Cerakote paint using Q Tips in several repeated applications until the applied paint is not noticeable.

On close inspection, one can still notice the applied paint. By some luck, I decided to use the white nylon wiping cloth from Dr. Color Chips Car Body repair kit by swiping it with black Cerakote paint and applied/swiped it to the Nikon D3 that I want to hide the paint job that I performed on the scratched surface. I was surprised at the result on my Nikon D3 when I swiped the white nylon wiping cloth with black Cerakote paint to the Nikon D3 part which I just made the repair. The repair is no longer noticeable after the Cerakote gun paint has dried. Even when still not dried, I can already see that the wet paint is now consistent in finish, meaning the repaired paint can no longer be detected as the wiped paint blended the old body paint and the new paint repair.

The fully cured Cerakote black ceramic paint does not fade in time, it totally replaces the scratched part of the camera and cannot be detected. One needs to be very patient to successfully repair/restore a film camera to look as if it came out of the factory.


I simply remove the dust from the equipment and then use a couple of applications of a black permanent marker and covering it with ArmorAll protectant (sprayed on a soft cloth) over the entire camera and/or battery grip. You'll never notice the scuffs or brassing and the protectant leaves a pleasing appearance. It's an easy thing to do, you aren't going to see it, and looks better than paint that won't match. Test it on a TV or audio equipment remote control to see for yourself.


I just used some cheap black nail varnish to touch up a couple of spots on a Kowa super 66 The results were amazing...I can't even find now exactly where I repaired the paint!

  • Could you eventually post a picture of the repainted camera? And some link to, or the name of the cheap black nail varnish? That would be helpful for both the person asking the question and other people running into the same problem.
    – Dragos
    Jan 3, 2016 at 14:24

I have a 5D MarkIII that has the same issue. I'm not sure if it's how I hold the camera of the way I wear it cross body that causes it to rub against my pants when I'm hiking; likely a combination of both. I looked at using marker, auto paint, epoxy and even pool paint to hide the brassing. Ultimately, I simply left it as is. The camera functionality is perfect, and it shows that the camera has lived a full life. I don't think you'll find a perfect, permanent solution, and I doubt anyone would really about anything more than the photos it takes.

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