The Finish Is Not Always At the End

The Finish Is Not Always At the End

Particularly if it is one of the newer finishes. The camera shop these days is becoming somewhat of a prospecting ground for surface treatments – and the student of painting ( spray or powder coat ) or plating ( nickle, chrome, or armour ) will have a lot to see.

The day of the wooden camera covered in Morocco leather has nearly finished. You can probably go to London and place an order for a bespoke 5″ x 4″ or 8″ x 10″ field camera and pay for it to be leather wrapped, but I’d phone it in a few years beforehand. Likewise the art deco camera with the speed lines is just the business of artists or collectors, more’s the pity.

Now we have a basic choice of black plastic, black paint, black chrome or black Duratect to go with a variety of faux or real leathers and vulcanites. Sometimes the black isn’t all that dark, and we start to see vague shades of bronze or brown gleaming through. It is kindly to regard these variations as elegant and deliberate, but sometimes you have your suspicions.

If it’s a lighter shade you want, you can have real matt chrome on metal or plastic/metal and then all forms of chromish finish up to the warmer golds and bronzes. Some camera makers seem to have a disagreement going on in their design bureaux that deal with bodies and lenses and never quite get the silver effect to match between them. If it was a mistake to start with, some seem to have perpetuated it so as not to have fresh stock show up the old equipment. It’s hard to know if there have been sales lost with wildly disparate finishes on new gear.

The designer flights that add colours to camera bodies with printed or engraved details and signatures are an entirely different division of the trade. They appeal to a different part of the clientele and rarely are seen as working devices. I suspect many of them go directly from dealer’s shelf to collector’s shelf without firing a shot. Or they are, like canned gefilte fish, objects of trade rather than consumption.

Note: The introduction of the Duratect finish on the Fujifilm cameras is very interesting indeed – does it herald a new period of thinking on the part of camera makers about external covering? The last eye-catcher in external finishing that looked as if it was going to be very tough and long wearing was the ” sintered ” finish that we see on some Sony cameras. Are we due for a lift in durability from everyone?

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