Tag Archives: reskin

Prinz Mastermatic III

I have a feeling this camera was part of a job lot otherwise I have no idea where I got it. It is certainly not something I would have chosen. The skin of the camera dropped off the moment I picked it up. I decided to recover it even before I tested it with film. Looking it over everything seemed to work so I though why not and why not use a completely new-to-me type of skin.

Animals of Farthing Wood. I got a book from a charity shop and used the old skin as a template. The paper was a little stiff on the curves but once the varnish made the paper a little wetter it was easier to manipulate.

This camera from 1967 was cheap and cheerful at the time and still is. The selenium cell means you don’t even have to buy batteries. Even though it is partly metal, I thought it felt quite cheap. Before the new skin, I thought it looked it too but now it looks awesome. The photos of the cameras are enhanced by the lovely Nidderdale countryside where I took it to try it out. It seemed appropriate.

The meter’s needle indicator on this example was a bit hit and miss, I have a feeling there might be a loose wire inside, but I don’t feel like taking it apart to see. The meter gives a reading in EV mode. The camera can be set to operate in regular or EV mode. It is much easier to change the settings than on some other EV cameras I have tried. There is no rangefinder so you have to guess the distance or use zone focusing.

I have already promised the camera to someone who liked the look of it, so I wanted to try it very quickly. That meant I tried a new developing company. They offered a download link of the scans. Literally the next day from posting the films I received an email with the link, amazingly quick. I paid for the cheapest version of scans and that is what I got. Though it looks like the films I sent were developed very well, I am unimpressed with the scans. I am not going to name names, but I will stick to my regular C41 developer as they are cheaper when choosing a decent set of scans. Unless I am in a hurry again, but then I will try the more expensive scans to check the difference.

Ok that said, I put in a half used roll of XP2 that I was given. Here are the test shots.

Well, the light meter was accurate when it worked. But the focus and lens is “funky”, that is the only word I can think of. I kind of like it, but it is funky with a definite drop off. Focusing at close range was tricky and I would recommend sticking with infinity-ish.

I tried processing some of these shots with the Snapseed App on my phone. I love the results.

Today I sold three cameras including this one, I sort of regret it but I always do and I can’t use all the cameras I have so in the end it is a good thing…keep saying it out loud, selling your cameras is a good thing.

Unusual Skin

I recently saw a camera with an usual skin. As I left all my Japanese print material in Japan I thought I would try some different approaches.


I still need to add a light coat of clear varnish, but I like it. I am going to do another one tomorrow. Plus I have a camera coming in the post that I got very cheaply due to the rotted skin. I might look around for other ideas…magazine cuttings maybe??

or maps!

Not a bad way to spend time when you have a cold.

Olympus Pen EE2

I actually had 3 attempts to buy this camera. The first was utterly broken and I took it apart because it was only a couple of dollars. The second was bought on eBay and the red flag didn’t work so I sent it back for a refund. So then I contacted an eBay seller I have used before to see if he had one in stock. He did, but to be honest charged me a little too much. Ah well.

So when it arrived I decide to reskin it. I think it looks lovely. I have way too much of this material, but I think it makes my cameras look ‘mine’.


This website has so much more information and has a great review of the same camera. My favourite part about this camera that there is no need for batteries if the selenium cell works and this one did. It was produced from 1969-77 and is a half frame camera. It is a straight point and shoot, no zoning. There are two shutter speeds only 1/200th and 1/40th. If you choose a manual aperture you only get the latter and that means you need a REALLY steady hand. This website has more details on using that as a chosen effect for this camera. The minimum focal distance is 1.5m which is a little long and caught me out a few times.

Here is my test roll.


Of course as a half-frame camera you get twice as many photos than usual. As you can see it worked. As I specifically bought this camera there is no keep or sell. It is all mine 🙂

As an interesting note I usually use Kodak d-76 developing fluid, but I had run out. So for this roll I used fuji super prodol SPD which is half the price here. Use the iPhone app Film Developer Pro to work out processing times  as you can change choices such as temperature and it will adjust the time for you. I then put the times in the app Develop! for an actual processing timer. The first app does have a timer, but I prefer the second app for that. The problem I had with this film was that all my saved recipes are for D-76 and the database for SPD is very small. The SPD is also a speedy process, much quicker than D-76. That meant I could not just copy the times. The film I used was a lomography one, which is T-Max 100 in disguise. It was not in the database for SPD. SOOOOO I used the details for fuji acros 100 which was in the database for both developers and did some math. I figured that if I multiplied the d-76 time by 0.6 then I could get a rough developing time for the SPD. As you can see it worked. Yeah for math.

Keep or Sell: I kept if for a long time as I liked the skin I put on it, but at the end of the day it is a half frame, which is not my favourite. Sold and I managed to get my money back.



Olympus PEN EF

This camera was in a right state when I found it. The seals had disintegrated, the batteries had been left in the compartment and leaked so badly I struggled to get them out. I spent ages cleaning out the compartment with vinegar and other things, but nothing I did would make the flash work again. Even the skin was in an awful state. So after trying to fix the flash I got to work on the skin and seals.

After all that, it didn’t look too bad. This was the last half frame camera Olympus released, in 1981. You can read more than I care to write at this great website. It is a real point and shoot. No zoning. There is a red flag that pops up and stops the shutter in low and high light situations and this one’s seemed to work as expected.

Now clean and tidy..did it work. I was expecting the shutter blades to be jammed or the speeds to be off. Here is the film I shot.

It worked great. I scanned the photos a bit dark, but other than that they are sharp and generally well exposed.

So, keep or sell? I can’t bring myself to keep something that doesn’t quite work. Every time I use it I will hear a little voice going, “The flash doesn’t work, the flash doesn’t work”. I put it on eBay and noticed all the other EFs listed say the flash doesn’t work either. I think I will stick to my PEN EE2, which apparently I have not tested yet as it is not on this blog….too many cameras alert!

Oh and here is another person who likes Olympus too.

Canon Demi EE28

This is another one of the cameras I got at the camera fair. I mainly bought it so I could practice reskinning it. As the camera is from 1967 I decided on a rather tacky animal print cover. I also changed the light seals as the originals had completely disintegrated. As you can see I did a very messy job. I guess I knew I would not be keeping it and didn’t really care about it as I have a camera from the Olympus Pen EE series. That being said it is a lovely camera with a nice weight and feel to it. If I didn’t already have a nice one like this I would happily kept it.

As this camera has a selenium photocell it does not need batteries. I didn’t test it with a flash as my test run with it was outside, but it does have a hotshoe on the top. It looks and acts a lot like the Olympus Pen ee series, like those camera this is a half frame. One difference is that instead of a red flag that pops up to stop under or over exposure this camera has a scale in the viewfinder. It has a red section on the top and bottom, mine often still fires if the needle is in those sections, but it serves as a good warning. The other zones are for the speeds 1/30th, 1/60th, 1/125th, 1/300th. There is also an aperture ring, but I kept it on auto

As I had some processing issues lately I decided to use a black and white and process it myself later. It took a while to finish the film as the 36 exposures were turned into 72 by the half frame aspect.

I tried taking shots in a few conditions, such as shooting into the sun. None of the shots were underexposed, but a few were over. One or two were so over exposed that I could not even scan them. For cameras like this the hardest thing to remember is to change the zoned focusing ring because nothing changes through the viewfinder. For the most part I did remember for this camera, mainly because of the scale on the back. I found that really useful.

So here are my test shots. I took them around my home, Tokyo, and Yokohama.

When I scanned the negatives it gave the shots a sepia type hue, I liked it so kept it. You can see that for the most part the exposure is spot on and they are as sharp as a button..since when are buttons sharp??

My final verdict, I recommend this camera if you can find one.

Reskin my Cameras

I have been laid up at home with influenza this week. Isolated. I couldn’t go out and basically slept all week. I have one more day of isolation left. As I couldn’t go out to take pictures and my house is too covered in tissues to take pictures inside I decided to try my hand at reskinning a couple of my cameras instead.

Maybe not the wises move when you are coughing and sleepy, but what the heck.

I had ordered some glue and leather from a shop on eBay. Hobby Nexus. They post detailed instructions online and I thought, well, the cameras only cost me $5 so what am I losing.

First I tried the other Olympus 35DC I had. Removing the old skin was easy. I forgot to take photos before I did it. So here is the one I posted about before.

And here is the reskinned one, this one has the timer switch.

I really like it. I didn’t go for a wild colour, so I think it looks smart. I hadn’t tested the camera at this point so didn’t know if it worked, but as I had run out of food I donned a mask and walked to the local combini….which was a mistake as I then slept for the next 4 hours.

It works and it looks pretty. My next reskin was on an Olympus Pen EE2.

The first picture is the original. I haven’t had the film developed yet so I don’t know if it works, that will be another post. I doesn’t look as neat, but I still like it.