Quantcast How best to remove residue from camera body? - digitalFAQ Forum
04-02-2018, 01:55 PM
dyfan dyfan is offline
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A while back, I bought a second hand DSLR camera. It arrived with that same goo often found near the shutter from the grip decaying. Can anyone advise how best to decontaminate this poor piece of equipment? Don't laugh...
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04-23-2018, 01:18 AM
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I won't laugh because it's not funny.

It happens because of a perfect combination of elementsL
- Nikon really cheaped out on some models of cameras, in terms of the "rubbers" (actually rubberized plastics) used for grips and body. But the same is true of almost every consumer body/lens from every manufacturer. The 2000s bodies are most common to break down, not 90s or before. We'll see in the 2020s if the 2010s were any better.
- Humidity
- Off-gasing from the camera rubber in a sealed(ish) container/bag.
- Possibly handling it with sweaty hands, sunblock-coated hands, or insect repellent-coated hands in the past, without cleaning it off immediately, instead letting it soak into plastic/rubber.

I ran into this exact issue with a Nikon N80 film camera. It wasn't mine, but a family member. She'd not used it in years, and it was in storage, in a zipped camera bag, in a closet cupboard, in a moister part of the state (where I also now reside). And she very likely used it while sweaty and slathered in sunblock/repellent.

Her entire N80 body was gooey black sticky.
Same for a Sigma lens.
But her Tamron lens (now mine) was essentially flawless.

The only real solutions are to:
1. Replace the rubbers, which may not be an option (due to cost or availability, or both).
2. Clean it.

Cleaning is not fun.

- You cannot use acetone.
- You can use Goo Gone, but it leaves a oily reside that then needs to be cleaned (with alcohol).
- But alcohol seems to work best, but not perfectly.

You cannot use Q-tips or paper towels, as it just sticks to the surface. So you'll be wasting some rags. After cleaning, these will not be salvageable, even washed in Clorox. So again, wasting some rags. Old undershirts work quite well, as those tends to be lint-free, almost like microfiber.

You'll be able to clean the accessible parts of the grip without much effort. Just rub and wipe, the rag generous soaked in alcohol. When it gets dirty, which will be almost instantly, get another and repeat.

The tough part will be the hard-to-reach area, edges, and nooks. You'll need non-cotton swabs, foam like is used for VCR heads. You'll waste a ton of these, probably a 100-counut bag full (about $5 on Amazon). This will be time consuming, so be sure to put on a TV show (from a DVD, no irritating commercials) that only need be listen to. Because, trust me, this will be irritating!

All of the "design" of the rubber will come off, and will be smooth. It will be a slick plastic when done. Whatever "rubber" was on here will be gone. Unlike the pro Nikon/Canon bodies, it's not pure rubber. So realize whatever "grip" you had is now gone.

WARNING: Be careful with the Nikon writings on the non-rubberized plastic. Don't clean that! It will disappear if you do! You must clean only the grips.

Once this is "cleaned" (all rubberized surface removed), it should never happen again. But, just to be safe, remember to not 100% seal the bag or container, and add some absorbent materials inside (cardboard, cotton cloth). Always clean it immediately from sweat, sunblock, bug spray. Not much can be done about humidity, aside from not keeping it in a garage or attic. Most the off-gasing has probably abated or ended by now.

That N80 still isn't perfect. If it were used at all, I'd give it more attention. Those edges are PITA.

The Sigma lens cleaned up well, but all writing is now gone. That sort of sucks. It's a push/pull zoom, and is still sticky inside and on the edge. So it doesn't push/pull well at all. Sigma is already pretty worthless as a lens, especially the variable aperture consumer jobs, but this one is doubly worthless. Total POS now. I only keep it as a prop.

So, again, not funny. This situation sucks.

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04-23-2018, 01:23 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is online now
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This happens not just with cameras, but anything.

Just this past week, I threw away a 3rd-party Wiimote (Wii controller). The black rubberized grip had started to break down, and it wasn't even 3 years old. It wasn't worth the time and costs of cleaning, and I can just as easily buy another from eBay (from China) for a few bucks.

The humidity of this area surely accelerated the problem, but it was also clearly inferior materials.

I'm having a similar problem with my 80s Thundercats figures. It's the plastic breaking down, and is a known problem. Thankfully, it can be cleaned with soap and water (and a tooth brush). That's a task for later this year.

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04-23-2018, 09:53 AM
rvcxyz rvcxyz is offline
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Make a paste with baking soda and water use your fingers and work it over the affected area until the goo is dissolved. Clean up with a damp rag and your done. I have used this method at least a half a dozen times, it’s the fastest and cleanest way. The baking soda causes a chemical reaction that dissolves the goo.

Last edited by rvcxyz; 04-23-2018 at 10:15 AM.
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01-13-2019, 11:23 AM
ELinder ELinder is offline
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Every once in a while I use a little 303 Aerospace Protectant on my Nikon lenses and bodies.

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