|Are the covering kits pre-cut to fit my particular camera, or do I need to cut them to shape myself?|
|All kits are pre-cut to fit your
exact camera type and version. No cutting is
|What type of
glue should I use to apply the new covering?
|No glue is needed. All our
kits are self-adhesive with an exceptionally strong
synthetic film on the back of every piece. The use of additional glue
can only weaken the adhesion of your new covering.
|How are the
kits made, and how do they differ from the original
|All cameraleather kits are made by
us. We don't sell factory original or "new-old-stock"
covers, although some of our kits are intended to
closely match the originals. We use exact steel
rule dies and/or templates to produce replacement covers
from various materials . . . everything from plain black
leatherette to many different colors and types of fine
leather. Our kits cover all parts (and only those parts)
of your camera or accessory originally covered at the
Some of our kits are cut slightly different than factory covers. These differences are generally not visible, and are incorporated into our designs to prevent the camera owner from having to remove a part that should be left alone. The most common example is the larger hole we cut for each foot on a 6X6 TLR, which is riveted in place and should never be pulled out!
|Are all the kits shown in stock and ready to ship?|
kits are cut to order. Cameraleather.com
is NOT an
e-commerce site or an e-Store! Most of the things
you (and I ) order online are "pulled from stock" and
shipped the same day. When you order from us, you are
commissioning a custom
piece made just for your camera. So when
we get asked a question like "is the Cobalt Kid skin in
stock for the Canon P rangefinder?", the answer is nothing is in stock!
Commonly ordered kits, like Contax/Yashica
or Konica, in basic black will ship quicker than exotic
leather kits, or more complex kits such as for Leica M
or TLR's. For more common
cameras it takes from 3 to 10 working days to produce your kit before
we can ship it, and more complex kits such as Leica or
larger formats can take longer. Medium/large format kits
in exotic or special order leathers can take more than
30 days to produce. As a general rule, leather
takes longer than synthetic, and larger/complex
takes longer than smaller/simple. We try
to accommodate special needs, so if you really need your
kit for a vacation or gift, let us know and we'll try to
|Can I order a leather kit that isn't shown on my camera?|
|Generally, you can cover your camera
materials you see on the site. For example, if you see a
nice color in the Olympus section, you can have that
leather cut for your Leica, Pentax, or any other
supported camera. There are some
exceptions, such as lizard skins, which may be too small
to cover larger sections on Leica thread and similar
cameras. We regret buyers
outside the U.S. can't purchase any of our lizard or
snake sets, due to U.S. restrictions
on the export of any wild animal products. To see the
full palette of coverings, you should browse the color chart.
|I am not a camera repair technician. Can I re-cover my camera myself?|
|Yes. The kits are engineered to be
applied by just about anyone with basic hobby skills. If
you don't feel up to the job, we can install any cover
on any camera you send in. Ask for details. You will
find our support
pages helpful, and they are a must-read before you
apply your new covering.
|Do I have to remove the old cover?|
|Yes! The new cover will not stick or fit properly if applied over an old covering, even if the original is in good condition. In fact, you'll spend more time removing the old cover and cleaning up the camera than you will putting on the new cover. The ease of stripping the old cover varies, but in general the older the cover, the more effort needed to remove it. Most cameras made since the mid-70's can be stripped off quickly; almost as if you were removing tape. Contax and Yashica SLR owners often are able to peel off the outer black film, and assume that the new cover will go nicely over the "grey felt" underneath. Well, the felt has to go . . . the new covering can only go over bare, clean metal! The factory vulcanite on Leicas can take some effort to remove, with the M4 and M5 cameras putting up the most resistance.|
|Do I have to
completely clean off any remaining residue?
|The camera body should be as clean as
you can get it, but that doesn't mean you need to remove
every last bit of old adhesive. A stubborn, hard or
sticky residue will not affect the bond of the new kit,
but anything that is greasy or can be smeared, almost
certainly will. Keep in mind that any residue that you
can feel with your finger may show up as a bump or
dimple once the new cover is applied. It's best to
remove it first.
We get many inquiries on the best way to remove adhesive residue. The best advice is to get as much of it off by mechanical means before chemical means. So scrape off all, or as much of it as you can, before using a solvent. Then use a piece of cotton rag, dampened sparingly with some solvent, to clean up. Never pour solvent directly on the camera! We suggest that if you use one of the newer citrus-based solvents (such as "Goo-Gone") that you still give a final wipe-down with a traditional solvent such as denatured alcohol or lighter fluid. The citrus solvents leave a greasy film that can impair adhesion of the new cover.
|Do I have to dis-assemble anything on the camera?|
|Generally, no. The procedure is cosmetic only. There are a few exceptions . . . on Twin Lens Reflex Cameras you have to remove the door and strap brackets. Some photographers needlessly fiddle with self-timer or preview levers. Most kits are applied without removing these appendages, using the over/under method shown in Fig. 1 at the Leica help page. It's also unnecessary to mess with film memo slots on camera backs, which should never be removed. The new cover always goes around the slot, never under it--even if the original does. The only supported cameras that present the owner with self-timer issues are the Olympus OM-1and OM-2. The procedure is covered fully here.|
|What's the most important thing to remember about applying my new cover?|
|Pay more attention to your own safety than
your camera. Most injuries occur when you aren't
expecting them. Never use a sharp tool pointing towards
any part of your body. Always wear approved eye
protection. Be smart and don't take chances.
|How are the covers packaged and sent?|
|Take a look. . .|
All the kits, like the YashicaMat snake skin at left, are sent on a carrier sheet, and wrapped in a paper liner. The new cover sections stick lightly to the carrier sheet.
Each section can be lifted easily and placed on the camera. The carrier sheets are now made from a clear non-stick plastic instead of the white paper shown.
The carrier sheets are useful in applying your kit, and you can see why on the support page.
All the kits are self-adhering. No glue is required. The face is bonded to a sticky adhesive layer on the back. The adhesive will stick aggressively, but it can be removed and repositioned as necessary until precisely set, by using the "wet method." What's the wet method? Find the answer to this and other questions at the support page.
|Can I send my camera in for the work?|
|Yes. We offer
a removal/cleaning/install service. The service charge
is from $25 to $80 depending on the camera. More than
half our service work is recovering
Leicas. Please inquire by email to arrange for