How to Fix Battery Corrosion in Your Vintage Camera
When working with analog photography there is a lot of tricks to be know about how to deal with vintage cameras, and we are going to get a little nerdy today. Consider this your warning!
My sky high exitement from being handed a beautiful, old Konica was transformed into a state of desperation when I found out that the light meter didn't work. In a Konica the light meter also control the aperture and shutter speed, so it is completelly useless without a functioning light meter (unless you are super good with light and learn to work with the cameras default settings).
After a lot of research I learned that the mercury battery that controls the light meter has a tendency to leak battery acid when left in the camera for an extended period of time, and when I looked underneath the battery there was battery corrosion covering everything. I fixed it, and it took me around 3 minutes. The light meter workes perfectly with a new battery in it's corrosion free home.
I wanted to make this post, to demonstarte how easy it is to fix battery corrosion and help fix your vintage camera when you think it is broken. If you are buying old cameras at flea markets this is something that is good to know, because a camera that seems to be beyond redemption might just be fixed with this easy, little trick.
To remove battery corrosion in your camera you'll need
Distilled white vinegar
1: Remove the battery from the camera and discharge the battery safely
2: Mix equal parts of vinegar and water
3: Dip your q-tip in the mixture and make sure you get most of the excess liquid out, it should not be dripping wet
4: Use the q-tip to clean the places where you can see the corrosion
5: Dry the clean areas with a clean, dry q-tip and leave to dry completely before putting in a new battery
6: Fingers crossed the corrosion was causing the problem and happy you if it was!
7: Load your film, and you are ready to shoot!
It is super important to note that we are dealing with dry battery acid here. It will burn your skin, so please be careful. I did not wear gloves because the corrosion was not very severe in my camera. I'm being a very bad example, I know! If the corrosion is very bad you can use sand paper to get off the worst build up before going in with the q-tip.
The world of analog photography is really exiting. Both because you learn a lot about technique, precision and patience, but also because you really have to get to know your camera. How it works, which kind of film you prefer with each camera and in what situations it works best. All of these things take time, and I already made a few (one major) mistake with my new Konica camera.
It's fully automatic, which makes it perfect for late night, wine infused dinner parties because you don't have to worry about settings, but I didn't spend enough time on getting to know all the functions. So when I tried to rewind my first roll of film (after quite a few glasses of wine, cocktails and what not) I completelly ruined my film. It literally broke because I didn't know that I had to push down a tiny little button first and used force instead. Way too exited to wait!
If you have any questions about analog photography and requests for what you would like me to write about, please let me know.