Compiled & written by Andrew Nemeth, Australia
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Site last updated:  Sun, 01 Oct 2023

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How do I touch up the painted numbers on lens barrels?


The easiest way is to buy the "Lacquer-Stik Paintstick Kit" online from Micro-Tools via their paint page (look for part # "LS-KIT").

These crayon-sized sticks rub onto the engraved lens numbers, leaving a deposit of paint which will harden inside the grooves.

Application technique

  1. Get lots of rags or disposable tissue paper ready for wiping away excess paint.
  2. Apply masking tape to your lens such that you tape off "spill" areas where you don't want paint to go.
  3. With a pen-knife, cut a fresh surface onto the end of the paint-stick, removing the dried paint skin and exposing fresh, "greasy" paint underneath.
  4. Rub the paint-stick over the engraved numbers, taking care to fill the grooves with paint.
  5. Remove the "spill" masking tape.
  6. Carefully scrape excess paint away using a blunt straight-edged metal or plastic spatula. Don't wipe this paint away with a cloth, but use a spatula as you can accidentally wipe the paint out of the engravings if you use a cloth or tissues.
  7. Scrape away as much excess paint as you can, regularly cleaning your spatula between every scrape. There is no need to rush with this step as the paint takes a (very) long time to dry.
  8. If you make a mistake, don't worry. Just wipe all the paint off with a rag and start again.
  9. When you can't scrape off any more paint, set aside the lens for twenty-four (24) hours to alow the paint to dry properly. Yes, you need to wait the whole 24 hours as the paint-stick paint dries v.slowly!
  10. After the 24 hours is up, rub off any remaining excess paint using your clean, dry fingers. Finish up with a soft clean rag.

If this all sounds like a lot of bother, you're right - it is :?) The good news however is that the paint finish will match very closely that of a brand new lens.

Retouching the black barrel finish

I cover brass and aluminium black paint options at the end of the brass vs. chrome topic elsewhere in the FAQ.

A note about possible broken links

This FAQ has over 900 external links. Over time it is inevitable some of them will break. If you are bothered by this, see this detailed topic elsewhere in the FAQ.

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