'Blackout' techniques (or, 'hiding your brand').

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Johbremat, Dec 30, 2013.

  1. Johbremat

    Johbremat Mu-43 Regular

    130
    Dec 5, 2013
    Much-maligned topic? Don't know. But hoping to score some methods rather than debating the joint.

    Beyond taping, any success in blacking out white text? I'm thinking the likes of the E-M1 and E-P5.

    Also, wondering about taking the print off the the front off the VF-4 and FL-600R.
     
  2. Johbremat

    Johbremat Mu-43 Regular

    130
    Dec 5, 2013
    And while I think of it, something like Aki-Asahi's leatherette kits for the Lumix range (where the logo is NOT cutout) would be well wicked.
     
  3. broody

    broody Mu-43 Veteran

    388
    Sep 8, 2013
    A black marker would wok well. I suggest you don't paint over it, as it may send your resale value tumbling down.
     
  4. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    Anything you do that isn't completely reversed at the time of sale will hurt your resale value by some amount. I did actually buy a used G3 with blacked out letters once because it was a good deal, but generally speaking people buying used are looking for "like new".

    If I were going to do this I think I'd just use something like gaff tape since it's easily reversible and effective.

    If you're dead set on blacking out the logos, I'd probably avoid painting over it. It's notoriously hard to match black paint or markers (the reflective qualities and color mix of black is always different), so you're likely to get better results removing the existing white paint. It's been done before with a toothpick IIRC, or you could almost certainly do it with high grit abrasive papers also.

    This thread might be of interest:

    https://www.mu-43.com/showthread.php?t=37117
     
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  5. JamieW

    JamieW Mu-43 Veteran

    260
    Oct 25, 2013
    I'm not trying to debate anything. I'm just curious why people do this. I've seen several posts on it but I don't understand the logic behind it.

    Do the people that do this also black out the logos on their lens / hood, tripod, filters, camera bag, clothing, vehicles, water bottle, laptop, phone, etc? Or is it just the camera? If I see a guy holding a camera, I think... photographer. The name / logo on the camera changes nothing. If I see a guy holding a camera without a logo on I think... that's weird. Why did he do that?

    If I decided to hide the branding on my camera for whatever reason, I'd probably just use gaffer's tape. I doubt I'd do anything that would permanently modify the camera, but if I did, I'd probably go one step farther and replace the logo with my own using a sticker. Come to think of it, I might have to do that.

    WILBURN OM-G
     
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  6. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    The only rationale I can think of is if someone is being paid to represent a competing brand, but still wants to use a particular camera and/or lens from someone that's not sponsoring them. I remember that John McEnroe once had a Wilson racquet that was painted to look like a Dunlop Maxply, because he was switching sponsors, but the new deal didn't take affect and the old deal didn't expire for a couple of months - thus the camouflaged racquet for that intermediate period of time.

    Any other reason is really just silly.
     
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  7. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    JamieW, I used to agree with you completely. Then one day, out of boredom I suppose, I put some gaffer tape over my E-M5 logos and really liked the result. Looks cleaner/less distracting to me. Not a big deal, but I prefer it blacked out. My Nikon V1 got the same treatment.

    Having said that, I wouldn't do anything to permanently alter my cameras. I wouldn't want to hurt re-sale value, or make any permanent decisions that I can't undo if I decide later I prefer it back to normal look.
     
  8. JamieW

    JamieW Mu-43 Veteran

    260
    Oct 25, 2013
    I get that. NASCAR is sponsored by Lincoln Electric, but many of the crew members prefer welding on Miller gear. There's more than one shop with red Miller welders out there. :)

    That makes sense too.

    Now I know. Thanks for the replies. :)
     
  9. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    I was curious and read up on this a bit and there's several reasons I've seen for why people do it:

    1) To make the camera less attractive to thieves. A camera is a theft target no matter what, but many people assume it's much more of a lure for theft to see a big camera with shiny logos. I will say it does seem likely a new or like new piece of electronics will bring better/easier resale, but I remain skeptical on how much of a difference this makes.

    2) To make the logos less distracting to photo subjects, whether it's paid models or street shooting where people want to be less conspicuous.

    3) They don't like being "free advertising" for a company's brand.

    4) Avoiding people asking about, staring at, or drooling over their gear. And/or to avoid the "wow that's a great camera" conversations when they'd rather be shooting.

    I've not done it myself, and I'm not one to care much about logos etc. but never say never, I guess :tongue:
     
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  10. mister_roboto

    mister_roboto Mu-43 Top Veteran

    637
    Jun 14, 2011
    Seattle, WA, USA
    Dennis
    Yup, was about to post those reason too.

    I have a Silver E-M5, and never get any sort of flack when whipping out the camera in public, I think mainly because of its size and that it resembles an old SLR on first glance. I've always found if people think you have an old manual focus film camera, they won't care- but a giant black DSLR can make the occasional random person in public flip out. Also the quiet E-M5 shutter tends to keep things stealthy.
     
  11. JamieW

    JamieW Mu-43 Veteran

    260
    Oct 25, 2013
    Here are my thoughts on each of the above.

    1) I've been told I look like a pretty menacing guy. If I'm walking around with an E-M1 around my neck without gaffer's tape, and you're a few feet away with your own E-M1 with the logos blacked out, but you're 5' 5" and 130 lbs wet, who do you think the thief is going to steal from? Similarly, if I'm wearing a backpack that doesn't provide easy access to the camera while it's on my back, and you're wearing a single strap sling over the shoulder, same deal. It all comes down to who's the low hanging fruit.

    I would assume that being a thief is a number's game. They're not going to retire on one camera theft, they're going to steal everything they can get away with. The more they steal, the more money they get. It's unlikely they're going to do a Google search to see which victim has the most expensive camera and give up when getting thwarted by gaffer's tape. I think anyone thinking that gaffer's tape is going to make them less of a target to a thief is over-thinking things, and there's simply no way to measure this.

    2A) I do portrait photography, and I can safely say I've never noticed any subject getting distracted by the logos on my camera. If you're dealing with paid models, and they're getting mesmerized by a logo on your camera, fire them.

    2B) If you're standing on the street with a camera in your hand looking through the viewfinder, gaffer's tape over a logo isn't going to make you any less conspicuous. Maybe if you had some kind of Harry Potter invisibility cloak, but everyone's pretty familiar what a person taking a photo looks like, and hiding the logo isn't going to make you blend. If this is your goal, shoot at waist level with the articulated LCD, or even go one step further and get a GX7 and turn on on silent mode.

    3) I don't get the free advertising thing. Sorry. No one's going to see some random stranger on the street with a (insert camera here) and rush right out and buy one. There are only so many camera brands out there, and even if you're a celebrity reaching a wide audience through some kind of public televised event, the chances of you making any kind of measurable impact on the photography market is minuscule at best. If you believe simply by showing up in a public place with a camera that has visible logos should entitle you to some kind of royalties, it's probably time for a reality check.

    4) About the same as 2B), covering up the logos doesn't disguise the camera. It's still just as visible. If anything it's more likely to cause people like me to stop someone and ask why they covered up the logos. :)

    And let's be honest here, we're shooting on an Olympus. MOST people seeing you shooting in public with an Olympus are going to write you off as an amateur anyhow. They're not going to think "WOW, Great camera." because if they're photographers they already know we're shooting with tiny sensored cameras therefore must not know what we're doing. :biggrin:
     
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  12. lightmonkey

    lightmonkey Mu-43 Veteran

    480
    Dec 22, 2013
    do it on all my cameras. tape it out if painted on, or filled in with nail polish if its chased into the shell.
    i prefer the cleaner stealthy looks.
     
  13. Lindsay D

    Lindsay D Mu-43 Veteran

    242
    Jan 2, 2013
    West Sussex, England
    Lindsay
    I've known people black out Panasonic, Sony and Fuji because those brands are more associated with gadgets rather than cameras.
     
  14. cherrywood

    cherrywood Mu-43 Regular

    120
    Dec 17, 2010
    Ohio
    One of the best and reversible methods is a simple Black Grease pencil. like grocery store pencils, or black wax sticks, rub the material into the logo, wipe off excess,then when you are ready to resell your camera take some mineral spirits and wipe the grease pencil material out of your logo's.
    Dennis.
     
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  15. lightmonkey

    lightmonkey Mu-43 Veteran

    480
    Dec 22, 2013
    people also debadge for aesthetics. i do it on custom bicycles; porsche has debadge options as factory orders, etc. its just a preference
     
  16. bigal1000

    bigal1000 Mu-43 Veteran

    337
    Sep 10, 2010
    New Hampshire
    Ditto!!! I don't see the point,I guess it gives these folks something to do.
     
  17. JamieW

    JamieW Mu-43 Veteran

    260
    Oct 25, 2013
    I get the aesthetics argument. We're visual creatures. If someone likes the way their gear looks without logos on it, why not. It's their gear. To me, although it's not my preference, this is probably the best argument for it other than the sponsorship thing doug suggested which I imagine is probably a very small demographic.

    I'm not sure I'm entirely on board with the free advertising, thieves, etc. but different strokes and all that. I'm not judging. I was just curious.
     
  18. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    Update: Olympus has seen my photos and they are now paying me to black out the brand name on my E-M5.
     
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  19. Johbremat

    Johbremat Mu-43 Regular

    130
    Dec 5, 2013
    We don't need no stinkin' rails for this thread!

    :p

    While I'll admit the aesthetics of the resulting look strikes a chord, it's primarily that I don't use a polariser. The reflection of white text on a black body can be pretty obvious when you're shooting through glass.
     
  20. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    Jim
    I used an "Extra Sharp" black Sharpie brand marker on my E-M5. It does fade with time (six months or so) and requires retouching. It's not as "permanent" as the marker makers would like you to believe :biggrin:.

    I also tried removing the white paint using a toothpick (actually, a LOT of toothpicks) but don't have the patience to complete the procedure using that method. It does work, but requires time.

    As noted in the other thread, I simply like the way an E-M5 looks all blacked out. I also liked the way my Wranglers looked "debadged" - that "Trail Rated" badge doesn't add much to the off road capability of the Jeep.

    I don't think it (debadging) reduces the risk of being mugged for ones gear, nor do I think showing/not showing the logo does much for the advertising of the product.

    I just like the way the E-M5 looks "debadged", and the resale value of the camera is of little concern to me. Not that I'm flush, it's just that I like using the kit that I have the way that I want to use it without regard of what any potential next owner may want. I don't put seat covers on my Jeep's seats, either :biggrin:. Let the next guy fend for himself.

    Regards,

    Jim
     
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