Is this light leakage or other camera damage?

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by johncarvill, May 22, 2010.

  1. Worried about my F3. Every now and then one side of the frame seems to be way blacker than it should be. Have a look at these photos, all taken with 50mm lens, no filters, Fuji Neopan 1600.
    Here's one which came out normal:
    This one is, surely, not right:
    This one is hard to call - the dark side could be just light difference:
    Should I be worried?
  2. Looks to me like a slow shutter but that is only if it is a vertical shutter and the F-3 has a horizontal shutter. So there I don't know as a light leak would be more pronounced and foggy.
    And on the first picture I can't see much but the last one does show what you are talking about.
    Sorry I can't be of more help. Maybe it is time for a good CLA and seal replacement.
  3. It always seems to happen on the right side of the frame. And, of the 4 films I have recently run through my F3, the two colour films all produced normal exposures, whereas teh two B&W films were the ones which occasionally showed this dark area on the right of teh frame.
  4. So that would make it the left side of the camera. look at the seals there and even try some tape there that will answer your light leak question.
  5. Well I've had a look at the seals etc. I really don't know enough to judge, although I have to say, in general the foam is looking like it could do with replacing; it's not terrible, but probably should be seen to. In fact, now I examine it more closely, I would say that teh foam is a bit more sparse over towards the left hand side of the camera, which might fit with the comment above (ie. dark patches on teh right of frame caused by fault on left side of camera).
    But why dark patches on just one side? And if it's leakage, wouldn;t they usually be white patches? On the negatives themselves, the dark areas appear completely white, meaning (surely) that no light has hit those parts, hence they show up dark when printed or, as in this case, scanned.
    Damn! I', flying to New York then Chicago on Tuesday, and was looking forward to using my F3. Too late to stop now I guess. I wonder how quickly (and cheaply?) a repair could be done in New York?
  6. That is why I was thinking shutter but they don't look right for a horizontal shutter. Were you using flash? no that would not do it. were all the shots with the same lens? if so you may have a loose shutter blade that is hanging in that area of the frame. but if any of those were wide open you can discount that.
  7. No flash. Same lens. I think that shot of the dandelion was taken with pretty much maximum aperture, F1.8.
  8. What scanner and adjustments are you using I re did this one and think it is more a scanning problem or just the lighting that you had when you shot.
  9. These were pro scanned by Peak Imaging in Sheffield, a well-regarded company I have used before. Can't be the scanning, I don't think: the faults are on the negatives as well.
  10. Well I then think I would look into getting my own scanner as I am pretty sure it is a scanning problem and your camera is just fine.
  11. But on the negatives, the dark patches' appear as white areas - the right-hand side of the negative frame for that dandelion shot is all white on the negative.
  12. OK I gave it my all. Let others chime in to this now. Can I though see a picture of the negative?
  13. If it was/is a light leak, your negative would have a very dark spot/area. To me, your negative is fine, just a bit under-exposed.
  14. A light leak would overexpose the film, so I don't see how it would produce a dark area on the positive.
    It must be something that is blocking the light from reaching the film. A mulfunctioning shutter is the best bet.
  15. Well, of course I certainly hold out the possibility that the fault is mine. In fact, I really hope it was! BUt I have several photos, all with a noticeably and unexpectedly dark area on one side, always teh right-hand side. Yet many other shots come out fine. Most strange of all is the fact that all my colour shots came out perfect, but this dark area problem occurs in B&W only.
  16. Is not the F3 shutter a horizontal run, roller blind shutter? If so then a tapering exposure to one side of the frame should indicate that the second curtain is catching up with the first at the end of the frame (or retarding the first curtain at the beginning of the frame)and this would cause exposure to taper off at one end of the frame. Perhaps at high speeds something is retarding the first curtain as it nears the end of it's run across the film gate. Check for debris in the curtain channel. Open the back, place the shutter on 'B' and lock the shutter open. Under bright light, examine the channel the curtains run in, both top and bottom, but especially the bottom for any foreign material, most usually a small chip of film broken off between sprocket holes. If the channel looks good then perhaps it's time for a CLA. Worth a check I'll guess.
  17. The colour film was Fuji Superia 200. As far as I can tell, the lens is clean, and running it through teh aperture range all the leaves look right.
    What puzzles me is the intermittent nature of the problem. Why does it only occur now and then? And why only on B&W?!
    One thought: on teh F3, you can advance the film, and cock teh shutter, by pulling the film advance lever all teh way, in a smooth movement. Or, you can pull it in two or more stages, something you would likely only do by mistake, you know if you somehow messed up the pulling of the lever. That dies happen to me on rare occasions, if I am dustracted. Could it be that these shots were taken under such circumstances? Clutching at straws, I know...
  18. Since it's not a light leak that leaves only the shutter or the lens as suspects. Is it possible the horizontal shutter blades/curtains are dragging on one side? Or could there be an obstruction in the lens, eg a sticky diaphragm with blades on one side not opening fully? No idea whether those are technically possible as problems, just thinking out loud. I have the impression that the left margin of the third picture (sitting/sleeping people) is slightly underexposed as well, which would be even more puzzling. To pin down the source of the problem between lens and body, try a few rolls with different lenses and see if it recurs?
  19. Dark areas are caused by not enough light reaching the film. This could be caused by shutter malfunction, lens diaphragm issues or lens alignment issues. I think shutter issues have already been ruled out, so check the diaphragm on the lens (operate the diaphragm manually with the lens off of the camera and see if one of the blades is hanging up) and inspect the mount for damage. If it was an alignment issue, the focus would be off too, so I think that this is less likely the culprit. If the shots previous to the ones at issue were taken with the lens stopped down and then these were taken with it wide open, oil or grease on one of the blades could cause it to not reopen as quickly on that side, causing the intermittent problems you describe. Also the lens could be failing to open completely when you mount the lens on the camera. You can check this by looking through the lens with it mounted and see if you can see the blades on one side.
  20. What puzzles me is the intermittent nature of the problem. Why does it only occur now and then? And why only on B&W?!​
    I think color vs. black and white is less likely the problem than ISO 200 vs 1600. High speed film is much more sensitive to light meaning that exposure errors show up more quickly.
  21. I was thinking more about the mounting issue possibility, so I slapped my 50/1.8 on my spare camera and tried to unseat the lens just slightly and see what happened with the diaphragm. Guess what, the left side of the diaphragm showed up first, and this is apparently the side where there is an issue. See attached picture. On the right side of the picture (left side of the camera) you can see where 2 blades meet, while the opposite side is still smooth.
  22. The OP asked why only with B&W did this problem show up and I got to thinking that with 1600 ISO film you are going to be shooting at high shutter speeds and that is where even a small variation in slit width would show up the most. At 1/2000 on an F3 shutter I wouldn't be surprised if the moving slit was only 3 or 4 mm wide. If it tapered only 1 mm that could account for 2/3 to 1/2 stop exposure loss and the natural fall off of a normal lens would only exacerbate the problem. With slower color film and slower shutter speeds the shutter tapering could still be there but would only vary exposure by small fractions of a stop, say 1/6 to 1/12, not too noticeable even with slide film.
  23. Great stuff, guys. John R, having read all the posts here I was thinking along the same lines: at high shutter sppeds you are more likely to notice a shutter lag, whereas in a long exposure it won't matter so much, or at all.
    On the other hand, *most* of the shots I took with the 1600 film were taken with a fairly high shutter speed and only some show the problem. Ah well, I will take th ecamera into B&H in New York or somewhere like that, and let them look it over.
  24. John, do check the top and bottom channels the curtains run in. It's an easy check to do and you may find a film chip or two in them. I mention this because more than once I've cleaned chips out of the channels of my OM-1 cameras. I look over carefully the rolls I develop and if I see damaged and or missing pieces between the sprocket holes I always check the inside of the camera. Whatever you find out the F3 is a great, heavy duty picture taking machine well worth the cost of a CLA to keep it in good trim.
  25. F3 has an electronically controlled, spring-drive, horizontally traveling shutter. So anything like you are experiencing IS a malfunction of the shutter - the curtains do not travel at constant distance (or, being more accurate, at constant delay) across the frame. Your photos are darker on the right side, which means capping: the second curtain travels faster than the first and "catches up" (the curtains travel from right to left in the camera. Since image is upside down on film, it means, that the photo gets underexposed towards the end of travel, not at the beginning).
    This is usually caused by dirt or old lubricants in the shutter drive, lost first curtain sdrive spring tension or similar, and can be alleviated by a proper CLA.
  26. Hi John
    you need to start a process of elimination. I would get a dark bag or box seal the camera with just the lens protruding, take a roll and get it processed and then take another roll with no protection. This will eliminate light leaks. Light leaks are hard to isolate because it can also depend on the angle the camera is at to the main light source.
  27. Marek has the answer. The shutter curtains are not traveling at the proper speed. Check the area for film chips. If none, have the dealer check shutter speeds. This can be done in just a few minutes with the proper equipment - and it will tell you the shutter will need cleaning, lubricating and adjustment. The camera is a good one, and worth the investment.
  28. I had a problem like that for my Minolta X-570. Turned out one of the springs for the shutter (horizontal, cloth) was dragging or going bad. It would leave the right side of the picture under exposed. Seemed to happen a lot with shutter speeds of 250 and higher. By the time the camera got fixed, 1000 was completely useless.
  29. I think Marek is right. A horizontal shutter, which the F3 has, can produce that. A dragging first shutter curtain is most likely.
    I'm mystified at all the answers that say it couldn't be a horizontal shutter. The problem is at the side of horizontal pictures. A light leak will show up as lighter on the print, darker on the negative. As it's at the right on the print, it's at the left of the frame opening in the camera, occurring at the beginning of the run. A dragging first curtain will underexpose; a dragging second curtain will overexpose.
  30. Thanks for all the advice, folks. It's great to have this forum. On the downside, I'm setting off on holiday in 2 days' time and my camera has a serious problem. I have another film camera, a Nikon F90x, but I really love my F3 and will be gutted not to be able to use it in New York. I wonder how quickly somewhere like B&H Photo could run a CLA on it for me? Will email them and see what they say.
    Thanks again
  31. One more time. The Nikon F3 horizontal shutter speed control mechanism speeding up after about 2/3 way. You need a fine adjustment for the shutter curtain mechanism.
  32. I keep repeating it: it first needs cleaning, and then maybe it needs adjustment. Nine times out of ten when I clean a shutter that was through some quick-handed technician it runs too fast afterwards - a tell-tale that the shutter was running slow at some point and got adjusted instead of getting cleaned. I don't do it for living, so I may always take my time.
    It's just a rant, you can't really prove whether the service got the job done right or not. Not without disassembly at least. But one might always ask, what was done.
  33. kinda looks like a finger or camera strap to me. I have several just like that.
  34. Looks exactly like the problems I had years ago with a Minolta XG-M on a trip I took. First few rolls were OK, last few were almost total losses. The XG-M and the F3 both have a horizontal-travel shutter.
    The cure for my XG-M? A fresh set of batteries!
  35. Yes, as Marek says, first clean it. I have had a few times when a film chip interfered with a shutter-horizontal or vertical, from different makers. Look for the simple solution first.
  36. Joe Taylor makes a good point. It's possible it's the strap or a finger. Or something.
  37. Quick interim update. Took my F3 into a well-known camera shop in New York. They declared it in perfect working order. "I'd love to take your money," the guy said, "but there is nothing wrong with this camera." They said the problem was a light leak. But surely, I said, a light leak would cause white patches, not black ones. No, he said, a light leak will turn the negative light, meaning the patches will show up on the positive as black. This argument went against all my preconceptions, but the guy was an expert so I accepted it, but when I started to think it through (and discuss it with my father, who is less prone to having his preconceptions upended by 'experts'), I realised that the guy must be wrong.
    After he declared teh camera ok, I asked about the foam, would it soon need replacing. He had another look and said, "*X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#*! You got no foam! Weird.....on the end of teh door, here, it'slike there's never been any foam here. Well, there's your light leak...."
  38. As you figured, the shop person got it wrong. By definition, the negative is an inverse image. Bright areas turn the negative dark, and the resulting positive print light.
    Did you replace the battery/batteries before taking the camera to the shop?
  39. Well, as the 'camera service guy' prove himself incompetent in the first opinion, I'd not trust him on the second...
    It is not uncommon for light seals not to encompass full circumference. In many cases some corners will rely on labyrinth sealing alone.
    Anyway: if you really suspect a camera to have some light leak, there's a good and easy way to find it out. You need a flash gun with a manual mode (non-auto) and a trigger button (most have).
    1. Tension the shutter (so that it is in a defined state).
    2. Thread a fresh roll of film into the camera, put more on takeup spool than necessary, be generous. Just don't close the back yet. Take a sharpie pen and draw a line on the film backing along the cartridge lip. You may also want to use a sharp needle to scratch a line there just in case your marker disappeared in processing.
    You have just established a mechanical reference position for film and camera mechanics.
    3. Close the back, put a lens cap on, set f:much (16, 22) and fast shutter to absolutely prevent any film exposure, advance the film at least FIVE times (most film counters will be now on frame #2). Note down how many times did you actuate the film transport lever.
    4. Take your flash gun and flash the camera at full blast from all directions and at varying angles. Keep the lens cap on, though and don't get very close with the flash.
    5. After making sure you covered all the angles, advance the film six or seven and a half frames, i.e. after full six or seven pull only a half-cycle. The point is to have the place where both curtains meet somewhere in the center of the frame.
    6. Remove lens, flash once into the lens mount (int the mirror chamber of an SLR).
    7. Put lens back on with the cap on, FIRST THEN complete the advance cycle.
    Rewind film, process (if you used C41 film make sure they won't cut it!).
    Now, even a perfectly usably sealed, yet old, camera will most likely fail this test to some minor extent. You will see dark streaks and patches on the film. Put the film back into a film cartridge (or, in a pinch, just wind it up and put it where the cartridge goes). Thread it again into the camera and align your marking with the cartridge lip. If you used c41 film it came back with the leader cut off, that's why I told you to put more film on the takeup spool to begin with.
    If you now repeat the sequence of film advances as before, you will get your film exactly in the position it was when you flashed your camera. Open the back and you will see, where the black marks on film reveal light leaks.Advacing to the second position will show you if and where your shutter leaks light.
  40. Yes, I agree: the fact that the 'expert' thought that light leaks show up white on the negative and black on the positive casts serious doubts on his other opinions.
    At first, he was convinced that the problem was with that one particular roll of film, and therefore with the supplier I bought the film from. Then when I pointed out the questionable state of the foam, he was certain the problem was a light leak.
    I'm pretty sure now the problem is shutter-related, and will seek out somebody here, in the UK, who can do a CLA plus check/fix the shutter and replace the foam, which should cover all bases. Trouble is, the total cost may well exceed the price of a replacement F3.
  41. Quote: Trouble is, the total cost may well exceed the price of a replacement F3. This is false logic. A replacement camera is going to be of similar age, as yours, and you will never know, in what state the inner workings are. I have seen mint looking cameras, that wouldn't even fire without a CLA - they looked mint because they were never used, and lubricants that can peacefully dry for ten years really enjoy their time doing exactly that... I've been there, ended up doing 2x CLA and 1x complete overhaul and having now 3 6x6 TLR cameras. Yet, I just hoped to replace first one (crashed) with another (good) specimen w/o repairing or CLA-ing anything. Went as far as to make this mistake twice. As I am too honest to sell a broken camera as good, even if just to get my money out, ended up repairing the whole bunch... Marek
  42. Quote: Quote: Trouble is, the total cost may well exceed the price of a replacement F3. This is false logic.
    What you say is probably correct. But the way you tend to say things can come across as didactic and even arrogant. Naturally, I have considered the possibility that a newly purchased F3 might have faults, whereas getting mine fixed and CLA'd should mean it will be in near-perfect working order. But if the cost of doing so exceeds buying an EX++ condition F3 body from a reliable dealer with whom I have had good experiences before, then the decision is not so cut and dried, logically, as you suggest.
  43. What you say is probably correct. But the way you tend to say things can come across as didactic and even arrogant.
    If I sound such, this was not my intent, please accept apology.
    English isn't my native language, worse, on everyday basis I use German, which is also not native to me. I believe that my German has impact on my English which is truly a bad combination.
    Good luck with getting your camera going again - either this one, or a replacement.
  44. Fair enough. Apology accepted.
    I'll be getting 7 rolls of film processed this week, it'll be interesting to see how many frames exhibit the shutter capping problem.
  45. I just purchased a second F3 on Ebay since my first one is from the early 80s and this one the late 90s. I seem to have the same issue you have with your F3. At certain speeds the horizontal shutter curtains mess up. I plan to take it into my local shop for a CLA and ask the seller to reimburse me since it was sold as Near Mint.
    Did you get yours fixed?
  46. Hello, David. Only just seen yur question today. No, I never managed to get my camera looked at. Out of about 8 rolls of film (various types and speeds) I shot in the US last year, with the F£, only about 3 exhibited the problem. I've had estimates for a CLA of around £90 to £100, which to my mind is just not worth it. I'd rather spend a bit more and get a replacement, which would also let me keep the current one as a spare. Even if it stopped working altogether I would never get rid of it, it's my most cherished posession!

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