Nikon FE and viewfinder light leaks

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by sixtyforty, Dec 2, 2018.

  1. Hello everyone. I have a FE that is super prone to viewfinder light leaks and was this common with these cameras? Its driving me nuts. It will ruin one frame completely while the next frame will be clean of any leaks.

    Is there anything I can do to remedy this? I know enough to cover the viewfinder on shots taken on my tripod, but it is happening on shots with my eye right close to the viewfinder.

    Here are two examples, I had my eye right tight to the viewfinder and they still show up. Is it possible that these are film door light leaks? The camera has brand new foam seals in it. I have shots from this same roll of film that are clean of leaks if that matters.

    I thank you for your time!



  2. If the foam seals are brand new and did include those around the mirror in it's up position (some cameras had such, I am not familiar with Nikons) it might be time to threaten your maintenance teach to redo their job.

    AFAIK viewfinder stray light should only be an issue with your metering; i.e. if you get way more light through your VF than through your lens on your metering cells to fool them.
    Otherwise: no idea. - Sorry I don't have much light leak chasing experience.
  3. Its hard to see how so much light could be leaking through the finder and around the edges of the raised mirror And these don't like like film door leaks to me.

    It may be worth opening the back and checking the shutter blades. Do they move correctly and are there any signs of damage? in particular, as you move the advance lever the blades should return to their starting position with no gap between the upper and lower parts. If there is a gap it will certainly fog the film.
  4. Hello John and jochen. I checked the curtains and everything seems to be intact. I checked every shutter speed. I'd say about 20% of the pics on this particular FE (I own 2 of them, and a FE-2) end up with this result, in various degrees. What is weird is it will do it on one frame and not on the next.

    Thanks for above replies.
  5. It looks like the whole frame is a bit fogged, with some parts more so than others. There is a stripe along the bottom of each frame, that looks like it is about right (this would be the top of the frame in camera). Are the shots where the frames have bad leak effects the ones where the camera was used after some time sitting dormant?
    robert_bowring likes this.
  6. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    Not sure if it matters, but do the light leaks extend to the edges (unexposed) of the film and between frames?
  7. I can't think of a single way a viewfinder would be the root cause of a light leak the would reach the film.

    Next time you load up a roll of film, cover where the back and camera body join with black tape. And keep it on there until you rewind the film. If you don't see any more light leaks, it's the light seal foam that needs to be replaced.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2018
  8. I agree that the whole frame appears to be fogged. Is it possible that the back of the camera is bent or damaged in some way that would prevent the door from completely closing?
  9. I have a Pentax KX with the foam around the focusing screen completely removed and I don't have the problem. It's possible that you have light leak on the back cover at the take up spool side? Try to cover the viewfinder to test and try to wrap the camera in something to test for light leak at the door.
  10. The back door is perfectly straight, and the entire camera is in really great shape. I'm going to shoot a roll once like you guys said with it all taped shut and see what happens.

    Thank you for the replies!
  11. The Canon Pellix has a special knob to close the viewfinder. Since the mirror doesn't move, light coming in can be a problem.

    Some other cameras have a plastic cover that goes over the viewfinder. It is possible, but rare, for light
    to reach the film. I don't see how it would reach outside the frame, though.

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