Zenit E light meter window leaking (?) light.

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by christos_theofilogiannakos, Jun 14, 2012.

  1. Hi everyone!
    I just got hold of an immaculate, super-mint black Zenit E (late model 1981) with an equally mint Helios 44-2, not a single dust speck inside! It's my 4th Zenit, (my first E). The selenium light meter is working and accurate compared with my Canon G11's metering. However, i made a small observation that worries me: When looking through the light meter's read out window on the left of the prism housing with light coming through the lens, i can see light coming back through, i think i can look directly into the mirror when in its lowered position. When the shutter is activated though and the mirror is raised, no light comes back through the window, i checked it in Bulb with the mirror continuously up and the light is blocked. Is this normal? I've heard about light leaks from this window when the seals degrade and maybe this is the reason for the absolutely mint condition of the camera, perhaps the previous owner just decided to stop using it instead of fixing it. On the other hand, if no light comes back when the shutter is activated it means no light goes to the film, yes? Perhaps a test roll of film will be the easiest way to answer this. Any feedback from "E" owners is welcome. Thanks!
     
  2. I don't have a Zenith E or any other Russian SLR, but I would've thought that the focal plane shutter curtains would hold back the light from the meter housing.
    *Reading up on it I see I thought wrong.*
    A test roll is the best way to go.
    You might also want to check the light seals along the film door while you're at it. And if it has a foam mirror bumper, that might need replacing too.
    Good luck.
     
  3. Thanks for the reply. Interestingly the light meter reads correctly (double checked with Lunasix). The Zenits have velvety hinge seals and string seals along the film door so they don't need replacing usually. There is no mirror dumper foam, just the usual thin strip of rubber which supposedly protects the mirror (but i doubt it absorbs any vibration). When looking down this meter window and immediately beneath it, i can see what seems like the edge of something spongy which looks like it has moved somewhat anteriorly in the horizontal plane. Maybe the light seal has moved a bit? It really needs to be someone with an "E" available to check their camera and see if light comes through.
     
  4. Update: I'm pretty confident that what is visible is the left lower part of the pentaprism, that's why when the mirror is raised no light comes through. This reduces the possibility of an actual light leak occuring, but still, is it normal to be able to see the pentaprism from the light meter window?
     
  5. My very clean Zenit E shows light through the meter window as does the OP's. When the mirror is up, no light seems to leak into the mirror box, so the photographs should be fine.
     
  6. JJ: I thought so, hope there will be no problem, although this one is in such an imaculate condition that i doubt i'll ever take it out of the display cabinet. Compared to my 1973 "B", build quality seems a little bit worse, including the lens. The knobs seem to be made of plastic instead of metal. By the way, have you ever fitted a mirror bumper (kept calling it "dumper" for some reason) in your Zenit? I feel tempted, but i think it wouldn't let the mirror go all the way up and might interfere with the image.
     
  7. Unless curtains have holes and leaks should not be any problem.
     
  8. No holes in the curtain, i checked against bright light, they are light-tight and like new.
     
  9. On the other hand someone told me that with Kiev-rangefinders there is a problem of light leaking through the counter if a paper shield is unglued and fell off. May be a similar case with Zenit E. Test film should give answers.
     
  10. Hi, Christos I do have a Zenit E, rather earlier than yours though. It was given to me by a friend who was downsizing his collection, but I've never used it. I did use a Zenit B for several years though, which is basically an unmetered Zenit E. So I carried a Weston Master V around for any of those especially challenging light situations and the combination did a great job. A couple of Zenit E owning friends reckoned that was the better way to go even with a Zenit E, because its selenium meter was really basic, especially for low-light conditions.
    Maybe your later Zenit E has smarter metering? Al I can say is that from looking at pics of later Zenit E models than mine, the selenium area still looks woefully small, so I suspect metering capabilities would be poor in low-light situations. Better get yourself an old-fashioned quality handheld meter,maybe? The venerable Weston Master V is still my favourite tool. OK, so it's also selenium -powered but it does have some clever features to increase its sensitivity in poor light. (PN)
     
  11. PN: Since my last post i ran a test roll through the E and there were no light leaks, it is normal to be able to see the prism from the lightmeter's readout window (NOT the Selenium cell itself). I also have an early B with the industar, a black TTL and a black 12CD(XP), the latter two being the ones i use the most. The TTL has no metering due to battery corrosion, i use my Lunasix or my carry-around Jessop CdS meter. I have never used the Zenits in low light situations, when i go out in the evening i usually carry my OM2 or my Pentax ME, both with standard 1.4 lenses which are more suitable i think, although i don't have anything that is wider than 35mm and faster than 3.5 at the same time, which i think i must correct, you can't fit everything in a 50mm FOV. The metering on the E agrees both with the Lunasix and my digicam's meter, including indoors during daylight. For anything darker than that, i think i'll just go 1/30 and 2.0 and pray! Anyway, it is in such mint condition and i already have another user Helios 44-2 that i doubt it wil ever leave the display cabinet.
     

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