Fixing light leaks in an analogue SLR camera.
Posted on July 13, 2016
I started out with film cameras and I've kept most of them because each one was a beloved friend. I look at them everyday because they sit on a shelf in my office or on my desk next to the computer. Two of those cameras have pressing needs and I've been meaning to fix them for about a year! They both have 'light-leaks'. This is where the foam or material strips (light baffles) around the inside of the film-back have deteriorated. This can produce some interesting effects on your film and is the basis for a whole raft of post-processing filters in the digital photography world! However, these particular cameras are destined to have new life as a teaching tool for my children, which means light-leaks must be fixed!
I couldn't find anywhere near me that would fix my cameras but my local camera shop suggested I do it myself! I know my way around a camera but I was a bit daunted as it seemed a fiddly and complicated job and one which done badly, could ruin the camera;(
The choice was: do it myself or scrap the camera!
So, I got details of a guy in Texas who provided replacement baffles and instructions. After many months of looking at the slim envelopes from Texas sitting on my desk, I finally got a crappy cold which meant that all the jobs I fill my day with had to wait and the only thing I felt capable of doing was this one task that had taken so long to pluck up the courage to do. (weird how that happens sometimes!) So, armed with a box of tissues, I commandeered the kitchen table. Tweezers, cotton buds, lighter fluid, scissors, extra instructions from the internet (just incase) the slim packets from Texas and the cameras all ready... It took around 4 hours but I did it!
I won't go through it all because Jon Goodman (that guy from Texas) explains so much better than me so if you want proper instructions here's where to find him:http://www.kyphoto.com/classics/seal/SmallSeal.pdf
I was very pleased with the results and proud of myself for doing the job without too much difficulty. It was quite relaxing and therapeutic in a way and I wouldn't hesitate to do it again. The magic of analogue can't be replicated in digital. We need to look after our old cameras;)