M5 Light Leak
Old 05-16-2019   #1
hawkhanlumist
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M5 Light Leak

Hi all,



I am having a recurring light leak with my M5. I searched the forums but couldn't find much previous information on this site. So I started a new thread to countenance opinions/ information.


Does anyone have a sense of what might be going here. I searched for a pinhole in the shutter last night, with no luck yet. This problem only started recently. It doesn't happen with every shot. Only occurs maybe 5-10 shots per roll.



Looking over the negs, it seems more commonly occuring in strong light, but it does happen in soft light too. Also, when I bracket a scene, i'll end up with multiple images with no visible sign of a leak and then one leaked image.


Any advice would be greatly appreciated.



HKL
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Stewart_Light_Leak3.jpg (39.4 KB, 33 views)
File Type: jpg Stewart_Light_Leak12.jpg (34.0 KB, 30 views)
File Type: jpg Stewart_Light_Leak13.jpg (47.3 KB, 24 views)
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Old 05-16-2019   #2
Erik van Straten
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Could be a leak in the film chamber. Do you have a 3 lug or a 2 lug M5? If you have a 3 lug, it can be a small leak around the third lug (left when seen from front) or a not perfect screw that holds this lug. The different places of the spot suggest this and also the fact that in fast series you have no problem.


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Old 05-16-2019   #3
davidnewtonguitars
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Start with the easy things. Load a roll of 400, and tape off the back door, on a bright day take a series of shots, note the exposures. Untape the back door in series, note the exposures for each. Tape off the lugs, note the exposures. Tape over the rangefinder window, a known source of leaks. I don't know what else on an M5, tape that off.

Develop the roll and note the exposures where the leak shows and compare it to your "tape log".
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Old 05-16-2019   #4
Takkun
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Erik's guess seems reasonable. The hard edge on one side suggests its through an opening in the body, shaded off by something blocking its path. Different positions means its likely not the shutter.; i wonder if it's related to the angle of sunlight. Position in the lower left suggests its something in the upper left (seen from the front) of the camera--not much else there besides that third lug.
Wouldn't be the film door unless your baffles are really messed up.

On the other hand, I'm looking into the film chamber of mine, and can't entirely figure out how light could possibly reach from the lug to the film plane. Any screws missing anywhere on the body?
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Old 05-16-2019   #5
nzeeman
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load color film and you will know if it leaks from front or back.. if its orange color - its back... but im pretty sure its from front and that is made while cocking shutter.. remove the lens and cock slowly and see if curtains stay tight closed or the make little gap.. it happened to me on some of my cameras and i solved by cocking with lens cap on...
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Old 05-16-2019   #6
hawkhanlumist
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Thanks to everyone who provided suggestions. This was sort of my thinking, too.



I am teaching a workshop this weekend. But I will endeavour to run some test film through the camera as has been suggested, and see what comes back.



I will be sure to keep you all posted, and will likely need more advice/ feedback.


Thanks.
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Old 05-16-2019   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nzeeman View Post
load color film and you will know if it leaks from front or back.. if its orange color - its back... but im pretty sure its from front and that is made while cocking shutter.. remove the lens and cock slowly and see if curtains stay tight closed or the make little gap.. it happened to me on some of my cameras and i solved by cocking with lens cap on...



I will give this a shot. Thanks. That sounds frustrating - to cock the shutter with the cap on, that is.
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Old 05-16-2019   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
Could be a leak in the film chamber. Do you have a 3 lug or a 2 lug M5? If you have a 3 lug, it can be a small leak around the third lug (left when seen from front) or a not perfect screw that holds this lug. The different places of the spot suggest this and also the fact that in fast series you have no problem.


Erik.

Hi Erik - Thanks for the reply. It is the third lug version. When you say the third lug - you are referring to the lone lug on the film advance side of the camera (which is not on the 2 lug versions), right?
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Old 05-16-2019   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidnewtonguitars View Post
Start with the easy things. Load a roll of 400, and tape off the back door, on a bright day take a series of shots, note the exposures. Untape the back door in series, note the exposures for each. Tape off the lugs, note the exposures. Tape over the rangefinder window, a known source of leaks. I don't know what else on an M5, tape that off.

Develop the roll and note the exposures where the leak shows and compare it to your "tape log".

Hi David - Thanks for the reply. Good Idea. Will do.
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Old 05-16-2019   #10
bobkatz
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Please check if occurs only when the shutter is cocked, and some time passes before you take the photo.
A very, very smaaall pinhole in curtain needs long time for expose the film.
Apologise for my englsh

Regards.
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Old 05-16-2019   #11
Erik van Straten
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hawkhanlumist View Post
Hi Erik - Thanks for the reply. It is the third lug version. When you say the third lug - you are referring to the lone lug on the film advance side of the camera (which is not on the 2 lug versions), right?

Yeah, sure, on the left side seen from front. Good luck finding the hole.


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Old 05-16-2019   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Takkun View Post
Erik's guess seems reasonable. The hard edge on one side suggests its through an opening in the body, shaded off by something blocking its path. Different positions means its likely not the shutter.; i wonder if it's related to the angle of sunlight. Position in the lower left suggests its something in the upper left (seen from the front) of the camera--not much else there besides that third lug.
Wouldn't be the film door unless your baffles are really messed up.

On the other hand, I'm looking into the film chamber of mine, and can't entirely figure out how light could possibly reach from the lug to the film plane. Any screws missing anywhere on the body?

Thanks for the reply. As far as I can tell, I can only see one potential screw missing - when you take the base plate of, directly under the lens on the front, there is a screw, and then right next to it, a hole where it look like a screw should be.



Other issues are:


1) The frameline selector no longer clicks to the 35mm unless you pull it to the check battery function.



2) The camera jammed on me a couple of times. It just rewound the film and reloaded and the problem went away. Only happened maybe 5 times over six months.


Other than that, it looks in great condition.



What are the baffles?



HKL.
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Old 05-16-2019   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobkatz View Post
Please check if occurs only when the shutter is cocked, and some time passes before you take the photo.
A very, very smaaall pinhole in curtain needs long time for expose the film.
Apologise for my englsh

Regards.

Thanks for the message. And don't worry, I completely understood it.



I have had this thought. I am not sure though. Looking at the negatives, it seems to occur pretty inconsistently. Sometimes it is the first in a series, other times the last. It could be a factor though.


HKL.
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Old 05-16-2019   #14
j.scooter
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This is the typical M5 light leak.
I had this same pattern with mine.


I sent mine in to Sherry Krauter, she looked for the light leak while she fixed my film finding issues. Not 100% sure she found it as I saw a triangle on 1 frame afterwards but have not seen it since.

If you google "Leica M5 light leak" you will see lots of triangular aberrations.

This is one of the top results from the Google search, hopefully there is some info that might be of use to you:
https://www.photo.net/discuss/thread...-sorry.432887/

Good Luck and let us know if you figure it out.
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Old 05-16-2019   #15
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Hi James,



Thanks for the reply and posting an image. I had seen the post you referenced. It seems like it is a recurring issue with the M5, sadly. I have hope that it is fixed. Interestingly, I was in touch with Don today and he advised that he had a similar case a few years back that he couldn't fully fix. He did his best, and it improved to the point that it only showed up in bright light. But he couldn't find the source of it or get it to go away completely. I am going to do my best to try and diagnose the problem first before sending the camera away.



We'll see, I guess.



Thanks again.
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Old 05-20-2019   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j.scooter View Post
This is the typical M5 light leak.
I had this same pattern with mine.


I sent mine in to Sherry Krauter, she looked for the light leak while she fixed my film finding issues. Not 100% sure she found it as I saw a triangle on 1 frame afterwards but have not seen it since.

If you google "Leica M5 light leak" you will see lots of triangular aberrations.

This is one of the top results from the Google search, hopefully there is some info that might be of use to you:
https://www.photo.net/discuss/thread...-sorry.432887/

Good Luck and let us know if you figure it out.

HI James -



I was just reading your post again. Did you mean 'film winding' and rather than 'film finding' issues? What were the issues that she was addressing for you? The reason I ask is that I had an issue where the shutter would jam occassionaly.



Thanks for any information you might have.


best,



Cal
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Old 05-20-2019   #17
j.scooter
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Hey Cal
It was supposed to be film winding issues. hahaha

There was a problem with the take-up spool that caused me problems loading film. There were some other issues with the high shutter speeds as well.

If you are also having issues with the shutter jamming, it is probably time to send it in for a CLA. Do you know if it has had service recently? Remember these cameras are coming up on 50 years old.

It is worth the $$ and time having a professional get it back to factory specs rather than chasing down issues and trying to fix them without really knowing what you are doing with the possibility of making things worse.
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Old 05-20-2019   #18
hawkhanlumist
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Originally Posted by j.scooter View Post
Hey Cal
It was supposed to be film winding issues. hahaha

There was a problem with the take-up spool that caused me problems loading film. There were some other issues with the high shutter speeds as well.

If you are also having issues with the shutter jamming, it is probably time to send it in for a CLA. Do you know if it has had service recently? Remember these cameras are coming up on 50 years old.

It is worth the $$ and time having a professional get it back to factory specs rather than chasing down issues and trying to fix them without really knowing what you are doing with the possibility of making things worse.

Hi James


Thanks for the information. It sounds like you were 100% sure what the issue was, but that a general CLA did the trick. Ok. That is useful. Chances are you're right, and that I should put her in for a CLA. Thanks.



I have an inclination to try and get some sort of diagnosis if possible, but I might end up just pulling my hair out.


Thanks


HKL
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Old 05-22-2019   #19
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Originally Posted by nzeeman View Post
load color film and you will know if it leaks from front or back.. if its orange color - its back... but im pretty sure its from front and that is made while cocking shutter.. remove the lens and cock slowly and see if curtains stay tight closed or the make little gap.. it happened to me on some of my cameras and i solved by cocking with lens cap on...

I spent some time yesterday looking carefully at the shutter curtains. I have to say, I couldn't anything. In your experience, was this plainly visible? What exactly am I looking for?



Thanks in advance for any additional information you might have.


Best,

HKL
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Old 05-23-2019   #20
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Ok I am back.



So I ran a test roll yesterday where I taped up various possible intrusions points of light (ie, the back door, the viewfinder/ rangefinder windows, lugs, etc).


I am pretty confident the leak is in the curtains. I say this because I took a range of images with the lens cap on (no tape) and there was no leak. Then, I took a couple of blank images (ie, with the cap on) after leaving the lens cap off for a few minutes and got a leak.



Interestingly, I shot two blank frames in this manner (ie, with the lens cap on after allowing light to pass through the lens). One was with a delay before film advance/ Shutter Cocking, the second with the delay of after the film advance/ shutter cocking. It was the second frame that had the light leak.


I am sort of showing my ignorance here, but here is my question: Am I right in thinking that even if I waited until just before I was ready to shoot to advance, (thereby protecting that frame as the non leaked frame in the above set of two shots suggests I can) I would still have a light leak occur afterwards (post shooting on the same frame) because I didn't advance the frame? Does that makes sense?


Another way of asking would be to ask 'When the shutter is fired, but not cocked, do the curtains return to the same position as they are in when they are cocked?


I am happy to upload some images and the shoot log if this helps.



Any assistance and advice is always greatly appreciated. As always, thanks in advance.



Best,



HKL
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Old 05-23-2019   #21
davidnewtonguitars
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There are 2 separate curtains, one for "at rest" the other "cocked".
One of them may be leaking, and you may be able to see it in a dark room with a torch if you are in the UK, a flashlight in the US.
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Old 05-23-2019   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobkatz View Post
Please check if occurs only when the shutter is cocked, and some time passes before you take the photo.
A very, very smaaall pinhole in curtain needs long time for expose the film.
Apologise for my englsh

Regards.
Hello...
Is this was the answer?
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Old 05-23-2019   #23
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Originally Posted by bobkatz View Post
Hello...
Is this was the answer?

It was and it wasn't. I mean, yes, ultimately, I think the source is a leak through the curtains. It only shows if there is enough time to pass for the light to appear. So yes, you were right. It took some testing to confirm this as well as determine which curtain was the cause of the leak.


Thanks for your suggestion though. It had been my hunch as well, but having another person voice this opinion was of assistance.



Best,



HKL.
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Old 05-23-2019   #24
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Originally Posted by davidnewtonguitars View Post
There are 2 separate curtains, one for "at rest" the other "cocked".
One of them may be leaking, and you may be able to see it in a dark room with a torch if you are in the UK, a flashlight in the US.
Thanks David,



I have tried this, though I couldn't see the leak. I might try again. The hard edge to the light leak is what makes me wonder. I doesn't look like a pinhole Instead, it looks like the curtain is detaching at some point or a film winding mispacing is introducing a leak where there should be one.



HKL
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Old 05-23-2019   #25
Peter de Waal
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Another common fault is the strip of light seal material that the curtains run against drying out and puckering. My M5 was fixed by Chris Wood in Auckland (who's retired now). Chris trained at Leitz in the 1960's. After trying a number of materials, including the tape Leitz supplied for the M2-6 - which caused wear on a brand-new set of replacement curtains - was to cut some strips of the vinyl used as body covering on the Praktica MTL5. This worked perfectly and was slippery enough not to grab the rubberized curtain surface.

Overall a service from someone competent is indicated. They are great cameras and worth spending money on.
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Old 05-23-2019   #26
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Originally Posted by Peter de Waal View Post
Another common fault is the strip of light seal material that the curtains run against drying out and puckering. My M5 was fixed by Chris Wood in Auckland (who's retired now). Chris trained at Leitz in the 1960's. After trying a number of materials, including the tape Leitz supplied for the M2-6 - which caused wear on a brand-new set of replacement curtains - was to cut some strips of the vinyl used as body covering on the Praktica MTL5. This worked perfectly and was slippery enough not to grab the rubberized curtain surface.

Overall a service from someone competent is indicated. They are great cameras and worth spending money on.

Hi Peter -



Thanks for your input. The scenario that you are describing sounds entirely likely as being the same issue, my camera has. Did you observe a similar phenomenon?



I believe I recall reading the story of your fix in another thread also.


I think a service is in order soon, as you recommend. It might have to wait a couple of weeks till I can pull the dough together.



HKL.
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Old 05-23-2019   #27
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Originally Posted by davidnewtonguitars View Post
There are 2 separate curtains, one for "at rest" the other "cocked".
One of them may be leaking, and you may be able to see it in a dark room with a torch if you are in the UK, a flashlight in the US.

Right. Only two shutter curtains. I knew it was a stupid question.



I think this means that as long as I delay shutter advance/cocking until just prior to shooting, I can get away with no light leaks. I am shooting a second test roll, and will test this hypothesis.



Thanks,

HKL
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Old 05-24-2019   #28
Peter de Waal
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Hi HKL,
my M5 wouldn't fire above 1/250 when I received it, so it was packed off for service before I used it.

It's moot anyway. Your M5 needs work as the original oils will have dried out by now.

BTW please ensure that whomever you charge with it's service does not use modern "engine oil", even synthetics. I see too many references to "Mobil One" as some kind of panacea. Engine oils contain detergents to engulf wear particles and dirt which are carried to the surface of a filter matrix under pressure. They also contain emulsifiers to bind water - absorbed in the filter's paper matrix (up to a point).

We don't want wear particles, dirt and water to be held for years next to finely finished steel shafts. We want these contaminants to fall out of the bearing. And of course we keep our equipment serviced if we use it heavily!

Something like a single-grade synthetic hydraulic oil of the right weight would be fine, as would synthetic grease(s).

I have the M5 factory manual and you can still get all of the specified lubricants.

Cheers,
Peter
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Old 05-24-2019   #29
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Hi Peter,



Thanks for the reply. It is much appreciated.



I was advised from the gentlemen from whom I purchased the camera that a CLA was undertaken about 10 years ago. I was advised by the person who performed that very CLA that it requires a CLA every 12 years. It is likely due for another as is evidenced by some issues that are creeping up.


They are indeed great cameras, and worthy of keeping in good condition. I am sort of hoping that after this CLA, I can just get down to the business of shooting with her without any further worry.



Thanks again,



HKL
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Old 07-26-2019   #30
shorelineae
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Hey, I had a similar problem (but it was different light leak pattern). I sent pics to Don (DAG Cameras) and we couldn't figure it out .. until I mentioned that the leatherette had worn off and needed replacing. Well it turns out that on the left front of the camera (with the front side pointed away from you), there is an opening from where the light can leak in. Simply replacing the leatherette got rid of the light leak.
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