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M2 light leak
Old 03-04-2018   #1
davidnewtonguitars
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M2 light leak

I've read thru a lot of light-leak threads, and you guys are great guessers! So here is my puzzle:
M2 light splash across 2 frames, I have not seen this on any color roll, only 2 B&W rolls, maybe 2 occurances on each roll. Both on real sunny days.
I sort of stitched crops of 2 frames together.

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Old 03-04-2018   #2
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It could be a defective light seal. I had that happen to me in a much newer Leica. Have you tried examine the seals in the dark?
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Old 03-04-2018   #3
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Light leaks ???????????? They are all different and they are all hard to find do what ^^^ says, and then start using tape on the opening areas: removing parts of it every 5-6 frames. I found one that was the window that shows the film type. But that was a SLR.
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Old 03-04-2018   #4
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Yes, I have run a strong flashlight from both sides and all around sitting in a dark room and can't see anything.
It is so intermittent that I am just going to shoot it for a while and hope it will just seal itself up.
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Old 03-04-2018   #5
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Are your strap lugs loose?

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Old 03-04-2018   #6
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No, and I can't see any light there.
I'm going to put some black tape inside the take-up side lug, I think the position of the leak on the film might be right about level with the lug, but on all the places I see the leak, they are at the gap of 2 frames, never in the middle of a frame, does that make sense?

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Are your strap lugs loose?

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Old 03-04-2018   #7
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Is this an early M2, (or perhaps a later one which has been serrviced at one point)? If the leak you are getting consistently looks like the one in the attached photo (elongated triangle which always crosses the boundary between two frames) I actually might know exactly what it is and where it is coming from, but might want some additional information. The color vs. black and white is probably irrelevant, but is it happening on higher speed film, and is it only showing up between frames which were shot with extended time periods between the frames?
Have you had the M2 a long time with no problems before now?
Let me know. I will check back tomorrow, and see if it sounds like what I think it is.
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Old 03-04-2018   #8
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How long between those two exposures? If it was a while, it could be because it's such a small, slow leak that it only pops up intermittently. Or it could be that it needs to be a bright light at just the right angle.
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Old 03-04-2018   #9
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Also, what speed film do you normally shoot, and how long does it take you to shoot up a roll? When not using the camera does it stay in an everready full case, i.e. in a darkened state, or is it normally exposed to a fair amount of light when not in use?
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Old 03-05-2018   #10
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A 1960 M2, serviced sometime before I got it by the original owner, from England.
Other than the couple of rolls of C41 on which I see no leaks, I am shooting FP4, and keeping it in a dark cabinet or on my desk out of the sun between uses. The example shot was in the camera a month before I finished, I had some health issues.
All of the leak marks are on shots taken immediately after each other on fairly bright days.
All of the marks (4 instances on 2 rolls of FP4 shot at 125 & 200) are spanning two frames like the example above, in the upper 1/4 of the frame (in the camera).
I don't know if it matters, but I used a different lens on each shot that shows a mark, not changing lens in the field, but at home in low light.

Thanks for all the questions! It helps me think about it also.
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Old 03-05-2018   #11
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Just some thoughts.

Did you process the roll yourself? Whenever I have a light leak that goes across frames, especially when it leaks on the film space between frames, I always suspect processing, or loading the film onto a processing reel in a changing bag, or rewinding the film into the cassette at the end of the roll(back door loose). Somewhere during the life of this roll of film, light leaked on a section of the film, not while you were exposing a frame or thru the front of the camera, because if so, the light wouldn't have leaked on the film space between frames.

Again, just some thoughts.

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Old 03-05-2018   #12
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Yes, I process. All the light leaks are the same place, top 1/4 of film, across 2 frames.
Processing leaks should be random?
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Old 03-05-2018   #13
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David,

To cut to the chase, I am pretty sure your light leak is coming through the rangefinder window, though you could do a fairly simple test to determine with complete certainty that is the case. Early M2 bodies had a different design of the light traps than later M2 bodies, not sure exactly when the change to the later style occurred, but yours is probably the earlier layout. I will try to post some photos later, which I got from Don Goldberg which would explain it.
Obviously, even most early M2 bodies did not exhibit this light leak, so it is rare-ish, but it happens, which is probably why Leica changed the design of the light traps on later M2s.
If you google “M2 light leak”, over and above the generic shutter curtain pinhole posts, etc, you will find a few pictures posted which show a light leak which presents exactly as yours does, specifically an elongated triangle of light, between the frames, located at the junction of the bottom and middle thirds of the print, (top third in camera).

You are not having a huge problem with this and it is intermittent because of the slower film you are tending to use, and where and how you store the camera.
If you want to test this, to nail it down for sure as to the exact cause, run a roll of tri-x or some other 400 or higher speed film through the camera. Just leave it the camera exposed to the sun when not in use. Bright sun is great, but no need to bake it. First half of the roll, just use it like that. Second half of the roll, take a piece of black gaffer tape, and put it over the rangefinder window like a flap that you can flip up to focus and shoot, and flip down to cover the rf window immediately after every shot, only uncovering the window to focus and shoot. My guess is that you will see lots of leaks in first half of roll, and none in the second half. That would tell you exactly what the problem was and how to fix it.
The fix is either to update the light trap system to that used on later M2 bodies, or just keep the camera in an ever ready case between shots, and use slower film, or keep a piece of gaffer tape on the body. Kidding.
I will try to post photos of the light trap differences, but I would recommmend that you run the test outlined above to know for sure if this is the source of your leak, but it sounds like it, at first glance.
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Old 03-05-2018   #14
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Thanks so much Larry, I'll run the test soon.
Since I'm no Pro, or even take important pictures, I am not worried at all at the amount of light leaks I have gotten thus far. Threads like this are some of the most fun, as I admit to being gear-centric about photography.
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Old 03-05-2018   #15
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Early M2s have no plastic plug at the end of the rangefinder to block light. Light was blocked with a light shield, which looks like this, having a cover on the end of the light shield to keep stray light out of the rangefinder.




Like this.




Later M2s had a plastic plug which was inserted into the end of the rangefinder to block light. The light shield for these was missing the metal piece on the end since it was no longer needed.




Early M2 light shield on the bottom, later light shield on the top, with no end flap.




Later M2s came with a plastic plug at the end of the rangefinder (top). On earlier M2s, this was missing, and stray light was handled, apparently not always that well, by the extra flap on the end of the light shield.



Later M2 design.

If someone does a CLA on an early M2, and replaces the early M2 light shield with a light shield from a later M2, (don't laugh, it happened to me) and does nothing else, you will get a light leak.
Alternatively, it appears that the early M2 light shield, by itself, as used in the original design, without the plastic plug, may have had occasional light leak issues, which would explain the design change for later bodies, incorporating the plastic plug, and dispensing with the end flap on later light shields.
So, you can get this M2 specific light leak for two reasons. Either the early light shield is not totally effective at blocking stray light entering through the rf window on your specific camera, or someone did a CLA and replaced the early light shield with a later one, without adding the plastic end plug.
Best fix is to install the later plastic end plug, and just use the later light shield. Problem solved.

Credit to Don Goldberg for the photos and the explanation.
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Old 03-08-2018   #16
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This is hilarious!
I shot a roll of Tri-X on a very sunny day, half the roll with black tape over the rangefinder window, half without. I shot most of the shots into the sun, but really went round and round. Not one instance of leak on the roll.
Fixed itself! My work is done.
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Light leak
Old 01-05-2019   #17
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Light leak

Hi
Very interested to see this thread. I have a very similar leak in an M3. Itís frustrating because itís so sporadic. Perhaps 3 times in 36 frames. Some rolls seem fine, then it pops up again. Can ruin some frames. Because of the sporadic nature, trouble shooting has been very difficult. I am trying to figure out how to attach images.
Anyway, any developments in terms of identifying and fixing this?

Thanks
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Old 01-06-2019   #18
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https://www.flickr.com/photos/154001...6/32749312648/

Still figuring out how to insert image
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Old 01-06-2019   #19
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apart from leaks, theres also one thing that you should consider. some pressure plates were so worn that they get shiny spots here and there. that can reflect light, too. i know it sounded like a long shot but that happened to me fixed it by replacing the pressure plate from a parts body that I have
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Old 01-06-2019   #20
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Thanks for popping this thread back to life. I can't believe I didn't post the solution in this thread, sorry.
Because the leaks cross between frames on several instances, I figured it had to come from behind. The back door was my first and only guess. I taped up the door and shot a roll and got no leaks. I removed the door and inspected it close up. Of course the back door has labyrinth seals on 3 sides, but under the hinges across the top is a cloth tape seal that runs in the channel under the hinges, and on one end it had worn the tape seal ragged with a corner of the tape coming up.
I cut off the cloth tape seal and replaced it with a strip of gaffer tape and as usually happens when your father's brother is named Robert, all has been well since.
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Old 01-14-2019   #21
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Hi David,
Thanks for dropping back in with the update and congrats on solving the problem. I will look at the door possibility. However, others have noted that leaks that come through the back flap have to hit the emulsion after passing through the film base and should therefore appear orange, whereas my leak comes up white on color film. I don't know how absolute that rule is however.

Another suggestion for another forum is the take up side strap lug, because the film is wound emulsion side outwards onto the take up spool. Light from a loose lug would hit the emulsion first, and the position of the leak on my negatives might be consistent with a lug leak. My lugs seem rock solid however.....

I will do some further testing

Grateful to all who have pitched in

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Old 05-30-2019   #22
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And here I am a little over a year later with the same light leak. This is again stitched together from 2 adjacent frames scanned. On fast film on sunny days, not every frame, but many.
I taped over the back door seams again, and shot a roll on a very sunny day, and that roll was perfect.
I made felt seals with adhesive backing, about 1/16" wide, and placed them in the three back door light seal gutters, but where the door lips did not press on the felt, but closed next to the new seals.
I shot a test strip of six shots and it shows no leaks.
I will add a picture of the seal job shortly, when the camera is empty, after checking the next developed roll for any leaks.


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Old 06-15-2019   #23
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So I also shot a roll of C-41 before sealing, and the leaks show as red. Per another "leak thread" a red (orange) leak indicates the leak is from behind the film.
After doing my sealing job, I shot a roll of PanF 50, new film for me, in bright sun here Texas with no hints of leaks of any kind.

The felt seal is a 2-part job, with felt attached to the un-sticky side of gaffer tape with 2-side adhesive, then cut into narrow strips and placed in the light-trap channel on 3 sides. These sealing strips sit on the inner side of the back door tabs, but not under them, so as to not obstruct the door from shutting fully.
The top side of the door has a strip of tape that just turns the corner into the hinge channel, sealing the top of the door. Maybe I could have done this one from the inside, but this way I can renew it easily.
I think the leak comes primarily from the upper right door corner area and leaks onto the film where it feeds onto the sprocket.







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Old 06-15-2019   #24
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Keep us updated on how this goes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidnewtonguitars View Post
So I also shot a roll of C-41 before sealing, and the leaks show as red. Per another "leak thread" a red (orange) leak indicates the leak is from behind the film.
After doing my sealing job, I shot a roll of PanF 50, new film for me, in bright sun here Texas with no hints of leaks of any kind.
As mentioned in another thread, my M2 has been going back and forth to the Australian Leica service centre trying to fix a very similar issue. Their latest repair was to place a light seal around the rewind lever (which I hadn't thought of as a possible source). I'll have a roll developed by the end of the week to see if the issue is still present...
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