Leica IIIc light leak or shutter issue?
Old 04-16-2010   #1
ktran
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Leica IIIc light leak or shutter issue?

Hello Everyone,

Can you please give me your opinion on what looks to me like a light leak in the following shots? It shows up in the same place, but it doesn't always show up, and I can't seem to find a pattern as to how or when it'll occur. Do you think it's a light leak, or might it be the shutter curtain "hesitating" for a bit during its travel, causing an overexposure? Thanks in advance!







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Old 04-16-2010   #2
payasam
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A shutter problem should be of the same width across the frame. If you expose a colour film, it will be possible to say whether the light is coming from the front or from the back.
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Old 04-16-2010   #3
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Looks like a light leak. depending on aperture/SS/ Film speed and how you hold the camera it will not always be the same.
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Old 04-16-2010   #4
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Just my luck that both rolls of colour film I've run through the camera thus far have come out just fine! (I don't know whether to be happy or curse this :P)

The streak seems to be in the same place and be of the same shape every time. Since it's wider at the top, this would imply a leak from the top of the camera, and not the bottom door?
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Old 04-16-2010   #5
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Image inverted, so top = bottom.
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Old 04-16-2010   #6
Ron (Netherlands)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktran View Post
Just my luck that both rolls of colour film I've run through the camera thus far have come out just fine! (I don't know whether to be happy or curse this :P)

The streak seems to be in the same place and be of the same shape every time. Since it's wider at the top, this would imply a leak from the top of the camera, and not the bottom door?
The picture is upside down mirrored in your camera, BUT, these type of cameras were made in such a way that they normally could not have a light leak. As with most of these cameras it is probably the shutter.

Test: put a film in the camera: next: put the camera without a lens cap in much light for some time (of course with the shutter closed). Then put on a lens cap and rewind the film and watch how the film comes out. You could do the same test by triggering the shutter.
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Last edited by Ron (Netherlands) : 04-16-2010 at 08:50.
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Old 04-16-2010   #7
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Oops! Right, inverted (and to think, I spent days recently setting infinity focus on an old Halina 35X by projecting the *inverted image* onto a translucent screen!)

@payasam: here's a colour shot on slide film I found. Does it offer any more hints?



@Ron: Interesting. I'll give it a shot with some old expired film I have lying around...

Thanks to all for your help so far. I'm open to any other ideas/hints/opinions/etc.!
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Old 04-16-2010   #8
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The IIIc has -- and maybe other Leicas with slow speeds have -- a groove or slit in the body coming down (at a slant?) from the slow speed dial. This is, I understand, covered with flocking.

Question: Is the problem related to shutter speed(s)?
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Last edited by payasam : 04-16-2010 at 09:06.
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Old 04-16-2010   #9
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Good question. I've been wondering about that myself. I don't know, since I've taken two shots in succession on a roll, and one has no problem but the next one does (no change in shutter speed or aperture). But I can try to "seal" around the slow speed dial with some blu-tack to see if that makes a difference on a test roll...
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Old 04-16-2010   #10
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Do you have the Barnack in an "everready" case, or are you shooting it "naked" ?

If it's in a case, then it is unlikely that your issue is a leak around the bottom plate.

If naked, you could try covering the seams with electrical tape.

Make sure all the screws are in place around the front and top plate of the body.

Your color shot looks like you had the sun at your back...

If it's a light-leak, shouldn't it be there all the time ?

Last edited by Luddite Frank : 04-16-2010 at 11:00.
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Old 04-16-2010   #11
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A light leak on color film, at least if through the base of the film, would be red or orange.

This looks like an irregularity in the travel of the shutter curtains. Do a sequence of shots at the same exposure value, using a range of different shutter speeds and apertures. I suspect you'll find this happens only at the higher shutter speeds.
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Old 04-17-2010   #12
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Thanks everyone for all of the info/opinions. As soon as it stops raining here, I'll test both the fast shutter speeds and for light leaks with some black duct tape...
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Old 04-18-2010   #13
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I'd say that it's an irregularity on the shutter travel as well -- look like it exposes properly, then slows down, then speeds up. Is this with all shutter speeds or just certain ones?
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le huh?
Old 04-19-2010   #14
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le huh?

ok, now this is really weird! I ran another couple of rolls through the camera, with and without black electrical tape around the bottom door, and at shutter speeds ranging from 1/1000s to 1/60s outdoors. I could not reproduce the problem over 36 exposures. At all.

Furthermore, I went back to the roll of colour slide film I took earlier, and the "leak" (for lack of a better term) also appears on frames in the unexposed leader and at the end of the roll. This leads me to believe, that there's a light leak in the bottom door, or I may not have shut it properly, and light leaked in during a really, really sunny day.

If it is/was a shutter issue, then maybe it's working now because it needed a bit of "working up" after some years of inactivity, but I don't think this is the case because of the "leaks" appearing at the beginnings and ends of rolls.

Clear as mud, eh?
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Old 04-19-2010   #15
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The bottom plate is a fool-proof design. If it can be closed, it will be closed properly.
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Old 04-19-2010   #16
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I had similar problem with IIIf. Does the film go/fit through during you load, where the curtain is, smoothly? Or do you feel it stuck somewhere? If it stucks and film gets little wrinkled it may push the curtain up.
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Old 04-19-2010   #17
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Are you using re-loadable film cassettes? That band looks to me like the kind of thing you get when light gets onto the film through either the cassette's velvet light-traps or the rotating sleeve, when it's not correctly located.
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Old 04-19-2010   #18
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No, I'm not using reloadable cassettes, but rather just regular off-the-shelf rolls of kodak, ilford, and fuji film.

I'm new to LTM, and I've just been trimming the film leader with scissors by hand/eye... The film seems to wind properly, but could this be a cause?
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Old 04-19-2010   #19
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It's odd that your bright bands are coming and going; however, from the examples you've posted they seem to be occurring in the same position on the image. On reflection, this suggests something like the shutter curtains or perhaps just the second curtain dragging at one point in their/its travel, giving a band of overexposure.

I've experienced a horizontal band of fogging in M Leicas, which is caused by the felt light seals of the internal tinware shifting/becoming compressed. My own IIIC's shutter lost its 'light-tightness', which manifested itself as overexposed blobs on each image, the degree to which they were apparent depending on how long the lens cap was left off before the next exposure was made.

It could also be that your shutter has lost its tension and is wrinkling slightly but I would expect this to give fogging at the top and bottom of the image, and not the bright band you see.

I hope this is of some marginal help, but do persevere: screw-thread Leicas really do perform and, having had my own IIIC refurbished, I am very much back in love with them.
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Old 04-19-2010   #20
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Make sure you don't drag your finger(s) on the shutter speed dial while taking the photo. That's sure to cause uneven exposure. Common LTM newbie mistake...
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Old 04-20-2010   #21
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Much food for thought here. I am sometimes getting a 'flare'; size of a ten pence piece. This is also inconsistent and also appears in different parts of the print each time that it does occur. The only consistent aspect of the 'problem' is that it has always occurred whilst shooting outside in good light.
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Old 04-21-2010   #22
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One thing you need to check is whether the fogging stops at the edge of the image or whether it continues into the sprocket area.

If it stops at the edge of the image, or very close to it, then it is coming through the aperture gate. If not its coming into the film chamber some other way.
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Old 04-21-2010   #23
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Very good catch! Beyond the edge, into the sprockets, actually!

In any case, whatever it is, it'll be in the Good Hands of Gerry Smith of Kindermann by the end of the week...


~k
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Old 04-22-2010   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David 11084 View Post
Much food for thought here. I am sometimes getting a 'flare'; size of a ten pence piece. This is also inconsistent and also appears in different parts of the print each time that it does occur. The only consistent aspect of the 'problem' is that it has always occurred whilst shooting outside in good light.
David
David, this sounds like it could be a pin-hole in the shutter curtain; if it's a single hole, and small enough, the "flare" could move around, depending on the angle of strong light coming through the lens ?


When I got my III-f & collapsible Summicron, the first few rolls were great, then I started getting "lens flare", which I blamed on the S-cron, but then the "flare" kept getting worse and worse...

Then I was changing lenses one day, and noticed that the shutter curtains had gone all crackly.... the "flare" was really result of the shutter curtains disintegrating !

I have since been using the S-cron on other LTM bodies, and it doesn't flare much at all...
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Old 04-22-2010   #25
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Thanks for this. I am going to persevere for a while as some results are lovely and even the 'spoiled' ones I can mostly live with. My 1A was serviced by Malcolm Taylor a couple of years ago which I had hoped would mitigate against this sort of problem; on the other hand it is 80+ years old!
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Verdict
Old 07-15-2010   #26
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Verdict

There were, in fact, two light leaks in the camera body, according to Gerry of Kindermann. These have since been fixed! Thanks for all of the info in this thread. I really learned quite a lot!
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Old 07-16-2010   #27
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Any suggestion on where the light leaks might have been? I've had the same thing happen with my IIIc.
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Old 07-16-2010   #28
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He said that there was a missing seal in the area where the slow speed dial is (as payasam thought might be the case). There was also a small light leak through the rangefinder window, but that didn't show up on these shots.
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Old 08-01-2010   #29
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I had a similar light leak problem after I recurtained a customer's wartime IIIc. The light was coming down through the hole in the top plate for the rewind lever shaft. This camera was fitted with a later rewind lever that did not effectively block light, and the cure was to fit a snug washer over the shaft before replacing the top plate.
To find a light leak in any film camera load an old unexposed B&W film in subdued light and wind the film on a few frames and cock the shutter. Take the camera out into the light and fire the shutter to orientate the film, and then wave the camera about in the light for a while. Rewind the film in subdued light and develop it, and then orientate the film to the film gate and you should soon discover where the light is coming from.
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Old 03-05-2011   #30
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I for sure thought it was your finger tripping the shutter during expousure
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Old 03-05-2011   #31
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Sometimes the rubber on the edges of the curtains becomes tacky with age and messes up the speeds. It can be fixed by a technician revulcanising them (I have no idea how this is done, but I assume it involves heat or chemicals).
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Old 03-06-2011   #32
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Thanks for posting. I never knew you could get a light leak from the slow speed dial.
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Old 03-07-2011   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leicamshooter View Post
I for sure thought it was your finger tripping the shutter during expousure
Give me a little more credit than that

Actually, I'm not quite sure how I could get my finger caught on the speed dial during exposure, unless I was wearing big gloves, or something, which, during the Canadian Winter, is entirely possible.
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Old 03-07-2011   #34
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Wow, nice mystery and solved by Gerry. Isn't he wonderful?

Thanks for posting all this information.

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