Possible M3 shutter/light leak problem?
Old 12-30-2010   #1
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Possible M3 shutter/light leak problem?

Hi all,

Just got the first rolls back from the Leica M3 I just acquired (the is actually the second - the first was returned to KEH when it jammed after the first roll). I have some nice shots, but all have a band (either bright or dark) on one side - this was especially pronounced when I was shooting outdoors in the blizzard last week. Two representative frames are attached.

I have no doubt KEH will send me yet another body if I return this, but I was hoping that one of you have had the same experience, and have a clue as to how serious the issue is. Two photog friends have given me different suggestions - either light leak or shutter problem.




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Old 12-30-2010   #2
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To me it looks like a shutter issue. Try shining a flashlight towards the back of the shutter curtains with one eye against the lens mount, then cycle the shutter at each speed, this way you can see quite accurately if any curtain is lagging.
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Old 12-30-2010   #3
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Do you recall what shutter speeds you were using outside? The first pic (darkening along the right side) looks like shutter capping, which is where one shutter curtain overtakes the other. Most common at fast speeds. An easy fix too.

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Old 12-30-2010   #4
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Shutter. It's just in need of adjustment.

a comment about #2 above, you really don't need to hold the camera to your eye to see this problem. When you check the camera watch how the opening curtain operates, it looks like it's hanging up just before it clears the film aperture. Notice the white area at the edge of both frames, the one with the bench looks like it has threads showing.
The faded section could be the earliest frame and the shutter performed better after loosening up from being released.
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Old 12-30-2010   #5
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Jim, it was not that bright out - my memory is 1/125th .

LandShark, thanks for pointing out the threads.

The problem seems most severe when I was outdoors in the cold, maybe correlates with the curtain having a greater tendency to stick ?

I will ask KEH to repair this one, rather than send me another.

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Old 01-26-2011   #6
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I had this happen on my M3 when i first got it.

I went online and found a guy on youtube who showed me how to adjust the shutter tension.

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Old 01-26-2011   #7
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Derrick, excellent clip on the shutter adjustment!

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Old 01-26-2011   #8
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Up front the camera needs service. Don't follow any hacks quick fixes yourself or you could cause more problems.

The first photo shows what appears to be shutter bounce. This happens when the opening curtain after making its travel across the film plane bounces back into the plane. This is a shutter brake issue.

The second photo looks as though the closing curtain may have slowed its travel just before reaching the fully closed position possibly caused by shutter bounce.

Since both images show the narrow strip the closing curtain is slowing its travel before fully closing.

The youtube video linked in another response to your question is not recommended since it is only a temporary fix which could result in more problems in the end. Have the camera serviced by someone who knows what they are doing..

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Last edited by colyn : 01-26-2011 at 05:50.
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Old 01-26-2011   #9
Steve M.
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Return it to KEH for repair under their warranty. They have a quick turn around. Simply running up the tension on the shutter is not how it works.
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Old 01-26-2011   #10
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Thanks for the additional responses - I did return the camera to KEH for service, and they got it back to me quickly. Before sending it I did observe an obvious issue with the shutter, with a bright band visible when looking through the lens mount at a light (shutter brake issue as Colyn mentioned?). This problem now seems resolved. I am getting my first rolls back tomorrow and will see how they look.
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