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01-11-2016, 09:11 AM   #1
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So is this what a light leak looks like?

Got back the second roll from my Ricoh XR-1, and oh boy did I ever get a disappointing shock! In just about every frame, this dreadful vertical smear.









Film was Fuji 400, slightly time-expired (Expired Oct 2015 and dirt cheap), but previous rolls with the same use-by date in other cameras have given no such problems. Shots were scanned to CD by the photo lab, so I have no control over the quality. I didn't notice this issue on the first roll, I have to admit; shall have to go back and look for it.

I find the camera useful for some things and I think it would be worth a CLA at some stage, but first I want to know if I've picked the problem correctly and therefore should get something done before I waste another film on it.

01-11-2016, 09:14 AM - 1 Like   #2
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Yes...but remember, people pay good money for cameras with light leaks from lomography.com...
01-11-2016, 10:08 AM   #3
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The XR-1 looks like a cool camera. Fully mechanic shutter, DOF-preview button, diagonal split screen, easy to use double-exposure feature, K-mount, ISO range to 3200. These are really a lot of cool features packed into one camera.
I guess the light enters somewhere in the center of the film door's bottom. The stripe is always in the same place. If it was an issue with the film, that would be really weird. Replacing the seals on the film door isn't too complicated or expensive on any of these old cameras, nor is it rocket science. You probably won't find a kit especially for the XR-1, but you can buy a generic kit on ebay and cut it to the right dimensions yourself. Looking at what that camera is capable of, it seems like a worthy investment.
01-11-2016, 10:43 AM   #4
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It could be a light leak, but your example is extremely clean and makes me suspicious of X-ray damage. I've seen this on 400 ISO and above from carry-on luggage scanners and guaranteed from checked-in luggage. I've also purchased film (from B&H) that had this (around the time of the Anthrax mail scare circa 2001), but who knows how the local camera shop orders and has their film shipped??

If you see the mark on your negs, then you know it wasn't caused by the lab's scanner. If you can't see any light seals compromised on or around your camera back film door, then the only way to know for sure is to obtain film from a different source and run a test. Ideally high ISO, with the camera left in the sun for at least 5 minutes, mid-roll.

Or if you don't want to waste film, load your film in subdued light, and then put black camera tape around the film door. Please let us know what your eventual conclusion is and why.

01-11-2016, 11:06 AM   #5
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The fact that the mark is at the same location on every image makes me doubt this hypothesis, since the orientation of individual frames on the spool shifts as you get further through the roll of film.

the position at the center of the film frame with the most eexposed area at the top makes me wonder if it has light leaking in form the mirror box.

QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
It could be a light leak, but your example is extremely clean and makes me suspicious of X-ray damage. I've seen this on 400 ISO and above from carry-on luggage scanners and guaranteed from checked-in luggage. I've also purchased film (from B&H) that had this (around the time of the Anthrax mail scare circa 2001), but who knows how the local camera shop orders and has their film shipped??

If you see the mark on your negs, then you know it wasn't caused by the lab's scanner. If you can't see any light seals compromised on or around your camera back film door, then the only way to know for sure is to obtain film from a different source and run a test. Ideally high ISO, with the camera left in the sun for at least 5 minutes, mid-roll.

Or if you don't want to waste film, load your film in subdued light, and then put black camera tape around the film door. Please let us know what your eventual conclusion is and why.
01-11-2016, 11:17 AM   #6
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This roll came from a pack of three, neither of the others of which, as far as I can tell, have had the same problem. I bought it at a store rather than secondhand from an individual, so it was part of their regular supply chain.

Had a look at the negatives and it's very definitely on them.

QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
then the only way to know for sure is to obtain film from a different source and run a test. Ideally high ISO, with the camera left in the sun for at least 5 minutes, mid-roll.
Unfortunately there's not much sun right now, and what there is, is associated with more cold and wet than I'd like this camera exposed to, but I can park it beneath a bright desk lamp and see what happens. As for high ISO, how high do you want it? I have Kodacolour Gold 400 from a separate source and I have Lomography 800 colour, although how reliable the LOMO film is I have no freakin' idea at all. Might be best to go with the Gold 400, as it is at least of current manufacture (expiry date sometime in 2017), I know roughly what to expect, and its ultimate source is not in doubt.
01-11-2016, 11:26 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by dcshooter Quote
The fact that the mark is at the same location on every image makes me doubt this hypothesis, since the orientation of individual frames on the spool shifts as you get further through the roll of film.

the position at the center of the film frame with the most eexposed area at the top makes me wonder if it has light leaking in form the mirror box.
Good point, although we don't know if the examples are from throughout the roll. From years of bulk-loading, I know that to get 24 exposures, on a Lloyd's bulk loader, you turn the spool 24 times. The number of revolutions for a 12 or a 36 is not 12 or 36, but with 24, it works out perfectly....so my theory, IMO, still has legs.

If the leak is from the mirror box, that would imply that one of his shutter curtains is disintegrating and leaking filtered light, but then the amount of light to penetrate it would need to be fairly consistent with the lens cap off. Or are you suggesting the light is coming from the viewfinder? And if that were the case, the size and shape of the fogged film seems too inconsistent with this theory. It would either be pricks of light coming through the fabric, or more or less the entire frame.

Realistically it is probably a light leak on the far right take-up spool side of the back of the camera where the foam has failed. We'll see if the OP traveled with this roll through an airport or if the film was ordered online.
01-11-2016, 11:43 AM   #8
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The tree shot is many shots away on the roll from the other two, which are sequential. There are quite a few in the middle that are also affected to a greater or lesser degree, but I picked the three which I felt showed the issue at its worst.

No travel through an airport with any film camera since 1995 (and then I had 400 ASA film in the camera and it was fine).

This film was bought over the counter in a pharmacy, ten minutes down the road from me; they were clearing old stock. It was still JUST in date when I bought it.

01-11-2016, 12:09 PM   #9
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Back in 1982, I worked in the second One Hour Photo Lab in the U.S......Fromex Beverly Hills! One other potential cause (if you can't replicate the problem and therefore the camera is not the cause): If the film was left out after shooting, the felt light trap on the cassette can leak light in over time. May have happened with you, or it may have happened at the lab before processing.

How high ISO? I think another 400 ISO should suffice, although 800 or higher will enhance any problems.
01-11-2016, 12:20 PM   #10
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Yeah, to clarify, I was thinking entry via the viewfinder and behind the shutter rather than via a rear seal. but on second thought, since the image is projected upside down, it appears to be entering somewhere from the lower area of the frame.

The XR-1 has a metal focal plane shutter - perhaps two of the slats are separated toward the bottom?
01-11-2016, 12:27 PM   #11
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It was left out for at most a week, probably less. This was, I think, the first film I didn't wind all the way back in - I managed to leave the leader hanging out, but this was deliberate in order to practise for my first home-developed roll.

I already have a film in the MX at the moment and I had thought to give the ME one more go before taking it overseas, but I think it's worth running a roll of el-cheapo, still-on-the-shelves Gold 400 through the XR-1 instead just to see what's going on and see how things pan out. If I can get it shot and developed fast enough, I might even be able to get the XR-1 off for a CLA, seal repair and general look-over while I'm away and have it ready by the time I get back. (Yes, I could do the seals myself, but it's a good excuse to give a camera which has been inactive for many years a professional going-over - and I like making sure that my nearest camera repair store has ongoing business.)
01-11-2016, 12:29 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by dcshooter Quote
Yeah, to clarify, I was thinking entry via the viewfinder and behind the shutter rather than via a rear seal. but on second thought, since the image is projected upside down, it appears to be entering somewhere from the lower area of the frame.

The XR-1 has a metal focal plane shutter - perhaps two of the slats are separated toward the bottom?
If the focal plane shutter curtains are metal, then they must be the guillotine type, which would cause banding horizontally and not vertically.

Thanks for the correction: We can now discount the fabric focal plane shutter leak theory.
01-11-2016, 12:35 PM   #13
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I've seen a lot of light leaks and even do it on purpose. I would say this came in through the film cartridge and not the camera. One its across the entire width, two it's has a hard side and a feathered side. It's about he correct width on the frame.
01-11-2016, 01:19 PM   #14
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Okay, let this be a lesson to me. No leaving the leader out any more. If the leader's left out, it's going straight from the camera into the tank, via the darkbag.

The really sucky part is that just about all the films these days come in clear plastic cannisters, so you can't even protect it from stray light when it's sitting around waiting any more.
01-11-2016, 01:27 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
Okay, let this be a lesson to me. No leaving the leader out any more. If the leader's left out, it's going straight from the camera into the tank, via the darkbag.

The really sucky part is that just about all the films these days come in clear plastic cannisters, so you can't even protect it from stray light when it's sitting around waiting any more.
Film with a clear base like Rollei Digibase will actually act like a light pipe and bring light right into the cartridge.
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