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11-22-2011, 12:33 PM   #1
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Time For New Light Seals?

Or could it be something else?

Here's a couple film shots from 2 cameras: Super Program (color) and K2 (B/W). Here's the story: both bought via *bay for the lenses they had on them. Both seemed in decent shape, i.e. everything "appears" to work, but neither have been CLA'd. Obviously, if I choose to continue shooting film I'll need to have that done as basically no shots on three rolls are really usable (except for this post and troubleshooting).

The color shots were Kodak 400 (nothing special but in-date IIRC). Developed/scanned at local CVS (glad I didn't have prints made). Contrast is poor and edges of the shots seem even more washed out. The film had stayed in the camera over a year prior to processing, but I had also taken another roll of fresh Fuji 400 (just this October) and similar if not worse conditions were also present, especially on brighter scenes.






Now the K2 shots. These were taken with expired Kodak 400CN (expired in '09) that my daughter had but wasn't using. Most of the roll is just completely washed-out, but here's two:





These should have been good, contrasty shots, but this is what I got. 1st shot was broad daylight, late morning on Nov 12th, 2nd shot mid afternoon late October, from a shaded location looking out into a sunny scene.

The store scans were only 1484 x 984, so not high res by any stretch of the imagination, but if the negative is junk, the scan won't be any better. The only thing I did was resize and then save.

For the color shots from the Super Program, would it appear to need new seals, or could it also be an issue with the meter or shutter?

For the B/W from the K2, could the poor contrast/washed-out shots simply be due to the old film? The seals actually look pretty decent to me. I suppose it could also be the shutter speeds as they all seem to sound about the same to me.

Thoughts?

11-22-2011, 12:53 PM   #2
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Check the shutter on both - the K2 especially looks like it's capping. Lens off, and/or back open, and try it at all different shutter speeds.

Bad seals usually result in bright streaks sort of reaching towards the center from an edge.

Another thought, the meter may be off.
11-22-2011, 01:09 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
Check the shutter on both - the K2 especially looks like it's capping. Lens off, and/or back open, and try it at all different shutter speeds.

Bad seals usually result in bright streaks sort of reaching towards the center from an edge.

Another thought, the meter may be off.
Jussi,

What do you mean by "capping"? not firing faster than a certain speed? i.e. even though it's set to 1/500", it's not firing faster than 1/60"? BTW, I do think all the shots with the K2 so far have been in aperture priority. I do have my daughter's last roll of expired 400CN in there, but I've only taken a couple shots, so I may do a soft rewind in the dark tonight to remove it and load in a different camera.

What about the age of the film? It's been stored at room temp.

Thanks again.
11-22-2011, 01:24 PM   #4
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Yes, it could be the film, if the film is old enough or stored very badly indeed.

Capping is when the two curtains don't move as designed - so the slit is smaller than it ought to be, resulting in under exposure. Often this happens unevenly or at one end of the curtain travel. I have a SP1000 that really really underexposes at 1/1000 but is almost ok at 1/500.

I see a little bit of the un-evenness in results from both your cameras - if you post process them darker I think you'll start to see darker bands in the frame. This has to do with the aforementioned two curtains traveling unevenly. A CLA fixes this, though I believe I've seen some people clean and lube just the lower rollers (remove the bottom first) to restore operation.

11-22-2011, 03:58 PM   #5
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I wondered about the film, but 2 years doesn't seem extreme to me. Since I don't develop my own, I'm stuck with what's available locally, and the auto C41 process machines should be able to do a decent job. Most of the shots seem overexposed though, i.e. completely light grey, which to me makes sense if the meter is calling for 1/1000" or so and the shutter's only doing much slower. Time to send them to Eric I guess.
11-22-2011, 04:46 PM   #6
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Newer cameras such as auto focus and p&s don't need any light seal around the edge of door. The only place which has light seal is around the film window. I always use electrical tape to close that window for fear of light leakage. I don't know why they make that redundant window; film speed is automatically read and the frame number is shown on the LCD, and automatically re-wind at the end. This is one of the reason I don't use old mechanical cameras.

Last edited by violini; 11-22-2011 at 05:01 PM.
11-22-2011, 05:33 PM   #7
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It doesn't look like any camera light leaks to me. Every example of camera light leak I've seen is markedly uneven with streaks. If back seals, usually streaked at the edges. Shutter leaks usually affect one side - normally the final edge if the shutter brake keeps the curtains from travelling fully and overlapping properly.
This looks more like old film, poor processing, or overall fogging - not likely to be in the camera.
11-22-2011, 07:14 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by TomB_tx Quote
It doesn't look like any camera light leaks to me. Every example of camera light leak I've seen is markedly uneven with streaks. If back seals, usually streaked at the edges. Shutter leaks usually affect one side - normally the final edge if the shutter brake keeps the curtains from travelling fully and overlapping properly.
This looks more like old film, poor processing, or overall fogging - not likely to be in the camera.
I think that is correct.

I lean toward bad processing.One clue is the black and white shot of the trees. There is a strip of blank film at the top. That strip is far from maximum black. This means that the scanning software read the negative as being very "thin" and low in contrast, so tried to lighten the image overall. (A thin negative is one with low overal density, which can be caused by either underexposure or underdevelopment.)

There is a good amount of detail in the shadow areas on the tree trunks, which means that the negative received quite full exposure. With full exposure and proper develpment, the image should have a normal brightness range. Exposure was OK, so that leaves development as the culprit.

I do see a slight uneveness and mottling in the images, which makes me suspect low developer levels in the processing machine. Were both rolls processed at the same time?

An experienced darkroom worker could tell you at a glance whether the negatives are in fact thin. If they are not, you have a scanning issue.

I do find the scans a bit odd, as automated scanning software usually produces extremely contrasty posterized weirdness with negatives like these. Perhaps the operator tried a manual correction that didn't work out.

On the whole, though, I"d say underdevelopment.

Gettting back to light seals, you should probably replace them anyhow as they will probably go quite soon and you don't want the black sticky residue floating around your camera.

John

11-22-2011, 08:00 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by John Poirier Quote
On the whole, though, I"d say underdevelopment.
Since it's been so long since I've done any developing, I'm not sure what else to look at. When I look at the B/W negatives, the images, what few I actually have, are faint (some darker than others of course). There are many frames which seem to show no image whatsoever. Also, looking at the negatives, I should NOT have had them cut them into strips...they sliced right thru the top of the tree image. So, even if I wanted to get a print made from it I couldn't. Sounds like I need to go back to CVS and complain. I may at least get replacement film, though I can't replace the images. How "fool proof" are the auto machines in these stores? I've never had this bad an issue with developing before anywhere, but maybe they're just not developing enough film anymore to have good chemicals, temps, etc.

As a side note, I checked the K2's meter against a P3N, both with 50mm/1.4 lenses and they were basically reading the same either in manual or Aperture Priority, which tells me it's probably not a meter issue. I also tried my best with a stopwatch to time the shutter of the K2. At least for the 8, 4, 2, 1 and 1/2 second exposures it seems to be fine (at least within my ability to hit both buttons at the same time for starting and stopping).

I really appreciate all the troubleshooting and explanations.
11-22-2011, 11:21 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by violini Quote
Newer cameras such as auto focus and p&s don't need any light seal around the edge of door.
Huh? Neither do my old FSU rangefinders...(LOL)


Steve


(...in case anyone wonders, the FSU stuff seldom has much in the way of light seals. A little black twine sometimes, but that is about it. Strangely enough, light leaks through the back are not too big a problem, though they seem to leak everywhere else!)
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