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02-15-2012, 04:16 AM   #1
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What's wrong here - is it me, the camera, or the lab?

I recently had my K1000 CLA'd by Eric. The images below are the film leader and the first three frames of the first roll shot with the camera since its return. All other frames we fine. I had switched lenses mid-roll - there were no problems there. Fortunately, these shots were just test shots and unimportant.

When I load film, I normally secure the film on the roll-up spool, ensure the film is engaged with the sprocket, advance the spool to verify the film is collecting on the sprocket, close the cover, rewind the film slack, then advance until the frame counter is at zero.

The frame numbering on the film itself indicate the 'frame 0' shot begining two sprocket holes prior to the '0' mark, and the 'frame 2' image starting at the third sprocket hole from the '2' mark. (I'm not sure if that was helpful, but I don't know another way to describe the position of the frames on the film.) Also, I noticed there is evidence of a major light leak preceeding the first frame.

Here are the samples...

film leader prior to frame 0 (scanned by me)


frame 0 (scanned by me - ignore the dust please)


frame 1 (lab scan)


frame 2 (lab scan)


I don't believe this is a camera issue, and I am fairly confident in my film loading procedures. Therefore, I'm assuming this is a result of the local lab.

Appreciate any insight you may have on this.

Thanks,
Fred

02-15-2012, 04:41 AM   #2
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i'm not a specialist, but looks like a leak of light.

either during the load, or the body it self wasn't well sealed and some light reach the film.

i guess.
02-15-2012, 04:50 AM   #3
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Looks like a light leak, ie, problem with light seals in camera
02-15-2012, 04:59 AM   #4
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Take another few test shots, but use another lab, that should tell you if the camera or the lab is to blame.

02-15-2012, 05:03 AM   #5
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I agree that it looks like a light leak, but I'm gonna guess that the leak was in your film cannister and may have occured before you even loaded the film. The reason I think this is because if it was a problem with your camera, I would expect to see it throughout the entire roll. But since it's only the first three frames (which would be the outter wraps of film when it's in the cannister), that makes me think that maybe the foam on the cannister had a tiny leak...enough to streak the first few frames, but not bad enough to reach the inner coils of the film. Was this an old roll of film, by any chance?
02-15-2012, 10:41 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by TaoMaas Quote
I agree that it looks like a light leak, but I'm gonna guess that the leak was in your film cannister and may have occured before you even loaded the film.
I second that. I suspect the film canister was exposed to strong sunlight--some of which penetrated the felt trap. Perhaps over a period of hours or days. I'm pretty sure the camera's not to blame. Easily tested: open a fresh box of film and immediately load your camera (in the shade, of course). Take a few test shots and have the film processed. Inspect for fog. If fog is present, it's your camera--otherwise it was the film canister.
02-15-2012, 11:46 AM   #7
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+3 on the film can being exposed to bright light, either while being loaded or unloaded. The felt seals aren't 100% light tight, especially if the film has been fully rewound into the cartridge. It's a really good idea to stop rewinding the film when you feel it disengage from the take up spool, and always load and unload film in dim light. Even if all you can do is turn your back to the sun, that is generally enough.
Also, the clear plastic film containers that Fuji uses are useless. Kodak film containers are much more light tight, so wee if you can get a few of them if you shoot Fuji film for storing your film in while out shooting.
02-15-2012, 06:56 PM   #8
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First off, thanks to everyone for their contribution.
QuoteOriginally posted by aurele Quote
i'm not a specialist, but looks like a leak of light. either during the load, or the body it self wasn't well sealed and some light reach the film. i guess.
Normally, I ensure the back is snapped shut. Of course, I could have missed it this time. But I try to keep a regular routine when loading.

QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
Looks like a light leak, ie, problem with light seals in camera
Since I just got the body CLA'd, including new seals, I'm assuming this isn't the issue. (Although this is the reason I sent it for CLA in the first place.) Eric did the work, and I accept his positive reputation among the pentaxians here.

QuoteOriginally posted by altopiet Quote
Take another few test shots, but use another lab, that should tell you if the camera or the lab is to blame.
I appreciate the tip on process of elimination. I'll keep that one in mind.

QuoteOriginally posted by TaoMaas Quote
I agree that it looks like a light leak, but I'm gonna guess that the leak was in your film cannister and may have occured before you even loaded the film. The reason I think this is because if it was a problem with your camera, I would expect to see it throughout the entire roll. But since it's only the first three frames (which would be the outter wraps of film when it's in the cannister), that makes me think that maybe the foam on the cannister had a tiny leak...enough to streak the first few frames, but not bad enough to reach the inner coils of the film. Was this an old roll of film, by any chance?
This is something I never considered - the canister could be the cause. Back in the day (late 70s - mid 80s), I never encountered this problem. Could it be a result of cost-cutting by the film manufacturers, did I buy crap film? It was FujiColor 200, off the shelf from Wal-Mart a few weeks ago, not expired. I have some better quality film on hand. But I don't want to use that until I get this light issue solved.

QuoteOriginally posted by daadaa Quote
Stupid question but did u drop/knock the camera at any point?

When I was shooting at the Gaza protests in London, I got smacked over by riot police (and no i wasnt provoking)... but anyways, camera hit the ground, and the door didnt open. How ever the impact was just strong enough to open a tiiinnyyy crack for like a millisecond and the results are quite similar to yours
Wow. Sorry to learn of your experience during the protests. But no, the camera was not knocked around. I loaded the film the same day as the shot were taken, and I barely moved camera that day. It was just CLA'd two weeks ago, and I'm the only person that has handled the camera.

QuoteOriginally posted by johnyates Quote
I second that. I suspect the film canister was exposed to strong sunlight--some of which penetrated the felt trap. Perhaps over a period of hours or days. I'm pretty sure the camera's not to blame. Easily tested: open a fresh box of film and immediately load your camera (in the shade, of course). Take a few test shots and have the film processed. Inspect for fog. If fog is present, it's your camera--otherwise it was the film canister.
We may be getting somewhere here - how do I handle the canister after I rewind the film and carry it to the lab? More on this a bit later.

QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
+3 on the film can being exposed to bright light, either while being loaded or unloaded. The felt seals aren't 100% light tight, especially if the film has been fully rewound into the cartridge. It's a really good idea to stop rewinding the film when you feel it disengage from the take up spool, and always load and unload film in dim light. Even if all you can do is turn your back to the sun, that is generally enough.

Also, the clear plastic film containers that Fuji uses are useless. Kodak film containers are much more light tight, so wee if you can get a few of them if you shoot Fuji film for storing your film in while out shooting.
A couple items I see here: 1) I alway rewind completely into the canister, 2) I stopped using the plastic film containers (I always used them in my early years. Don't know why I stopped). Lately, I just sit the canister on the table, and it sits there several hours or days until I run it to the lab. I assumed the felt on the canister was more light-proof.

So, based on everyone's input it seems likely (or probable) that my handling/care of the canister before loading and after unloading is the true problem. I'll be more light-aware when loading, and I'll start using a canister after unloading - I think I have some of the black Kodak canisters around. This is a real "Homer" moment for me - I always used a canister before I put the K1000 in a closet fifteen years ago. Doh!

Once I correct my bad habits with canister handling, I'll see what I get with the local lab and move on from there.

Again, thanks to all.

Fred

02-15-2012, 07:19 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by hollywoodfred Quote
I recently had my K1000 CLA'd by Eric. The images below are the film leader and the first three frames of the first roll shot with the camera since its return. All other frames we fine.
Doh, I missed this sentance when I wrote my first reply. Not camera seals, agree with it being a cannister light leak.
02-15-2012, 10:33 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by TaoMaas Quote
'm gonna guess that the leak was in your film cannister
...what he said...

The first image is the view out through the fiber light trap.


Steve
02-19-2012, 05:24 PM   #11
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Turns out - it's me.

Just following up so others may learn (from my mistake)...

I loaded another roll of the same film using my normal procedures and shot the entire roll - 24 opportunities to practice technique. Next, I rewound the film into the canister, taking care to leave the leader out of the spool (as recommended by Wheatfield). While in a dimly lit room, I removed the canister from the camera and placed it into its plastic container (the white Fuji style). I put the container in my coat pocket and delivered it to the mini-lab. In a somewhat lucky coincedence, the min-lab employee who would process this roll also processed the previous one.

Forty minutes later, I had the developed roll, and there was no evidence of light leaks on the resulting negatives. The only procedural difference from this test roll compared to the previous roll was my handling of the canister after it was removed from the camera. By neglecting to protect the film canister from light and not using a film container, I allowed the film to become compromised. Dumb, dumb, dumb to not use the container as I had always done in the past.

So, the lesson - watch the light and use the film container - that's why its in the box.

Appreciate the help!

Fred
02-19-2012, 07:30 PM   #12
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Regarding leaving the film leader sticking out when rewinding: For 50 years I've wound the film completely into the cassette, and when taking it out I run my thumb over the felt to squeeze the opening together. I've always avoided bright light with the cassette, but have never had light leaks.
On the other hand, once when I stopped rewinding before getting the leader all the way in, I also neglected to take the film out immediately. I happened to finish winding the frame, and tripped the shutter. The end of the leader curled into the gap in the shutter, and my (then new) Leica M6 needed a shutter repair as a result. Since then I ALWAYS wind the film fully into the cassette!
02-19-2012, 07:52 PM   #13
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So that explains what happened to the first roll of film i shot in my MX. The first 3 frames were just like those shown here. The container was the white fuji style, and was left on a table for a few days before sending to the lab. Won't do that error again.
02-19-2012, 09:16 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by TomB_tx Quote
For 50 years I've wound the film completely into the cassette, and when taking it out I run my thumb over the felt to squeeze the opening together. I've always avoided bright light with the cassette, but have never had light leaks.
I never really thought about it, but I too sort of reflexively run my finger across the felt when I take the cassette out of the camera. At least, that is what I do when shooting color negative film that will be going to the lab. For B&W, I leave the leader hanging out to make it easier to handle for loading on the reels for home processing. I know, I know...there is greater risk for scratches, but it is so much easier!


Steve
02-20-2012, 04:32 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by TomB_tx Quote
Regarding leaving the film leader sticking out when rewinding: For 50 years I've wound the film completely into the cassette, and when taking it out I run my thumb over the felt to squeeze the opening together. I've always avoided bright light with the cassette, but have never had light leaks.
On the other hand, once when I stopped rewinding before getting the leader all the way in, I also neglected to take the film out immediately. I happened to finish winding the frame, and tripped the shutter. The end of the leader curled into the gap in the shutter, and my (then new) Leica M6 needed a shutter repair as a result. Since then I ALWAYS wind the film fully into the cassette!
TomB_tx, excellent tip and tale of caution. I'll keep these in mind as I move forward.

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I never really thought about it, but I too sort of reflexively run my finger across the felt when I take the cassette out of the camera. At least, that is what I do when shooting color negative film that will be going to the lab. For B&W, I leave the leader hanging out to make it easier to handle for loading on the reels for home processing. I know, I know...there is greater risk for scratches, but it is so much easier!
Steve
Steve, it's always good to get a confirming opinion. As far as the risk of scratches, I don't develop my own film yet (though I did dable in B&W many many years ago). But I may ask the folks at the min lab how they extract the film. Their response may alter my rewinding approach. I've received scratched negatives from them in the past, even with the leader fully wound into the cassette. At some point I may just switch to a mail-in lab, when I think I have some shots worth keeping.
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