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08-05-2013, 06:56 PM   #1
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light seals

this has probably been asked before, but can you tell if the light seal on an old camera is still good without wasting film to check them out- also, is it possible to replace them yourself, or can it only be done by a repair shop, many thanks-

08-05-2013, 07:22 PM   #2
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I can't tell without shooting a roll. Perhaps someone else can. Mirror foam and film door seals are pretty easy for most SLRs. Kits can be found on e-bay for more popular models. Some mirror seals are really tough, and if the mirror isn't sticking up, you might be better off to take a pass. If a kit is available on e-bay for your camera, try Milly's Cameras - : Milly's Cameras Milly's Cameras. You can find instructions on the internet as well. Banskojoe
08-05-2013, 07:31 PM   #3
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Search for John Goodman on PF. Great guy, pleasure to deal with. Did not have a kit for my LX, but did for my ME Super. Easy to install yourself.
08-05-2013, 07:34 PM   #4
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In general though, the foam should not be sticky or crumbly. When depressed it should rapidly re-expand. You probably knew that, but it's the first step. :-)

08-06-2013, 08:32 AM   #5
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John Goodman is the man!
He usd to sell fantastic kits but he got burnt in eBay so he only deals via email I think stevebrot knows his latest email

kyphoto has a ton of instructions for different cameras
08-06-2013, 01:59 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by titrisol Quote
I think stevebrot knows his latest email
I do at that! PM me and I will give it to you.


Steve
08-06-2013, 03:24 PM   #7
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Many thanks- I don't know if any of the seals are bad but just wanted to check the cameras due to age (the cameras, not me)
08-06-2013, 10:50 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by JLW Quote
Many thanks- I don't know if any of the seals are bad but just wanted to check the cameras due to age (the cameras, not me)
Always a good idea. I generally use a toothpick to do the testing. It should be obvious if the seals are gummy or crumbly.


Steve

08-06-2013, 11:19 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by JLW Quote
Many thanks- I don't know if any of the seals are bad but just wanted to check the cameras due to age (the cameras, not me)
Do your own, it is easy. I have done about thirty of them. Find some adhesive backed foam or felt about 1.5mm thick. Slice them into strips also that wide. Hold the camera so debris doesn't fall into it, and use toothpicks to scrape sticky muck from the grooves. Dip the toothpick into alcohol to help get the glue off. Once you can run the toothpick freely down the grooves, insert the new strips. Watch out for the counter reset slot.
As for the mirror, use a foam strip cut to the correct width using the old one for reference before removing it. Careful not to let goo fall onto the mirror or focus screen.
08-07-2013, 10:12 AM   #10
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Replace them just for safety.... it takes a few minutes and $10
well worth every penny and every second

QuoteOriginally posted by JLW Quote
Many thanks- I don't know if any of the seals are bad but just wanted to check the cameras due to age (the cameras, not me)
08-07-2013, 01:43 PM   #11
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Apart from if they are sticky or gummy or coming apart, with most 35mm cameras an easy way to have a quick assessment of the back seals is to try and rattle the closed film back with your thumbs. If it feels fairly firm, they are likely in good shape: if there is rattleyness or looseness, they are probably suspect. This doesn't automatically mean light leaks will occur, of course, but it's a start.

(This mostly applies to cameras that one pulls up on the rewind crank to open: if there is a sliding catch on the side as in some old cameras, that will usually hold the back in place regardless of the seals. Basically, if you need to lock the camera *closed* this won't tell you anything, but it'll work for about any Pentax I can think of. )

Last edited by Ratmagiclady; 08-07-2013 at 01:49 PM.
08-07-2013, 02:30 PM   #12
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If they're at all sticky or gummy then replace them, and then you don't need to worry about it.

Before I buy a film camera I always ask if the seals are in good condition, and I usually get a response that they work, which is not what I asked...
08-07-2013, 02:45 PM   #13
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I used to check for light leaks using a grain-of-wheat light bulb in the film compartment and a darkroom. The wires are thin and flexible enough not to interfere with closing of the camera back. Now I just use a tiny keychain LED flashlight. The majority of light leaks seem to happen at the hinge or catch ends of the doors as the long sides of the backs usually have a lip that fits in a channel on the camera body that acts as a baffle for light. Even so light can leak through if the seals are compromised.

Otherwise as noted in above postings the touch test is best. Kits and material are so inexpensive you may as well replace all the seals as well as the mirror bumper. They will eventually need replacing any way.
08-07-2013, 07:58 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by arnold Quote
Find some adhesive backed foam or felt about 1.5mm thick.
The kits from Jon Goodman are so inexpensive and the materials so good and well-cut that it is sort of a waste of time to not buy them. That is, assuming that you live on the right continents to buy his product. (He is in the U.S. and has someone who sells his stuff in Europe.)

It is best to not use just any foam*. I just finished redoing the seals on a Ricoh XR7. The cleanup of the old materials took forever due to the poor quality materials used by the last person who did the seals. Good quality foam will "release" with lighter fluid. This stuff required physical scraping for each little bit. The guy also was really sloppy with his cuts!


Steve


*For those who still want to cut their own, Micro Tools (micro-tools.com) has the materials in sheets and pre-cut strips.
08-08-2013, 01:27 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
The kits from Jon Goodman are so inexpensive and the materials so good and well-cut that it is sort of a waste of time to not buy them. That is, assuming that you live on the right continents to buy his product. (He is in the U.S. and has someone who sells his stuff in Europe.)

It is best to not use just any foam*. I just finished redoing the seals on a Ricoh XR7. The cleanup of the old materials took forever due to the poor quality materials used by the last person who did the seals. Good quality foam will "release" with lighter fluid. This stuff required physical scraping for each little bit. The guy also was really sloppy with his cuts!


Steve


*For those who still want to cut their own, Micro Tools (micro-tools.com) has the materials in sheets and pre-cut strips.
Certainly if one cannot get the right stuff, then Goodman is the sensible alternative. The foam, and also the felt which I prefer to use, will last longer than the original. Neither is trouble to remove and it's a lot cheaper and more convenient when one does thirty cameras.
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