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05-22-2008, 08:57 AM   #1
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Scratched Film Negative from ZX-M

It appears that my ZX-M is scratching my film, and I'm not sure how it's doing it. What is happening (and see attached image) is that a thin horizontal scratch is occurring across the negative, more so pronounced towards (ie, frame 36) the end of the roll rather than the beginning (ie, frame 1). It's more noticeable on certain prints, given the final color of the image, but for the more part it is very noticeable on the negative itself.

Any ideas on what could be causing this? The blue line on the image I attached represents the approximate location of the scratch.

Thanks.



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05-22-2008, 09:07 AM   #2
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Are you sure it's the camera scratching the film? It might be the lab processing or scanning the film.
05-22-2008, 09:09 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ron Quote
Are you sure it's the camera scratching the film? It might be the lab processing or scanning the film.
I thought that at first, but last night I processed a roll myself (first time, hooray!) and sure enough, there it was.
05-22-2008, 10:58 AM   #4
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ZX-M Scratching Film

QuoteOriginally posted by APEHAUS Quote
I thought that at first, but last night I processed a roll myself (first time, hooray!) and sure enough, there it was.
That looks like the location of one of the spring loaded rollers on film take up reel. Does your camera have 2 small white rollers on a spring loaded arm? These are on the right side when you are looking into the back of the camera with the back open. I would check for dirt, etc on those rollers if they are not damaged. The second possibility is that the pressure plate is damaged or dirty.
If all of that looks good, I don't know what else it could be.

Russell

05-22-2008, 11:21 AM   #5
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I was going to suggest cleaning the pressure plate. It only takes one well-placed stubborn piece of grit to screw up an otherwise perfectly good roll of film.
05-22-2008, 01:24 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by TaoMaas Quote
I was going to suggest cleaning the pressure plate. It only takes one well-placed stubborn piece of grit to screw up an otherwise perfectly good roll of film.
Check not only the pressure plate, but the areas on the camera to the right and left of the plate, including the rounded edges. You have a piece of dirt in the film path of the camera. Use a loupe, if you have one. Your fingertip might even be able to feel it.
05-22-2008, 02:08 PM   #7
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I would be interested to know how this goes, as I just purchased a new ZX-M. My old ZX-M never scratched the film.

Last edited by zx-m; 05-22-2008 at 07:21 PM.
05-22-2008, 03:28 PM   #8
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I'll check it very carefully when I get home and report back to you guys.

Thanks for the suggestions!

05-23-2008, 02:39 AM   #9
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You might look closely at the film to see which side the scratch is - this will tell you whether to look at the back/pressure plate or the film rails on the front.
05-26-2008, 09:45 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
You might look closely at the film to see which side the scratch is - this will tell you whether to look at the back/pressure plate or the film rails on the front.
The line is on the emulsion side. And to double check that is was the camera, and not processing, I blew through a roll, and rewound it, took it out of the canister and sure enough, there it was, very faintly. On my contact sheet I did last week, on a 36 exposure roll, it shows up around #17 all the way through #36.

This sucks.

I've attached an image I shot last year, and you can clearly see where the line is, and it looks like that little roller thingy on the far right side of the camera.
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05-27-2008, 03:39 AM   #11
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Apehaus, it sounds then like Felix68 has the right idea on this. I would have suspected the pressure plate, but that's ruled out by the scratch being on the emulsion side.

If you can't find the problem at the roller, might I suggest getting a good magnifying glass and looking carefully along the film path for shards from earlier rolls of film? These tiny, sharp-pointed bits of film sometimes break off as a roll is shot/rewound, especially if a sprocket hole gets torn by over-tensioning the film as it's wound. The shards lodge in the darnedest places, and they are tough enough and sharp enough to cut into the emulsion side. Might be worth a look.
05-27-2008, 07:01 AM   #12
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Actually I recall having this same problem with my OM2s. I was ready to go pay for a CLA, but then the thing disappeared -- I'd say mysteriously, but I do think I blew and wiped around the film chamber (careful with the shutter!) and then promptly forgot about it. Ie, I think my scratch was due to some particle rather than a burr.
05-27-2008, 01:19 PM   #13
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My condolences on the scratching. I know it's frustrating, especially when you go back into the collection and find scratches on your older negs too...

It's part of what put me off my Nikon F80 and encouraged me to look at different options for DSLR. My F80 would leave the same scratch, sometimes three of them. They were caused by the "rollers" which were little rubber wheels. The F80 design was plagued by it. Nikon eventually redesigned the takeup rollers and had a replacement part -- unfortunately after MANY trips to the dealer for cleaning and adjustment, I couldn't convince them and Nikon to step up to the plate and replace the faulty part. (No, it wasn't in warranty.)

So, I would immediately be suspicious of similar rollers.

The problem on the F-80 would sometimes go away for a roll or two after a cleaning. Seemed like the wheels would clog and stick from the slightest wear or dust. Try giving it a THOROUGH cleaning and blast from compressed air.

I have an MZ-M but have been lucky so far...

PS - Dollar Store film was GREAT for testing the scratching, removing processing from the equation completely. You can blast through a roll and rip it open without feeling guilty. If only the local dollar store would start stocking 35mm again....
05-27-2008, 03:19 PM   #14
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Tease out a few fibres from a cotton bud and gently wipe it over the suspicious areas in the camera. Any burrs or stuck grit should grab these fibres and pull them out.

Old fisherman's trick, that one.
05-27-2008, 03:23 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by lithos Quote
Tease out a few fibres from a cotton bud and gently wipe it over the suspicious areas in the camera. Any burrs or stuck grit should grab these fibres and pull them out.

Old fisherman's trick, that one.
Great idea!

What baffles me is how it occurs on the emulsion side, and why only towards the end of the roll.
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