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06-14-2018, 04:54 PM   #1
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ME Super, light leak ?

I have what appears to be a light leak on a Pentax ME Super. The camera was serviced by Harrow Technical in the UK last year (now retired) and has been babyed since. A strong torch into the front of the camera doesn't show anything obvious - I presume it's a front leak ?

The leak effects a minorty of frames on a roll, occurs in the same place in the frame, and doesn't reach the sprocket holes on the neg. Any ideas ?

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06-14-2018, 05:04 PM   #2
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It only affects some frames? How many rolls has this happened to? Same lens each time?
06-14-2018, 05:14 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by twilhelm Quote
It only affects some frames? How many rolls has this happened to? Same lens each time?
Happened with five rolls of film - 2x Natura 1600, 2x Ultramax, 1x Tri-X. Has happened with three different lenses.
The only thing in common is I've used the same lab each time.
06-14-2018, 05:22 PM   #4
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Does it tend to happen more on frames with the bright sky or the sun in the upper part of the frame?

If so, it could be something very shiny in the bottom of the mirror box or in the lens that's bouncing llight from the sun/sky up into the mirror box and hitting the film.

You might try opening the camera, setting it to Bulb, and then holding down the shutter button so you can inspect how light coming through the lens is reflecting off any internal surfaces of the lens or camera.

06-14-2018, 06:17 PM   #5
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I'm at a loss; I've never seen a light leak like that. The artifacts are strange, like light reflected off a textured surface.
Photoptimist's suggestion are a good start. Perhaps a scratch in the mirror box is reflecting light? Are all affected
images taken with the same lens?
06-14-2018, 07:20 PM   #6
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It’s very odd in that it seems so random. I was going to suggest the possibility of the lab, but you said it’s also happened to black and white film. That leaves something within the camera,
06-14-2018, 09:05 PM   #7
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If it just affects a small number of frames, I have seen light leaks that were very minor, so they only affected a frame when the film was left for a long time without advancing it. That is, the film had to sit in the same place a long time before the leak had an effect on the film. So if you can determine when you had a long pause between photos, that might allow you to determine where the film was when your leak occurred (in the take up-spool vs. the frame behind the lens, etc. and that could help yo locate it.

The shape of the leak is somewhat odd, though. Could it be a leak due to the deterioration of the cloth shutter?
06-14-2018, 10:24 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by tvdtvdtvd Quote
I'm at a loss; I've never seen a light leak like that. The artifacts are strange, like light reflected off a textured surface.
I have seen similar, but on a Soviet rangefinder, not an SLR.


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06-14-2018, 10:28 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by leekil Quote
The shape of the leak is somewhat odd, though. Could it be a leak due to the deterioration of the cloth shutter?
What is odd is the texture as well as the shape. I would be curious as to whether it is present on frames made with the lens cap on.

Thinking, thinking, thinking...Light coming in through the viewfinder when shooting on tripod?


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06-14-2018, 10:29 PM   #10
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Gross smear of goobers on a filter?


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06-15-2018, 01:06 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by leekil Quote
The shape of the leak is somewhat odd, though. Could it be a leak due to the deterioration of the cloth shutter?
Turns out the ME Super has a metal shutter, so it wouldn't be exactly that. Possibly something with the shutter still, but I would expect that if it was leaking light it would be due to separated blades, and that would probably prevent the shutter from working as well as it does.

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Thinking, thinking, thinking...Light coming in through the viewfinder when shooting on tripod?
That might be more likely; maybe a "lens flare" from light hitting the viewfinder glass?
06-15-2018, 02:17 AM   #12
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Thanks folks. To answer some of your questions :-

The leak appears with at least two, maybe three lenses.
No filters used.
I did indeed take some slightly longer exposures (1-2secs) on a tripod... but none of those frames are effected. In fact, the camera was pointed directly at a setting sun and got a good hit of sunlight directly into the lens before taking the photos, and they turned out fine
Time doesn't seem to come into it - I've had leaks appear sometimes taken minutes after the last frame was taken, but then at other times not.

Frequency of the leak - 4/72 frames of Nature 1600. 9/72 frames of Ultramax. 10/36 of Tri-X (perhaps more noticeable as pushed to 1600 ?). But then perhaps it's getting worse - the films where used in that order.

The camera appears to functioning fine on the frames that aren't effected, I've had some really nice photos that I'm quite proud of on those rolls
06-15-2018, 05:59 AM   #13
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Is there an area of paint worn off the pressure plate on the rear door?

If you have a bright LED keychain torch you can try putting that in film compartment and looking for leaks in your darkroom. Triggering the shutter in bulb mode might show something through the lens. Try without lens mount too.
06-15-2018, 07:12 AM   #14
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Metal shutter.... That arc is suspiciously the same shape as the arc travelled by the metal blades of vertical travel shutter.

Leekil is probably right about bent or separated blades.
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