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04-16-2019, 08:13 PM   #1
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light seal replacement: (diy) first time/last time easy/difficult??

on a film body kick as of late and a couple bodies could certainly use new light seals, mirror bump/foam.....

curious of your adventures/misadventures in attempting replacement yourself as I am inclined to replace these seals myself from j. goodman or u.s.camera

also be nice to know of tools/accessories that would aid in attempting replacement.....in other words 'handy' advice

thanks

04-16-2019, 08:59 PM - 2 Likes   #2
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I have done about a dozen bodies using Jon Goodman's kits and one body using foam I cut myself. Hands-down, using kits from Goodman was much easier with less surprises. His instructions are amazing and the materials and precision of cut are top-notch.

Here is what you will likely need, regardless of how you get your cut foam:
  • Steady hands
  • Good eyesight or a suitable magnifier for fine work
  • A suitable work surface that will allow modest pressure without damage to the camera and which would allow for soiling from solvent and/or foam crumbs/gum
  • Lighter fluid (naphtha)
  • Cotton buds (cotton applicator sticks, not the same as Q-tips)
  • Low lint paper toweling and absorbent cloths
  • A set of tweezers or forceps
  • A set of small scissors. I use so-called cuticle scissors. These are for trimming loose end of foam strips after they are pressed in place.
My first seal job using self-cut foam took several hours and several false starts. My next using one of Jon Goodman's kits took about 90 minutes. The last body I did (Minolta SRT 101) took about 25 minutes despite its having a particularly difficult mirror bumper to remove/replace. As compared to other camera repair and maintenance tasks, doing a seal replacement is of moderate difficulty.

I hope this helps.


Steve
04-16-2019, 09:00 PM - 1 Like   #3
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I have done a few. Some have been easier than others. The easier ones I have done have been Pentax KX, Contax 137MA, Ysshica FX3. The hardest were Yashica FX2 and Nikon FM2.
Getting the old mirror foam out is easy as long as you take great care not to get any bits on the viewing screen. It leaves a horrible mess. Getting the light seals from around the film door hinges and locking mechanism, not too bad, but getting the seals out from the groove the door fits into can be a real bugger, constantly scraping away with a tooth pick and lighter fluid. If you are lucky the seals in this area will have disappeared completely over time, in my case the KX.
Getting the new mirror foam in place is straight forward, but again take great care. The seals around the hinges and locking mechanism easy but again the grooves are a pain. The new seals tend not to want to stay flat as you put them in and they twist, It is easier if you can get pre-cut seals specific for your camera, as they will already be the right shape and width, but this of course costs a bit more. If you have to cut your own it is hard to get them the right width and if there are any bends in the grooves, smaller bodies have these, that is an added complication.
Is it worth doing yourself? That depends. I picked up a Yashica FX3 for about 15, bought some pre-cut light seals and camera leatherette for a further 10, and replaced the lot in about an hour and now have a really nice looking camera, and enjoyed the experience.
The mirror foam and seals needed doing on my Pentax MX. The job was a bit harder than the FX3, but not too bad, but about a year later the shutter button started to stick slightly leaving the meter on, so the camera needed a CLA anyway, and the service would have got the job done or me.
If your camera has any kind of fault or needs a CLA, let your service centre do the light seal mirror foam job, if not, its worth doing it yourself, but I do recommend paying a bit more for pre-cut seals, if they are available for your camera
04-16-2019, 09:03 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I hope this helps.
great stuff Steve! thank you

04-16-2019, 09:05 PM - 1 Like   #5
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In my MX I'd follow this video:

Used "Mousepad" foam and 3M 1mm double face tape.

Be careful not to soil the focusing screen
04-16-2019, 09:09 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by richard0170 Quote
If your camera has any kind of fault or needs a CLA, let your service centre do the light seal mirror foam job, if not, its worth doing it yourself, but I do recommend paying a bit more for pre-cut seals, if they are available for your camera
thanks Richard! I intend to get a precut kit as that time saved will be worth it to me......currently believe these bodies only need new seals reckon I can live with the dust in the VF

---------- Post added 04-16-19 at 11:10 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by carabez Quote
In my MX I'd follow this video:
thanks!
04-17-2019, 12:54 AM - 1 Like   #7
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As ever the posts before cover the subject quite good. I just want to add a thing or two about self cut foam.

First I want to stress the things you really need:

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Here is what you will likely need, regardless of how you get your cut foam:
  • Steady hands
  • Good eyesight or a suitable magnifier for fine work
You should also have a good portion of patience.

Here in europe precut sets are about the same size what you get if you cut it by yourself, only a bit straighter. In other words a set of square pieces of foam.
Thus I cut all my seals myself. High precision in cutting is not needed, and you always have a second go until you glue the foam into the camera.
I ordered self and non sticking neopren patches in 1 mm, 2 mm and 3 mm thickness from a shop selling insulations. The patches are 20 to 30 cm in square and dirt cheap, about EUR 2,- per piece.

For cutting I use a scalpel with changable blades and a ruler with a metal edge on a good wooden cutting board from the kitchen.

When you are cutting by yourself, you need to examine the existing seals before you clean the camera. I advice you to do some photos to remember where the seals have been. I have two clean bodies without any traces of seals, wondering if they had some at all or I just can not remember me cleaning them . I try to measure the thickness of the seals with a calliper and a transparent ruler. Not so easy, when the seals are completely detoriated.

The sticking patches I use for the camera back and the mirror damper, where I can remove the new seals easyly when something goes wrong.
For the groves on the back of the camera I use the non-sticking patches or a thick thread of wool. The last one is very easy to apply, you just have to get the right thickness. Like in the video above I just stuff the foam or the wool into the groves, so they can be pulled out if something goes wrong.
For old cameras some people use self sticking velvet for the body at the door hinges, as they used to do in production. I couldn't get my hands on this until now.

Patience and quite will help you, do not rush. The cleaing is usually the time consuming part. Cheaper and older bodies are quite easy to reseal. The worst thing are bodies with seals around the mirror or focusing screen. My Mamyia 645 was quite a piece of work and getting the foam around the screen out my MX still gives me the creeps.

A last word to working near the focusing screen: DO NOT USE ANY SOLVENTS (as lighter fluid) NEAR THE SCREEN, i.e. avoid them in the mirror box.

Honestly I prefer bodies with working seals.

Last edited by Papa_Joe; 04-17-2019 at 01:04 AM.
04-17-2019, 04:39 AM - 1 Like   #8
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I have done over 15 cameras using Jon Goodman's kits (Jon_Goodman@yahoo.com) or Aki-Asahi Camera Coverings
Jon Goodman's kits are easy to use because his door seal kits do not have the sticky backing, making it much easier to get them in the grooves.
As already stated his instructions are great.
When you get the kits from aki-asahi.com, you get three sets pre-cut on a sheet. They are nice and the price is good, but I find it more difficult getting the sticky backed strips into the grooves.

6 Days Ago   #9
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I've heard of using black yarn for the seals, can't remember the url but google "light seal yarn". I bought a Spotmatic SP a couple of years ago at a camera club sale, the dealer said he had replaced the seals, and they appear to be yarn rather than foam. Anyway, they just work.
6 Days Ago   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by blumoon722 Quote
Jon Goodman's kits are easy to use because his door seal kits do not have the sticky backing, making it much easier to get them in the grooves.
This ^ ^ ^

His materials are unique (at least they were) in not having a sticky backing.


QuoteOriginally posted by dsmithhfx Quote
I've heard of using black yarn for the seals
Eric used doped yarn (cord actually) on the two cameras I sent him for CLA and it works well. Doing so is considered to be the craftsmen's approach in that it requires greater care than foam and will last for pretty much forever. They only work for the film door/back grooves, however. FWIW, both of my Exakta bodies have yarn seals from the factory as do all of my former-Soviet cameras.


Steve
6 Days Ago - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by dsmithhfx Quote
I've heard of using black yarn for the seals, can't remember the url but google "light seal yarn". I bought a Spotmatic SP a couple of years ago at a camera club sale, the dealer said he had replaced the seals, and they appear to be yarn rather than foam. Anyway, they just work.
Might be the webside ' Matt's Classic Cameras': Light Seal Replacement - Matt's Classic Cameras

Very usefull instructions.
6 Days Ago   #12
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great stuff guys! thanks so much!
5 Days Ago   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Papa_Joe Quote
Might be the webside ' Matt's Classic Cameras': Light Seal Replacement - Matt's Classic Cameras

Very usefull instructions.
I am a fan of Matt's site, but did not know he had an article on this. Thanks! The article nicely shows the basic process and where the potential for mess and confusion are. (...nothing on mirror foam, however...)


Steve
5 Days Ago   #14
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I would say if you have the patience, money & time to diy, go ahead & doi it.
For me, I'm waaaay too impatient to do it myself on my Sears TLS. Plus, it needs other stuff checked/done to it so once I have the money saved up I'm gonna send it off for a good CLA & light seal replacement.
5 Days Ago   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by disconnekt Quote
For me, I'm waaaay too impatient to do it myself on my Sears TLS. Plus, it needs other stuff checked/done to it so once I have the money saved up I'm gonna send it off for a good CLA & light seal replacement.
I did my own TLS and while it is not hard, it is likely yours may need a few other tweaks and adjustments. Good luck!


Steve
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