View Full Version : Save me from my fear of light leaks!

Michael Gaillard
5-Mar-2015, 21:04
Hi all,

I have developed a debilitating fear of light leaks that may be completely unfounded. I haven't found my holders to be leaking light, but somehow I just started protecting against it anyway by removing them from their resting place while cloaking myself in my dark cloth. I must look pretty crazy while doing this. I basically go through all of the motions until it's back in the bag and out of the light after having been exposed.

I am especially paranoid when I'm in direct sunlight.

This strikes me as overkill. It is, right? I never made the investment into Toyo holders, but my fidelity and Liscos seem to be doing fine.

What are your thoughts? It really is quite a hassle to try to keep those holders out of the sun, especially if there's a stiff wind.

Kirk Gittings
5-Mar-2015, 21:08
Test them in direct sunlight with film or paper. If they are not perfect pitch them for some that are. I have about 40 that are fine in direct sunlight and I never think twice about it.

Michael Gaillard
5-Mar-2015, 21:53
That's a good idea to use paper. Much cheaper and faster way to do it, eh? Wouldn't want to wast 8x10 film on those tests.

The only problem is that film is more sensitive to light than paper. Do you think it'll still work?

Kirk Gittings
5-Mar-2015, 22:50
just leave them out longer in the sun with paper.

Doremus Scudder
6-Mar-2015, 01:53
Testing them is a good idea.

So is numbering them so, if you do have a light leak, you immediately know the culprit.

However, it might reassure you to know that holders rarely leak light when the darkslide is in. Unless there is a lot of pretty obvious physical damage, I wouldn't worry so much.

It's when you've got the holder sitting in the camera with the darkslide out waiting for the shot to materialize that you are at most risk. That's when you should be using your dark cloth to cover things up when removing-exposing-and-reinserting the darkslide.

Testing the holders with the darkslide in will often not show a leak that is only there when the darkslide is out... So, you might want to put the holders in the camera (make sure the lens is closed and there is lots of direct sunlight on the light-trap end of the holder), pull the darkslide and then leave it alone for a while too.



6-Mar-2015, 08:41
I have a wide array of pretty banged up holders, and the only time I've had real light leak issues was when the physical slide was damaged and I missed it. Numbering the holders and keeping a log of images is good practice, as Doremus said--then you know if you have an issue and you can isolate it.

also, remember, though it's expensive, it's only film.

Drew Bedo
6-Mar-2015, 11:10
Testing-testing . . .there are all sorts of ways to isolate a light leak and every one of them will be mentioned in this thread.

To help with your anxiety while shooting: Drape the camera with something; mbig dark cloth, your jacket or a heavy thickness plastic bag.

6-Mar-2015, 11:15
Be careful leaving the dark cloth on the camera in a strong wind. Never turn your back on the camera or leave it out of reach.

Maris Rusis
6-Mar-2015, 12:16
Light leaks in film holders are very rare except for ancient wooden ones that have warped tops where the darkslide goes in. I've tested all my holders by loading them with photographic paper and giving them the full sun treatment at all angles; so far so good. I test the light traps (when the dark slide is out) with a high intensity LED torch. So far no "crack of light" phenomena visible; fingers crossed.

Every time I've found a light-struck negative it's been down to not putting the film holder in the camera correctly or opening the camera back slightly when pulling or reinserting the darkslide. After I push the film holder into the camera I squeeze the camera back between thumb and forefinger in all four corners to make sure the film holder is seated positively and firmly. I clamp the back and film holder strongly together with the spare hand when pulling and reinserting the slide. And in the interests of paranoia I set the back of the camera, upside down, left to right, whatever, so I can insert film holders from the side where the sun isn't shining.

Now, having tempted fate, I bet I get a light leak!

Michael E
9-Mar-2015, 11:07
Test once, if it makes you feel better. Then use your holders and only worry about them if you actually have proof of a light leak. I use all kinds of worn old holders, wood and plastic, and I have had light leaks maybe twice in twenty years. I don't cover the camera or the holders, either.

Reflections inside the camera, when the sun is just out of the frame, that is a different matter...


9-Mar-2015, 11:30
I am especially paranoid when I'm in direct sunlight...

It is not paranoia -- light is out to get us! That is why I hide under the redwoods. I wish all my equipment was 100% light tight 100% of the time. Pretty close, though...

9-Mar-2015, 13:32
It is not paranoia -- light is out to get us!

Hmm, I always though light was our friend. :)

9-Mar-2015, 13:53
Hmm, I always though light was our friend. :)

No way -- ask any cockroach...:cool:

9-Mar-2015, 18:52
I am especially paranoid when I'm in direct sunlight.I am likewise - but when I am carrying a film holder to and from the camera, I just make sure my body is between the holder and the sun, so that it is shaded. I keep the dark cloth or a black T-shirt over the camera back during exposure. I am to impatient / lazy to test all my old holders...or I enjoy my paranoia...

Michael Gaillard
9-Mar-2015, 18:53
Ha! That's pretty much exactly my situation.

Lenny Eiger
11-Mar-2015, 09:13
To the man who is afraid everything rustles