View Full Version : Fighting light leaks

Tom Smart
10-Jul-2004, 16:54
My entry into LF photography started a few months ago with a Badger M2 camera. I got light leaks at first that I was able to trace to the bellows attachment; all 4 corners that attach to the rear standard were improperly glued. I was able to glue them tightly myself, but light leaks are creaping up again.

The last 2 exposures I made had light leaks. The first time I attributed to an old wooden film holder and made a mental note not to use that one anymore. But today it happened with a new Polaroid 545i holder, and the leak was in the same corner. So I took my camera body into a dark room and checked again for leaks with a flashlight inside the body. The corners seem tight, but if I put my eye in just the right spot I can see a band of light coming from someplace I can't identify. I can get the band to go away if I squeeze hard on the spring back, forcing the film holder more tightly agains the rear standard. The band of light is identical whether I'm checking with a wooden holder, a plastic holder or the Polaroid holder in place.

Both of my last two exposures were made with the dark cloth removed from the camera body. Should I just leave the dark cloth in place when making exposures, or is the problem more serious than that?

For what it's worth, here are the two referenced exposures:




ronald moravec
10-Jul-2004, 21:00
The first one indicates either a warped back or holder specially since you say it can be squeesed to stop a light leak. I can`t identify the other.

Tom Perkins
11-Jul-2004, 07:21
Tom, it's probably a good idea to leave the dark cloth draped over the back when pulling the slide, making the exposure and re-inserting the slide. Lots of folks, myself included, have had leaks even with new or otherwise reliable equipment, and nearly every time I get lazy I pay for it. At the least it will keep you going until you figure out what the problem is, and after that you'll have another good work habit. Good luck.

John D Gerndt
12-Jul-2004, 08:08
If it is a warped back you can attempt to compensate with some tape. Remember that the sticky side can be covered as needed by putting some tape when you need it sticky side to sticky side. In this manner you can in effect make a temporary "bellows" to address the light leak. Then you'll have to judge the sharpness issues - does the film take up residence exactly where the GG was at the time of focus.

I have yet to own a camera that did not have "issues". Only you can decide if you can fix them and live with the fix. Good luck.

Paul Schilliger
13-Jul-2004, 09:54
Considering the camera which is probably near new, I would check that with Badgergraphic. If the bellows are faulty, Jeff would probably make it a point to put everything in order and to leave you with a camera that has nothing to complain about. It would have been good to see the full negative with the holder borders included to know for sure that the holders slots are not leaky, but from the angle the light came in, it seems to me that it is rather the bellows that are still at fault. It will probably take a complete disassembly and proper reassemble of the bellows.

Scott Walton
14-Jul-2004, 07:12
If the fog is in the same area I would be inclined to think it is the upper left area. In a dark room, take a flash light and put it inside the bellows and look for pin holes. I was getting similiar fogging albeit intermittently and that is how I found the culprit. If this is the case, you can use the stuff you dip your tool handles in to make them have a "rubber grip". You can find this stuff in a decent hardware store but the thing to consider is if you have alot of pinholes... getting a new bellows. That is what I did and had Camera Bellows (in the UK) make one for my Linhof Tec III. They do beautiful work, very fast, nicely priced and are very professional with prompt emails.