View Full Version : How to fix light leaks?

2-Jan-2015, 22:34
Thanks to all of you who replied when I posted a few questions about finding light leaks a couple of weeks back. Thanks to your great suggestions, I've found my leaks.

I have numerous leaks where the film holder meets the camera. By loading a holder in the camera and inserting a flashlight into the camera, I've found several areas around the perimeter of the film holder that allow light to shine through. They aren't pin-point leaks - I see "lines of light" when I look at the junction of the holder and the camera back.

It doesn't depend on the holder - I see the same pattern for every holder I try. And it doesn't seem to be a spring-tension thing either. Manually squeezing things together doesn't make the leaks go away.

So what I'm guessing is that the camera back surface (that snugs up against an inserted holder) isn't quite flat.

Someone mentioned some kind of adhesive felt tape, but there are a lot of areas to fix, and I'm worried that something like felt tape might not be able to handle the scraping caused by inserting and removing the holders. Of the total perimeter of 18 inches (4+4 + 5+5) maybe 4-6 inches will need to be patched.

Has anyone used felt tape? If so, is there a particular brand I should be looking for?
Are there any other approaches?
Can anyone recommend someone who could repair something like this (I'm not sure I want to do this but I have to ask)?
Or (given the amount to repair), should I just throw in the towel and see if I can get a new back for the camera?

It's a Wisner 4x5 field. I bought it used a few years ago. I remember the price being reasonable, maybe now I know why.

As always, any feedback or guidance is greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance,

Jim Jones
3-Jan-2015, 06:59
The surfaces of both film holders and cameras where the two meet should be as dead a black as possible. Sometimes these are left as polished wood, or a black finish has worn away. However, function is more important than appearance.

3-Jan-2015, 07:21
In the future it would help if you specified whether
light is leaking in or darkness is leaking out.
Jac before morning coffee

John Kasaian
3-Jan-2015, 07:40
In the future it would help if you specified whether
light is leaking in or darkness is leaking out.
Jac before morning coffee
I'd give it a thorough cleaning first---accumulated crud could prevent a film holder from seating properly. Have you checked your film holders for warp?

John Kasaian
3-Jan-2015, 07:43
Another thought---those aren't Tilt-all brand film holders you're using, are they?

John Kasaian
3-Jan-2015, 07:59
Yet another thought---contact Richard Ritter!
He's an expert when it comes to Wisners. He does great work, is honest, and fair.

3-Jan-2015, 09:21
I have used self adhesive felt cut from an 8x10 "page" I got at Walmart in their crafts department near where they have fabrics. I simply cut the length and shape I needed with a new Exacto blade. As to the possibility of the holders warping, since you indicate that all are equal in showing the leaks, perhaps it is the back that has problems instead.

3-Jan-2015, 10:06
Some of these leaks can actually be left alone. A 12"x10" Midland plate camera that I'm using has the same trouble. Where the plate holders meet the camera back, a strip of light can enter at both top and bottom (in landscape orientation). To minimize repairs, my cure has been to cover the back of the camera/holder with the dark-cloth and tuck it in around the camera. I leave enough "slack" under the cloth to pull/insert the dark slide.

3-Jan-2015, 11:39
Are your holders pushed in all the way past the lip so they're seated properly?