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Thread: Film Holder Light Leaks

  1. #1

    Film Holder Light Leaks

    First, thanks to all for their answers to yesterday's "Residual developer" quest ion. The darkening effect of hot water on that negative remains a mystery, but e veryone's input was helpful and with some experimentation, maybe I can track the source down.

    Secondly, I have another basic question:

    When I started LF photography 8 months ago, I used to unload exposed film by com pletely removing the slide from the holder, removing the film and then storing t he slide/holder seperately in dust free containers. About 3 months ago I started to only pull out the slide far enough to remove the film, and then re-seating t he slide to store the slide/holders together. Easier, quicker, more elegant (and obvious -- but such discoveries take a while for me). Fine. Except that I short ly afterwards discovered that I was devoloping light leaks, particularly on the corners of negatives, on the side where the slide was removed during exposure. T he only thing I can figure is that by storing empty holders with slides in place , the felt (I assume there's something like that) in the slot through which the slide moves is constantly in a compressed state except for the short time it tak es to remove the slide and expose the film -- it never has a chance to uncompres s and therefore stays compacted when the slide is out, causing light leaks. Is m y theory a reasonable possibility? What is the dominant practice of holder/slide storage? Would not completely removing the slide during exposure help? Is there any other reason why I should be getting fogging on that side? All thoughts wel come, as this has become a real issue for me, with many shots ruined.



  2. #2

    Film Holder Light Leaks

    I don't know of anyone who pulls the slide and stores it separately (well, until now that is).Are the holders new? New filmholders shouldn't suffer light leaks until they've had many years of use, or hundreds of sheets of film through them. Some people pull the slide out completely for exposure, and some leave it just nipped in the holder. It seems to make very little difference. I doubt that the filmholders themselves are at fault, especially if this occurs regularly with a number of different DDs

    Reasons for light leaks that I can think of might be:You might inadvertantly be lifting the holder away from the camera back as you pull the slide or push it back in.You might have some dirt or grit in the rebate of the camera back.You might be trapping the film under the flap of the DD, preventing it from closing properly, but this would give leaks near the flap, not at the other end of the darkslide.You might even be flexing the slide as you push it back in, and forcing a gap open in the light-trap.I'd open and close the slides a lot more slowly and gently, and see if the problem goes away.

  3. #3

    Film Holder Light Leaks

    Thanks, Pete. The only thing that's changed in my technique that I'm aware of is the dark slide storage thing, but I'll certainly double check those things you suggested. The holders are bought off of ebay and presumably well aged, but worked fine for me to begin with. Very strange and annoying.

  4. #4

    Film Holder Light Leaks

    I just took an offending holder into a dark room, and checked the corners with a pen light and the slide removed. Bingo, there was a pin-prick of light visible from the end. Putting the slide back in part way seemed to help, although the slide may just have cut off the correct angle of view for me. I'll definitely shoot with the slide only partially removed from now on.

  5. #5

    Film Holder Light Leaks

    Along with all the good tips that Pete stated, check your bellows for pinholes and ungluing of the sides. It might be that you have a small enough leeak that only shows up when light is directly on it. Cheers

  6. #6

    Film Holder Light Leaks

    Actually Michael, I would just get rid of the holder all together!

  7. #7

    Film Holder Light Leaks

    "I would just get rid of the holder all together!"

    If only the crap I produce during the typical shooting session warranted such drastic measures! Only kidding, I'm slowly improving. Thanks, I'm seriously considering new holders.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Feb 2002

    Film Holder Light Leaks

    I'm new to this, but I've found that removing the slide completely during exposu re allows me to you it as a handy lens shade.

  9. #9

    Film Holder Light Leaks

    Michael: Many photographers drape the dark cloth over the rear of the camera during exposure to avoid the problem you have. Direct sunlight should not be allowed to hit the edge of the holder with the slide removed. Also, try to make the exposure as soon as you can after removing the slide and re-insert it immediately. If you remove the slide and wait for that cloud to move to the exact spot you want it, drape the cloth over the camera. Even new holders can leak if direct sunlight shines on the end of the holder with the slide removed.


  10. #10

    Join Date
    Dec 2001

    Film Holder Light Leaks

    I have had similiar problems on occasion but here is my general routine. I generally always have my film holders loaded and ready. I have a small vacume cleaner and a brush attachment used ONLY for photographic purposes, like cleaning my film holders after each used. When loading, you have to make sure the film is in the channels and pushed all the way forward so that it does not rest on that little lip on the hinge end of the holder.

    When pulling and reinserting the slide to make an exposure, always have your thumb or a finger on the back of the camera to keep the pressure plate from moving. If your not careful, you can inadvertently lift that plate and it only takes less then a millimeter to cause some flare in the corners.

    Hope this helps.

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