Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 19

Thread: Grafmatic light leaks

  1. #1

    Grafmatic light leaks

    Hi, I just purchased two grafmatic film holders and after testing they function ok b ut have light leaks at the corners and where the U shaped cut out is in each sep tum. Can these holders be repaired? I have a 5 day return option but the seller has offered a partial refund if I can have them repaired. What to do? Thanks for any help.

  2. #2

    Grafmatic light leaks

    I never found light leaks to be a problem with Grafmatics, and unless the plastic body of the holder is chipped or cracked, it's difficult to say where any light might be getting in.There was a post a few months back about Grafmatic repairs and I think the address of a repairer was given. However, in my view, these old holders aren't worth a great deal these days, and they may not be worth the cost of repair.Anyway, before you accept them, or pay for a repair, check the film register very carefully. It should be 4.8mm from the face of the holder to the film in the septum, to be compatible with a modern DDS, and this distance should be reasonably constant across the film and all round the edges too.The plastic used in the Grafmatics made under license by Wray in the UK warps considerably over time, and they frequently don't hold the film very parallel, or at the right distance. I'm not sure if the US made ones have the same problem, but it seems likely.All 3 of my Wray Grafmatics have now warped, and I shan't be using them again unless I can get their mating faces milled flat and true. There's a good +/- 0.5 mm 'wobble' in them all.

  3. #3

    Grafmatic light leaks

    I am a user, admirerer, and sometimes repairer of the ORIGINAL GRAFLEX GRAFMATIC. While not the lightest design being made of heavy gauge sheet steel, they are nearly indestructible in normal use and care. I have never seen any warping or light leaks, UNLESS, mal- treated.

    The most likely issue is bending or damage to the METAL septums. They are made of a light sheet steel and can be bent or warped if not handled with respect and care. They cannot warp on their own and I am using some that are not more than 50 years old and they work perfectly. What mostly happens is that the edge-guide that holds the film gets "squashed" down so that the film sheets cannot be smoothly inserted. This can be readily fixed by running a thin piece of steel underneath and apply gentle upwared pressure. I have made such a tool and I have "reserected" many a hopeless Grafmatic septum. However, if the septum has been severly bent it probably cannot be straightened.

    Any light leaks would have to come from 1.) improper insertion of the holder 2.) a crack or break in the plastic or bakealite end piece where the dark slide component goes or 3.) from a dark slide that would not completely seat, usually because it's bent or the felt light seal had become dislodged and was folded back and blocking the slide from seating completely.. Not all spring backs will hold the thicker Grafmatic and some simply won't allow the Grafmatic to seat properly at all.

    I have never owned or use the Wray version mentioned, but I would not be surprised that they don't work well if made of a lightweight plastic, especially the septums. However, the Fuji QuickChange is pretty nearly the same system as a Grafmatic and made of plastic. I haven't actually seen one yet, although I will soon try one.

  4. #4

    Grafmatic light leaks

    Thanks for the info. I may take a partial refund and see if I can figure out the problem. I checked the holders with my bend - a-light that I use to check camera bellows and the only light I can see coming through is at the dark slide but this is with the slide out. All felt seems to be in place. all septums are straight.

  5. #5

    Grafmatic light leaks


    I have two Grafmatics, one US and one UK made. They look pretty nearly identical as far as I can see. However I got the same light leakage as yourself (the US one) and it turned out to be the felt light trap at the 'septum notch' end. Good luck.


  6. #6

    Grafmatic light leaks

    Paul: The septums in the UK made Grafmatics are metal. The warping problem is with the plastic (maybe Bakelite) body and mating face of the holder itself. I'm not even convinced that Graflex got the film register right on these things to begin with.Can you honestly tell me that all the old Grafmatics you see are absolutely flat and parallel, with a depth to the film face of 4.8 mmm all over, and that the plastic hasn't slightly distorted where the springs are riveted in place? Because I'd find that hard to believe.Bakelite and other types of phenolic plastic aren't dimensionally stable over a lengthy period of time. The same goes for many other plastic materials too. They will warp, no matter how well looked after.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Sep 1998

    Grafmatic light leaks

    I own several Grafmatics (US made) of recent (Singer) vintage. Although the felt should be quite undamaged with these holders I regularly experience light leakage with them.

    The negatives get fogged on the end opposite to the opening of the Grafmatic (that is, on the end opposite to the one where the number is printed on by the holder. Please note that I have the habit of always fastening the Grafmatic with the Graflock system. Thus, the leak cannot stem from the holder not being held tightly against the camera.

    The way I figure this out is the following:

    After having taken the picture, I am forced to withdraw the inner package so as to change film in the holder. If the sun is shining from an angle so that it shines onto the holder from the side of the camera, some light will always get into the holder, however perfect the felt. This light will bounce inside the holder and enter the inner package throught the opposite end of it.

    The ultimate proof of my theory is that the fogging has the exact shape of the cutout of the septums.

    After having figured this out I now always make it a habit of turning the camera around before changing film, so that I am shadowing the holder when withdrawing the inner package. Since I started to apply this standard operating procedure I have not had any more fogging of negatives.

    Bill, I hope this helps. Please let us know whether it does.

  8. #8

    Grafmatic light leaks

    I will try the holders again this weekend with your suggestions. I have a long outdated box of tri-x that I use for testing film holders so at least I am not wasting good film. I purchased these holders with the Idea of doing some hand held work with my Crown Graphic. I probably would not use them for critical tripod mounted work.

  9. #9

    Grafmatic light leaks


    To Pete Andrews: The plastic / bakelite parts of my Grafmatics do not provide, or shall I say, are responsible for, the Grafmatic's dimensional stability. I have a large number of Grafmatics of various ages, mostly second, third, or fourth hand and all meet original manufacturer's tolerances. It is well know that very few film holders of any make are precise in terms of depth to film. I don't worry about this any more as long as the Grafmatic and septums are straight (easy to determine) and the unit functions smoothly. I use double stick tape in the center of the septum to hold the center flat and replace the small piece of tape when it is no longer tacky. I have not experience any light leaks issues with my grafmatics and the small apertures I typically use make a small amount of "tolerance sloppiness" a non issue. I was going to precisely calibrate all my holders, grafmatics included, but wiser minds prevailed and will leave that to a rainy day when I'm nursing a broken leg or something.

    To Emil Ems: Perhaps you have something here. Well before I ever started using Grafmatics I had light leak issues with standard holders and even roll backs and at the advice of another photographer I began to take great care not to leave my holders exposed to any more light than necessary. That meant keeping my holders inside of used printing paper black out plactic bags until needed for use and then putting them back after use. With the Grafmatic, I usually do my film change operation with the dark cloth over it -- just careful habit. I try to keep all direct light off of any film holding part of the camera and certainly never leave any holder laying out in the direct sun. Nevertheless, even when I haven't done this, I have not experience any light leaks. Another issue is the seating of the dark slide. As the ring on the darkslide is what you use to pull out the cartridge body when changing film, I suspect that some sloppiness in design and age may allow the slide to move enough to allow some light. I always try to change film sheets with some care and keep my thumb pressed against the darkslide edge to prevent it from moving out of it's seat when the cartridge is pulled out. I also keep my other hand firmly on the Grafmatic body.

    Or maybe I've just had great luck so far.

  10. #10

    Grafmatic light leaks


    The line -- "To Pete Andrews: The plastic / bakelite parts of my Grafmatics do not provide, or shall I say, are responsible for, the Grafmatic's dimensional stability." should read "or shall I say, are NOT responsible for, the Grafmatic's dimensional stability."

Similar Threads

  1. light leaks - used holders
    By Joseph O'Neil in forum Cameras & Camera Accessories
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 4-May-2006, 08:58
  2. 4x5 holder light leaks
    By Lon Overacker in forum Cameras & Camera Accessories
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 30-Mar-2006, 10:46
  3. Invisible light leaks
    By Mark Sampson in forum Cameras & Camera Accessories
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 12-May-2005, 09:28
  4. Fighting light leaks
    By Tom Smart in forum Cameras & Camera Accessories
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 14-Jul-2004, 07:12
  5. Light leaks with 13/18 holders!
    By Ralph Hinterkeuser in forum Cameras & Camera Accessories
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 7-Jun-2001, 20:39


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts