7 x 17 light leaks - HELP!

Discussion in 'Ultra Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Scott Peters, May 6, 2006.

  1. Scott Peters

    Scott Peters Member

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    Ok, is it bellows, or light leaks? It's killing me. I have ruined 'dozens' of images with leaky corners.....It's a Phillips 7 x 17 and S & S holders...In the corners where the flaps are for my S & S holders, I am getting leaks...it's like a dark fan, about size of a quarter. It's consistent with most of my holders, except in the shade....no flare. I have tried g claron lens, dagor, artar - with lens shades, of course. .....I get the leak/flare. So, I put a flashlight in the camera, put a lens on with lens cover, inserted holder, and NO light visible in the dark, Notta, nothing. Exposures, from 15th to a second...doesn't matter. Bellows close or extended. I have had the 'issues'...

    Any one else have problems with S & S holders? I don't think it's the camera as I did not see any light when I did the test in the dark. I tried black paint in the flap, but not sure if I did it right - i.e do you need to paint the inside slot that accepts the holder. Do I need to add some tape on the flap end for extra measure? Like around the seams?
     
  2. John_Brewer

    John_Brewer Member

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    Knowing that the two people who make those holders are passionate LF practioners I would think that they are built to the highest standards. I suppose you could have a bought a mistreated secondhand film holder, but you imply you are having problems with more than one. I would suspect the camera. Maybe you could post a print showing the fogging. Sharpness, position and angle of the fogging all help to narrow down the source of the problem.
     
  3. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    I’ll have to agree with John. If you have tried various lenses, and multiple holders, and have the flare/leak in all films (except when in the shade), I would guess you have a camera/bellows leak. The 7x17 holders have no standard, so check how the S&S holders fit the camera. Are the mating surfaces between camera back and holder flat and free of warps? Is there a good fit at the “lock tab”?
     
  4. Scott Peters

    Scott Peters Member

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    I have checked for leaks in the dark with light in the camera...what else can I do to check camera/holder fit? Thanks. I will try and scan and show effect. Imagine two small fans in the corners of the negative by the flap end. The insides of the holders are plain wood, on the edges, not black, could I be getting reflection off of the inside of the holder when the slide is pulled?
     
  5. bill schwab

    bill schwab Advertiser Advertiser

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    It sounds to me like it is definitely in the way the holder fits the camera. The fact you are not seeing light in your dark test might not matter that much. Try doing a test exposure in the sun with your darkcloth draped over the camera back and see if you get a clean negative. If so it will rule-out your bellows. In my experience a bellows leak would be much less localized and more of a fogging effect.

    When seated, does the flap end of the film holder hang out from behind the sprung ground glass back? If so, maybe direct sunlight can shine on the crack between the flap and flare the corners of the film. It wouldn't take much. It also might be that the flare is coming not at the time of exposure, but when the film holder is turned to expose the film on the other side of the holder.

    Bill
     
  6. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    If you could scan the problem and post it, it will help a lot. YOu need to talk to Sandy and ask him if you have the old style holder or the new one. The older style did have some problems with light leaks but the problem was at the light trap not at the flap. From your description it seems the holders are not seating correctly on the camera or are slightly smaller than the camera.

    Another thing you might want to make sure is that you are inserting the dark slide all the way in. With these big holders sometimes the slide feels like it has gone all the way in but many time it has not. Load a wasted film in the dark, turn the light on and check that the slide is seated all the way in.

    Place a holder in the camera and in the dark shine a flash light through the lens hole (with the bellows extended all the way out) and check if you can see light from the GG side.

    Fan like leaks are usually an indication of a small pinhole near the holder, you might want to check that the bellows is also held correctly in the back.

    Good luck.
     
  7. Michael Kadillak

    Michael Kadillak Member

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    To add what Jorge said, I had a similar situation a while back with some of my S&S holders. First step was to paint the inner portion of the flap flat black. That inproved the situation but it was still evident. Sandy has increased the receipt depth of the flap that accepts the slide and he also midified the light trap. I believe that Sandy is at the J&C conference in Toronto and when he gets back he will resolve the issue for you. Hang in there, the solution is around the corner.

    Cheers!
     
  8. Scott Peters

    Scott Peters Member

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    No pin holes noted...it is a new bellows, on a new camera, and it appears to be well glued. Placed a holder in the camera and put a flashlight in the lens hole, no issues noted. When I look into the front of the camera (with no lens) and shine a light onto the holder, I do see about 1/2 inch of the actual cherry part of the holder....by the flap. In other words, could I be getting reflections from the wood? But then again, why only 'flare' the corners (top and bottom)?

    Yes Bill the flap does 'hang out' a little from the gg back. Could be the flare is coming from the side not currently being exposed...

    The flare is darker near the corner, both top and bottom, on the flap end and becomes less dark as it 'flares' into the negative. A small fan shape about 1 1/2 inch from the corner to the furthest edge of the fan...It is surprising that it is both the top and bottom corners of the flap end where I load the film.
     
  9. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I also suspect an issue with the way the holder seats in the back. It's a modern camera, so there shouldn't be the kinds of problems I've had with my 1890's 11x14" camera, but since there isn't a single standard for 7x17", one never knows.

    Are the holders a tight fit? If they are very tight, this can be an issue with big filmholders. The lock rib should fit easily in the groove on the back, and there should be a little play between the edge of the holder and the frame of the back. If your Phillips has a removable back (which I suspect it might not), one thing you can do is insert the holder and remove the back (with the darkslide in place, obviously) to check carefully that the holder is seated flat in the back.
     
  10. Scott Peters

    Scott Peters Member

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    Thanks David, the holders appear to be seated fine. I ran a flashlight around the holder while I had someone else look into the lens hole in the dark...no apparent leaks.

    The more I think about it the more I think it may be the holders. I think they may be the older style S & S. The reason that it has been so hard for me to 'detect' is that if I photograph in shade, or cloudy conditions, or I remember basically shielding the holder from any sunlight...no problems. But, if the holder has any prolonged time in the sun, I get corner problems. And to make matters worse, I painted the flaps black, which appeared to help, and maybe did to some degree, with limited exposure in the sun? But yesterday I was out in the bright sun, and ruined 6 images with flare in corners, but did not ruin images taken in the shade. I thought perhaps I was getting bellows flare, but I'm not shooting into the sun and am using 'mostly' coated glass.
     
  11. John_Brewer

    John_Brewer Member

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    To test the filmholders I would load them with film and blast them with a flash or expose them to the sun. Having a light leak recently I know how infuriating it is.

    J
     
  12. Scott Peters

    Scott Peters Member

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    I am ready to try that method, or any other for that matter...any ideas on how I could go about it without 'wasting' 8 - 7 x 17 pieces of film at $4-$5 a crack? I thought about cutting the film into 8 strips and loading it into the flap end and exposing it to sunlight to see if I get the same problem? someone mentioned perhaps loading a sheet of paper cut in strips? Would this work? Thanks for all your suggestions.
     
  13. John_Brewer

    John_Brewer Member

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    I found my leak, which was the camera back by putting the filmholder in the camera and pulling the darkslide. I had a sheet of writing paper in the filmholder. Then with my head under my cloth from the lens panel end I went slowly round the camera and filmholder with a very bright point source light. Hope that helps!
     
  14. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Scott, why not use some silver paper? Had an older 8x10 holder that was leaking and found the problem by loading some Ilford MGRC paper..then just processed it...BTW label each sheet so you know how it was handled.
     
  15. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Mike,

    The silver paper might not detect a leak, either caused by the holder or the camera, because it is so slow. If you do try to test this way make sure that you give the test several minutes, perhaps as many as twenty.

    We started making double baffle film holders last year and have so far made them in 7X17, 8X20 and 12X20 size. The double baffle is better because it , 1) makes the baffle installation itself much less trick and more sure, and 2) prevents light leaks caused by improprer insertion and removal of the dark slide.

    In my experience in trying to trouble shoot leak problems reported by users of our holdrers I have found that about 85% of the time the problem is one of improper fit of the holder in the back or other camera leaks.

    Unfortunatley, some of the leaks are due to the holders, or the way the holders are used. If you remove the dark slide and look up through the baffle against a very bright light you should see any direct light leaks. However, some light leaks may take place in taking the dark slide in and out of the camera, and by reflected light when caution is not taken to shield the baffle side from direct light when inserting and removing the dark slides.

    As always I stand ready to repair or replace any S&S holders that cause user problems and have asked Scott to return this particular set of holders to me. I would add that these particular holders were sold as seconds because of cosmetic damage, though from my best understanding the cosmetic damage should not have caused any problem with function.

    One further note, just on good practice and not meaning to reflect on any person's exposing practices in the field. However, I am surprised in working with LF and ULF workers in the field how many just remove the dark cloth from the camera when they are ready to expose the negative, and just leave it off when inserting and removing the dark slides and exposing the negative. Regardless of what camera or holders you are using this is very bad practice as the weakest link in the system will always be exposed with this technique, whether it be a small pinhole in the bellows or a leak in the holder. My own procedure is to create to the extent possible an absolute dark tent around the camera and holder. That way, regardless of the condition of the camera or the holder, I come back with a good negative with no fogging from light leaks.

    Sandy


     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 9, 2006
  16. Scott Peters

    Scott Peters Member

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    Thank you Sandy. As always Sandy stands behind his product and I appreciate and applaud his service. I am looking forward to the 'double baffle' change. While I do make the effort to shield the holder as best as possible from light, either by shading it with my body and the dark cloth ( in this case a BTZS, and sometime a little bit tricker to creat a 'tent') I will focus more on this to minimize any issues. Any other tips/advice out there?
     
  17. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Scott,

    Just to let you know, the holders arrived today.

    Unfortuanately, I will not be able to look at them as quickly as I had planned. I have beeen having problems with one of my eyes for over a week. Today I finally got to the doctor and learned that I had a very serious detachment and tear of the retina, and had emergency surgery this afternoon. I am told that if the problem had been allowd to continue for another week the chance of total blindeness in the eye was a real possiiblity, so I feel fortunate to have received prompt and professional treatment.

    I won't be able to do any vision work for at least 7-10 days so the holders will have to go on the shelf. I regret the inconvenience to you but life offers no better alternative.

    Sandy
     
  18. Scott Peters

    Scott Peters Member

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    Your vision is more important. Glad to hear you got professional treatment in time. Don't worry about the holders. Just get better.
     
  19. User Removed

    User Removed Guest

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    Scott,

    Were you having problems with light leaks with your camera when we were in Sedona with Michael and Paula? I remember seeing your prints, but not seeing any signs of light leaks on them.

    All the best,

    Ryan McIntosh
    www.RyanMcIntosh.net
     
  20. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    Sandy,
    Very sorry to hear about your visual problem.

    Take good care of that eye.

    I lost 1/2 the field of vision in an eye a few years ago and know the mental anguish caused by any imperfection in our sight, especially photographers.

    My best wishes to you.

    Jim
     
  21. Scott Peters

    Scott Peters Member

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    Ryan, the short answer is 'yes' and as a matter of fact several images taken on our outing (one in particlar with Michael) were ruined due to leaks on the flap ends, a real dissapointment. A couple in the shade were ok....the prints I showed were ones that did not have leaks, or the leak (if you looked closely in the flap end corners) was not as noticeable.