Cleaning what appears to be foam from OM-1

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Artillero, Dec 24, 2011.

  1. Artillero

    Artillero Member

    Messages:
    8
    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2011
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I decided to get into photography and decided to start with an olympus OM-1. I bought it on the internet, and after receiving it, I noticed what looked like foam in the viewfinder. Would this cause problems, and even if it would not, would it be difficult to clean out?
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

    Messages:
    1,300
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    Winnipeg, Ca
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Sure looks like foam stuck on the viewing screen. Take off the lens and look. I'd guess the mirror is all sticky as well and any other foam seals need replacing. Cleaning it off the screen is not much fun. it's very easy to smear it around and get it embedded in the Fresnel lens and never get it off.

    Any change of returning it?
     
  3. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,346
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2003
    Location:
    Sacramento,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It could also be that foam has degraded the silvering of the prism. This is a common problem. I have a OM2 that I've had to replace the prism.
    If possible I would return the camera.
     
  4. Artillero

    Artillero Member

    Messages:
    8
    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2011
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Unfortunately, I can't return it, from looking at it without the mirror is pristine. I see a what appears to be the detached spot on the hazy white glass that is above the mirror, but I was unable to see anything that would have caused the bottom part. Does this sound like it would cause any problems to the photos, because if not I am fine with keeping it the way it is.
     
  5. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

    Messages:
    2,266
    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2007
    Location:
    Metro DC are
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The 2 bigger smears on the bottom look like what Darin is saying above.
     
  6. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

    Messages:
    2,266
    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2007
    Location:
    Metro DC are
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    What happens is they use a foam seal where the pentaprism joints are. The foam deteriorates and eats the silver off the mirrors in the prism.
    This issue does not effect what is recorded on the film but can make composing a bit annoying. I guess you can get used to it.

    I'd inspect the back foam seals and also the mirror bumper foam as those have probably gone south also.
     
  7. Artillero

    Artillero Member

    Messages:
    8
    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2011
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Thanks for all of the advice. I was already planning on redoing the foam, figuring that they would have deteriorated with so much time. I'm relieved that those spots shouldn't harm the pictures, as long as too much light doesn't get in.
     
  8. elekm

    elekm Member

    Messages:
    2,058
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2004
    Location:
    New Jersey (
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Yes, you should re-foam the camera. If you live in the U.S., there is a product called "Foamies," which is sold in craft stores, such as Michaels. It's a couple of dollars, and you can probably re-foam about 20 cameras. Plus, if you make a mistake, you simply cut another piece.

    Another benefit of Foamies is that the material should have a longer shelf life than replacement foam that you buy.

    Then you need a hobby knife and a ruler.

    I use a very narrow blade screwdriver to dig the stuff out of the back channels. And then make sure you clean all of the metal parts as best as you can with some lighter fluid and tissues.

    I usually can clean and re-foam a camera in about 30 minutes or so. It's well worth the effort.
     
  9. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,786
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Location:
    Minneapolis,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    There are instructions on the web for replacing the prism; apparently not too difficult a task. Replacement prisms can be sourced from later, cheaper OM bodies (OM-10 or OM-PC, I can't remember which) which can often be found for pennies if not functioning. You might want to keep an eye out for one of those and pick one up if you find it.
     
  10. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,067
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Montgomery,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If it was paid with Paypal and the seller didn't reveal the damage in the prism, It can be returned if you make a claim with PP for item not as described.
    The light seal in the body are easy, the damaged prism, not so much.
     
  11. wblynch

    wblynch Member

    Messages:
    1,636
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Location:
    Mission Viej
    Shooter:
    127 Format
    I would not use any metal tools to scrape out the old foam seals. Get a bamboo chopstick from a Chinese restaurant and trim it down to fit in the grooves. Then you won't scratch the metal camera.

    The prism rot is common but won't affect the photos. When you clean the camera, find the web site that shows how to remove the top plate and get that old foam out of there. You have to be real careful since there are delicate things in there and you don't want to drop any of the foam crumbs into the viewfinder.

    Don't destroy the film advance lever's cap screw. Use a rubber sink stopper as a friction tool to unscrew that thing.