Corroded film rails, is it tolerable in 35mm?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Hamster, Feb 4, 2009.

  1. Hamster

    Hamster Member

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    I have two Spotmatics that I haven't used in a while. A couple of years back I have to put everything in storage in a hurry so these two camera went into storage with film in it.

    I open one up today to replace the film and notices that the film (Ilford SFX 200) had caused corrosion on the film rails, the corrosion is noticably raised.

    From what I understadn this will cause focus problem if I use brighter lens such as the 1.4/50mm. And should not be used at all.

    Given that replacemant value for spotmatics are about US30, shall I attempt self repair of should I just consign these two as parts camera?

    Also are there any hints on how to prevent this from happening again? I am thinging a thin layer of silicone grease on the film rails once in a while.
     
  2. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    I think you can carefully scrape the corrosion off, or at least level with the original rails. Be careful that no dust falls into the shutter curtain. I've done this on one of my old Spotmatics, and it works fine.
     
  3. Kino

    Kino Member

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    Don't use any form of grease or lube, it will cause spotting on your negs.

    Go get an orangewood stick (used for cuticles in a beauty shop) and scrape it off. If you absolutely MUST use an abrasive, try a gentle rub with a very fine rouge compound and clean it thoroughly!

    As resummerfield says, be careful no dust or foreign matter falls into the shutter curtain.
     
  4. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    You've nothing to loose by trying, so I'd say give it a go. Kino's suggestion appears sound. I wouldn't worry too much about disturbing the film plane registration. If you're lucky it won't matter. If not, it will only be very apparent when fast lenses are used wide open.
     
  5. Mike Kennedy

    Mike Kennedy Member

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    The whole trick is to start with the least harsh method and work your way up.Get some painters tape (1 1/2' wide) to place between the film rails.I use it when replacing light seals to prevent crud from falling into the camera.
    A mild acid like white vinegar on Q-tips is a good cleaner.Windex is another.If the corrosion is really bad I might try a small pad of .00 sandpaper glued to a pencil end.Less is best with home brewed camera repair.
     
  6. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Yes, definitely. Don't be too enthusiastic or brutal-by-accident.
    I concur that Windex is a good option; I've used Windex on a cotton bud ("Q-tips") on corroded battery terminals in old flashes I've picked up as slaves. Scraping the corrosion may result in a 'scab' coming off, taking with it a section of rail, so 'no-no' in that regard and go very cautiously.

    Very fine facial emery paper is also good, but the same warning appears above and must be done with extreme care given the proximity to the shutter.
     
  7. archphoto

    archphoto Member

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    Like Kino said: wood, and Q-tip and rouge.
    In staed of rouge you can use copper or silver polish.

    Be reminded that the rails need to be clean and smooth not shining, some discoloration is not a problem.

    Peter
     
  8. Mike Kennedy

    Mike Kennedy Member

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    Like Peter mentioned.
    "Smooth" to prevent scratching or binding film.
     
  9. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    I've used very fine crocus cloth available from most hardware stores. It worked well on my old Exakta cameras but as the others mentioned be careful not to get any crud into the shutter mechanism.
     
  10. Kino

    Kino Member

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    I had an old Bell&Howell 16mm camera that had synthetic rubies in the gate as the pressure guides and they were wonderfully gentle on film and never seemed to wear, no matter how many thousand feet of film I put through it.

    Wish I still had that machine... It always made me wonder why higher-end camera manufacturers didn't use this in their pressure plate assemblies or why B&H stopped the practice?
     
  11. John Hermanson

    John Hermanson Member

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    Outline of sprocket holes gets imprinted on the film rails when the camera has been subjected to moisture / humidity during storage. John, www.zuiko.com