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Thread: Feelin' Dumb

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    Feelin' Dumb

    Maybe this should be in one of the film forums, but here goes:
    I recently shot four rolls of Fuji 120, both B/W print and color reversal. All four had narrow light leaks, edge-to-edge, evenly spaced along the length of the roll. The obvious suspect was the little window on the back of my Kodak Brownie #2 Autographic. But then I realized that one of the rolls was shot in a roll-back on my Speed Graphic.
    I always load in subdued light, so that shouldn't be the cause. Anyway, I'm sure I shot 120 as a kid, and I don't remember any problems then.
    So, question: Are the light traps on 120's less than effective, or am I missing something? My only other thought is that the lab that processed them is screwing up, which I doubt. Any suggestions? Thanks.

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    BobD's Avatar
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    Light seals work fine if in good condition. Unfortunately, the foam material they are made from degrades in time making it necessary to replace them.

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    Cameras with a red window to indicate the frame number were intended to be used with orthochromatic film. For modern fast panchromatic films it is best to cover the window with black electrical tape when it is not being used. From my experience the paper backing may not provide enough protection in strong light.

    Older cameras used felt light traps not foam. These did not deteriorate like the foam ones. Check to make sure that they are not missing or loose.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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    I was speaking of the Graflex roll film back -- the ones I've seen have foam seals.
    I'd be surprised if the Brownie has any seals at all but I suppose it's possible.

    In any case, whether foam or felt or fabric or other materials, light seals still have a
    tendency to degrade with time and develop leaks and should be replaced when this
    is the case.

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    Thanks for the replies. Actually, I don't think the cameras themselves leak. When I refered to "light traps" I meant the slit on the film cartridge itself through which the film is extracted and re-wound. I'm going to get to the bottom of this somehow.

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    120 is on a spool with paper backing, not in a cartridge like 35mm film.

    Edit: The paper backing on 120 film used to be quite a bit thicker, and I suspect a softer paper that may have been cut a hair wider and formed a better light seal on the spool flanges.
    Bob

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    If you have 4 rolls that show leaks, and were shot in two different cameras, then the leaks are probably in handling. If the film isn't wound tightly when you take it out of the camera, and tape the end it can be loose enough to get some light under the spool flange.

    Try pulling the tail some (while holding the spool) before you tape it to make sure it's tight and won't unwind.

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    xya
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    very strange

    Quote Originally Posted by bdial View Post
    ... If the film isn't wound tightly when you take it out of the camera, and tape the end it can be loose enough to get some light under the spool flange...
    IMHO it can't be this as it's described as "evenly spaced along the length of the roll". it would get narrower towards the beginning of the spool as the diameter increases by winding the film onto the spool. this is really mysterious and strange. as it's 2 different cameras and 2 different kinds of film I suspect neither the cameras neither the film material. this leaves the lab. could you ask how the proceed? I would really be interested to know if and when you find out.

    reinhard

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    ("fat roll" light leaks)

    Quote Originally Posted by xya View Post
    IMHO it can't be this as it's described as "evenly spaced along the length of the roll". it would get narrower towards the beginning of the spool as the diameter increases by winding the film onto the spool.
    The difference isn't huge with 120, though, and I could believe that it could look more or less evenly spaced.

    I think it'd be useful to see a partial scan of the roll, to get a clearer idea of what we're talking about. OP, any chance of that?

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

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    I own a Kodak Brownie Autographic #2 and I can tell you that you should expect that the camera will leak in ways you don't expect, but there are some things you can do.

    1. Check the bellows, then check it again, when you are done check once more, look at odd angles and try folding and unfolding while checking.

    2. Make a "door" to go over the ruby window and only open it when you need to see inside, that includes learning that about one and a half turns of the crank is one frame (Check this for yourself before taking my word for it). Remember that the distance the film pulls per turn of the crank increases as you get closer to the end of the roll. Also if you can get a nice disc of light tight foam to put inside the camera around the window so that it makes a light trap between the window and the back of the film that will help. Finally, never let sunlight hit the ruby window directly.

    3. Check the springs on the back door of the camera that press the film against the front of the camera, you may need to pull them up a little to hold the film against the nice light tight chamber behind the bellows.

    4. Avoid using color film in the camera, and try to stick with 100 speed or slower film.

    The Brownie Autographic #2 is a fun little camera and I actually took some of the best photos I have of my children with it, but it can drive you insane with the light leaks. Once you have them all beaten you will love the camera.

    Oh, yes IMO the reason you are seeing marks the look to be evenly spaced is because that is where the light was hitting the film when you stopped turning the crank to turn your hand so you could turn the crank again.
    "Would you like it if someone that painted in oils told you that you were not making portraits because you were using a camera?"
    "Shouldn't it be more about the joy of producing and viewing the photo than what you paid for the camera?"

    Me

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