Is light seal foam expensive everywhere?

.

A
.

  • 1
  • 0
  • 133
Promethea Moth

D
Promethea Moth

  • 1
  • 0
  • 109
On The Nest

D
On The Nest

  • 3
  • 1
  • 148
Reception area - Spain

A
Reception area - Spain

  • 3
  • 3
  • 251

Recent Classifieds

Forum statistics

Threads
189,616
Messages
2,644,214
Members
97,308
Latest member
crockodile
Recent bookmarks
0

LordWout

Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2024
Messages
6
Location
Netherlands
Format
35mm
I recently bought a secondhand camera that I plan to use, but upon inspection I saw that the light seals are as flat as a pancake and likely haven't ever been replaced. I imagine it's pretty expensive to let an expert do it, so I'm thinking about replacing them myself. I don't have any past experience with this, but after watching some video's on youtube it seems simple enough.
When I look at the buying options online, the cheapest option for a single sheet is like 12 euro's with 9 euro's delivery costs. Is it that expensive everywhere, or am I just unlucky to be living in the Netherlands?
Does anybody else living in my area have a similar experience and can help me with finding a cheaper alternative, or should I just bite the bullet?

Edit: I realize that I posted this in the wrong category, my apoligies. Maybe somebody can help me move it
 

koraks

Moderator
Joined
Nov 29, 2018
Messages
12,059
Location
Europe
Format
Multi Format
How many cameras can you do with that single €21 sheet?
There's only so much time I'm willing to commit to searching for a cheaper alternative. Sometimes it makes sense to just get it over with and not look back.
 

jay moussy

Subscriber
Joined
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
1,309
Location
Eastern MA, USA
Format
Hybrid
At Michael's, a craft store chain in the U.S., I found this smooth foam material, the size of a letter, 2 mm thick.
I have used it with cement on older cameras, nothing too fancy, with good results.
"Little Makers" foam sheet says the label.
 

jimjm

Subscriber
Joined
May 2, 2007
Messages
1,149
Location
San Diego CA
Format
Multi Format
You can buy replacement foam seal kits for specific cameras, but these will be more expensive than just foam sheets of different thicknesses that you cut yourself. I've had a supply of foam that I've used on at least 20 or 30 cameras over the past 10 years. Micro-Tools has a kit of 10-inch foam sheets of different thicknesses shown here.
Or you can just buy a few sheets of thick and thin foam which will last for years. In any case, foam replacement is an easy job on most cameras.
 

Nicholas Lindan

Advertiser
Advertiser
Joined
Sep 2, 2006
Messages
3,863
Location
Cleveland, Ohio
Format
Multi Format
I found it much easier to buy a kit of foam that was pre-cut for the specific camera.

Randomly selected from Google results:
 

MattKing

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2005
Messages
46,602
Location
Delta, BC, Canada
Format
Multi Format
My former camera repair technician, Horst Wenzel (R.I.P.) used to charge me one fee for putting new seals in, and a significantly larger fee for clearing out old seals and then putting in new seals.
Although he would sometimes recommend a type of fabric yarn rather than adhesive foam, for particular parts of the work. The yarn is much easier to remove and replace.
This may give you a sense of where the work mostly is.
 

4season

Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2015
Messages
1,589
Format
Plastic Cameras
Yes, that foam is wildly expensive, but it might be worth it if it's from a known source. I don't know how true, but I've heard claims that good stuff lasts much longer. "Moltopren" is commonly mentioned in Japanese repair circles, and the genuine stuff originates from one specific manufacturer:

https://www.inoac.co.jp/en/solution/moltopren.html

I get mine via Aki-Asahi. Most of the actual expense is not the foam itself, but the labor involved in removing the old stuff, and installing the new.
 

Andreas Thaler

Subscriber
Joined
Nov 19, 2017
Messages
1,424
Location
Vienna/Austria
Format
35mm
I don't have any past experience with this, but after watching some video's on youtube it seems simple enough.

When removing the old light seals and any existing mirror shock absorbers, you have to be careful that none of the often sticky parts get into the shutter or onto other moving parts. First the rotten stuff sticks together and then it might get hard.
 

Andreas Thaler

Subscriber
Joined
Nov 19, 2017
Messages
1,424
Location
Vienna/Austria
Format
35mm
@Andreas Thaler on the topic of sourcing foam for this purpose, what would you recommend? Note that OP is in Europe like both of us.

I've never changed seals and dampers myself because I haven't had the courage to do so 🥶

There is an unused Nikon F3AF here, the mirror shock absorber is sticky and crumbling. I don't dare do this myself.
 

koraks

Moderator
Joined
Nov 29, 2018
Messages
12,059
Location
Europe
Format
Multi Format

Andreas Thaler

Subscriber
Joined
Nov 19, 2017
Messages
1,424
Location
Vienna/Austria
Format
35mm
Thanks, much appreciated. I think I've seen that web page before. It's not immediately clear to me if he also sells larger patches of the stuff, or only camera-specific cut outs. Either can be very useful.

Yes, sorry, that doesn't quite address the OP's question, but maybe still useful.
 

Andreas Thaler

Subscriber
Joined
Nov 19, 2017
Messages
1,424
Location
Vienna/Austria
Format
35mm
Thanks, much appreciated. I think I've seen that web page before. It's not immediately clear to me if he also sells larger patches of the stuff, or only camera-specific cut outs. Either can be very useful.

I also have to face the topic and have already ordered material for cutting from microtools.de. Up to now I can't say whether it's a good fit.

The challenge will be to cleanly remove the rotten old stuff and to cut the light seals to fit precisely and especially to completely replace them. The thickness of the stripes also has to be right.

It would therefore make sense to get a suitable set at the beginning.

My last camera repair shop used black string for light seals, which probably lasts longer.
 

Eugen Mezei

Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2007
Messages
451
Location
Transylvania
Format
Multi Format
I recently bought a secondhand camera that I plan to use, but upon inspection I saw that the light seals are as flat as a pancake and likely haven't ever been replaced. I imagine it's pretty expensive to let an expert do it, so I'm thinking about replacing them myself. I don't have any past experience with this, but after watching some video's on youtube it seems simple enough.
When I look at the buying options online, the cheapest option for a single sheet is like 12 euro's with 9 euro's delivery costs. Is it that expensive everywhere, or am I just unlucky to be living in the Netherlands?

Where comes the idea of anything has to be replaced, no matter if it works or not? Did you put a film in that camera? How you know those seals are not perfeclty light thight?
Also, where comes the idea that you can buy only online? Go to a store with office supplies or the supermarket near you and buy a mousepad. Or you will find some on the flea market. Some cameras also are better served with a thick black wool thread.
And not least, where did all Dutch got the idea of separating the s for plural?
 

koraks

Moderator
Joined
Nov 29, 2018
Messages
12,059
Location
Europe
Format
Multi Format
And not least, where did all Dutch got the idea of separating the s for plural?

Eugen, this is an international forum. People make language mistakes all the time. I do, OP does, and you do, too. Let's not start picking apart each other's posts to correct these things. If the message is clear, then leave it at that. If it isn't, ask for clarification.

Your other suggestions are valuable, although I feel they could have been presented in a more constructive manner.
 

Andreas Thaler

Subscriber
Joined
Nov 19, 2017
Messages
1,424
Location
Vienna/Austria
Format
35mm
Where comes the idea of anything has to be replaced, no matter if it works or not? Did you put a film in that camera? How you know those seals are not perfeclty light thight?

If something is rotten or no longer in good condition, it should be replaced. Seals don't last forever and I wouldn't want to sacrifice a film for testing.
 

koraks

Moderator
Joined
Nov 29, 2018
Messages
12,059
Location
Europe
Format
Multi Format
If something is rotten or no longer in good condition, it should be replaced. Seals don't last forever and I wouldn't want to sacrifice a film for testing.

Yes, although I do agree with @Eugen Mezei that it makes sense to fix a problem only if it exists. I have used cameras with very abysmal light seals that still didn't show any light leaks, and I left it at that. Should I have replaced them? Maybe, if I wanted to restore the camera to a like-new condition. But if you're in it for the photos, and the photos are fine, there's something to be said for just leaving it alone.
 

Andreas Thaler

Subscriber
Joined
Nov 19, 2017
Messages
1,424
Location
Vienna/Austria
Format
35mm
Yes, although I do agree with @Eugen Mezei that it makes sense to fix a problem only if it exists. I have used cameras with very abysmal light seals that still didn't show any light leaks, and I left it at that. Should I have replaced them? Maybe, if I wanted to restore the camera to a like-new condition. But if you're in it for the photos, and the photos are fine, there's something to be said for just leaving it alone.

At least the mirror shock absorber should be replaced if it is no longer fully intact. Cameras often sit unused for a long time and after a few shutter releases the stuff breaks off and falls into the mirror box. That's uncomfortable.

I have the problem with my Minolta X-700, which I recently have renovated. At the beginning everything looks good and then it falls suddenly apart after releasing the shutter:

IMG_6989.jpeg



The light seals are less of a problem here because they are mounted in recesses where they cannot crumble directly into the shutter unless the stuff has stuck to the back door:

IMG_6990.jpeg


IMG_6991.jpeg



OT OVER
 

Eugen Mezei

Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2007
Messages
451
Location
Transylvania
Format
Multi Format
If something is rotten or no longer in good condition, it should be replaced. Seals don't last forever and I wouldn't want to sacrifice a film for testing.

Well, seals can last forewer. Depends on the seal and what it is made of.

I dont know what type of camera this is. If you dont want to sacrifice a film, shine a light into it. Where light can get in, it will also spill out. You can see that in a dimmed room.
To reduce cost you could use black and white film. And develop yourself. And use only a few frames. C-41 film has the advantage that you know the direction from where the light comes in.
I speculate your camera is a 35 mm SLR. My experience is, the light leak is almost every time at the hinge of the back door. The grooves where the door goes into the body are deep enough to block light even with gummed up seals. (You can use that gum to put a wool thread in the groove.) So it usually is only a replacement of the foam at the hinge. Or you use an everready case.

I do agree to replace/repair something not in working order. But why suppose it is in non-working order before you tried it? In this same context, I find it always amusing when people buy a Leica and even before putting a film into it they already ask where they can CLA it.
 

Andreas Thaler

Subscriber
Joined
Nov 19, 2017
Messages
1,424
Location
Vienna/Austria
Format
35mm
I do agree to replace/repair something not in working order. But why suppose it is in non-working order before you tried it? In this same context, I find it always amusing when people buy a Leica and even before putting a film into it they already ask where they can CLA it.

I look at this from a service and repair perspective. Whatever is wrong, I try to fix it. But of course you can also see it pragmatically, as you do.

To get back to the OP, he described a condition of the light seals that no longer indicates 100 % functionality. hence time for service, today or tomorrow. Hopefully no important film will be damaged tomorrow:

I recently bought a secondhand camera that I plan to use, but upon inspection I saw that the light seals are as flat as a pancake and likely haven't ever been replaced.
 
Last edited:

reddesert

Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2019
Messages
1,787
Location
SAZ
Format
Hybrid
Light seals and mirror foam aren't hard to clean off and replace, much less time-consuming, invasive, or costly, than getting a CLA. It depends on the camera, because for example many 35mm SLRs have a channel around most of the back that forms a labyrinth light trap and you only might have to be concerned about a piece near the hinge.

On the other hand, some compact cameras don't have a labyrinth and you do want some foam or felt on the back (for example the popular Canonet QL17 usually has some gooey foam residue on the back that should be fixed), or there is crumbly mirror foam that will be magically attracted to the focusing screen, like in Andreas's X-700.

For crumbly mirror foam like that, consider putting a drop of alcohol either on the foam or on the tip of a plastic spudger, and using the spudger to scrape off the foam residue. Do this while holding the camera up, lens opening down, so that all the scraped off gunk falls out and not into the camera.
 
Photrio.com contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.
To read our full affiliate disclosure statement please click Here.

PHOTRIO PARTNERS EQUALLY FUNDING OUR COMMUNITY:



Ilford ADOX Freestyle Photographic Stearman Press Weldon Color Lab Blue Moon Camera & Machine
Top Bottom