Leica M5 light leak

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Pieter12

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I recently purchased an M5 from KEH. First roll of film seemed OK, send and third exhibit a strange light leak. I have attached some examples (bad scans, but you can see the problem). The film is badly fogged for the first 4 frames, then the next frame is partially fogged on the left side (example 1). The entire roll is fogged along the top and bottom sprocket area and into the image as well (example 2).

I only see one light seal on the back door on the right side. Should there be more?
M5 fog example 1.jpg
M5 fog example 2.jpg
 

Sirius Glass

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Contact KEH and they will replace the light seals for you at no charge.
 

Arvee

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Developed at home or commercially? The light leak along the bottom seems to intensify at intervals that match the sprocket holes which would indicate that perhaps the fogging occurred with the film outside the camera - perhaps a leaky changing bag? Need more info....
 
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Pieter12

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Developed at home or commercially? The light leak along the bottom seems to intensify at intervals that match the sprocket holes which would indicate that perhaps the fogging occurred with the film outside the camera - perhaps a leaky changing bag? Need more info....
Developed at home. Both rolls at the same time. There is the same issue with both rolls. Also developed 3 rolls of 120 under the same circumstances the same day, not issues. I'm attaching a couple of quick shots of the contact sheets. The first 5 frames are totally white so I did not proof. What I don't get is why the film is severely fogged at the beginning of the roll and not at the end. As well as the edges.
IMG_8522.JPG
IMG_9499.JPG
 

Arvee

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Hmmm, to me it looks as though the film was loaded on a reel and the outer spiral was exposed to light causing the first frames to fog and the edges of the inner spirals were fogged as well (the innermost frames would be protected but would still be edge fogged. Second theory: they resemble a roll of 120 that wasn't wound tight and the edges get fogged after removing from camera in daylight.
Intuitively, I can't see that a camera leak would cause this kind of fogging but I could very well be wrong. The M5 has a flip-up back like my M3 and if the bottom plate were leaking light it would affect the top edge of the film much more so than the bottom (top of neg closest to bottom plate). I still think it's a leaky sleeve on the changing bag - I've had similar experiences with cheap bags that produced the kind of fogging you're seeing. I changed my film loading from doing it in daylight to using the bag in a darkroom and the problem disappeared. I would examine the sleeve elastic on the bag and see if there is a possible weakness. I mostly had problems with 400 speed film and didn't see it happening with Pan F+.

Let us know what you find out, I am very curious as to what caused this problem.

Edit: were the two rolls loaded simultaneously into a two roll tank or processed separately?
 
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Hmmm, to me it looks as though the film was loaded on a reel and the outer spiral was exposed to light causing the first frames to fog and the edges of the inner spirals were fogged as well (the innermost frames would be protected but would still be edge fogged. Second theory: they resemble a roll of 120 that wasn't wound tight and the edges get fogged after removing from camera in daylight.
Intuitively, I can't see that a camera leak would cause this kind of fogging but I could very well be wrong. The M5 has a flip-up back like my M3 and if the bottom plate were leaking light it would affect the top edge of the film much more so than the bottom (top of neg closest to bottom plate). I still think it's a leaky sleeve on the changing bag - I've had similar experiences with cheap bags that produced the kind of fogging you're seeing. I changed my film loading from doing it in daylight to using the bag in a darkroom and the problem disappeared. I would examine the sleeve elastic on the bag and see if there is a possible weakness. I mostly had problems with 400 speed film and didn't see it happening with Pan F+.

Let us know what you find out, I am very curious as to what caused this problem.

Edit: were the two rolls loaded simultaneously into a two roll tank or processed separately?
The rolls were in a 2-roll (Jobo) tank. They were loaded in the darkroom, just minutes before 3 rolls of 120 that came out fine in another Job tank. It occurred to me that there might have been a problem with the tank but the fogging is so similar on both rolls, leading me to think it is the camera. Also the major fogging is at the beginning of each roll, which would be toward the center of the reel. The HP5+ is fresh, was kept in it's canister before and after being in the camera, and transported in a cooler bag. Could there be a problem with the 35mm cartridge? I noticed the film box had changed from previous rolls I had purchased, these had a black band across the bottom of the box with the Harman name.
 

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It's a mystery!! Shoot another roll tomorrow making sure sunlight hits the camera from all angles and let us know how it goes.
 

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there is no way an M5 could cause this sort of fogging. It loads from the bottom, as i recall, just like the others -- and there's no light seals to replace, Leicas are machined to not need them.

I agree with the others -- this has to have happened outside the camera -- last time I had something similar it was when I took a roll of bulk loaded film out of my pocket and noticed the bottom cover of the canister had come off and was still rattling around in my pocket.

I quickly covered the bottom, went to the darkroom and replaced the canister cap -- and when i souped the roll I got results similar to this.

You need to inspect every step of the process -- if this is bulk film go into the darkroom and take about two feet out of the loader in the dark, roll it onto a reel and soup it and see if it has fog. Then have a look at your bulk loader, your canisters, everything.

Check the lid on the jobo developing tank -- was it on tight? This looks a LOT as if it got a light leak after you loaded it onto the reels. You say the two rolls looking the same makes you think it is not the tank -- but where else are the two rolls subject to the same forces or incidents?

Someone cracking the lid open after they are loaded, especially in dim light of a darkroom, would cause exactly this sort of fogging. Have you had your darkroom de-ghosted lately? Do you have gremlins? Small house apes that some folks call "children" who get curious about that round thing daddy has on the table?
 
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there is no way an M5 could cause this sort of fogging. It loads from the bottom, as i recall, just like the others -- and there's no light seals to replace, Leicas are machined to not need them.

I agree with the others -- this has to have happened outside the camera -- last time I had something similar it was when I took a roll of bulk loaded film out of my pocket and noticed the bottom cover of the canister had come off and was still rattling around in my pocket.

I quickly covered the bottom, went to the darkroom and replaced the canister cap -- and when i souped the roll I got results similar to this.

You need to inspect every step of the process -- if this is bulk film go into the darkroom and take about two feet out of the loader in the dark, roll it onto a reel and soup it and see if it has fog. Then have a look at your bulk loader, your canisters, everything.

Check the lid on the jobo developing tank -- was it on tight? This looks a LOT as if it got a light leak after you loaded it onto the reels. You say the two rolls looking the same makes you think it is not the tank -- but where else are the two rolls subject to the same forces or incidents?

Someone cracking the lid open after they are loaded, especially in dim light of a darkroom, would cause exactly this sort of fogging. Have you had your darkroom de-ghosted lately? Do you have gremlins? Small house apes that some folks call "children" who get curious about that round thing daddy has on the table?
The film was in factory canisters, not bulk loaded.
The film was loaded onto the developing reels the evening before, and the tanks (both 35 and 120) with lids and caps on were put in a black plastic bag (that photo paper is wrapped in), folded over and clipped closed. The darkroom was unlit the rest of the time until I processed everything the next morning. I thought about the possibility that the lid might not have been seated well (I reseated the ring the next morning), but how would the film that was toward the center of the tank be the most fogged? And both reels, top and bottom on the center post, fogged almost the same way. As you can see from the contact sheets, the first 6 frames are totally gone. Maybe that is the amount of film that would make one turn at that point on the reel. I will shoot another roll tomorrow, maybe switch to Tri-X and see what happens.
 
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Sirius Glass

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The darkroom seems to be OK. I have been using this darkroom for that last year or so and never had this happened before. The 3 rolls of 120 I loaded minutes later came out fine.

That is a good start. We can eliminate that.
 

summicron1

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The film was in factory canisters, not bulk loaded.
The film was loaded onto the developing reels the evening before, and the tanks (both 35 and 120) with lids and caps on were put in a black plastic bag (that photo paper is wrapped in), folded over and clipped closed. The darkroom was unlit the rest of the time until I processed everything the next morning. I thought about the possibility that the lid might not have been seated well (I reseated the ring the next morning), but how would the film that was toward the center of the tank be the most fogged? And both reels, top and bottom on the center post, fogged almost the same way. As you can see from the contact sheets, the first 6 frames are totally gone. Maybe that is the amount of film that would make one turn at that point on the reel. I will shoot another roll tomorrow, maybe switch to Tri-X and see what happens.
Hmmm.

I am not familiar with jobo reels -- are they hollow, and when the light is on is there any way for light to go down through the lid and hit the reels that way?

i repeat, this is not the camera. And looking at the film, with the sharp-ish delineation where the total fog ends, it just looks as if the film was on a reel and the outside layer got fogged. And yet you say the fogged area was on the inside/center of the reel ...

hmmm. no clue. but it could not possibly have been the camera -- may want to shoot some infrared and see if there's a ghost hanging around.
 

Sirius Glass

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Hmmm.

I am not familiar with jobo reels -- are they hollow, and when the light is on is there any way for light to go down through the lid and hit the reels that way?

i repeat, this is not the camera. And looking at the film, with the sharp-ish delineation where the total fog ends, it just looks as if the film was on a reel and the outside layer got fogged. And yet you say the fogged area was on the inside/center of the reel ...

hmmm. no clue. but it could not possibly have been the camera -- may want to shoot some infrared and see if there's a ghost hanging around.

Jobo reels require a black tube that runs through the center to block incoming light.
 

bdial

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One way to eliminate your darkroom or procedures as a cause is to shoot a roll of C-41 and have it processed in a commercial lab.
 

Huss

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One way to eliminate your darkroom or procedures as a cause is to shoot a roll of C-41 and have it processed in a commercial lab.

Yup. Pieter, you live in San Mon. If you drop a roll off at Samys in Culver City in the morning you'll have it back in the afternoon for $6 dev only.
When I get home I can check my M5 to see how many seals are in there.
 

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I had a light leak in my M5 that may be germane. I was getting triangles of light exposure in the bottom left corner of some of my negative; as the image on the negative is upside down, that means the light was hitting the film by light coming from the top of the camera, on the right hand side as it is held to the eye. I had to send the camera back to Sherry Krauter twice before she was able to address the problem: light was somehow getting down the film advance shaft (that drives the film sprocket roller) and onto the film. In my case, the triangle would vary in brightness depending on how strong the light was. Not exactly your problem, but maybe something to consider.
 
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Just a delayed update. Processed a roll from the M5 and no apparent problems. The issue must have been Operator Error. Still not sure how, but glad this roll is fine.
 

Sirius Glass

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Just a delayed update. Processed a roll from the M5 and no apparent problems. The issue must have been Operator Error. Still not sure how, but glad this roll is fine.


Ah, the technical term is Operator Assisted Failure [OAF: usage "The oaf did this."]
 
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