Rollei 35 Light Leak?

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by Ben 4, Sep 5, 2007.

  1. Ben 4

    Ben 4 Member

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    I was recently given a Rollei 35 (the compact, scale focus camera--it's the model with the 3.5 Tessar). I've had fun running several rolls of film through it and have generally been impressed with the results. But I've encountered what looks like a light leak (see attached image, top center). The evidence does not appear on every frame: the first roll had perhaps 4 (of 36) affected, the second roll had only one, but the third had 5 or 6 leak-smeared prints. When it does appear the leak is always in the same spot, (though it does vary in intensity), at the top center on prints, bottom center on slides.

    I see no obvious sources for the leak on the camera body; the back fits snugly and the camera seems solid. Perhaps the lens tube (the camera has a retractable lens) is involved? Anyone else experience this problem? Any ideas on how easy it is to fix on this camera?

    --Ben
     

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  2. elekm

    elekm Member

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    Ben, a suggestion. With no film in the camera, remove the back.

    Get a flashlight, turn it on and insert it into the film chamber. Go into a dark room and slowly retract and extend the lens. See if you can detect any stray light.

    I would check this first. Let us know if you find anything.

    There are some other possibilities, but I would check this first.
     
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    Ben 4

    Ben 4 Member

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    I'll give that a try

    Thanks for the suggestion, Mike. I'll give that a try when I get home tonight. I've been surprised by how much I like using this camera.

    --Ben
     
  4. sionnac

    sionnac Subscriber

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  5. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    They're gorgeous little cameras, but I've had problems with both the ones I've had: wind-on jamming and poor lens locking. Now there's your story. I just don't trust 'em any more: I'd rather use my Retina IIa with a faster lens and coupled rangefinder.
     
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    Ben 4

    Ben 4 Member

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    No Leaks Around the Lens Barrel

    Well last night I tried the test suggested above and did not see any light leaking around the lens barrel. Any thoughts about where to look next? If the camera had any foam seals, I'd suspect those, but I don't see a trace of foam anywhere.
     
  7. johnnywalker

    johnnywalker Subscriber

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    Would you people take this discussion off-line? I'm waiting for one of these to arrive in the mail, and don't want to hear negative things about this camera!:sad:
     
  8. Doug Smith

    Doug Smith Member

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    My Rollei (same model as yours) developed a light leak similar looking to yours but mine was due to the back not fitting properly. It didn't quite slide all the way up to the top. As I recall I had to flex the bottom piece that holds the back in place so that it locked securely and haven't had a problem since. I carry mine with me wherever I go. It's my favorite camera (used to belong to my father).

    Good luck.
     
  9. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    I got mine from my mom, who bought it in 1972 at a sale at the Harvard Coop :smile:

    johnnywalker - I have had no problems with mine. It's the S-Xenar lens model. I wouldn't worry about it too much. The only re-occuring problem I've heard of is film ripping, but I think working with the camera carefully will avoid that problem.
     
  10. elekm

    elekm Member

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    I've had roughly half a dozen of these, and all have been very fine cameras. I've had no problems with light leaks.

    Because this is a German camera (even though many were made in Singapore), it doesn't use foam seals. Foam seals by and large are features of Japanese camera to compensate for an inadequate light-blocking labyrinth design for the back. For the most part, you won't find foam in German cameras.

    Getting back to the Rollei 35 cameras (not including the B35 or C35), the damage to the camera generally occurs in two areas:

    1) At some point, Rollei replaced a key metal gear in the film advance with a plastic one. It worked fine, except when a heavy handed user reached the end of the film and forced the film advance anyway, either damaging the gear or stripping the film sprockets or both.

    2) The shutter must be tensioned before the lens can be collapsed. However, if you twist the lens hard enough, you can snap the lens mount.

    There also are some other plastic parts that can fail, but these two are generally the most common problems with the Rollei 35 cameras.
     
  11. Murray Kelly

    Murray Kelly Subscriber

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    It looks terribly like the flare I get from one of my Helios-103 1.8/52 lenses on a Kiev mount. Always in the same place, and quite impossible to predict from the observed image in the viewfinder.

    Have a good look and check there isn't any delamination of any of the elements in the lens. Could be it needs some black paint judiciously applied to one of the groups.

    Murray
     
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    Ben 4

    Ben 4 Member

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    Thanks for the additional ideas, folks. I'll look at the back and the way it fits once again. How do I check for lens delamination?

    --Ben
     
  13. toyotadesigner

    toyotadesigner Member

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    I've checked your image. For a light leak the shape a bit too irregular. Try this: without a film advance the lever, turn and push the lens in. Then check the rear lens element: any scratch on it? Even if it is a tiny one it could be the reason. Scratches or a hair on the rear lens element can cause the weirdest effects if the light is at a certain position during exposure. In your case the irregularity should be located between 7 to 8 o clock when the lens is retracted.
     
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    Ben 4

    Ben 4 Member

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    Diverting attention, however briefly, from the Leica discussion…

    After Toyota Designer's post I went back and took another look at the rear element of the lens. At first glance it looked pristine. But, held at a certain angle, I could see little bits of gunk in several places. There is, as suggested above, a tiny deposit at about 7:00; there's also stuff at 11:00 and more just left of center. I should emphasize that the deposits are barely visible, but I suppose it is possible that they are causing the problem I'm seeing. In any case, I'll try cleaning this up (any hints on how to do it without scratching the lens?) and hope that solves the problem.

    --Ben
     
  16. c41

    c41 Subscriber

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    I hope your Rollei 35 is still going strong, Ben, over 10 years later :smile:

    Mine is a f/3.5 Schneider Xenar, made in Singapore, meter on the top, I like it very much.
    But I too have a light leak in mine. It's not in every frame but it is in every roll. Always roughly the same position (top of frame) and always giving a disappointing veiling glare to the image.
    It's the gap where there is no problem at the top of the frame, always with a clear horizontal definition, that makes me think perhaps it's mechanical - light leak in the barrel or back or something?

    Here's a good example of it, my daughter (the problem circled in red.)
    IMG-6899 - Copy.jpg

    Another example in colour, the same line at the top of frame visible..
    39207838804_3cc066cb22_z.jpg

    Can anyone tell me what is causing it as this camera is just the best in all other regards.
    Thanks.
     
  17. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Look at the bottom of the camera because the image is flipped over on the film.
     
  18. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Check the lenstube, underside for a leak.

    The leak is in front of the film with the light heading at the film at a very shallow angle.
     
  19. Heinz

    Heinz Subscriber

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    I had my Rollei 35S serviced by "Arlüwa Czens" http://www.arluewa.de just a few weeks ago. He showed me before the service that the small metal sliding rail at the bottom of the lens track was worn-out and no longer blackened and mentioned that this might have led to flares in the images. In fact I observed some in the past (see for example https://www.photrio.com/forum/media/boston-summer-slides.43376/ at the top of the image) when I had the camera in landscape orientation with a bright light just above the frame - which fits to his explanation. I still am shooting the first film inside the camera after the service (in which the rail was reworked and blackened again). If I think of it, I will try to include some images under these "flare" conditions to check if the flares have reduced now.
     
  20. Heinz

    Heinz Subscriber

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    I think I include the mentioned image with the flare on top, so that @c41 can see it outside the "media" pages - even though subscribing would be a great idea ;-)

    Best regards, Heinz

    boston_slide_2a_850.jpg
     
  21. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Coming in at the same shallow angle.
     
  22. c41

    c41 Subscriber

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    Thank you all, much appreciated.

    The shallow angle of the light leak makes sense, probably some degradation either in or around the lens sliding mechanism.

    I had a good look inside and the mechanism looks OK. There is some wear on the bottom rail and I can, with a lot of contortion, at just the right angle, view light when holding the extended lens from behind with a light in front.

    Here is a shot with the lens extended.
    L1006696.jpg

    I guess now my next choice is to a) live with it, b) repair it or c) sell it.

    Option A doesn't appeal, it is spoiling too many pictures.
    Option C isn't appealing either. I pass the problem on and now I have to find another one that may or may not have the same (or another) problem.
    Option B I suppose but I worry it might be 'good money after bad', my repair experiences here in Australia have been mixed. I'm very keen to see how you get on Heinz.

    FWIW I did at least discover that a hollowed out 35mm film cartridge lid makes a perfect lens hood. (My filters don't have front threads to use a threaded one.)
    L1006698.jpg

    Duly noted on the subs too Heinz :smile: Lapsed with the demise of Apug, I will investigate their renewal.
     
  23. AgX

    AgX Member

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    I do not know how much space there is behind the upper film-gate edge and the pushed-in lens barrel. If there is a tiny slit, you might consider attaching a tiny patch of black velvet there. But this would only work if the light otherwise is reflected off a kind of wedge directly behind that edge.
     
  24. mnemosyne

    mnemosyne Subscriber

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    Does the lens lock firmly into position or do you feel some wiggle when it is locked? There should be none. There is definitely excessive wear on the sliding rail of your camera, maybe the result of someone applying undue force when trying to push the lens into the body with the shutter uncocked ... most probably cannot be repaired in a classic fashion, as the rail appears to be an integral part of the body.

    As a makeshift solution, AgX's suggestion could work, there is tiny bit of room left with the lens fully seated in the body, but as the parts involved are moving and you have to rotate the barrel to lock it in the extended position there is some risk that anything you attach there could loosen sooner or later and become entangled in the sliding mechanism or the shutter actuating mechanism on the left and lock things up.

    You could also try if it is possible to block the light leak from the outside, with the help of a simple rubber ring around the lens barrel where it enters the body. Best solution would be to look for a replacement body in good shape.
     
  25. AgX

    AgX Member

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    A better solution would be cutting a piece of rubber sheet by means of circular cutter, as such would be easier to attach than a O-ring.
     
  26. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    I've got an LED version and so far no light leaks. She wasn't in great shape when I got her ($20 purchase) but now works beautifully after having her meter looked at, along with having a CLA.

    Don't stress until you get her - she's probably a real beauty, but hey, we all age - some of us more gracefully than others, and some of us definitely need a little help to stay in good shape. :wink:
     
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