Light leaks

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A light leak is any light - other than that focused through the lens - that gets inside the camera body. Light leaks can spoil film while it is in the camera.

Light leaks generally show up as bright streaks or fogging on film, and are often due one or more of the following:

  • inadvertent opening of the camera before the film is safely rewound or fully wound on
  • the deterioration of foam seals around a film door on older cameras
  • the deterioration of foam seals around the dark-slide slot on medium format
  • cracks or pin holes in the bellows of folding cameras
  • poor manufacturing standards, as in the case of the Diana

In addition, apparent light leaks can occur among some older Soviet cameras, such as the Lubitel and the Sputnik because the inside of the film/exposure chamber lacks a coating that acts as a light baffle (the inside is comprised of untreated, shiny Bakelite allowing the light beams to bounce around).

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