Instructables

Replace the light seals of your good old film camera

Picture of Replace the light seals of your good old film camera
Most film cameras have light seals at the door rims and mirror rest (SLRs only). These are made of some rubbery foams and they degrade over time. Considering that most of these tank-like cameras are over 20 years old, it is very likely that your camera is suffering from light seal degradation. Rotten seals will not perform as they should and leak light through the film door or the viewfinder.

Moreover, when degraded, the rubbery foam turns into a goo-like substance which will stain your focusing screen, mirror, or lens, contaminate the film compartment and even crumble over your film. It is very sticky and nasty, so it gets harder to clean when it gets worse.

But, you can find replacement light seals in bulk from ebay (search: light seal replacement, i.e., this one). Unless they are custom made, they are sold in bulk packs which you can cut/customize for your needs (most sets can fix over 3-4 cameras).

This instructable will show you how to apply them. I will start with my old Canon F-1 (I sold it long ago unfortunately). It was in great shape, except for the rotten foam light seals. They needed to be changed in time, so here is what we'll do next:

1. Identify and document the existing rotten seals,
2. Scrape off the seals, clean the surface,
3. Cut the new seal foam in correct size and shapes,
4. Apply the new seal foams in places.

There is not much risk in this operation, but you can still ruin the focusing screen, the mirror, and the shutter curtains if you are not careful. So be warned, and don't start if you don't feel comfortable.

 
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zzpza3 years ago
Good clear instructions, thanks! :)
cyberpolo4 years ago
Hi. Could you help in order to repair/replace the back door (film door) foam seals in a Canon A-1? Thanks a lot.
There's a guy on ebay who sells the foam, and he includes some instructions with it. 

http://shop.ebay.com/interslice/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_from=&_ipg=&_trksid=p3686
eBay user interslice sells kits for the A-1 and most of the A-series.
Around $9-$10 shipped, it's a great deal of savings versus camera shops charges of $100-$300 to "clean" it.
eielofview5 years ago
Sorry if I missed it but I am wondering where you got the mirror padding?
thearchitect (author)  eielofview5 years ago
The mirror padding came with the replacement light seal set I bought earlier. I just cut it into the right size and shape (which, I think, is missing in the instructable). K.
This looks really cool, but dangerous a bit. Well, to me it looks a bit dangerous... nice job anyways!
This is my official endorsement that GorillazMiko is officially Lame. Official.
thearchitect (author)  GorillazMiko6 years ago
Not really, if you are careful with the sticky goo shavings, it should be alright. Once I was doing this on an SLR with fixed focusing screen and a tiny piece stuck on the matte surface of the screen. Then I tried cleaning it and ruined it all over. Don't do that!.. :-)

K.
deadeye6 years ago
USCAMERA.COM HAS A GUIDE TO REPLACING LIGHT SEALS IN A CAMERA -HTTP://WWW.USCAMERA.COM/GUIDE.HTM. YOU CAN ALSO BUY THE SEALS FROM THEM.
Derin deadeye5 years ago
croppercapture2.jpg
Mine is bigger..
F58J5R5FI42ND7B.LARGE.jpg
chipchap6 years ago
very nice. i just ordered some of this foam for an olympus pen half frame camera. i first went to a shop where i was told that i would have to send it to olympus and it'd cost 150 € to repair :D
thearchitect (author)  chipchap6 years ago
Good job!.. half-frame rocks! I used to have a russian made half frame camera at uni years, before the digital revolution. It was fun. I was taking tons of pics of my friends and then scanning them and emailing... Serious fun. :-) Good luck... K.
Bongmaster6 years ago
now this seems good :) as long as i'm careful :) I'll have to check my foam seals now (well wen the film is spent at least) (Minolta XE-1)
thearchitect (author)  Bongmaster6 years ago
Thanks... Right!.. Get your film processed, quickly!.. :-)