Light leaks

Normally I wouldn’t have bothered posting about another Leica rangefinder with another light leak (Previous Leica M4-2 light leak – Wetlands) but this turns out to a different problem.

After the first couple of films the M6 started to develop a problem which a first I thought might of been a light leak through the top of the door flap on the back of the camera body remembering the image is always upside down in a film camera. After which I tried to find the problem by exposing the camera to various light sources to see if I could narrow down where the light was getting in. This did not work, after developing a 12 exposure strip the film was clean, everytime!

I puzzled about this because none of the negatives had fogging across the sprocket holes only in the middle of the exposed negative. As you can see the very bottom of the negative is perfectly exposed. Not only that, on a roll of 36 exposures there would only be a few frames with these marks.

After some research online I’m pretty certain it is the shutter failing. I found on the Rangefinder forum an old thread about an M6 with the same problem. They found that some faster speeds, the shutter curtain was coming adrift causing the same fogging marks as mine has. The rubberised shutter curtain is not shutting at the top of the frame at same time as the bottom of the curtain at faster speeds thus allowing extra light across the exposure. It doesn’t effect every image as you can see with the previous pictures Winter Light and Onward, as I found the camera was fine to use at no more than 1/125th and below. Say this though, it would only be a matter of time before the shutter curtain failed completely.

Luckily for me this camera come six months warranty. So reluctantly, I carefully packed it plus added copies of the offending negatives and the camera is now on it’s way to have a repair and be serviced.

In hindsight knowing this camera body dates from 1986 from the serial number and is near pristine condition, so I do wonder how long it had been stored away in some cupboard only to suddenly find itself being used most days. You could say this idiot broke it by using the camera and expecting too much from it. Now, I just hope it not to long away at the repairers.

So if you see anyone online saying their Leica has these strange fogging marks across their negatives, point them in the direction of this post.


Leica M6, Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH taken on Fomapan 100 film.