Camera light seals are pretty straight forward and easy to replace, so much so, even my 8 year old son has done it with great success, obviously with a bit of guidance. Now, that said please do follow the instructions carefully and take great care as you go, knives are sharp and cleaning products do damage as well as clean. Like most tutorial websites here comes the disclaimer; Milliy’s cameras can not be held responsible for any accidents or damages to persons or goods, so please use this tutorial at your own risk.
Time Taken; 40 minutes
Tools and Materials needed;
- 3mm Open Cell Camera light Seal Foam Sheet
- 1.5mm Closed Cell Camera light Seal Foam Sheet
- Sharp Knife, Steel Ruler and Cutting Mat
- Tooth or Bamboo Chop stick
- Window Cleaner or Lighter Fluid, (Highly Flammable so please take care).
- Clean Cloth
- Masking/Decorators Tape
In the following photo’s I have placed green lines to show where the old light seal foam will need cleaning. I normally start with placing masking tape over the opening for the shutter curtains, do not press on to the curtains just around the outer frame, this helps to stop old sticky light seal foam from entering this area and jambing the curtains.
I then start cleaning using the cleaner, lighter fluid to soften the light seal foam slightly. Be careful not to flood the area, you will need just enough to help loosen the old foam. With the use of a cloth start to clean the hinge area and back door. Once clean and using a tooth pick I move on to the thin channels, (top and bottom of film compartment) this can be tricky so be patient and take your time.
Now that all the areas are cleaned, with the exception of the mirror damper, which we will come to later. We will need to start cutting the light seal foam, and contrary to belief it is not an art that requires a laser cutter. We will start with the channels and will be using the 1.5mm closed cell for these tracks.
There are two main reasons for using the closed cell over any other foam, first off my foam is a modern foam that will do the same job as the original foam compared to compression values and also by density in blocking the light. The closed cell also has the added bonus in its high resistance against it perishing over time. The other main reason is it can be easily cut by hand to extremely thin strips and in the case of this camera to 1.75mm in width as seen in the photo’s to the right. One thing I do advise my customers, and that is to use a scalpel with a new blade and a steel ruler, this really makes a huge difference over scissors, craft/hobby knives, kitchen knives and other just plain crazy implement that I have seen people try or other suppliers recommend.
Lets start by cutting the tracks for the channels top and bottom. You will need to use the 1.5mm closed cell foam cutting two strips 1.75mm wide and 148mm long. These will need to be trimmed further to allow for the film counter pin on the top channel and the film canister cut out for the bottom channel. Take one of the strips and cut 9mm off the end, this 9mm piece will be placed in the top channel coming from door hinge to the film counter pin. To place these strips in the tracks, first remove the adhesive backing and lick the adhesive, this will deactivate the adhesive to allow you time to position the foam correctly with the use of a tooth pick. Once your saliva has dried approx. 20 minutes the foam can be pushed down so that the adhesive makes contact. Remove 5mm off the rest of the trimmed strip and disregard this small piece, place the rest of it in the top channel starting from the other side of the camera, again use your saliva to deactivate the adhesive and push in using a tooth pick. Next do the same for the bottom channel, cut the strip in down to two pieces, one at 122mm and the other 17mm long. The 17mm long piece will go from the left hand side to the cut out for the film canister. The other piece 122mm will go from door hinge end back to the cut out.
Next cut two pieces from the 3mm open cell foam, 49mm x 6.5mm for the door hinge and 49mm x 6mm for the door at the catch end, remove adhesive backing sheet and stick in place. Please note that there are two small pieces either side of the catch, we will need to cut these from the 1.5mm foam. The sizes for these are 4mm x 24mm and 4mm x 18mm. To stick these in place again remove the backing and give the adhesive a lick, place in position using tweezers. 3mm foam may seem too thick for these areas and with standard foams it normally is, however my open cell foam has a good compression rate with a minimal stress factor, it has a high cell count to block light while still compressing down to 0.3mm (-+0.1mm).
Now its time to do the mirror damper foam, great care must be taken here. I had one friend who told me that he would place paper inside the mirror housing to stop any old foam from falling inside, I strongly urge people not to do this as it can cause more damage than any sticky foam will. I have replaced 1,000’s of mirror damper foam and if care is taken none of the old foam will drop inside this area. What I do is place the camera in one hand and hold it up high over some scrap paper, high enough so I can see what I am doing and with the other hand holding a tooth pick I scrap the old foam away, letting it fall on to the scrap paper. Once all the lose is removed I use my scalpel and tweezers to further clean the area. Don’t forget to change the scalpel blade and clean tweezers after using them to clean the old mirror damper foam. Once clean cut a replacement piece from the 3mm. 38mm x 3mm again remove the back and lick and use the tweezers to place the foam in its correct place.
Once this is done remove the masking/decorators tape and give the camera a light clean. Now your Fujica ST605 is ready to load up with film and test!