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How to change the light seals in an old film camera

An example of a light leak

Old film cameras can last a long time with very little maintenance. One of the few things that fail, however, are the foam light seals. Thankfully, they’re easy to replace. 

A few months ago I picked up a Canonet 28 from the early-1970s. Mechanically, it worked perfectly, but it had a really bad light leak. As cool as the effect was in some shots, it was incredibly unpredictable and so I decided to repair it. It’s the camera in all the demo photos in this article. 

A few warnings

Old, decaying light seal foam is pretty gnarly stuff. It crumbles and the pieces that break free stick to everything. When you’re removing it, be very careful not to let it fall into the inner workings of your camera. It will just make a mess of whatever roll of film you shoot next. (I was somewhat fortunate that the seals in my Canonet were so rotten that there was very little left to remove.)

A film camera having its light seals replaced.

Also, while replacing the light seals is a relatively easy job, you should always be careful when working on old cameras. Take your time, don’t rush anything, and you should be fine. 

What you need to repair light seals

How to change the light seals in an old film camera

To replace your light seals, you need some new ones. They’re made of an opaque foam or felt that you can either buy in strips or, for common camera models, in pre-cut kits. I picked up this bumper pack from Milly’s Cameras in the UK, while Ebay seems to be the place to buy pre-cut kits. Go with whatever option will work best for you.

How to change the light seals in an old film camera

You also need a way to stick the new light seals into the camera. We’d recommend buying light seals that come with self-adhesive tape pre-attached, but you can also use Pliobond—it might just be a bit messier. 

To remove the old light seals you need a few bits:

  • A soft scraper. I used a wooden kebab skewer because I couldn’t find my iFixit repair kit.
  • Cotton buds.
  • Cloth or paper towels. 
  • A solvent, such as isopropyl alcohol. (I used methylated spirits as they’re easier to buy in Ireland.)

If you’re using a pre-cut kit, that should do. However, if you’re cutting your own you’ll also need:

  • An X-acto knife or similar.
  • A pair of scissors. 
  • A chopping surface.
  • A metal ruler. 
  • A pencil. 

Step 1: Remove the old seals

How to change the light seals in an old film camera

Remove the old light seals and any remaining adhesive residue. Start by scraping as much away as you can with your soft scraping tool, carefully tipping it out onto your work surface as you go. 

How to change the light seals in an old film camera

Once you’ve removed as much of the old seal as possible, use a cotton bud to carefully apply your solvent. 

How to change the light seals in an old film camera

Use a combination of your cloth, scraping tool, and cotton buds to get rid of all the residue that remains. 

How to change the light seals in an old film camera

It can take a little while, but you will eventually end up with a clean surface. 

How to change the light seals in an old film camera

Also, make sure not to miss any of the seals in the camera. They’re often on both the film door and surrounding the film chamber. 

Step 2: Insert the new seals

How to change the light seals in an old film camera

Unless you’re using a pre-cut kit, measure and cut the replacement strips. Make sure to use the foam or felt that most closely matches the original seals. 

How to change the light seals in an old film camera

Dry fit your light seals to make sure they’re the right size. It’s easier to leave them a little long and then trim off the edges at the end. 

How to change the light seals in an old film camera

If you’re using an adhesive, apply it now. Otherwise, carefully peel the backing paper from the foam and press them into the right spot on your camera. (Your soft scraper will be really useful for any awkward corners.)

How to change the light seals in an old film camera

Again, don’t miss any of the original light seal spots. 

Step 3: Wait

How to change the light seals in an old film camera

As tempting as it is to load a roll of film right away, don’t. Leave the adhesive set for at least a few hours. 

Then, close the film door and make sure everything fits okay. If you’ve miss-cut a light seal, you may need to trim it back or redo it. 

Finally, load a cheap roll of film to test your work. If all has gone well, the light seal problem should be gone.

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The best Cyber Monday camera deals

Cyber Monday cameras

Black Friday is over, but there are still tons of great camera and photography deals happening for Cyber Monday. This is always one of the biggest weeks of the year for internet purchases.

We’re going to be keeping track of all the biggest discounts on the most desirable products all day, so if you’re in the market for new gear, check back here regularly for more sales.

Cyber Monday Camera deals

Sony A7 III mirrorless camera body $1,798 (Was $1,999)

Sony A7 III with 28-70mm kit lens $1,998 (Was $2,198)

Fujifilm X-T3 mirrorless camera body $1,099 (Was $1,499)

Fujifilm X-T30 mirrorless camera body $799 (Was $899)

Fujifilm GFX 50R medium format camera $2,999 (Was $4,500)

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III with 14-150mm kit lens $1,099 (Was $1,799)

Nikon Z5 Mirrorless Camera with 24-50mm kit lens $1,296 (Was $1,696)

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 compact camera $397 (Was $697)

Sony ZV-1 compact camera for content creators $648 (Was $798)

Cyber Monday lighting deals

Flashpoint Xplor 300 Pro TTL R2 two-pack $679 (Was $998)

Flashpoint Zoom Li-on X TTL flash with Sony trigger $199 (Was $318)

LumeCube 18-inch Cordless Ring Light $149 (Was $179)

Cyber Monday instant film camera deals

Fujifilm Michael Kors Instax Mini 70 film camera $69 (Was $139)

Fujifilm Instax Square SQ1 Instant Camera $99 (Was $119)

Cyber Monday camera bag deals

Moment Rugged Camera Sling $99

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A Review of the Quirky and Capable Fujifilm X100V Mirrorless Camera

A Review of the Quirky and Capable Fujifilm X100V Mirrorless Camera

I have never loved a fixed prime lens camera, except for the Fujifilm X100 series. Quirky, fun, and impressively capable, these small cameras have become quite respected across the industry. Now in the fifth generation, the newest version is highly refined and versatile, and this excellent video review takes a look at the sort of image quality and performance you can expect from it. 

Coming to you from Maarten Heilbron, this great video review takes a look at the Fujifilm X100V. I was quite impressed by the X100V when I reviewed it. Though I normally do not care for fixed prime lens cameras, the X100 series has always been a ton of fun to use and has kept me coming back to it. Its unique design keeps you glued to the viewfinder and more importantly, keeps you having fun while shooting. But five generations into the series, the camera is not just a quirky device, it is a serious photographic tool that can tackle difficult scenarios and still produce high-quality images while still providing the features and experience Fuji users are so fond of. Check out the video above for Heilbron’s full thoughts on the X100V. 

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Ways to Improve Your Photography Without a Camera

Ways to Improve Your Photography Without a Camera

Photography is the sort of thing you can always find new ways in which to improve, whether it is your technique, creativity, business, or something else. If you are looking for ways to improve your photography, be sure to check out this fantastic video tutorial that will show you several ways to become a better photographer that will not require a camera. 

Coming to you from Dylan Goldby, this excellent video tutorial will show you several ways to improve as a photographer that do not require a camera. Of them, I think one of the most important is developing good patience, which is something that can apply whether behind the camera or at the computer. In this age of instant gratification, a lot of us (certainly myself included) can become easily and quickly disinterested or frustrated when we are not getting the shot we want or an edit is taking a long time to get just right. However, patience can often be what allows you to finally get the shot you truly want or to get that edit just right, and it will help you become a more intuitive and insightful photographer. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Goldby. 

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How to Choose the Right Camera Gear

How to Choose the Right Camera Gear

Camera gear is not only meant for professional work, it is a ton of fun as well. However, it is quite expensive, and as such, every purchase you make should be carefully considered beforehand. This helpful video tutorial features some good advice on how to choose the right gear for you.

Coming to you from Leigh The Snap Chick, this great video discusses how to choose the proper camera gear for you. The important thing to remember, I think, is that we can often get a lot more out of our gear than we think. That is not to say there are not situations in which a certain lens or camera body will enable you to get shots that you could not get otherwise, but before you pull out your credit card, really ask yourself if a bit of work on technique or exploring your creativity might be the better answer. Because, even if you do get that new gear, once the novelty wears off, those deficiencies will still be there. The situations in which we truly need to upgrade our gear to get the shots we desire are less common than we might think. Check out the video above for the full rundown. 

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Sony Alpha 7 IV Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera Review

Sony Alpha 7 IV Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera Review

Sony Alpha 7 IV
 

Quick Verdict

Billed as a “full-frame hybrid camera” the Sony A7 IV certainly lives up to its potential. Be it for high-quality stills, high-quality video shooting or streaming and connectivity it’s all there. This of course brings with it a certain level of complexity, so it takes some investment in time to understand and take full advantage of all the versatility that Sony has built in. This is time well spent though and the camera repays this effort in an abundance of functionality worthy of its status as the flagship of the A7 series.

+ Pros

  • Excellent stills image quality
  • Smooth high-quality movie shooting
  • Bionz XR Processor
  • Dust and moisture resistance
  • 5 Axis SteadyShot
  • Human, animal or bird Eye/Face AF tracking
  • Low noise
  • 10fps shooting

– Cons

  • Very complex menus that are not always intuitive
  • Full manual online only

 

 

Sony has an extensive array of interchangeable lens mirrorless cameras, both in full-frame and APS-C formats. To their credit, new models can exist for some time alongside the older versions that they replace, enabling also a variety of price levels and options. The A7 range does not have the highest resolution of the options available but has instead consistently offered a bias towards movie shooting and low noise stills shooting. Technology is now such that the edges of demarcation are blurring and we can expect satisfactorily high pixel counts (33MP in this case) alongside fast frame rates (10fps) and huge buffers (up to 800 shots). Couple this with a very sophisticated set of movie specifications, and we have a true hybrid camera that can satisfy the needs of a wide range of photographers.

The review sample has been provided with the FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM zoom lens, fully reviewed separately, so let’s take this heavyweight duo out into the field and see what it can do.

 

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Sony Alpha 7 IV Features

Sony Alpha 7 IV
 

The A7 IV is a robust, impressively well-made camera body with dust and moisture resistance, inbuilt SteadyShot (5-axis, up to 5.5 stops) and a sturdy 658g in weight, including SD card and battery. The lens provided, the Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM, fits smoothly and without any hint of rotational movement when mounted. One interesting improvement is that when the lens is removed the sensor is actually covered rather than being fully exposed.

The camera is slightly bulkier than the A7R III that we usually use for reviewing Sony lenses. This can be accounted for by the deeper grip, which works well, and the vari-angle rear monitor that enables a forward view that vloggers will appreciate should they wish to film themselves.

Much of the button placement remains similar to previous models, but there are a few significant tweaks to the layout. The top panel has gained a rotational dial beneath the mode dial to select stills, video and S&Q (Slow and Quick). The exposure compensation dial has lost its engraving, gained a locking button at its centre and gained a full range of adjustment from -5 EV to +5 EV. The rear command dial has become a top operating dial. There is a new actuation switch, marked with a red circle, which starts and stops video recording.

The rear of the camera is no surprise, with the usual control dials and buttons, with a vast array of customisation possible for every one of them. This brings us to the menus which are quite complex by necessity, but perhaps not as intuitive as the previous style. This is, of course, a very personal choice and no doubt with continued use everything will become more familiar and much easier to use.

 

Sony Alpha 7 IV
 

The Quad VGA OLED EVF (1.3cm, 0.5 type) has no less than 3,686,400 dots, gives 100% coverage and offers 0.78x magnification with a 50mm lens at infinity. The EVF has truly come of age, offering a superb, flicker-free view that is totally usable without any trace of eye fatigue. The only clue as to its electronic nature is that we have to switch it on to use it, unlike an optical viewfinder.

The 7.5cm (3.0 type) TFT touch panel monitor has 1,036,800 dots and is equally useful. Menus are crisp and clean. If the touch screen facility is not required then it can be switched off.

Metering has a wide range of sensitivity, from -3 EV to +20 EV. Base ISO values are ISO 100-51,200 and this can be extended to ISO 50-204,800. The ISO performance is excellent, as mentioned later.

Sony Alpha 7 IV
 

AF is a hybrid system using phase detection and contrast detection. It operates from -4 EV to +20 EV and works very well indeed, being sharp, fast and accurate. There is an AF illuminator that is effective from 0.3m to 3.0m. Eye and face recognition AF works beautifully, and now we have the option of selecting Human, Animal or Bird.

Media are accessed through the usual side panel and this has gained an additional locking switch. The camera accepts SD cards (including UHS-I and UHS-II) and CFexpress cards type A. Some video functions are dependent upon using the highest specification cards, be it SD or CFexpress.

There is no doubt that the A7 IV is a highly specified and highly effective tool for both stills photographers and videographers.

 

Key Features

  • 33MP Full-Frame (35.9mm x 23.9mm) Exmoor R CMOS Sensor
  • Shutter speeds 1/8000s to 30s (stills)
  • Shutter speeds 1/8000s to 1/4s (movie)
  • ISO range 100 – 51200 (50 to 204,800 extended)
  • Metering range EV -3 to EV 20
  • Vari-angle 7.5cm (3.0type) TFT touch panel monitor with 1,036,800 dots
  • Quad VGA 1.3cm (0.5 type) OLED EVF 3,686,400 dots, 100% field of view, 0.78x magnification with 50mm lens at infinity
  • 4:2:2 10 bit 4K, 7K oversampling and UHD Video, H.264 and H.265 formats
  • Streaming/webcam capability
  • Bluetooth Ver 4.1
  • Wireless LAN 2.4GHz/5GHz
  • Hybrid AF – phase-detection/contrast detection
  • AF range EV -4 to EV 20
  • Media: SD card (UHS-I and UHS-II compliant), CF Express Type A
  • 10 fps, buffer up to 800 shots
  • SteadyShot (5.5 stops)
  • Anti-Dust
  • 658g with SD card and battery
  • Fully adjustable picture profiles
  • Creative looks: Standard, Portrait, Subdued, Vivid, Vivid + Enhanced clarity, Moody, Monochrome, Sepia, Custom

 

Sony Alpha 7 IV Handling

Sony Alpha 7 IV
 

Handling is pure Sony and from a slow start as cameras morphed from Minolta to Konica Minolta and finally, to Sony, the learning curve and development have been intense, relentless and very, very successful. We now have state-of-the-art performance, design and handling and with so many alternative models something for every style of photographer.

The A7 IV is the pinnacle of a line of development that has looked to cater for those who wanted low noise and the ability to effectively shoot movies, as well as the general need for stills. Thus we move ourselves, perhaps from being pure photographers or videographers to being content creators, a hybrid that needs a hybrid choice of cameras. It’s all in the A7 IV, including a plethora of connection and communication options. With a 33MP sensor, there is plenty of resolution for stills as well.

The only points I would raise are the menus and the instruction manual. The menu system may well be liked by many, but in my opinion, I find it not particularly intuitive, although as with all things this improves with use and familiarity and of course once a camera is set up then the process does not need to be repeated. The instruction manual for an undeniably complex set of options would be helpful in printed form as the online version is not perhaps the most convenient way of getting the information across.

However, to be fair, once set up for stills, and then set up for video, the actual operation is smooth and hazard-free.  

 

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Solarcan Puck is a Limited-Time Palm-Sized Pinhole Solargraph Camera

Solarcan Puck

Solarcan Puck

Solarcan has announced Puck, a smaller limited-time version of its soda-can-shaped Sun-catching camera. The new model comes shaped like a circle and produces round instead of more traditional rectangle images.

Solarcan, created by photographer Sam Cornwell, specializes in producing solargraphy cameras that don’t require any DIY skills. Anyone can use them without knowing a single thing about pinhole cameras, development, or even solargraphs.

A Solarcan camera and a solargraph photo
The original Solarcan announced in 2017.

The company released its first model in 2017 on Kickstarter. Since then, it has also added a set of tinted Solarcans that produce vibrant and colorful results, and now — the small and round Puck.

Solarcan Puck

Once an exposure is started, the Solarcan Puck will capture the Sun’s path and produce a photo that can be retrieved inside afterward. The resulting image is inverted and can be scanned or photographed to get a digital copy.

To produce an image, photographers have to firmly fix the camera to a chosen outdoor location. The exposure begins when the tab inside is removed to allow light to pass through the pinhole.

Solarcan Puck

The photographic paper inside the camera only reacts to sunshine, so photographers don’t have to worry about light pollution from street lights, the Moon, or other sources.

The camera has f/132 and the exposure can last months or even years. For example, Solarcan customer Robert Miller set the camera to record Sun’s path as seen from Antarctica and produced a 6-months long exposure. Cornwell went a step further and attempted a timelapse shot with 27 Solarcans, thought to be the first of its kind.

Solarcan Puck

The new Puck works the same way as its predecessor model, except it catches a circle image. The new camera also comes with three exposures. Each next exposure is revealed after removing the cover sheet and gives photographers three goes to experiment with.

As the camera has no viewfinder, it can be tough to figure out the best camera placement for a good composition. The company recommends turning to community results to get ideas for this.

Below, the company has shared a few mock-up images of what the results shot by Solarcan Puck could look like.

Solarcan Puck solargraph

Solarcan Puck solargraph

Solarcan Puck solargraph

Solarcan has no plans to sell the Puck as a standalone product — it will instead be bundled with orders of over £30 ($40) for Black Friday weekend through November 28th.

“I’m not planning on making it a future product or selling it,” Cornwell tells PetaPixel. “It’s intended as a bit of fun for the community, hence I’m not putting a price tag on it. I’m just excited to see what people produce with it!”

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VTech Kidizoom Camera Now Under £30 In Amazon Black Friday Sale

VTech Kidizoom Camera Now Under £30 In Amazon Black Friday Sale

The popular VTech KidiZoom Duo Camera is currently listed in the Amazon Black Friday Sale where it’s available for £29.99 instead of the usual £57.99.

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Vtech 507103 Kidizoom Duo 5.0 in Offers

507103 Kidizoom Duo 5.0
 

The VTech KidiZoom Duo camera, which is designed for children, is currently featured in the Amazon Black Friday sale with 48% off the RRP which means you save £28

Available in pink and blue, the KidiZoom Duo has large handles to make it easy to hold as well as 2 optical viewfinders allowing binocular vision. It features a 2Mp camera, a VGA selfie camera and has a 2.3-inch colour LCD screen as well as 4x digital zoom. It’s great for creativity, with You&Me Photo Effects, 5 games, a voice recorder and photo edition options built-in. 

VTech Kidizoom Camera Now Under £30 In Amazon Black Friday Sale 1

 

The KidiZoom Duo is currently available for £29.99 (£57.99 RRP) but if you’re looking for a kids camera in a different colour or style, you might find what you’re looking for in our top digital cameras for kids list. You can also read our review of the KidiZoom Duo Camera.  

There’s also a case on offer for the VTech KidiZoom Duo camera which is priced at £11.99 and the VTech KidiZoom Studio Video Camera is discounted to £39.99. 

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Amazon Black Friday Offer: Save £100 On The Sony Vlog Camera ZV-1

Amazon Black Friday Offer: Save £100 On The Sony Vlog Camera ZV-1

The Sony ZV-1 camera is currently available for under £600 over on Amazon as part of their Black Friday deals.

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Sony ZV-1 in Offers

Sony ZV 1 (2)
 

For the next 5 days, the Sony ZV-1 compact camera is available on Amazon for £599.99, saving you £100.

The Sony ZV-1 is designed to be the perfect compact camera for vloggers, with 4K video recording, a vari-angle screen that faces the front, and a number of features specifically for vloggers. It received a ‘Recommended’ award from ePHOTOzine with our reviewer saying it’s definitely a first choice for vloggers at this price point.

If you’re not sure if the Sony ZV-1 is the compact camera for you, we also have other options which scored well when put to the test by ePHOTOzine in our ‘Best Serious Compact Digital Cameras You Can Buy Today’ round-up. 

You can also shop more camera Black Friday deals over on Amazon where the shopping event has launched early. 

Save £100 On The Sony ZV-1

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Amazon Black Friday Deal: Fujifilm Instax Mini Camera Savings

Amazon Black Friday Deal: Fujifilm Instax Mini Camera Savings

Fujifilm Instax cameras can make perfect stocking fillers for young photographers who love Instagram as well as all things retro.

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Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 in Offers

 Instax Mini 11

 

The Amazon Black Friday sale has kicked off early and two popular Fujifilm Instax Cameras are amongst the cameras and lenses discounted. 

For the next four days, you can save up to 32% on the Instax Mini 11 in ice white which comes bundled with a case, 10 shot mini-film, photo album, display stickers, batters and a user manual. It’s currently available for £77 (was £113.99). 

The other Fujifilm Instax camera on offer is the Instax Mini 9 which comes with 10 shots and is currently priced at £56.99 (usually £74.99). 

For more camera deals, click the button below which will take you to Amazon’s Black Friday Deals. You can also find more information on instant cameras in our round-up: Best Instant Cameras & Printers

 

Amazon Black Friday Camera Deals

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