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Photography Question 
William Dl Barentine
 

unexplained film problems...


 
 
On a recent Northern Arizona trip I have shot over 2,100 images. I started to process the rolls when something had apparently gone terribly wrong.
I was using a new 24mm and new 28mm lens. I did NOT have ANY form of lens hood/shade on either lens at any time.
The photos show a distinct "oval" image that "moves" from frame to frame.
I also have "vertical and horizontal bars" in many frames. All these anomalies are intermittent.
No one so far including 40 year experts were able to solve this mystery. I had fresh batteries always!
I won't shoot the cameras again until this is solved.
Bill


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1/3/2006 3:08:06 AM

 
William Dl Barentine  
 
 
I attempted numerous times to upload images for a better idea of the effects, however, they would not upload.


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1/3/2006 4:34:37 AM

 
William Dl Barentine  
 
 
I attempted numerous times to upload images for a better idea of the effects, however, they would not upload.


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1/3/2006 4:35:26 AM

 
Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/14/2005
  William, to upload images, you need to sign in using the button on the left menu, where you sign in with your email and password. If you are signed in with just your email, the upload won't work.

This is an interesting problem. Can you tell from the images whether the oval problem ocurred with only one of the new lenses, or with both? Also, I noticed in your bio that you have several camera bodies, were the issues with one body in particular, or with the lens on more than one body?

Assuming that the oval problem is with one of the new lenses, my guess would be that it is a defective diaphragm in the lens. If it was a problem with a lens element, you would see it in the viewfinder. Since the diaphragm is held open while focusing, the image in the viewfinder would look normal. When the diaphragm closes down to take the picture, the leaves may not be moving into the correct position to make a circle. This would be intermittent, since it would only show up when using smaller apertures.

Vertical or horizontal bars are usually caused by a shutter problem. Either a shutter that is sticking, or not syncing with the flash. I'm guessing that you probably weren't using flash much, so it's more likely a sticking shutter. Again, can you tell if this problem was with one camera body in particular?

Chris


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1/3/2006 6:08:22 AM

 
Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/27/2004
  Okay – this may be really out in left field; however, I had a similar problem occur a few years ago. I shot a number of rolls of film in Nevada and all but one roll ended up having “ghosting” on just about every frame. The ghosting consisted of ovals, circles, bars and faint lines. I was at a complete loss to explain what happened and the folks I spoke with at the camera shop had no explanation. I finally just shoved the prints away and sighed that I had lost what might have been nice images. Then about a year ago I was telling this story to my neighbor’s son (he is a pro photographer who works for National Geographic) and, after looking at some of the images, he told me that it appeared as if the ghosting was the result of having exposed the film to heated conditions –i.e. the inside of a hot car. This happened back when I knew very little and stupidly I had left the rolls of film in the car on several occasions. Anyway, I throw this out in the “for-what-it’s-worth” division.


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1/3/2006 8:50:58 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Greetings William: I don't think Irene is so far out in left field. So, the first question is are you looking at prints or negatives or transparencies? Aside from heat, x-ray damage can cause base side emulsion fogging of varying degrees and it can produce some pretty weird patterns, depending on the number of exposures to x-rays and the dosage. Remember, the effects of both heat and x-rays on film are cumulative, so both faster AND slower speed films can suffer the consequences from x-ray exposure. What kind of film and speed?

I think it'd also help if you told us what kind of camera you were using. Also, whether these ovals and circles, etc., were consistently produced using both lenses or one lens. It's unlikely you'd have purchased two new lenses with the same kinds of defect and as Chris mentioned, if the glass was a problem you'd likely notice it in the viewfinder. Shutter problems? Did this happen at all shutter speeds or just some? Shutters and flash sync. are easily checked out at a camera repair shop. You can also test the flash sync yourself. Just ask us if you don't know how to do that.

I don't think this was related to the lack of lens hood unless you were always shooting towards the sunlight and again, you'd notice flare or glare in the viewfinder before exposing the frame.

Lastly for now, if this is color film stock, you can send the film to Kodak's tech. support crew in Rochester. They'll analyze the negatives and in all likelihood, can tell you exactly what caused the problem. Their address is at the KODAK or available from their customer service number.

Take it light.
Mark


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1/3/2006 12:04:10 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Aaah. One other thing I forgot to mention along the lines of what Irene suggested. If you were taking the camera and/or film from very cold outdoors to a warm indoors, you might have had condensation forming inside the camera that would leave water marks of varying degrees, but somewhat unlikely that it'd appear on every frame.
M.


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1/3/2006 12:07:59 PM

 
William Dl Barentine   Thanks for you responses!
1) I used several bodies, 4) different Minolta X-700's, and 2)XE-7's.
The ambient temperatures were from 72 for the highs, to 60 in the lows. The relative humidity for 3 of 4 days remained 12-18%.Only the 1st day which was spent driving did I have any moisture at all. Rain in Sedona, Arizona, for 3 hours. The films processed so far, were Fuji Superia 100 iso, negative film. I also shot 20 rolls of Fuji Provira 100F "chromes". I was told I had either a tear or hole in the shutters, or something in front of the lens(?) Nothing has been found so far. I did try to re-create the anomaly, and only was able to get a vignetting by "stacking" my circular polarizer on top of a uv filter. The anomaly has appeared in: 1 roll of film: all but no.s 7 and 25 were affected. 2nd roll of film: only 3 frames, out of 24, very intermittent. 3rd roll of film: every other shot was affected. 98% of all the shots were: 1/60-1/125 sec @ f/8-f/5.6 The "few" times I used flash, there were no malfunctions. No X-rays, as I traveled the 1,200 mile trip in my car. I have checked the bodies, and found nothing to relate to any of the problems mentioned. I only have 1) XE-7 with a dented battery check switch, making it inoperative. All films were "fresh" stock and stored in the plastic containers before and after their exposures. They were even marked as to the location they were shot in.
I'm on my way now to pick up 3 "test" rolls I shot yesterday....wil advise further!
Thanks again!
Bill


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1/3/2006 2:41:32 PM

 
William Dl Barentine   Well,...
Out of 3 rolls and 72+ exposures with all tests listed in order by: lens, body, manual setting, auto setting, with and without polarizers, with and withoput uv filters, with both "stacked" and with and without motor drive/winder.
NOTHING. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero.
All tests were recorded on paper, with each cameras serial number "logged', all used the exact same type and iso/manufacturer of film/stock, and all were shot in one place, within 30 minutes of each other.
All I could barely manage, was a very slight round "vignetting" in the far corners, with the filters "stacked".
Next,......???
Bill


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1/3/2006 4:03:27 PM

 
William Dl Barentine   I placed a sample of 30 images in "my gallery" to see if you might be able to recognize or identify the "culprit/s" involved!
Thanks once more to you all!
Bill


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1/3/2006 4:06:22 PM

 
  I have two XGM's and an XD4 and this looks like shutter spring tension problems. Get the cameras looked at just to be safe. If you take them to a good shop count on them being down for about two months.

Chris Walrath
Walrath Photographic Imaging


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1/3/2006 6:36:09 PM

 
William Dl Barentine   Hmmmm,....Well there's another "fly" in the old ointment so to speak...
"IF" I send all the cameras in for "servicing" and "repairs" (if needed), the minimum charge is $150.00 for each camera. Then there's cost for any parts! I just had 2 completely gone through before the "trip"...The cost was nearly $400.00 for those 2!
This will only rectifiy any problems with the X-700's. The XE-7's are a different story. No One here will even "touch" them! The only repaiman that did, retired 7-8 years ago!
Bill


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1/3/2006 7:24:53 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Howdy once again, William. I looked pretty carefully at those images you put up. I honestly don't think this was lens vignetting because the pattern is too horizontal in the frame and uneven at the edges. I don't think this is a lens iris problem either for similar reasons.

The fact that you had two X-700 bodies serviced just before your trip makes me somewhat suspicious based on the ole "Where there's smoke...there's salmon" theory of camera repair. This really does look like a shutter problem of some kind. And as Christopher said, (with all due respect to the techs) if the tech who serviced those two didn't know how to set the spring tension or adjust the shutters correctly, you've potentially got two bodies out of whack, although again, I think the odds are small, particularly because you can't seem to duplicate the problem other than vignetting with stacking. Man, beyond that, I'm stumped. :<(

While I hate to keep referring you to manufactuers, I'd call Minolta, talk to a tech., e-mail them some of your shots and see what they say. I'm sure they'd be responsive.

Mark


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1/3/2006 7:57:29 PM

 
Will Turner   "I'd call Minolta, talk to a tech., e-mail them some of your shots and see what they say. I'm sure they'd be responsive."

Minolta stopped supporting those cameras years ago, no parts, no service, and I doubt they even have anyone around answering emails still familiar with film cameras at all, let alone the X-700 or XE-7. I think the only two 35mm SLRs they still sell are made wholly in China now.

The shutter and electronic problems of the X-number series bodies are legendary. I see these complaints frequently on the camera repair forums. You get one item fixed, like sticky shutter magnets, then a capacitor lets go. Or a break in the flexboard. Or a dead IC. Or a detached shutter curtain. These were amateur cameras without bearing-mounted shutters, never were designed to last 25 years.

The XE-7 cameras used a better metal hybrid design Minolta/Leitz shutter. But it's getting pretty long in the tooth as well, for an electronically-controlled mechanism.

If you like manual-focus 35mm cameras, maybe it's time to switch to either a simpler mechanical body, or a newer electronic pro-level body with a modern shutter.


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1/3/2006 8:42:02 PM

 
William Dl Barentine   Thanks Mark!
I'm not even sure if anyone is still around at Minolta that even knows what an X-700 is! Never mind the XE-7's!!!
As far as the tech's,...who knows?
You never really know what is or isn't done! I have my doubts there!
I'm really not sure of what to do at this point!
Bill


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1/3/2006 8:42:45 PM

 
William Dl Barentine   Will, you and I are on the same page!
Maybe it's time to get some SRT's and start all over!
I don't need "auto" modes for sure!
I may have to trade-up, but it's a long ways up! Besides, I'd have to "dump" all my "manual" Minolta lenses. Nothing uses that bayonet type mount anymore now!
Bill


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1/3/2006 8:58:04 PM

 
Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/27/2004
  Bill –

I also looked at your gallery and saw the oddities you are speaking about. This happened with my old Minolta when the shutter curtain developed a small tear that I was not aware of. The light seepage did cause intermittent irregular blotches in my images and took some time to diagnose and once diagnosed was too expensive of a repair for an older camera. Have you checked the forums on the Minolta site? Someone there might be able to help you diagnose the problem. Good luck and let us know what you discover.

Irene


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1/4/2006 8:39:44 AM

 

BetterPhoto Member
  Check out cameras Etc. in Newark Delaware. They have a camera guy in Maine that works on old(er) cameras. Their number is 1-302-453-9400. Worth a shot.

Chris Walrath


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1/4/2006 4:24:27 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  You know William, I'm genuinely sorry this happened to you. And, I was a bit surprised at Will's comments that Minolta no longer supports the those two bodies. In fact, I think it's generally a sad commentary on the photographic industry when some yahoo or group of them, arbitrarily decide to stop supporting a piece of equipment they manufactured AND marketed so intensely at one point.

In fact, I think it's a kind of slap in the face to Minolta owners of both film and digital equipment AND their peripheral equipment like...meters. My 35mm gear is all Nikon which, of course, has had their own abandonment issues although in a crunch, I can still get help from their pro services division.

Anyway, if you decide to go to medium format, I can make a couple of good recommendations. And as far as my Minolta III F meter and my Minolta spot meter, you'll probably see them advertised soon at KEH. I'm dumping them just in case they decide those things shouldn't be serviced by Minolta any longer too.

Please let us know what you find out, if anything and if you ultimately get help, let us know where it came from.

Mark


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1/4/2006 7:18:44 PM

 
William Dl Barentine   Thanks for all the information everyone!
I really do appreciate all the time and effort you've put into this!
I tested again today, all shutter speeds and flash synch's...Nothing there either.
I'm about burned out!
Been staying up all night looking at sites all over the world and found little to resemble anything I have!
I guess I'll have to let Fuji, and maybe Minolta take a shot at this one!
Thanks to all of you again!!!
Bill


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1/4/2006 8:35:59 PM

 
William Dl Barentine   Mark,...
I know what you mean!!!
I was terribly upset with Minolta, when they were joined with Konica, and changed the bayonet mounts on the newer models. That left the "rest" of us pretty high and dry!
There are companies that still manufacture/sell some "prime"
and "zoom" lenses. Unfortunately,... NOT many of those are worth even buying! (plastic lenses!)
Minolta had(?), a big following of "loyal" consumers of their products too! Parts became scarce, and unless you can do the repairs yourself, it was sad! I'd pay "premium" for parts and services "IF" they could be found!
I recently began to buy old Minolta cameras, for parts from ebay...most are non-working anyway! I need to buy more now!
I even found many manuals, paper, and cd's, that have all the info you'd need if you are so inclined to "open" one of the "beasts"! I have a great old XK that has a "sticky" hand activated switch, that no one will touch!
I saw one a few weeks ago, sell for $1,700.00 on ebay!
Today, I'd be willing to buy a new Minolta XE-7, or XK for $1,500.00!!! But,.. Minolta has moved on....!!!
It's not like the old "8-tracks", and better than an "Edsel"!
Bill


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1/4/2006 8:53:28 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Hey, what's "Old" about 8-tracks !!! LOL !!!!

I hear ya though, Bill.
Be well.
Mark


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1/5/2006 8:15:20 PM

 
Will Turner   After my experience with Minolta, I too went on to other brands. But looking back on it, I could have also gotten something like an older SRT and kept shooting. The late 1970s-early 1980s saw some of the best SLRs ever made. Unfortunately, because the general public was also buying SLRs at that point (as they are today) it was also the beginning of 'value' marketing. Suddenly there were 'consumer' model SLRs with the success of attractive new exposure options and low prices, at the price of internal design and build quality. Canon and Minolta were the original offenders, but Nikon also joined the bandwagon with the execrable EM.

But I think I did learn a valuable lesson in finding out how well a camera is built before buying into a system. That lesson has certainly become even more important with today's fragile digital camera construction.

With the low prices for today's secondhand film cameras, you have a lot of options. You can get into medium format, try another brand of 35mm SLR, while still using your Minolta lenses with an SRT or similar model. I always carry a mechanical 35mm backup camera myself.

Factory repair services tend to be overpriced, I've always preferred independent shops. It's really the lack of parts that make things hard. You can improve your chances of getting a long-lived, trouble-free camera by remembering a few points:

1) Simpler mechanical cameras are easier to repair and require parts that are fairly easy to duplicate by a tech.

2) Secondhand electronic cameras without fancy program and focus modes tend to have fewer problems, b/c they have fewer electronics to break.

3) 35mm SLRs with bearing mounted, metal shutters tend to be more reliable than those without.

4)If you want to get good specific intel on an older camera's weak points, visit a few camera repair forums or shops. The troublesome or hard-to-repair ones will quickly make themselves known by the sheer number of repair complaints and tips from the technicians.


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1/6/2006 8:11:12 AM

 
William Dl Barentine   Here, there are now only 3 repair facilities left. The only place I have found that will even consider working on my older Minolta gear is KEH.com.
"IF", I could locate the repair and service manuals, I'd do it myself! I bought 1 repair manual from an Ebay seller, and got 10 pages of a poorly xeroxed service manual! I won't do that again! I still have 2 SRT-101's and they work great to this day!!!
Now, I may try to pick-up a few more of them and maybe the SRT-202/or/303's!
I have recently seen the Minolta's older cameras suddenly take a decent jump in prices...I found 2 SRT-101's, for over $300.00 each! Even my old Yashica Mat 124-G I paid $229.00 new for, is now on the market for $365.00!
It's easier to purchase a "few" backup camera bodies, and use them for spare parts than to "replace" them!!!
The Yashica 635, which used 120 and had an adapter for 35mm films has gone up to$600.00 now!
Unbelievable!!!
Bill


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1/9/2006 1:42:07 AM

 
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