Not long ago I got all nostalgic for film photography so I thought I’d give it a go as part of a mini-project. But what was originally intended to be some fun experimentation with an old 35mm camera has turned into something of a long, drawn out saga. Here's the story so far...
Part I: Light Leaks
I acquired my father's Olympus OM-10 and spent a couple of months exclusively shooting film as part of an online side-project dedicated to film photography. Upon developing my first roll of Kodak Tri-X I discovered light leaks - and a lot of them. This brought proceedings to an abrupt halt.
Using nothing but online instructions I removed the old, rotten seals and replaced every strip of foam. You can read more about the work involved here. The film door barely closed, such was the extent of the re-sealing, and feeling pretty confident with the fix, I loaded some Fuji Neopan and set out testing my handy work.
Part II: Focusing Issues
I had the new roll developed and the good news was that there were no more light leaks. I felt like a master craftsman. The bad news was that every single shot was out of focus - some by a huge margin. I'd like to think my manual focusing technique isn't this bad so I have resigned myself to the fact it must be a mechanical fault.
I scoured the internet for possible causes and the limited information I had pointed to a potential issue with the focusing screen. And here comes the confession. While replacing the light seals I made the (now regrettable) decision to go off-piste and clean other parts of the camera. Including the focusing screen.
Suspecting that I had passed the point of no return as to the damage inflicted, I decided to take another look inside the camera. It might have been my imagination but it seemed that the screen was not sitting completely flush; it hadn't clicked completely back into place. I took it out, gave it another clean, and popped it back in - this time ensuring it was sat back as far as it could possibly go.
To Be Continued...
So here I am, about to embark on Part III. Armed with a roll of Kodak Ektar and a solemn vow to never mess with a camera focusing screen again, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a happy ending.