I can’t believe I didn’t notice the gnarly white blotch in my previous set of photos from the Yodica film review I did, but they’re certainly visible. That blotch of white indicates a hole in the shutter cloth, or other light-based aberration.
I found it while doing a focus test of my new 7Artisans 50mm f/1.1 lens. It focuses very well, which gives me good vibes about my 65 year old Leica M3. I did the focus test at f8, f5.6, f4, f2, f1.1 . I was more concerned about close-ups with the f/1.1 and it works well, although a little difficult to focus when the depth of field is very shallow.
But this hole in the shutter, that’s a kick in the pants for sure. It looks like a burn hole, but I honestly can’t tell. It’s kinda raggedy on the inside of the shutter, but on the backside it looks smooth. It’s almost not even an issue at low light, only in bright light. However, it needs to be fixed. I contacted my go-to repair shop, but they were brutally honest about the fact that this camera is 65 years old and parts aren’t readily available. That, plus the $300+ to fix it left me looking for alternatives.
And so, as with many repair jobs in my daily life, I ran to the local AutoZone to pick up a can of Permatex Liquid Electrical Tape. Now, I’ve seen some really, really bad jobs done with this. My first Leica, the iii-f I bought, was one. The person that fixed it basically painted 3 layers of thick electrical tape and it was done so poorly that the patch was peeling and cracking, leaving the photos looking like it was snowing. I was actually glad it was borked since I wanted an M anyway.
I really figured I could do better. At least I know how not to use the Liquid Electrical Tape to patch a shutter. So I sat down with a paint brush, the Leica, the can of goop, and hands shaky from 3 cups of coffee. The end result took 2 coats (recommended on the can anyway) and verification with a flashlight through the back of the camera to make sure no light leaks.
It might look ugly, but it’s actually a good patch. No light coming through. I even checked the rest of the shutter cloth with a flashlight, to ensure no additional surprises. It really isn’t much fun looking at a contact sheet and seeing the same artifact on all the images.
So I’ll be taking the Leica out this weekend for a stroll around town. I hope to have some good shots to share!