Replacing Camera Light Seals

If you have a 35mm film camera, at some point you will either have to replace, or pay to have replaced the light seals. Depending upon which cameras you have, there will be a number of light seals from either end of the film door, around the window on the camera back (through which you can see the film cassette), The channels around the back of the camera into which the film door fits and also around the mirror box.

The replacement of this material is fairly straight forward, however it is important to be methodical in your approach, examine everything thoroughly before you start. And most importantly be careful as you are going to be working around some of the most vulnerable parts of the camera with chemicals and tools that could easily slip and render a shutter useless.

With anything like this it is important to have the right tools for the job, so we will started with that. You will need a Light Seal replacement kit, I purchased mine from a nice fellow called Jon Goodman in the states via ebay (You can link to him here ) From order to delivery it took about 4 days. It arrived with a comprehensive set of instructions and a little wooden tool for the fiddly bits. OK, lets do it as a list (if my html knowledge is up to it!).

  1. Light Seal Kit
  2. Tool for removing old seals
  3. A modellers/craft knife (or a razor blade)
  4. A cutting board (I prefer a scrap of old mounting card
  5. A metal ruler
  6. Isopropanol (or Lighter Fluid will do the job)
  7. A cloth (Selvyt cloth or a Microfiber cloth) (best if you have a couple)
  8. A clean and tidy work area
  9. Bright lights to work by
  10. And a camera that needs it’s seals replacing

For this guide I shall be demonstrating on a variety of bodies (although all Canons) as I have already tackled the AE-1 and finished it without taking any before photographs

Get your equipment together on a clean work surface

Start by removing the gunk from the door seal

Then remove the seals on the back by the door hinge

Then remove the seals on the body by the door hinge

Cut to size the seal for the camera back, and place (watch out for the counter reset button) These do not need adhesive, in fact they perform better without.

Trim the door hinge material to width and length

Apply to the door (after you have cleaned with Isopropanol or Lighter Petrol)

Cut to size the mirror damper foam and remove adhesive backing, put in place
with tweezers.

There you have it, one completely re-sealed Canon AE1 Program. The door now closes the same as it did when brand new.


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