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fuzzy frame edges on a K3


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#1 Jason Debus

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 01:58 AM

My first roll in my 'new' K3 has fuzzy frame edges. I'm guessing most if not all of the fuzziness is from small hairs and fibers around the film gate. I was going to run a q-tip with alcohol around the gate to clean it but I thought I'd better ask before I unknowingly ruin it or something. Any advice is appreciated!

fuzzy frame edge:

gate_junk.jpg
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#2 Ian Cooper

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 04:01 AM

My first roll in my 'new' K3 has fuzzy frame edges. I'm guessing most if not all of the fuzziness is from small hairs and fibers around the film gate. I was going to run a q-tip with alcohol around the gate to clean it but I thought I'd better ask before I unknowingly ruin it or something. Any advice is appreciated!

fuzzy frame edge:


Cleaning around the gate as you describe isn't going to cause any great problems. You'll probably find most/all of the dirt is outside the TV Safe area anyway, so don't worry too much.

Whilst you're busy, probably worth carefully cleaning out all dust, film residue etc. from around the film chamber, drive sprocket, pressure plate, gate etc. etc. etc. You can't get the camera too clean!
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#3 Ira Ratner

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 05:07 AM

On ALL of the edges?

Hey--don't forget the lens. Get into the corners with a toothpick and suitable paper cleaner to make sure it's spotless in that groove there all the way around.

Couldn't hurt.
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#4 Ian Cooper

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 05:36 AM

On ALL of the edges?

Hey--don't forget the lens. Get into the corners with a toothpick and suitable paper cleaner to make sure it's spotless in that groove there all the way around.

Couldn't hurt.


Cleaning the lens is a good idea, but dirt on the lens won't give such sharply defined dirt as is shown in the example. To get that the dirt needs to be very close to the plane of focus - ie. in the gate. Dirt on the lens would typically give softness, reduced contrast, flares, etc. etc.

I'd be very careful about waving anything more than lens cleaner and a cloth over the lens. Don't forget that any dirt right at the edge of the lens is outside the area of the image projected onto the film anyway.


...Oh, and dirt seen at the top of the image will be located at the bottom of the gate! ;)
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#5 Ira Ratner

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 06:21 PM

Can you actually tell anything from that linked image? I'd like to see a complete frame.

Edited by Ira Ratner, 23 October 2008 - 06:22 PM.

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#6 Jason Debus

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 10:02 PM

I should have made it clear that the posted image is not from a professional scan or telecine, it was just a snip off the head of the roll on my $100 flatbed scanner so I'm not sure the full frames are worth posting. The images looked good projected, I especially like the snappy colors 7285 gives. It was just a test roll to make sure there aren't any major light leaks in the camera, film scratching, etc.

Thanks for the advice Ian!
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#7 Ian Cooper

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 01:59 AM

Well I can see enough to tell the edge of the gate isn't very clean, and judging by its sharpness it'll be pretty close to, or in, the gate.

As you've already projected the film I guess you've discovered most if not all of that dirt isn't visible. The projector aperture is smaller than the camera gate size... of course whilst projecting you might be seeing dirt in the gate of the projector as well! ;)

TV transmission area is much the same as the projector aperture, but the TV safe area is smaller again - something to bare in mind whilst filming, as there aren't TV safe guides marked on the camera ground glass. Putting somebody's head at the top of the frame in the camera will likely leave the top chopped off when viewed on TV afterwards! :huh:
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#8 Tim Terner

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 04:29 AM

Orangewood sticks are good to clean up the gate

Posted Image
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#9 Mike Lary

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 10:56 AM

You can purchase orangewood sticks in bulk from a beauty or manicurist supply store for a fraction of the price film supply companies charge. They're great for cleaning gates because they're too soft to scratch the metal but hard enough to dislodge debris and built up emulsion.
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#10 Ira Ratner

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 07:12 PM

Do you use these sticks with alcohol?

If I can send my wife to a beauty shop to pick these up for me, she'll feel "involved."
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#11 Ian Cooper

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Posted 25 October 2008 - 03:21 AM

Do you use these sticks with alcohol?


Can do, but best not to drink too much in case you have difficulty keeping your hand steady. They should also work sober.

The stick's just dislodging stuck bits of dust and film emulsion.
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