Improving the Sputnik Stereo Camera
By far the most common cause of degraded images - light leaks "fog" the film, usually in splotches or bands. The cause is an insufficiently designed light trap between the camera body and the two "barn door" camera backs. So far, every unmodified Sputnik I have tested has had at least some kind of light leak from this cause.
The drawing at the right shows a "cutaway" view of a section of the camera showing the light leak culprit. The camera uses a "V" shaped light trap, which, due to a inadequate design and poor mechanical fit/finish, lets light sneak around it.
Here's some suggested methods for testing your Sputnik for light leaks.
Improving the Sputnik Light Trap
Here are some suggested ways of dealing with the Sputnik light leaks, along with some of their advantages and disadvantages. Hopefully, you can use one of these methods directly, or it will spark your creativity. Email us if you come up with other neat ideas, and we'll include them here!
Method Advantages Disadvantages Leave the camera in the case when shooting Easy Not particularly effective, but does an OK job if your leaks are on the bottom of the camera only. Not recommended Simply tape up the camera with black tape after loading film Inexpensive, quick-n-dirty. Can become a real pain.
Some tape, like electrician's tape, will leave a black residue
Glue black yarn in the light trap (camera body side) Fairly easy to do, gives good results Extra thickness may make closing the back difficult Use black camera foam in the light trap (camera body side) Probably better than yarn, less effect on camera closing. Can be difficult to find just the right foam. It would work better if you were to mill out the light trap channel on the camera body to be more square... Sam Smith's "Sputnik Bra" idea. Very good - excellent results,
No camera modifications needed
A more involved fix - requires you to make a tight-fitting "case" for the camera. Sam Smith's "Extra plate" idea. Sam added extra plates to the top and bottom of the camera to cover the offending seams. Excellent results A more involved fix, needing sheet metal fabrication and more camera disassembly.
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