Just in time for the release of our new digital product we are going on a little blog excursion today. We dive into analog photography and ask ourselves: What are light leaks?
As the name suggests, lightleaks are the unintentional entry of light into an actually opaque housing or a light-tight chamber. Like a camera, for example. Actually, in any working camera, the light should hit the sensor exclusively through the lens as soon as the shutter release button is pressed and the lens blades have opened.
Due to mostly unwanted defects, for example a gap in the housing, damage to the lens or defective slats, unwanted light enters the camera interior in a Lightleak and illuminates e.g. the film or the sensor with additional light. Since the light is refracted by the defect in the housing, the Lightleaks often appear diffuse, abstract and colorful. What was actually considered an unwanted defect has been given a positive touch with the Lomography movement. In the scene a Lightleak gives the images a special character and makes them special. Because Lightleaks are difficult to reproduce intentionally. Even with the same technical defect in the camera, a Lightleak often looks different every time. This is mainly due to the uncontrollable reflections caused by light leaks inside the camera.
Especially with 35 mm cameras, the protective foam on the film door, which should actually seal it, disintegrates with longer life time. With medium and large format cameras, it is often the replaceable parts or old leather bellows that simply start to get porous with increasing lifetime and thus allow light to enter unintentionally.
Furthermore, the images of scattered light depend on the spectral ranges, room temperature and the surfaces of the interior of the camera system. Different materials reflect and refract the light after entering the housing in different ways and thus influence the visual impression of the light leakage.
In digital photography these effects can usually only be emulated. For example if they are digitally reproduced. "Freelensing", i.e. taking the lens off the mount and holding it by hand, is one way of emulating Lightleaks directly while photographing.
Our Lightleak Box with over 50 analog Lightleaks
But since digital simply cannot be compared with analogue, we have digitized the best Lightleaks from our development laboratory and now packed them into a 50 Lightleak Digital Bundle. With real 35mm film grain and thanks to real chemical film processing really unique. If you would like to try out Lightleaks, you can digitally overlay them on your own photographs using image editing software like Photoshop. The readme included in the pack explains exactly how to use the files.
A few examples of Lightleaks
Analog Lightleak from an Olympus Mju 2