Olympus XA2 & Light Leaks

Some people love them. I hate them, especially with color film. I don't mind toy cameras and plastic lenses, but light leaks are just a distraction to my eye. I tape up my Holga and I taped up my Olympus XA2 with every roll of film. 

I take the XA2 with me when traveling. It's super small, light and takes great shots. It happened a few times now that I forgot to put the tape back on and ruined entire rolls of film and vacation memories. I was really fed up and looked online. 

 In this case it kind of works. The light leak almost looks like a spot light on the girl. Usually it sucks.

In this case it kind of works. The light leak almost looks like a spot light on the girl. Usually it sucks.

Aki Asahi, here in Japan sells seal kits to fix this. He's most known for his custom covers. He has a bunch of pre-cut kits for different cameras on his website, but none for the XA2. So I decided to send him an email and ask directly. I was thinking maybe he can just send me the foam and I'll cut it myself. To my surprise he immediately sent me a very positive reply. He said he doesn't offer an XA2 kit because he doesn't have a sample camera to prepare a kit from. He then offered to fix mine for free if he could use it as a template to create his kits and showcase it on his website. I obviously agreed to that one! No brainer.

I sent him one of my cameras (I have two) in a small package on a Monday and had it back fixed on Friday! Here's the link to his kit and my camera! Also check out the video with instructions on how to install the kit. 

I didn't want to ask him to do my second camera for free, so I just ordered on of the template kits for $7 and tried to seal my second XA2 myself. 

Aki Asahi uploaded a video on how to install the light seals. This is fairly easy. When you remove the foam strips from the sheet make sure you use a knife or cutter to be sure you don't rip them. They don't come off that easily. In his this looks very easy. I ruined one or two. Luckily the set comes with a few backup strips. Wet the sticky areas with water to be able to move and shift the foam around as you lay it in. Make sure you have a lot of light and just use the long toothpick he includes in his package. The biggest issue I had was getting off the old rotten foam. It was extremely difficult getting this stuff off. I tried with lighter fluid and several different tools. 

 Make sure you tape up your lens. Don't want any dirt to fall in there and there's a lot of dirt coming off.

Make sure you tape up your lens. Don't want any dirt to fall in there and there's a lot of dirt coming off.

Eventually I decided to actually take the camera apart as much as I could to get better access. Especially the bottom piece and pressure plate make a big difference. The pressure plate simply slides out and the bottom plate can be unscrewed. It's still not a fun exercise and I never want to do this again. Next time I need to do this for another camera I'll send it in to Aki Asahi and simply pay for the service.

I still have to shoot a roll and pray. Let's hope this worked!

 If you don't get all this junk out the new seals won't stick.

If you don't get all this junk out the new seals won't stick.