Canon AE-1 light leak problem

Discussion in 'Modern Film Cameras' started by woo_jun_nam, Jan 8, 2015.

  1. Hi,
    I just start to shoot film photo with Canon AE-1
    Every time I develop the film, there are light leaked photos. It does not happen all of photos, but it happens quite often. Also, the light leak is located at center most of the time.
    Also, even though I did not open the back of my camera, some part of film came out blank.
    Is it my camera problem? or do I use it wrong? Can I fix this problem? I developed three rolls and it has same problem on every roll.
  2. It looks as if the light seals on your AE1 are defective. The light seals most older camera need replacing - these are foam strips which prevent light entering through the film door, they disintegrate into a gooey mess over time. You can do it yourself, google light seals AE1, for example:
    The mirror bumper will also need replacing before bits from it get on the focussing screen.
  3. The flat seal at the door hinge can be replaced with peel and stick felt cut to size. Available at store that sell craft items.
  4. Given the vertical nature of the leak, I'd suspect the seal at the hinge is the culprit here.
    Replacing seals in a camera is remarkably easy. I bought some thin black yarn, a couple of sheets of sticky-backed black felt, and a bottle of rubber cement from Hobby Lobby about a year ago for less than the price of one of the pre-cut kits selling on eBay. I've done 4-5 cameras with it and still have enough material left for 40 or 50 more cameras. It may sound like jury-rigging to use string instead of foam, but string was used in some cameras long before foam seals were available. Of the cameras I have, the ones that used string for the seals have never needed replacing. If you do decide to go this route, be sure to get the thinnest yarn you can find. The thick stuff is too thick and can warp the door or latch mechanism.
  5. I use ordinary black knitting wool for the grooves. I don't even bother to scrape out the old foam, just run silicon glue at the ends and a few places in between. Put in the wool, trim and tuck in the ends. Once you close the camera it presses the wool into the grooves and you hardly see it again. But people have different techniquis which work for them.
  6. I scraped the foam out with wooden skewer, replaced hinge seal ran roll of film, no leaks but to play safe, replaced grooved door channel seals with black yarn with no glue needed. Repair successful!
  7. The hinge seal is nearly always the culprit--also the easiest to replace. Seals along the length of the door are not crucial as light barriers. The tongue and groove fit between door and body works effectively as a light baffle. The foam was really meant more for moisture and dust protection. Glue and yarn are overkill.
  8. Thanks for all the responses. I had some research about light seals since I know what is the problem, but my next question is do i also need to replace the mirror damper? it looks decayed a bit. What does a mirror damper do?
  9. The mirror damper at this point is deteriorated just as much as the back door seals. You definitely need to replace it. The damper acts as a cushion, or shock absorber if you will,when the mirror flips up for the film to be exposed. The deteriorated foam cushion, when it gets bad enough, will transfer goo to the viewing screen. this screen is precision ground and the surface will retain the goo, interfering with your view through the finder. It may be difficult if not next to impossible to clean the mirror in this situation (or so I have head; I have no expert knowledge here), so best to address it immediately.
  10. I had missed this earlier, but for the record
    I don't know about the Canon AE-1 specifically, but there are 'seal redo kits' sold on eBay for many makes that include things like the mirror buffer and other 'foam' seals and bits.

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