Canon AE-1 prints partially blacked out

Discussion in 'Canon FD' started by zoe_toffaleti, Sep 20, 2016.

  1. I have a Canon AE-1 that I have a slight sentimental attachment to (it sat in my mom's college roommate's closet for 30 years before being bestowed upon me). Ever since I started using it, it's had this weird problem:
    The advance lever and the shutter seem to work perfectly while I'm shooting, but when I get the film developed, some of the photos have black on half of the print. Some are fine, and the amount of black varies. There are also a bunch of light leaks on the most recent roll, which might be a clue.
    Any ideas what could be happening here, and if it's worth getting fixed?
    cameragary likes this.
  2. Looks like a shutter issue, also possibly some of the light sealing foam around the back door may be decayed and letting light leak in.
    If you're in the States, might want to talk to Ken O. in California, he's the expert on those cameras. Sorry, I don't have his contact info handy.
    cameragary likes this.
  3. You may as well get it repaired; it has shutter capping issues. And very likely any camera you buy off an auction site is also going to need repairs of some sort (perhaps even worse), including replacing the rear door seals which is a given on any old Canon of this era. Seal replacement is cheap.
    Ken has done quite a few Canon cameras for me. Nine as a matter of fact! He is a top notch retired Canon Japan factory-trained tech and his work is exemplary and the costs are REASONABLE.
    Give him a call.
    Ken Oikawa
    28288 West Worcester Road
    Sun City, CA, 92586

    Ken prefers items be sent via USPS, not UPS or FEDEX.
    He does not do PayPal and will call you after evaluation with a personal check request amount.
    His typical turnaround time for me has been about a week.
    cameragary likes this.
  4. I agree with Keith.
    It's definitely a shutter capping issue; the second shutter curtain is catching up with the first.
    Also looks like a hinge-end light seal leak. Have the whole thing gone over. It's worth repairing.
    cameragary likes this.
  5. I would like to add that besides the fact your AE-1 camera has sentimental value, this model is quite tough and resilient, beyond what most would expect from an "entry level non-professional camera".
    I have three of these, one going back to the original one I got in 1978. All three have been CLA'd within the past few years, and they all should be good for at least another decade before requiring any further attention such as another round of lube or light seals.
    In my opinion, money well spent for the life and usefulness received. And of course, film is NOT going away any time in (probably) our life times.
    If needed (and I do highly suggest), you can obtain an original AE-1 manual for it off eBay, or download one from the Butkus site. He does ask for a $5 "donation" so he can keep adding more items to his site.
    cameragary likes this.
  6. Thanks everybody, it sounds like we have a consensus here: send it to Ken! So I will send it to Ken. Thanks again for the help.
    cameragary likes this.
  7. Or you could just consider a square format 35mm.
    cameragary likes this.
  8. The black edge doesn't look as sharp and straight as I would expect from a shutter problem.
    If it is, though, you should be able to see it looking through with the back open.
    Also, sometimes you can hear the sound as different than it should be.
    cameragary likes this.
  9. OK, I've explained the technical reasons for this condition in past postings, so I'll add a bit more DYI this time.
    Congealed lube would be the diagnosis if the speeds were inconsistent. Assuming that the camera hasn't been in high heat conditions, this may simply be that the first curtain barrel spring fatigued slightly.
    Remove the 2 screws in the base plate, the two barrel spring adjusters are on the "rewind side".
    The 1st curtain is the one on the "eyepiece side". (2nd would be on the "lens mount side")
    Now, only do one OR the other:
    It's a little more difficult, but you can 'click' (This nylon gear is held by a little 'wire' drag/pressure) the 1st curtain 4 increments in the counter-clockwise direction (Tightens the curtain). Or the easier to access 2nd will require 4 increments in the clockwise direction (Loosens the curtain).
    Both are safe increments for the shutter and achieve the same result in clearing up your speeds error. Harmless simplicity and this will clear up the in-balance difference between the two curtains. Just saved you $125 plus...
    cameragary likes this.
  10. Hi, Big thank you Gus for uploading the photo and the very specific directions for fixing this problem (the same issue that I'm having!). Since the original photos have disappeared though, I just wanted to confirm that my camera is experiencing timing issues in the same direction as the original poster; please excuse the boring picture... upload_2019-2-20_13-19-39.jpeg In another forum I was reading, the individual was experiencing this issue from the other direction, (meaning that his second curtain was catching up to the first?) - The Classic Camera Repair Forum: Problem with shutter curtains speeds?. In my case, if I understand it correctly, the first curtain is is opening too soon, and the second is then too late (?). I just want to know, before I open my camera up, that following your same instructions: turn the first curtain 4 increments counter-clockwise OR turn the second curtain 4 increments clockwise will resolve my timing issue in the correct direction. Thank you in advance!!! -Alex
    cameragary likes this.
  11. Did you sort this out? I'm having the same issue with an A1 and would really like to turn it into the correct direction as well.
    cameragary likes this.

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