Blank film in Canon A1

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by zilali, Jun 20, 2014.

  1. zilali

    zilali Member

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    Hi I have a problem with my A1 and was wondering if anyone could help me.

    So bought a canon A1 of ebay and shot 3 films with it which all came out completely blank. I am certain the films were loaded correctly as the camera stopped firing after 36 exposures, and also when I loaded the film the rewind knob turned when I advanced the film. I've just tried opening the back and shooting at a low shutter speed to see what happened but I found that changing the shutter speed doesn't seem to make a difference to how fast the shutter goes, (if it is going) if that makes sense.

    Any ideas what might be wrong?
     
  2. snapguy

    snapguy Member

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    battery

    When you shot off those frames did the shutter make a sound, like a click or something? Do you have a fresh battery in the camera? Without a battery it is a doorstop. It's a fie, classic camera.
     
  3. AgX

    AgX Member

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    My first guess would be the shutter release magnets. There is an issue of sticking.
     
  4. zilali

    zilali Member

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    yes there is the normal clunking shutter sound when I fire the camera. Also I assume the battery is OK as the LED metering lights up fine and looks OK from the battery check button
     
  5. shutterfinger

    shutterfinger Subscriber

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    1. with the back open cock and release the shutter while looking at the film plane opening. You should see the mirror go up and light coming through the lens. Slow shutter speeds work best.
    2. if the camera will not fire with the back open close it and remove the lens. Cock and release the shutter on a slow speed, the mirror should go up and the shutter open so that you see the pressure plate on the camera back.
    If you cannot see light through the lens or the pressure plate looking through the camera front with the back closed then the shutter is not operating.
    You may only be hearing the mirror operate.
    DO NOT put any object into the film plane opening or the lens opening with the lens removed as you may damage the camera.
     
  6. ruby.monkey

    ruby.monkey Member

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    Who developed the film, and are there any edge markings visible?

    Changing the shutter speed won't affect how fast the curtains travel, but only the length of time between the release of the first and second curtains.
     
  7. camtec

    camtec Member

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    (1) Open camera back and set B on shutter speed dial. (2) While looking through the film plane opening, release the shutter and keep finger on release button to hold the shutter open. If you can't see through the camera, the curtains may have crossed the opening together in which case I would suspect a faulty second curtain magnet or latch.
    I have seen faulty second curtain latches cause the problem you described.
     
  8. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    This is the problem with the electronic shutter cameras at this late date. Mechanical watches fail occasionally., landfills are full of electronic ones. Somebody would have to pay me to take an electronic camera off their hands. Except for a Pentax ES maybe. And even that is dependent on the circuit board under the bottom cover, regardless of the capacitor under the right front cover. Any Canon other than an FTb or F1 is junk, really (IMO).
     
  9. shutterboy

    shutterboy Subscriber

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    That might be a bit of an overkill. I shoot with a Canon 1V and could not have been happier. I guess it depends on how much you work the camera. A camera sitting on the shelf for long time WILL have a sticky shutter and will require a CLA.
     
  10. zilali

    zilali Member

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    THanks for the replies.

    So when I open the back and fire the shutter the black curtain moves very quickly as it clicks but I cannot see any light going through. When I slow the shutter speed down it is exactly the same, the curtain still moves quickly. When I take off the lens and look at mirror as I fire, it moves up and down quickly but again I cannot see any light going through. Putting it on Bulb mode and holding the shutter exactly the same thing happens
     
  11. AgX

    AgX Member

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    This could be an electronic fault by giving the second curtain no delay.
    Or a mechanical one by not cocking the second curtain.
    Or by not cocking the first curtain.

    If those strips (out of sight) emerging from the curtain are torn it cannot be drawn back on its drum. Typically such a curtain would have less tension when static.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2014
  12. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Just to eliminate an unlikely cause give us an answer on whether there are any edge markings on the film.
    If there are none then the film was fixed before being developed. Highly unlikely but it eliminates another possible cause.

    For there to be no image not even the very faintest then the film was never exposed to light at all. Taken in normal daylight even the slightest exposure should have given a very faint image

    pentaxuser
     
  13. zilali

    zilali Member

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    Yes there was edge marking on the film i.e where the film was pulled to put onto the spool it was slightly darker. Also there were no markings, it was completely blank
     
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  15. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    The edge markings were there so I'd think that it was not loaded correctly. It's a very common accident and
    many thousands of people have done it. Ooops!

    When the film is at the first frame, put a bit of tension on the rewind knob, Just enough to see if the film starts to wind back in the cassette. If it does, the leader wasn't securely threaded into the take up spool.
     
  16. AgX

    AgX Member

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    John,

     
  17. 250swb

    250swb Member

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    Excuse me but this is like pulling teeth. Are there edge markings or not? Do you see frame numbers on the edges of the film, does it say Kodak or Ilford or whatever the film was that you used, along the edge somewhere, they should be clear to see even if the camera didn't expose the film.

    Steve
     
  18. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Here is a negative with edge markings - the number "4" and "4A"at the bottom, and the "Kodak FX 5060" at the top

    [​IMG]
     
  19. shutterfinger

    shutterfinger Subscriber

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    The Canon A1 uses a Horizontal travel focal plane shutter. There are two curtains wound on a drum each side of the film plane opening and spring loaded. The two curtains move independently of each other. The first curtain is just long enough to go from the take up drum to the set drum. The second curtain is long enough and taller to wind fully onto the set drum with an opening the distance of the film plane opening. When you wind the film the shutter curtains are wound onto the set drum with the first curtain blocking the film plane opening. When releasing the shutter on B the first curtain is wound onto the supply/take up drum by spring tension and the film plane is open to the lens and the mirror goes up. Upon releasing the shutter button the second curtain is wound onto the supply/take up drum by spring tension and blocks the film plane opening. As you increase the shutter speed the release time between the two curtains is changed resulting in a slit opening between the two curtains moving across the film plane opening. The width of the slit depends on the shutter time selected.

    Now you have established that your shutter is in a state of malfunction as you cannot see through the film plane when the shutter is released. Even at 1/1000 shutter there would be a flicker of light on a properly operating shutter.
    With the back open advance the film wind lever very slowly. When you see the curtain starting to move observe it closely, at some point you should see two curtains with a junction seal/overlap. If you see them then use a thin blunt object to see if they will separate slightly the full height of the film plane opening. The curtains are rubberized nylon or silk and can be damaged if poked too hard or poked with a sharp pointed object. If they are stuck from age and lack of use you might be able to get them separated otherwise a trip to the repair shop is in order or return it to the seller for a full refund.
    Pictures are a Pentax, 1 is the shutter curtain junction, 2 is the film plane opening on B, shutter open.

    IMG_0103.JPG IMG_0104.JPG
    These should give you an idea of what to look for.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2014
  20. AgX

    AgX Member

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    I understand it as the film having edge markings but no imagewise markings, thus no traces inside the frame.
     
  21. momus

    momus Member

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    If you have edge markings, the film was apparently developed properly. If you opened the back of the camera, and when you fire the shutter you do not see light when it's pointed at a light source, it's either that the mirror is stuck down, or the shutter is malfunctioning (even if you see the shutter moving, you have to see light when you fire it, assuming the mirror is going up). If the shutter speeds are all the same even when you change speeds, the shutter is malfunctioning, even if your mirror is going up and down.

    You basically need another camera. Getting yours fixed is not worth what another one costs. I would buy from KEH, as they guarantee the cameras and will take a return if there's issues.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2014
  22. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I had a student who had one of these cameras, who took it on a trip abroad. When he got back all the films he took were blank. For this reason alone I would never use this type of camera.
     
  23. AgX

    AgX Member

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    All my overseas films were correctly exposed in my A-type camera but all Kodachrome films were deliberately destroyed by Kodak after processing.

    So we all have something to warn against.


    The function of a leaf shutter is easy to check. But also a focal plane shutter can be checked. Bringing back a whole bunch of unexposed films due to defect shutter make me question the skills of that photographer.
     
  24. markaudacity

    markaudacity Member

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    I don't think its fair to blame this issue on the photographer. The camera didn't do what it was told to do.
     
  25. camtec

    camtec Member

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    Sorry, but I disagree. Get an estimate. If the cause is a malfunctioning second curtain magnet, it is probably just dirty or the second curtain latch needs to be adjusted. Neither repair should be expensive. There are other possibilities, but those which I have mentioned are the most common. BTW,I have repaired Canon A series cameras for about 25 years.
     
  26. AgX

    AgX Member

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    As camtec indicated, a dirty magnet would not hold the curtain after cocking. The effect would be the same as not cocking at all.