Hi all,

I have a Canon AE-1 which replaced my old Zenit as a carry-around, always-there kind of camera. When I bought it, it seemed in excellent shape, and came with the instruction manual. I did the entirely un-manly thing and read the manual, front to back before shooting anything.

Here is the funny part -

Roll after roll of film, colour or B&W, any speed, in any conditions, had blank (completely not-exposed) frames smattered at random through the roll.

The first roll I thought my lack of familiarity with the camera, maybe being too excited to see the results, etc - my carelessness or omission were to blame.

But as with each roll of film I took more and more care, so far as to note shutter speed and aperture settings, I begun to think it must be something else.

I went back to the manual, remembering that in the stopped down metering section there was a mention of "the metering will only work if initiated after the film has been advanced" (not that the SDM is useful with FD lenses on an AE1 anyway, but I digress). This got me thinking, maybe its primitive little 1970's computer brain had some quirk to it - so back to the manual I went.

Ah hah! It seems that in all my arrogance, even though I read the manual, there were parts that I did not read as thoroughly as I thought I did (or, for that matter, should). In the "changing lenses" section it again mentions, that "a lens should not be mounted onto the camera unless the film has been advanced". I know I have a habit of leaving my cameras with the shutters released for their longevity's sake, and I am sure that a few times, I clipped on a new lens without the film being advanced.

Well then - with that tucked under my hat, I went and shot some more film, making sure that if a lense was changed, the film was advanced.

Lo and BEHOLD! ....well... much fewer blanks - but still one or two here or there. This was annoying!!! I was sure that after humbling myself in front of the manual this many times I was going to solve my issue. I scoured the manual for more info to no avail. I posted on forums, asking about this (millions of AE1's sold, I thought hey - someone must know) but, again, to no avail. I was even called crazy and accused of these results being fabricated to match my delusions...

With no help there or anywhere, I thought about it and thought about it. And days went by...etc.

Finally, I had a thought - what if ALL adjustments made to the camera must be made on advanced film? It was a logical enough extrapolation.
So I tried it and... VOILA! No more blank frames!

It is my conclusion that the Canon AE1 requires the following:

The film MUST BE ADVANCED (cocked if you will) in order for any of these to take effect:

Lens change
Stopped down metering

as per the manual, BUT ALSO:

SHUTTER SPEED AND APPERTURE!!!

And then it occured to me - I am being arrogant again, so I wrote this to either a) save some poor soul my trials and tribulations OR b) find out if this is somehting that only MY AE1 does, and should therefore be treated with excorcism rather than logic... Does anyone know about this or had this kind of experience?

Cheers (edited for spelling)