Question about Canon EOS-AE-1 35mm SLR Camera

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Shutter Release Button Not Releasing Properly

I recently picked up a Canon AE-1. Everything is working great, but when I attempt to take a photo and press the shutter release button, sometimes it works right on time and other attempts it takes numerous pushes and may even release several seconds after the initial push. I have a new battery in it and everything else is seemingly working properly. Any ideas?

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You have the first signs of a very common problem on all AE-1's and similar AV-1's. Left unattended your camera will soon seize up with the shutter and rewind buttons, plus the advance lever all stuck. The trick to maximise chances of a successful repair is to get it fixed before it totally seizes.

Basically the camera needs a thorough strip down and overhaul. They're well built but fairly mechanically simple so in practice it usually just means that the camera is stripped down, parts cleaned of all dried-out gummed-up lubricants, and then reassembled and re-lubricated. New parts are near impossible to find, but there were millions of these models made so there are plenty of spares donors for most parts. DIY servicing IS possible, but you need to have the right tools, materials and instruction books and the investment for a one-off repair is simply not worth it. You also need to be confident in tackling repairs to precision machinery which may not have been disturbed for thirty years.

Just contact a camera repairer to ask what a CLA service (Clean, Lubricate, Adjust) will cost. In hard economic terms, it makes no sense, but a freshly CLA'd AE-1 in regular amateur use should be good for many more years of reliable service so you can get your money's worth. In the UK the service will normally cost between £60-£100 and in the USA it's a bit cheaper. Demand for camera servicing outstrips availability worldwide as so many repairers have gone out of business, so a common turnaround time is up to six weeks worldwide unless you pay a lot extra for express turnaround as used by professionals who depend on their cameras to make a living.

It's worth getting the camera light seals and buffers replaced at the same time: originals were made of a chemically unstable foam which by now will have turned into a corrosive sticky goo. Higher cost CLA's will include it as standard, lower cost ones will try to charge extra, but I have found that sometimes the shop may do it for free if you point out that you can take the camera elsewhere.

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Posted on Aug 02, 2010

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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Hi , I have a Canon AE-1 camera and I'm haviving a problem with the film advance lever . It seems to be stuck . It will not advance. Have you ever come across this problem before? Thanks ,John.


Canon AE-1 35mm SLR is a manual focus camera EOS is Canon's designation of auto focus EOS stands for Electro-Optical System. The problem you are experiencing is caused by several little things that throws the camera, wind and cocking leaver out of synchronization or simply come to the end of the roll. There is a frame counter window just to the left of the shutter release behind the shutter speed dial. Also if you have just loaded film in the camera it may not be seated correctly check by releasing the rewind button, wind the film back but not all the way and open the camera to restart the film.

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Mar 03, 2011 | Canon EOS-AE-1 35mm SLR Camera

1 Answer

I had my Canon AE-1 serviced recently and it came back fine. I got through half a roll of film when it start not firing after I'd wound the film on and pressed the shutter release button. It was metering...


Just send it back to the servicing agent. It needs to be inspected to determine the fault anyway.

A reputable repairer would correct the fault free of charge if it proves to be an error with the recent service, but like all old cameras other parts can fail without warning.

Feb 26, 2011 | Canon EOS-AE-1 35mm SLR Camera

1 Answer

Where is the shutter release button on a Canon AE-1? I am trying to load film in the camera, and the shutter crank "thing" is stuck. do i need to release it with a press of a button???


Did you actually mean shutter release or shutter advance? And to load the film,you need to pull the roll winder upwards. While you pull the winder upwards, it would have a tuck voice and then the back cover would open up. Make sure you have wound the entire roll before you open the back.

Jan 23, 2011 | Canon EOS-AE-1 35mm SLR Camera

1 Answer

The shutter release button will not fire. every once in a while it will shoot but most of the time it does not release and take the photo.


The most obvious cause is a failing battery. Your camera has a magnetic shutter release which needs a good battery to work. A tired battery will have a marginal voltage which might not always be adequate to release the shutter. Change the battery to see if there is an improvement, you should use 1 x 4SR44 cell.

If that fails, you may have a dirty shutter magnet but it's rare on the AE-1. If the battery doesn't fix your fault then please report back for guidance regarding shutter magnet maintenance.

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Sep 19, 2010 | Canon EOS-AE-1 35mm SLR Camera

1 Answer

My shutter release button is not working, instead the shutter is being released when I use the film advance lever.


Your camera has a bad magnet in the body.
Repairs will cost more than probably what you paid for it; I'd suggest getting a replacement (I got a Canon AE-1 Program for $40 on craigslist, ebay has good prices)

Nov 11, 2009 | Canon EOS-AE-1 35mm SLR Camera

1 Answer

Have a Canon AE-1 Program that I've received yesterday.. while taking it out for a shoot, a problem occured: Everytime I would Advance the lever to the next exposure it would take a photograph as if the...


Camera has a bad magnet, the A series were plagued by this.
Repairs will cost more than probably what it's worth.
The AE-1's used an electromagnet system to activate the shutter for a smoother press and less shake from the camera system.

I got lucky and recently purchased an AE-1 program that doesn't have this problem, it seems to be a hit and miss with these.

Oct 17, 2009 | Canon EOS-AE-1 35mm SLR Camera

1 Answer

When we advance film, it takes a picture


The problem is usually caused by a dirty release magnet. I can tell you how to fix it if you are handy with small tools

Feb 03, 2008 | Canon EOS-AE-1 35mm SLR Camera

1 Answer

Shutter stuck on Canon AE 1


Just now saw your problem.....I can repair this for you. No it's not "overwound" you possible have some small piece of plastic that caused your second curtain to get hung up and thus jam the entire camera. I have probably repaired 500 AE-1's with the same problem. Art www.flcamerarepair.com

Nov 22, 2007 | Canon EOS-AE-1 35mm SLR Camera

1 Answer

AE-1 Didn't Take Pics


Possibly the film did not go through the camera. If it did, the problem may be the 2nd(or closing)curtain magnet on the bottom of the camera. When the magnet is working the closing curtain of the shutter is held back 1 to 1000 miliseconds-depending on the shutter speed selected by you. 1ms=1/1000 sec. 1000ms=1 sec. You can tell by 1. removing the lens 2.setting the shutter speed to the "B" setting 3. opening the film door and looking through the camera 4. releasing or firing the camera and keeping pressure on the release button. If the magnet is working, the shutter will stay open as long as the release button is kept pressed down. The closing curtain will close as soon as the release button is released. When the magnet fails, both curtains travel across the film plane together and no exposure is made. Sometimes there is corrosion on the magnet where the wires connect. Sometimes there is some foreign substance or object that interferes with the face of the metal unit that attaches to the magnet when the camera is wound. Sometimes the magnet just fails and needs to be replaced. If the magnet checks out OK the problem may be in the circuits that control the release of the magnet. If this is the problem, the camera needs to be looked at by a competent repair shop. Just so you know, new parts are getting hard to come by, but there are tons of used cameras around that parts can taken from. Hope this helps.

Jun 24, 2007 | Canon EOS-AE-1 35mm SLR Camera

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