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