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

6 Answers

AE-1Problems... Advance lever, Shutter, and more.

Hey, I have two AE-1's in the same position. The Film advance lever wont move, the shutter button does nothing(i can push it down but nothing happens), and the button on the bottom is stuck in. In both cases this happened when there we no film in the camera and i advanced the lever and then tried to "take a picture". When the picture wouldn't take i messed around with the camera and ended up pushing the button on the bottom. With the second camera i was trying to see if the first one was broken because i just got the first one off ebay and hadn't used it yet. The second one got stuck in the same situation and is a camera i have used many times. Please help. Thanks, Peter

Posted by Peter Hurley on

  • 6 more comments 
  • bigred76 Mar 23, 2008

    I have a canon AE1 and i was taking pictures without film and accidently hit the little button on the bottom and the film advance lever wont move at all. is there anything that will fix this

  • Anonymous Mar 28, 2008

    i have exactly the same problem: advance lever is stuck...i getting ready to disassemble...

    any suggestions?

  • putzicat May 07, 2008

    I have an AE-1 Program 35mm bought in 1983. i installed a new battery followed all the instructions in the manual,,,but...the film will not advance and the shutter will not will not take a picture. I am new at this and know very very very little about troubleshooting.a camera. I am willing to try = don't have the buget to take it to a pro...can some one help me? please

  • rashborth25 Dec 10, 2008

    similar problem. k i shot a whole 2 rolls of film with my AE-1, and then when i went to put the third in, after not really touching my camera for a week or so (so i know i didnt physically damage it) the film advance lever just stopped working - its totally stuck. The button presses down fine, but nothing happens. i just put a new battery in it before i started using it, so i dont see why it would be a dead battery issue. anyways, any feedback would be awesome.

  • Anonymous Dec 27, 2008

    same exact thing. but what happens is if i wait a little, it'll let me take the picture
    but the picture never turns out cuz im so mad and pressing the button so hard it shakes the camera

  • Anonymous Feb 20, 2009

    The mirror is locked in up position and I cannot get it back into place. The battery is good and the shutter is shut. How do I unlock it?

  • Anonymous Mar 14, 2009

    Response to Dshack:
    I have the same problem
    -Button on the bottom is stuck

    -Mirror IS NOT laying flat, it's at an angle

    -Tried setting shutter to B, nothing happened

  • Anonymous May 02, 2009

    Thankyou!!! solved my problem with stuck lever from this forum.



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This happened to me to both the Canon's I had. I found out it was a dead battery. Once I replaced those it worked fine. The battery is hidden under the hand grip which can be taken off using a coin in the screw slot.


Posted on Nov 24, 2007



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To rashborth25

*Press the black button next to the film rewind crank, if it beeps (preferably quickly) it shouldn't be a battery problem. Also, you can depress the shudder button half way and look into the viewfinder and check the exposure meter inside. If it doesn't light up at all, it's likely a power problem.

*Please make sure the battery is installed properly - negative to negative, positive to positive. I know it's obvious, but I've made this mistake, and just reversed the battery and it worked for me.

*Check for any corrosion on the previous battery you used and the camera's battery connectors, if they are discolored (not a shiny steel color) brown or yellow, you may have to clean with a cotton swab, just lightly moist with water, and then dry again with the other end of the swab. Reinsert battery and check again.

*Remove the lens and look inside to check whether or not the mirror is completely down - if the mirror is stuck in an upward position, please state so. Also raise the mirror manually (wont hurt anything) and check if the shudder is open or closed. If this is the case, I would recommend hitting the rewind button, opening the back, removing the film (thankfully no film should be exposed that wasn't already when you loaded the film to begin with), closing the back again, make sure the camera is set to the "A" position, set the exposure to B, and depress the shutter button - if it releases, it would be the shudder was locked in position, if not, try cranking the advance lever again, and hitting the shudder button.

If the advance lever still does not crank, and the shudder button does not release (i.e. click, expose, etc), please reply with any other particulars you can think of.

Posted on Dec 15, 2008



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Didn't work

Posted on Sep 14, 2007

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Most importantly, you want to check the "Battery Condition". By pressing battery check button, you want to see needle goes below F/5.6. As the battery get weakened, the needle go up above F/5.6. This where many camera starts to give irratic shutter release sympton. It this is ok. you release magnet in the bottom of the camera getting sticky. These two solution has solved many AE-1 repairs for last 30 years. Good luck -James For further assistance send email, go to

Posted on Mar 26, 2009


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No film right ?
I assume you have replaced the battery...if so....
Camera repair shop time ... KC

Posted on Apr 07, 2009

  • Anonymous Apr 07, 2009

    Look at the posting dates on here what is happening ??



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Hi, Attach a lockable cable release and lock the shutter open on B. Now try turning the release 'button' back and forth. This may free up the lock mechanism, if indeed this is the cause of the jam. If it does not work on the B setting, try the same with the shutter uncocked ie just press the cable release as far as it will go. regards sreejith

Posted on Jul 31, 2007

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Sounds as if the interlock between film advance and shutter mechanism may need looking at. Repair shop job, I'm afraid.

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How do i get my advance lever to move it seems jammed

A Canon AE-1 is not an EOS camera the Canon "A" series is manual focus while EOS is auto focus. First thought In answer to the advance lever stuck or jammed I'm going to assume the camera is in serviceable condition and has not been subjected to water damage or harsh use. If we are dealing with just the advance lever then I'd say that you have over advanced the film at the last frame. I've done this myself after loading a 24 exposure and thinking I had a 36 exposure film. At the bottom of the camera there is a little pin which releases the advance lever and allows the user to rewind the film. Under normal conditions when it's time to rewind the film into the canister this pin offers little resistance to pushing in to release, however depending on how much force the advance lever has been subjected to increases the tension on this pin. Push the pin in and rewind the film.
Second thought is if you have film in the camera and it has not been used fully then it's possible that the film has already been advanced to a new frame and the shutter needs to be activated before the lever will become free and advance to the next frame.
Other problems with the Canon "A" series cameras is they have a tendency to dry out the lubrication and begin to squeak when the shutter is fired. This condition can eventually result is a shutter seizure and give the same advance lever condition.
Those are the three things that come to mind over this lever problem lets hope it's just run out of film.

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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.
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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.

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1 Answer

Film advance

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Make sure the ring around the shutter release button is set to "A", otherwise the shutter won't release and the film lever won't work correctly. If the ring shows an "L", the shutter release is locked.

Here's a graphic of the batteries that can be used in your AV-1:

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