BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Jeff Bickley
 

Dark portions in the image


 
  Parial blockage of image
Parial blockage of image
Outside, mid-day, ample light, shutter Auto, 75-200mm zoom
© Jeff Bickley
Minolta X 370 35mm...
 
  Partial blockage of image
Partial blockage of image
Outdoor, mid-day, shutter Auto, 75-200mm zoom
© Jeff Bickley
Minolta X 370 35mm...
 
  Half of picture blocked
Half of picture blocked
Outdoor, midday, shutter Auto, 35-75mm zoom
© Jeff Bickley
Minolta X 370 35mm...
 
  Example of good picture, same roll, same day
Example of good picture, same roll, same day
Outdoor, midday, shutter Auto, 35-75mm zoom
© Jeff Bickley
Minolta X 370 35mm...
 
 
I have looked all through the Q&A and couldn't find a question that dealt with my problem, so here goes. We recently returned from a vacation in California with 13 rolls of film. I took them to Walmart for developing (mostly because they are inexpensive). On every roll, there are several pictures that have as much as half of the image obscured by darkness. Sometimes it is only a small portion. The other pictures look great. I am uploading a couple for example. They were all outdoors, and no flash was used. I use a Minolta X-370 SLR (I know, it's ancient) with Toyo Optics lenses. I kept shutter speed on Automatic for all outdoor pics. Some of the film was Kodak Max 400, and some was Fuji 400. The ISO speed on the camera was correct at 400. Any help would be appreciated. I was terribly disappointed and want to know if it is something that I can correct in the future.

Thanks,

Jeff


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8/2/2003 9:16:48 AM

 
Maynard  McKillen   Dear Jeff:
I'm pretty sure your X-370 has a pair of cloth shutter curtains that travel horizontally. One opens to begin the exposure, and the other follows to end the exposure. If one of them is getting "hung up" and not completing its travel across the film aperture, you could get results like the ones you have posted.
You might dry test the camera if you haven't already. With the back door open and no lens on the camera (and, of course, no film in the camera), press the shutter button, watch the shutter curtains, and note whether they seem to complete their travel normally. Use the film advance lever to reset the shutter, press the shutter button again, and change shutter speeds. Also switch from auto to manual exposure mode, and see if the shutter ever appears to crease, fold or bunch up.
If the shutter appears to work normally, attach the lens and repeat this experiment. I suspect the shutter is at fault because of the sharp edge on the black area of your sample prints. An obstruction inside the lens or in front of the lens would not likely produce such a sharp edge between the exposed and unexposed areas of the negative.
By the way, have you actually looked at the negatives to confirm they are partially obstructed? There is a slim chance the negatives are normal and the minilab printing station has a problem...


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8/4/2003 8:04:52 PM

 
Tiffany M. Barkevich   hi Jeff
i had similar problem with my photos at one time. it turns out my battery was pretty much dead and my film wasnt forwarding porperly. ever since I got a new battery, my problem is solved. I dont know if this will help, but...its a suggestion.

Tiffany Barkevich
Antigodess@hotmail.com


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8/13/2003 7:33:12 PM

 
Jeff Bickley   Thanks for the responses, Maynard and Tiffany.
Maynard, the negatives were just like the prints on those pictures, so it wasn't the lab, or at least not just in the prints. I still have one more roll to develop that I haven't taken anywhere, yet. We have a Wolf Camera store nearby, so I am contemplating taking the film and the camera to see if they can figure it out there.
Tiffany, I had wondered if my battery might be going bad and affecting the shutter. It wouldn't affect the advance because it is a manual film advance. That's another thing I will have checked out.
It does have a cloth curtain shutter, but I couldn't see it getting hung up anywhere on the slower speeds, and the faster ones were too fast for me to be able to tell.

Thanks again, and I will post a response when I get it figured out and taken care of.

Jeff


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8/14/2003 4:55:26 AM

 
Stephen Hill   Hi, Jeff. I only recently joined the group and was curious if you managed to fix the problem with your camera yet. Please let me know if you need any help, I have fixed this problem many times. Thanks.

Steve


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11/6/2003 8:13:17 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  Your shutter is hanging up. Prize for whoever said it first. It's hanging up on the faster shutter speeds. That's why on the shots where it looks like you were out in the open, you have the dark area where the shutter hangs up and dosen't expose at all, and the rest looks like it's over exposed. That's because the shutter is getting stuck open and overexposing, or you may have just overexposed anyway by about 1 1/2 to 2 stops.


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11/16/2003 11:46:44 PM

 
Jeff Bickley   Thanks to all responses. The last one was correct. I found that out at a Wolf Camera store. I took it in and the clerk took one look at the pictures and said the same thing. I was looking at a repair bill that was probably more than I paid for the camera, so I bought a new Sigma SA-7 kit, with which I am very happy with, so far.


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11/19/2003 2:06:03 PM

 
Stephen Hill   Actually, Jeff, It will only cost you $10.00 + return shipping. The camera just needs a slight adjustment and I'd be happy to do it for you. Let me know if I can help. Minoltadoc@cableone.net.


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11/20/2003 3:42:59 PM

 
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