I've been shooting film for a while on a Pentax K-1000. I usually use Portra 400, I always develop at the same lab and I always refrigerate my film, but recently I got back a batch of pictures that were incredibly washed out and low contrast, especially in broad daylight/brighter lighting. Blue skies turn completely white. I definitely don't think it's my issue, as I'm pretty experienced and my photos have never looked like that before, and on my other cameras that doesn't happen. I changed my light seals and then developed another roll afterwards to see if that fixed it, but that roll came out the same way. Does anyone have any idea what's wrong with my camera? I can't seem to find any useful info on this.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Is your meter still accurate and when was the last time you had shutter speeds tested? \$\endgroup\$
    – OnBreak.
    Commented Apr 11, 2019 at 2:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ To add to @Hueco's comment: do a sanity test on the meter: go outside on a sunny day, set the film speed to 50 and you should get a reading around 1/50 at f/8 to f/16 (depending on how bright): if you don't, the meter is wrong. Also look at the negs: are they much darker than negs from older films? If so, they're overexposed. Much lighter & they are underexposed (seems less likely here). \$\endgroup\$
    – user82065
    Commented Apr 11, 2019 at 11:03

1 Answer 1


It sounds like something is causing your film to be overexposed.

Just because the camera wasn't doing it before doesn't mean something hasn't gone wrong with the camera, particularly since it seems to always be doing it now. That also goes for your processing lab.

Some things to check:

  • Is the aperture stopping down to the selected setting just before the shutter opens? The linkage in a Konica Hexanon 40mm f/1.4 broke on me one time and I almost went crazy testing the camera's meter trying to find what was wrong before I discovered the problem with the lens.
  • Is the shutter operating correctly? Or is the second curtain possibly dragging too slow? If you can find a shop that still does it, consider having the shutter timing tested.
  • Is the film speed selector working properly? Does the same scene meter differently if you change the film speed setting?
  • When's the last time you tested/changed your light meter's battery? If you leave the lens cap off a lens attached to your camera, or allow light to shine through the viewfinder, it will drain the battery fairly quickly (over several days or weeks).
  • Another common problem is that the connection between the battery holder and the wire that leads to the meter circuit gets corroded. Cleaning and resoldering it will sometimes solve an issue with the light meter.
  • If you have a shop in your area that does it, have the light meter tested.

If you've not had a roll from one of your other cameras properly developed since the two rolls from your K1000 came back overexposed/overdeveloped, also check with the lab to be sure they haven't changed anything. Someone may have accidentally mixed a batch of developer too strong or used one kind that needs a shorter development time when they thought they used another that requires longer development times.


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