I shot some photos with an old Canon AF35M film camera using Fujifilm 400 speed and had them developed by CVS. The result are terrible and I don’t know what the cause could be.

Anyone have insight into what can cause this darkness and coloration?


  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Please take a photo of the negative of this frame and upload it as well. Scanning and Printing can introduce problems that may not be in the neg...but we have to see the neg to be sure. Also...never use a drugstore for your photos...use a photo store... \$\endgroup\$
    – OnBreak.
    Nov 10, 2020 at 23:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @OnBreak Almost no drug stores process in house these days; they send out to processing houses that might service all the drugs stores in a region and don't directly service the public. Their work won't be any worse than many modern photo stores, which today frequently don't even carry film. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Nov 11, 2020 at 12:28
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @ZeissIkon I disagree. Those mass dev centers don't give a rat's as$ about your photos. Many don't even bother to return the negs. When I say a photo store, I mean a PHOTO STORE - see prophotosupply.com for an example. C-41 is a largely automated process, but the care taken to ensure negs are loaded correctly, that chemicals are refreshed appropriately, etc. is all better done by people who actually care about photography. \$\endgroup\$
    – OnBreak.
    Nov 11, 2020 at 18:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ A photo store that does the work in house is different, I agree -- but you won't have access to one of those unless you're in a major city. There are none that I'm aware of, for instance, in the Greensboro/Winston Salem/High Point North Carolina triad. Thats a combined population of about a million. Charlotte and Raleigh/Durham have, last I heard, one each. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Nov 11, 2020 at 19:47

1 Answer 1


The image appears, first, to be underexposed; that could be a camera problem (low battery or poor battery connection, failing meter system, failing shutter control circuitry) or due to sensitivity loss from poorly stored and/or expired film.

On top of that, there are the light areas in the upper corners of the print (which would be the lower corners of the camera film gate); those are most likely due to light leaks (which usually print yellow to orange, because the layers that result in red and green on the print are on top in the film emulsion).

Additionally, there are the drip-like marks near the yellow region, upper left: from my experience, those are probably due to condensation, for film that was unsealed while still cold from refrigerator or freezer storage. If film is allowed to fully warm to ambient temperature before unsealing, this won't occur, but if the film is below the dew point when it contacts outside air, it will condense water into the emulsion. This water can dissolve sensitizing and filter dyes and cause them to move with the water, then redeposit them where the water eventually evaporates.

This effect on sensitizing dyes might also have reduced the effective film speed, causing the underexposure, so before spending money on a replacement camera or repairs, I'd replace the battery, buy a fresh roll of film, and try again.

BTW, you can save a little on processing for a test roll like this by ordering negatives and scan only, no prints.


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