Was hoping someone could help me identify what im doing wrong here. Just bought a new film camera, minolta x300. And a few of the shots came out with a black mark in the middle. I'll add examples. Any help would be appreciated.

enter image description here

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    Hi and welcome to photo.se! Just to be clear, by "black mark" you mean the dark part of the picture that obstructs 2/3 of the image, right? My guess would be that something is wrong with the schutter, that it's sticking for example. But I don't have much experience with analog cameras, so can't say for sure. Mar 17 at 8:24
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    Just a small correction... you didn't buy a "new film camera", you bought an old film camera. Slightly tongue in cheek, but there's a significance to it too.
    – osullic
    Mar 17 at 9:56
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    @BobMacaroniMcStevens OP of course. The suggestion being that an "old" camera (or old anything) is much more likely to develop mechanical problems than a "new" one.
    – osullic
    Mar 18 at 13:25
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    @BobMacaroniMcStevens I'm sorry you think it's snark. I can't control how you interpret what I say 🤷‍♂️
    – osullic
    Mar 18 at 17:11
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    I think @osullic used light humour to good effect and I see no problem with his/her remark about the 'old film camera'. Short and to the point. When people write 'snark', do they mean sarcasm? Mar 21 at 8:41

1 Answer 1


The X-300 has a horizontal-traverse shutter (see here) with flash sync at 1/60, meaning that it takes (a bit less than) 1/60 sec for one curtain to completely move across the image area.

I share Saaru's hypothesis that the shutter is stuck to some degree, in that the first curtain (opening the light path) moves a bit slower than the second curtain (the one closing the path).

Exposure time is controlled by the delay between the first and the second curtains starting their motions. Assuming that they move with the same speed, there's a constant time that every spot on the film gets exposed. And that seems to fail in your camera. The second curtain seems to reach or even overtake the first, leaving no gap for light to reach the film.

This should be less of a problem with long exposure times.

For a manual "inspection", it might be possible to "shoot" some exposures (1/250, 1/500, 1/1000) without film and with the back cover opened. Your eye can't follow the curtain movement, but you'll be able to see whether all the film area gets some light.

  • Thanks for your detailed reply, this would explain why only a couple pictures experienced this. Probably the same shutter speed, and the highest shutter speed. I've tested this as you suggested and cant see anything alarming, but obviously its near impossible for me to spot an issue on a shutter speed so fast. Thanks a lot for your help.
    – Aled Jones
    Mar 17 at 14:07
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    @AledJones If you have a recent smartphone that allows for slow motion video capture you could perhaps record the shutter a few times and then inspect the slowed down video to see if anything is off. Mar 17 at 14:43

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