The film advance lever on my Canon AE-1 is stuck. It will move half way and won’t advance. Battery is still charged and I am half way through a roll of film. Any ideas on what to do to get it unstuck. I believe the shutter is stuck also as the view finder is now black.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Is it possible that you have a 20 exposure roll loaded and that you've simply reached the end of the roll? Can you rewind the film and see if that fixes the problem? \$\endgroup\$
    – BobT
    Mar 18, 2022 at 16:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BobT If that was the case, you would still be able to see through the view finder. \$\endgroup\$
    – jarnbjo
    Mar 20, 2022 at 14:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you remove the lens and look in the front of the camera, what do you see? Could you post a photo of that here? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Mar 22, 2022 at 6:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jarnbjo You are right... \$\endgroup\$
    – BobT
    Mar 23, 2022 at 4:20

2 Answers 2


The Canon AE-1 cameras are unfortunately quite prone to mechanical and electronical failures.

If you don't see anything through the viewfinder, it sounds as if the mirror is stuck in the upper position. If you are lucky, a relatively easy to fix problem is that the rubber strips along the edges of the mirror box (they are there to dampen the movement of the mirror before it hits an edge) are starting to disintegrate and are getting so sticky, that the mirror clings to them instead of moving freely. There can however also be many other internal mechanical failures in the shutter mechanism.

If there is a more serious failure sometwhere, the AE-1 is unfortunately also quite difficult and tedious to disassemble and unless you are well above average versed with tiny screwdrivers and tongs, this is not likely something you might want to fix yourself. You can always google 'canon ae-1 mirror stuck up' or 'canon ae-1 lever stuck' and find many discussions about these problems in other fora, but as I said, there are so many possible causes for your problem, that it is impossible to tell without taking the camera apart and start looking for the actual cause.

If you want to keep the camera, you might rather want to find someone willing to repair it instead. But in that case, also a repair shop might not be able to obtain any required spare parts. Since AE-1 camera bodies are abundantly available and not very expensive, you might also rather consider getting a 'new', used camera instead.


I doubt Canon thought people would be using AE-1's in the year 2022. Despite this, if you put the effort or money in it can be restored to working condition. My AE-1 had the squeaky shutter issue (oh no!). It needed a spritz of lubricant to keep working, it shoots fine now.

Problem for this issue is that something may have come apart inside the camera and is now stuck in the mechanism.

In that case disassembly is required. You'll then have to put the offending piece back where it belongs.

To be honest I'd just eBay it as "for parts" and buy a new one.


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