I've posted before about my crazy old Canon Model 7 rangefinder camera that I got recently. After a brief episode with lens repair, I've gotten a few rolls developed, and some of the shots didn't come out at all. At first I thought this meant that I'd forgotten to remove the lens cap for half the shots, but then I came across one that looks like this:

image of a skyscraper that fades to black

I'm beginning to suspect that I'm not actually that incompetent, and in fact there's a mechanical problem with the camera. Is that a reasonable conclusion? Might it be the shutter? Many of the images that appear to be missing were daylight shots of skyscrapers at ISO 400 and I believe have selected a very high shutter speed (1/1000). Coincidentally, not many shots of cityscapes seem to have actually come out...


4 Answers 4


Yeah, that is definitely a dodgy shutter. On the Leica-like Canon 7, it is a pair of metal shutter curtains (instead of the classic Leica cloth curtains) that move horizontally across the frame,. If the timing is off on one or both, it can have this effect. If you are lucky, it is just old gunky lubricant that is the culprit. I guess you will have to bite the bullet and send the camera off to a qualified repair-person for a CLA (clean, lube, adjust) treatment.

You might want to ask over at rangefinderforum.com for a good repair shop. Those guys ought to know.


Shutter for certain. Looks like the second (trailing) curtain is catching up to the first (leading) curtain; they should stay evenly spaced.

Have it serviced and use it for another few decades!


There is a test for that, expose for a long time and remove lens in the middle of the shot. You might see part of the shutter still ends engaged. It might be dangerous for the camera of lens and you might brake it-i did it a couple of times and broken nothing, just be careful. If the camera or lens in still under warranty, don't do it!

  • 2
    1. While this is probably useful general-purpose advice, note that the Canon Model 7 is a design that dates from the 1960s. ... it's not under warranty anymore. ;) 2. It's possible for me to shoot without the lens at all. Or engage the shutter without the lens. I haven't seen any problems, and the issue seems to be mostly at high shutter speeds, so either way it's hard to tell.
    – user16009
    Feb 10, 2014 at 16:22

(4 years late, but hopefully useful for other people)

A slow shutter curtain can sometimes be "repaired" by exercizing the shutter repeatedly, tens or maybe hundreds of times. Especially in cases like this where the problem only occurs at high shutter speeds (indicating that the shutter is only small amount slower than a healthy shutter.)

  • Four years? Naah. And I haven't spent hundreds on a CLA job yet so it's still good to know :P
    – user16009
    Apr 10, 2014 at 16:42
  • Same problem with a Canon P (1958 to 1961: out of warranty too...). Perfect until 1/125, then, with fast times, only the left part of the frame receives light. I'll try to excercize it before CLA! Thank you!
    – Albrecht
    Apr 23, 2017 at 21:52

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