I shot on a Canon ae-1 with Fujifilm 400 film and when I got it developed at Walmart they said that the photos did not turn out, and that they all looked like the photo included. It doesn’t look like it is over or underexposed. Is something wrong with either the film or camera?

I'm really hoping it was a human error rather than a broken camera or damaged film!


  • 2
    Could be a number of things, but it would help to see an actual photograph of the filmstrip itself, not just a scan. A few questions: Are there any images at all to be seen, or is the entire film black or clear? Can you see print on the edges (e.g. the name of the film, exposure numbers)? Do you see any separation at all between frames? Again, a picture of the film will answer most of these.
    – bvy
    Apr 15, 2017 at 16:52

2 Answers 2


This looks like a film that has not seen the light.

I would check the edges of the film (outside the regular image area) - if it does not show the film make and frame numbers (these come pre-exposed from the factory) it is more likely a development issue; if the numbers are clearly visible it is more likely a camera issue.

Was the film loaded properly? Did you feel slight resistance when rewinding it?

You can make a rough check of the shutter speed by taking off the lens, opening the film back and shooting with shutter speed of 1 second. You should see the shutter clearly open and close.

The Canon AE-1 was in its day a popular camera with a reputation for reliability, but that was 40 years ago. By now would not be unusual for one to develop electronics issues, which are sadly unrepairable.


To add to @bvy's helpful answer, I think the static-y thing you are seeing is film grain, amplified in the printing/scanning process in an attempt to bring out an image in an extremely underexposed negative.

I'm not familiar with your camera. Does it have a meter? Does the meter work? Does it have auto-exposure? What aperture / shutter speed settings were you using? And what were you taking photos of? Indoor subjects? Or outdoors in good light? Are you familiar with the "Sunny-16" rule? Were your exposure settings broadly in line with Sunny-16?

  • 2
    That's not film grain, that's digital noise from the sensor in the scanner.
    – You
    Apr 20, 2017 at 14:11

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