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I found my dad's old film camera (Yashica FX-3). I took pictures until I could no longer wind it back. When I got it developed, the only picture that came out was the last one that I took. All the other frames where completely blank, with no exposure. Can anyone explain why this happened and how to stop it from happening again?

  • I suggest a CLA. Assuming the film was loaded correctly a single good picture among blanks means a camera issue (it rules out film processing issues). – Jindra Lacko May 14 '17 at 19:27
  • Until you could no longer wind it BACK? Are you sure you understood the mechanism? – Laurence Payne May 15 '17 at 17:34
  • @JindraLacko is that "clean, lubricate, adjust"? (First time I've heard the term anyway, found from acronymfinder.com/CLA.html and even then by searching with "camera", which I thought was the C) – Jari Keinänen May 18 '17 at 16:50
  • Yes, that's it. Mechanical cameras need it from time to time. The shutter and aperture blades get stuck and the times get inaccurate. A little magic from a camera technician makes them whole again... – Jindra Lacko May 18 '17 at 18:24
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Complementing @Peter M answer.

  1. Open the back of your camera, so you can see the curtain.

  2. Take a shot pointing at a bright window. If you see the flash of light then it is working.

  3. Take several shots with different shutter speeds.


Any mechanical equipment needs to be used from time to time, otherwise, the metal parts will start to fuse together.

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Pure speculation here as without actually examining the camera we can't tell anything (even if you hold it up to your monitor!)

The camera had not been used for forever and a day. As a result the shutter became stuck shut due to lubrication gumming up the works. You ran a single roll of film through the camera and the vibration of doing so slowly unstuck the shutter. It was by pure coincidence that the shut freed up on the very last frame in of the roll.

  • Or it was by pure coincidence that only the last frame used the only shutter speed that is working, or... – Michael C May 14 '17 at 22:34
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Getting something on film requires that the film received sufficient light energy -- else nothing will be recorded. We are talking about setting the lens aperture amply open. It is the aperture setting that controls how much light will pass through the lens to the film. If the aperture setting is far too small as to its diameter, then likely nothing will be recorded. Correspondingly, the shutter speed setting controls how long the shutter remains open. During the exposure, the film accumulates light energy. Should be shutter speed be set too quick, maybe nothing will record.

What I am trying to tell you is, you must somehow set aperture and shutter speed so they corresponds to the light level of the scene. If these settings are grossly wrong, it’s possible that nothing will be recorded.

This camera has a built-in light meter that measures scene brightness. The data is returned in the form of settings to aperture and shutter. If the camera has been dormant for years, likely the batteries that drive the light meter have expired. If true, you need to replace. If true and you shot a roll, and only the last frame came out, it could be you guessed at all the settings and all were grossly wrong except the last.

OK – first replace the batteries. Second, download the manual for this model and read. Third, re-test with black and white film. Fourth, take the camera to a local camera shop or photofinishing lab; they will help you.

Best of luck on your second attempt. If you must, load a roll of black & white ISO 400 and re-test. The day should be sunny, Set the camera a 1/250 of a second at f/16. Shoot several frame of the same vista; make a series using all the f-numbers. Likely some will be OK, otherwise it will be due to mechanical errors (or pilot error).

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