I recently purchased a 70's-something Canon AE-1 and started experimenting with film. I was using a Kodak Ultramax 400, and took some night shots hand held at 1/30 with a 50mm f1.8 lens. Those shots came out like this (take note of the blue vignetting on one side):

Left corners only

Top corners affected

The camera is not in perfect shape (being 40ish years old, working order is already good shape). The light seals of the back cover are destroyed, but anyway the only pictures that have this defect are the dark-ish ones, and both where taken back to back (so the film dind't have time to be damaged by broken light seals, I guess). Daylight pictures does not show this defect. I'm trying to rule out possible causes to prevent this in the future. Some things to consider:

  • Film was expired by one month at the moment of taking the pictures (I don't think that this affected it seriously)
  • Apparently the only ones that show this defect are the ones taken with the 50mm 1.8.
  • I tried night shots with other lenses (but doing long exposures, 1 and 2 secs) and those don't show the defect.

I'm trying to rule out if this is a normal issue with film, or if it's there something damaged on the camera or lens. Or if this has to do with the film ASA.

As requested by @meklarian, I took a picture of the interframe:

Interframe of the two shown pictures

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    \$\begingroup\$ It looks as a light leak to me... \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 22, 2017 at 6:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ Could you upload an image of the negative showing these frames side-by-side? It would be interesting to see if the anomalies line up in a single inter-frame margin, which might help solve the mystery. \$\endgroup\$
    – meklarian
    Commented Nov 22, 2017 at 8:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ There it is. I guess that those light seals are there for something. Probably as those two frames are dark/underexposed, it left more room on the film sensitivity to be affected by the leak. I will check the other pictures to see if there are some over-exposed or strange bright corners as evidence of the light leak. \$\endgroup\$
    – Diego
    Commented Nov 22, 2017 at 18:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for uploading the interframe. Do you mind if I suggest writing an answer (it's perfectly fine to answer your own question)? You could even accept your own answer (that's also perfectly fine on SE). SE is all about problem solving after all, and an accepted answer is an indicator that the problem was solved or an understanding of the problem was achieved. =) \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Commented Nov 22, 2017 at 18:50

1 Answer 1


Based on the following evidence:

  • Both pictures are underexposed or simply have dark zones on it's borders (black zones are more sensitive to parasitic light inside the camera)
  • Looking at the interframe, the affected zones of both images point to the same interframe.
  • Looking at the interframe, the affected zone extends beyond the pictures, onto the film borders
  • The only way to expose film borders, outside the curtain boundaries, is light leaks inside the camera.

The bad seals of the camera let the outside light affect the film. Looking at the shape of the stain, I think it is the hinge seal. Besides, is the one that is less protected in comparison of the rest of the back cover borders, which have a light trap.


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