View Full Version : When bad things happen to good cameras - Please help!
Hello all. I'm writing to see if anyone could help diagnose a problem for me. I recently took my Contax G1 w/ 45mm lens to a night time graduation. The camera seemed to work without a hitch. I subsequently got the film developed and was shocked to see these picasso-like light streaks all over the photos:
The pictures taken during the day turned out fine. It was just these night shots that all showed this kind of streaking. Does anybody know what the problem might be? Any suggestions for a fix? Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks.
I think your shutter stayed open after the exposure. The streaks could be light pinpoints that werer burned itnto the film as you walked around. Has this happended before or since?
What kind of flash did you use? Were you using the TTL mode or did you go straight to the 1/100 synch speed for the G1?
I am puzzled... but I'd blame it on the lab. The Contax shutter curtains are made out of metal, and they aren't the focal plane kind that slides horizontally. These look like venetian blinds, so I don't think the film could have been burned while in the camera.
Were you dragging the flash? As in using very slow shutterspeeds (below 1/60) with it? There may have been some slight hand shaking and reflections caused by the flash on moving objects probably caused the light streaks. Now, the other photo has a big case of flare... which may be the result of your hand trembling with emotion after the ceremony.
Shot 27 looks very creative. The 28 has a bit of flare... but 29 looks very decent. Then, No. 30 is scary... and so are 31-35. If you're you doing print film, did you check the negatives? It may be a printing problem... or some hair or dust in the shutter (the light is blocked, rendering white unexposed chunks, and in apparent motion, trapped in the curtains).
In sum, I'd blame in on the lab. Why? I too own a G1 with two lenses and they are perfect rigs! :)
Examine your negatives and your camera. If you don't find anything in the shutter, take a quick roll of film on silly subjects and have it developed somewhere else. Should you have the same problem... then there's something in your camera :mad: . If not, it's the lab.
Good luck! :cool:
I would also double check the shutter; if it was staying open very so slightly it might cause this affect as it was pointed into bright lights. It looks like a Light-Pen was used across the photo's. Although the lab could be at fault, tose type of errors usually fog the whole film. Look at the portion of the negative strips in between the pictures. If they are "clean", it is a vote against the lab being at fault.
Thanks for the suggestions, guys. It's much appreciated.
Unfortunately, that evening I was using the camera pretty much as a point-and-shoot. I flipped the TLA 140 flash on and shot away. I don't remember any of the settings, but the camera seemed to behave with no abnormalities.
I checked the negatives like you guys suggested. The light streaks appear only on exposed frames and not in areas between frames. So I think you're right, Brian. It's probably something wrong with the camera (or the photographer), not the lab.
Another question: how long would the shutter have to have remained open to get streaks like that? Would a second or two be enough? Do you think a dying battery might be the culprit?
Hmmm... the lab's probably not at fault, but I would't sentence the photographer. Check the lens, front and rear; look into the camera body, front and rear. I'm sure there's something sticking in the way.
BTW, more often than not, I use my G1 as a point and shoot too. If you have automatic features, why not use them.
Now... when you turned the flash on, did you slid the on-off switch all the way or not? Did you set the 1/100 flash sync speed on the camera body?
Now... by the looks of the shots, I'd venture you let the camera decide the shutterspeed. Better look very carefully into it.
Those streaks could be exposed into the film in a second or two. If the shutter were open too much longer there would be other fogging as well.
A weak battery is a possibility, but there are many others as well. A camera that is aging and has not been used for awhile will sometimes have a sticky shutter for the first few frames on a roll. As the shutter limbers up, the problem will disappear. But, isn't a G1 a fairly new camera?
Unless there is a way of accidentally shooting with flash at a 1 second shutter speed, it is probably not a photographer error.
It seems to me that you used a very slow shutter speed: 1/2 sec but probably running into several seconds. But the shutter definitely remained open after the initial flash.
The flash would record the image, and as you lowered the camera, the shutter was still open, allowing the other lights (hard to say exactly what it is) to record its image on the film, in much the same manner that headlights streak across an image.
The G1 is the original camera, later followed by the G2.
As a test, why don't you get the camera right now and test it?
I'm thinking that the camera was set to a mode where it was in "aperture preferred automatic" with a small F-Stop. The Flash fired, giving the primary lighting, but the shutter stayed open to complete the exposure independent of what the flash did. As the camera was moved, any outside lighting became a fireworks display. If the shutter was really "stuck" open, it would have exposed the in-between frame portion of the film as well as the film advanced under the open shutter. It may have been faint, but would have left something.
So you will be staring into a camera with the flash mounted, looking at how long the shutter stayes open on different settings with the flash mounted... I certainly have before! Polaroid's (older Pack cameras) are famous for this. I have a "thrift store" 450 with a modified shutter to prevent this when used with an electronic flash. Problem was, it never said so! That took me a while!
The subjects are sharp though. If the shutter stayed open, everything in the shot would be blurred by camera movement, not just the light streaks. Right? I mean you would have a "sharp" flash lit subject, but then a blurred image from the camera movement.
Looks like the camera was in slow sync mode (if it has one) or was behaving the same. Maybe the flash wasn't seated correctly? ..enough so to fire the flash but not enough to tell the camera to set to its flash sync speed, You have ended up with long exposure times in a dark environment so only the bright light sources show as trails, the flash has lit and froze the foreground subjects. I donít know the G1/2 but I would be checking the mode settings and cleaning the flash terminals to prevent this happening again.
Edit: Shot 23 has a light source (flood light?) in the top middle that trails off and back into the shot. Check shot 35, looks like a second flash source (another photographer?) from the right side that has produced a second ghost image, note the person on the left has this ghost image in this face but the back of his hat (shaded from the second flash) is sharp, guy on the right has a sharp face (again shaded) but a ghost ear.
Flash + long exposure gets my bet.
Could it be reflections from a sticky shutter?
If the shot is at night and outside, there wouldn't be enough ambient light to cause the "smear" that you see in some slow-synch photos.
Only the Contax G2 has a second curtain synchronization function with flash. The G1 doesn't, and the only thing you can do is "drag" the flash (use it at extremely slow shutterspeeds to capture environmental light). I tend to believe there's some contamination in the shutter: the streaks are light, which means they blocked light preventing the film from being "burned." Here I am with Rover: if this were a case of extremely long exposure and camera movement, there wouldn't be any sharpness in the shots.
But then... I don't really know. I'd check the shutter curtains most thoroughly and then shoot a roll of cheap film just to see if there's a difference. Could there be interference from other flash shots moving around too? Hmm...
Please, keep us posted!
The flash wasn't either affixed or the contacts were dirty and never sent the camera a "flash ready" signal.
Happened to me.
The shutter was set by the camera to expose the scene by available light, but closes the flash contacts anyway, firing the flash.
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