Why has my film turned out blank?
• This is not a processing issue. If the film emulsion is clear (negative films) or black (reversal films) after processing this means the processing has been carried out successfully.
• Perhaps you left the camera switched on in it’s bag and the trigger was activated by another object pressing on the shutter release button.
• Or you’ve under exposed the film very badly e.g. shot a 50 ASA film at night time.
• It could mean the shutter mechanism on your camera is not working properly. To check, switch the camera on, open the film compartment and without a film in the camera, point the camera at a light source (like a window or light). Press the shutter release and angle the camera such that you can see light coming through the camera’s optical path. This can some sometimes prove tricky to do, but is possible. If you can see light coming through with the shutter release pressed on – then the shutter is working. If not – get the camera serviced.
• The shutter may be mis-timing with the claw in the camera causing motion blur, overlapping images or excessive jitter. There are three essential components in the transport and successful exposure of your film through the camera gate. The motor driving the take up spool, the claw, which progresses the film through the gate frame-by-frame and the shutter, which is usually a rotating disc with a chunk cut out of it, which as it spins, works in tandem with the claw to expose the individual frames of your film. If any of these elements is compromised it can cause mis-timing, motion blur, frames overlapping, jitter and ultimately film jams in your camera. With a 16mm camera this is usually something that can be fixed by a technician, as most 16mm camera were designed to be regularly serviced. With an 8mm camera this can prove a more challenging fix as many 8mm camera were aimed at the consumer market and therefore designed to be expendable. Added to this, all moving parts in an 8mm camera are half the size of 16mm cameras, and therefore more challenging to fix. If however your 8mm camera is professional model, it’s definitely worth having it looked at and fixed. For more information on camera repairs, please get in touch.
• The cameras fade control (variable shutter) may be locked on ‘fade out’. Check your camera’s manual to see if your camera has this function and if so, how to operate it. Follow the previous step (bullet four) to see if you can successfully see light coming through the camera’s optical path. If (after adjustment) you can’t see light coming through the optical path, then this suggests a malfunction and your camera may need servicing.
• The aperture on the camera may be stuck closed and hence under exposing your film. The camera could be in ‘manual exposure mode’ and the exposure locked on a high (closed iris) f-stop. Remember the higher the f-stop, the smaller the iris. Check what f-stop is displaying on the lens barrel or through the lens. For example, if it’s f-22 or f-16 then your iris is closed. Adjust the camera accordingly to open the iris or switch into ‘auto exposure mode’.
• The cameras batteries (or light meter batteries) may be low or dead. Check battery levels and replace, if need be. Remember some cameras take separate batteries for their light meters (e.g. early Canon and Braun Nizo 8mm cameras). Check your camera manual and purchase the correct battery cells where necessary.