Canon AE-1 Program focus problem

Discussion in 'Technical Troubleshooting' started by Slaven, Aug 7, 2019.

  1. Slaven

    Slaven New Member

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    Greetings everybody!
    I have recently acquired a Canon AE-1 Program that has a problem with close focusing.
    For example, if the subject which I focus on is at 1 meter distance, the focus on the negative/image will be at 70-80cm distance. It is not an issue with a diopter or my eyes since it has the same focusing screen as my AE-1 (which I have shot dozens of rolls with and with no problems at all).
    Can you help me diagnose the malfunction or maybe even repair it?
    Thank You!

    Kind regards,
    Slaven
     

  2. GDN

    GDN Active Member

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    My first question would be is the focusing screen installed the right way around? Has it been taken out, and put back in upside down by mistake?

    By all means, please someone correct me if I am wrong, but if they are put in the wrong way, I am pretty sure that the focus is off.

    Is the focusing screen the original one that came with the camera? Has someone replaced it with another screen?

    Gary
     
  3. Slaven

    Slaven New Member

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    Thank you for quick response.
    I believe it is the original one, but since I am not the first owner, I cannot confirm that it wasn't taken out at some point for cleaning.
    I have tried flipping it but there seems to be only one way for it to go in, and the problem persists no matter what.

    Could it be the mirror angle or something like that, and if so, how do I fix it?
     
  4. johnsey

    johnsey Site Moderator Staff Member Site Supporter

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    Well really the only thing you can do is have it CLA'd which will cost a bit to do. You could look and see if you can tell if the mirror is sitting where it is intended or if there is something obstructing it from coming down and hitting the pins on the sides when it is down. ( I assume it has pins, i didn't own canon film I had pentax).
    Also maybe the pressure plat on the door doesn't work properly and is allowing give in the film that could also account for it being out of focus.
     
  5. Slaven

    Slaven New Member

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    I already had it CLA'd.
    I really wouldn't know how to know if the mirror is seated properly, looks fine to me.
    The problem is not the pressure plat for certain. Allow me to explain; I have both AE1 and AE1P with 2 50mm f1.8 lenses. So I took my working AE1 and set up a test - a subject at about 1 meter distance and the lens distance indicator said the same, then I focused on the subject with my problematic AE1P and the focus indicator was at a few degrees off at let's say 85-90cm. That is consistent with the results I have been getting since every image is focused closer than intended. I also swapped the lenses, triple checked everything, and the problem persisted.

    Image: Down - properly working AE1, Up - malfunctioning AE1 Program fokus problem.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2019
  6. johnsey

    johnsey Site Moderator Staff Member Site Supporter

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    Anywhere that does a CLA should be able to identify the place where it is out of adjustment so I would go back to them. Is it the mirror, maybe, but I would imagine if the mirror isn't sitting where it should you would notice it in the viewfinder as it wouldn't line up perfect. Likely its prism/focus screen related. A new focus screen could be picked up but I would defiantly go back to the person who CLA'd it they should have caught this. And at this point its a question of cost, you can pick up a AE-1 for the cost of a focus screen.
     
  7. GDN

    GDN Active Member

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    Have you tried swapping the focusing screens between the cameras and seeing how you get on?

    Gary
     
  8. Slaven

    Slaven New Member

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    @johnsey Then I guess the nature of the problem surpasses my knowledge and abilities. I was hoping it was something that I could handle on my own. To the shop it goes! Thank you for your help!

    @GDN Haven't given that a go yet. I'm a bit afraid to mess with my 5D Mark II.
     
  9. GDN

    GDN Active Member

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    I meant swapping the screens between your AE1 and AE1 Program. That is if that is even possible.

    Gary
     
  10. Slaven

    Slaven New Member

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    AE1 doesn't have an easily removable focusing screen like AE1 Program does.
     

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