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Certain rolls of film not advancing in Canon 814

Jimmy Schaus

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Posted this on 8mm forum already, but thought I'd also post it here to see if there was any other insight...


I recently shot eight rolls of film over the span of a month, and with two of those rolls, experienced the problem of the film not advancing past a certain point. The camera is a Canon Auto Zoom 814. Writing here to help troubleshoot and diagnose what the problem might be.

My first three rolls were completely normal and fine. While shooting my fourth roll, perhaps 1/4 of the way through, the camera motor began to slow down, stutter and stop. I assume the batteries were dying, as I had been shooting on this pair for quite some time. I put in fresh batteries, and shot until what I believed to be the end of the roll, according to the footage counter. However, the film did not read "exposed", and had not gone to the end of the roll. I let the camera roll for a bit, thinking maybe the footage counter and end of the roll were not exactly aligned, but after a very long time, still no "exposed". I also noticed one sprocket had torn. I got a Sharpie, marked the roll, and indeed it did not advance. I then took out a fresh roll and marked it with a Sharpie. This roll advanced without a problem, and I shot it, along with two other rolls, with success, reaching the end of the roll at the same time as the footage counter.

The next roll, after the previous two successful ones, the same problem occurred. At the 50' footage counter mark, I opened the camera to put in a new roll, and noticed it did not read "exposed". I again let the camera roll for a bit, hoping to reach the end, but it did not. The next day, I marked the roll with a sharpie...and this time it DID advance. I finished shooting the roll. I then shot another roll, and it worked fine.

So, two problematic rolls interspersed among six other successful ones. The first problem roll I abandoned after the Sharpie test, so when I watch the footage, it is just a short roll. Everything after the point at which it stopped advancing is black. The second problematic roll did not advance for the first few hours when I was shooting. So what would have been the beginning of the roll did not come out. Eventually, however, the film does advance, and is correctly exposed. There are a few shots that came out which I shot right before realizing that the end of the roll had not been reached when it should have according to the footage counter. Then, the rest of the roll shot totally fine.

I've shot close to thirty rolls of Ektachrome and Tri-X over the last few years, never with any issues except for this last shoot. 

Can anyone help me diagnose the problem based on the above account? All of the film is new Kodak Echtachrome, save for one roll of new Kodak Tri-X, purchased on the same order from the same retailer that I always use. I am wondering if the problem was with those particular rolls, or if this is indicative of a slowly failing camera? Are there any tests I can do to narrow it down? The most confusing part to me is how it was just two rolls out of several, and they were not concentrated towards the end of my shooting period, but rather randomly interspersed. Makes me think it was a problem with the rolls, perhaps the tension was off in them or something, but who knows. Any help is appreciated, thank you.

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There has been a serious issues with recent cartridges of KODAK Super 8mm film having excessive tension.   It's most likely a manufacturing issue when the cartridges are being loaded. Depressing the cartridge pressure plate with a small screwdriver, you should be able to easily pull the film down with your finger.  If not, the film is too tight.  Even though your Super 8mm CANON camera is old.....in my own experience, that is not the reason.  The film in the cartridge is supposed to advance easily and smoothly.   I have encountered some cartridge issues, opened them up and reloaded the film to alleviate this.  But this is not something just anyone can do of course.   Some have returned the film to KODAK for replacement film.


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