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Canon EOS Elan 7 / 7E: Replacing A Broken Film Door Latch

Plastic is a wonderful invention with many benefits including lower weight and production costs, but often there is also a tradeoff in durability.  The Canon EOS Elan 7 / 7e was one of Canon's last 35mm film cameras, and is also regarded as on of the best due to its simplicity married to modern EOS technologies.

Gear Photos

Gear Photos

The Canon EOS Elan 7 is constructed of a mix of metal and plastic, but one of the most important parts of this otherwise magnificent film camera features a design flaw, making it easily broken:  The film door latch is constructed of cheap plastic which will snap off if slamming the film door shut too violently, causing the door to not be able to lock.

Today you'll learn how to easily replace the door latch for under $20, in less than 15 minutes.  This is much cheaper and easier than an out-of-warranty Canon repair.  This is the 2nd time I broke this part; the first time, Canon had my camera for 14 days and charged $120 for replacing this part.  This isn't the only guide out there, but I thought the pictures in others were hard to distinguish.

Supplies:  Replacement Door Latch (found online below), small jewelers philips head screwdriver, and a bit of time.

Gear Photos

Gear Photos

1) First, you need to get the replacement part.  Make sure this is the part that is broken - you should be able to see the sheared plastic inside the door latch on the camera body (NOT on the film door itself).  If you're unsure, you can still proceed with this guide and very easily check the latch mechanism.

Here are several vendors I found selling the part.  I got mine off of eBay, and ordered 2 in case I break it again.

Here you see the broken part along with the replacement part:

Gear Photos

Gear Photos

2) Like any electronics project, start by removing the batteries.  We need to remove 7 screws from the camera and strip off some of the body to access the part.  Order doesn't really matter for this, but let's start with the two screws on the side to remove the latch assembly cover panel, and 1 for the body.  Below, you'll see that I've already removed the broken latch.

Gear Photos

Gear Photos

Gear Photos

Gear Photos

3) Next get the two screws on the bottom of the camera body.

Gear Photos

Gear Photos

4) Finally, remove the 2 screws from the front of the camera body, and keep these separate: they are slightly longer than the other screws.

Gear Photos

Gear Photos

5) The front face should easily come off.  Remove the face, and then detatch the broken latch being careful not to ruin the spring's shape.

Gear Photos

Gear Photos

6) Install the new latch by hooking the spring first, then placing the latch back on the sliding track.  It should "snap" into place, but will only be held in by friction and the spring holding it in place.  The triangle arrow on the latch should point down, and the metal fingers should be in contact with a small electrical plate on the circuit board; this tells the camera if which position the latch is in, and likewise if the film door is locked or not.

Gear Photos

Gear Photos

Gear Photos

Gear Photos

Gear Photos

Gear Photos

7) Now, replace the latch cover panel and the two screws holding it in position to ensure the new latch doesn't fall out.  Note the panel has a notch at the top that matches a notch in the camera body.

Gear Photos

Gear Photos

Gear Photos

Gear Photos

8 ) Reinstall the faceplate, and tighten the two long screws on the front, two screws on the bottom, and one screw on the side.  You should now have a fully operational film door - now get out there and shoot!

Gear Photos

Gear Photos