How to Put Film in a Camera: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Put Film in a Camera: A Step-by-Step Guide

Understanding properly how to put film in a camera is an essential skill to learn on your film photography journey.

Loading film may seem daunting if you’re accustomed to the simplicity of memory cards, but it’s a straightforward process once you get the hang of it.

TL;DR Step-by-Step Instructions

The Darkroom UK Ltd shows you the two-minute process here:

From capturing quick movements to ensuring our camera compatibility, the right film can make all the difference.

When we’re ready to load film into our camera, it’s crucial to select the type that best fits our shooting needs.

Film Formats and Camera Compatibility

We’ve got to check if our film matches our camera. 35mm film is the most common and fits most vintage and contemporary film cameras.

However, not all film cameras use 35mm; some might require medium format or other specialty films.

Before we try to load film, let’s ensure the size and format align with our camera’s requirements. That way, we avoid the hassle of discovering incompatibility after the fact.

Step 1: Preparing Your Camera

It’s crucial to ensure that the camera is ready for a new roll of film.

Pop open the back cover and take a good look inside to set the stage for loading the film correctly.

how to put film in a camera olympus

Step 2: Opening the Camera Back

To do this, it usually involves lifting or turning the rewind knob or maybe pressing a release button—depending on the model we’re working with—it should spring open.

Lifted Rewind Knob
Circled: Rewind Knob. Make Sure It’s Lifted.

Inspecting the Film Chamber

After the back cover is open, it’s time to give the film chamber a thorough check.

We’re making sure it’s clean and there are no remnants from a previous film roll lurking inside.

We want a spotless chamber to welcome our fresh roll of film and ensure nothing gets in the way of a perfect shot.

Step 3: Loading the Film

yung shows how to load film into Point & Shoot cameras here:

It’s essential to know that loading film correctly is crucial for ensuring that every shot counts.

We’ll go through inserting the film roll, attaching the film leader properly, and advancing the film to the first frame.

Step 4: Attaching the Film Leader

Now locate the film leader, which is the narrow strip of film protruding from the roll.

We need to slide this leader across the camera to the take-up spool on the other side.

Unspooling the film. Image Credit: evrim ertik

Step 5: Secure the Film

Once we find the slot or catch on the spool, make sure it’s firmly attached.

Ensure the sprockets engage with the film holes. This holds the film in place as you take shots.

Advancing the Film to the First Frame

After the film leader is attached, close the camera back. Then, using the film advance lever, gently advance the film.

It typically takes two or three strokes before the film starts to catch and advance properly.

Once the rewind knob rotates, it signals that the film is catching. Keep advancing until the frame counter shows the number one.

This means we’re all set to start shooting!

Image Credit: Pexels

Step 6: Rewinding and Unloading

Once we’ve taken our last photo, it’s time to rewind the exposed film and get it ready for development.

We need to handle the film carefully to avoid any exposure to light, which can ruin our shots.

Mastin Labs shows how to rewind and unload film here.

Rewinding the Exposed Film

Before we crank the rewind knob, we need to press the rewind release button.

It’s often found at the bottom of the camera. Once we’ve pressed that, we can start turning the rewind knob clockwise.

You’ll feel a slight resistance at first, but as we keep turning, that tension should ease up.

This is a sign that the film is fully reeled back in.

Step 7: Safely Removing Film from the Camera

Make sure the exposed film is safe to remove.

A lot of cameras come with an open switch, typically located on the side or bottom. Just like loading, flick that switch and the back should pop open.

It’s important we do this step in a space away from direct sunlight to protect the exposed film from any light leaks.

Once the film is securely out, we’re ready to get it developed and see our pictures come to life.

Happy shooting!