How to Load and Remove Film in a Manual Camera

By Suzie Faloon

Say you have an older 35mm camera that belonged to your parents, or that you simply haven't used in several years. And no matter how much you rack your brains, you can't figure out how to load a new roll of film into it. Follow the step-by-step instructions below to properly load your manual camera.

Load film

Step 1

Pull up on the film rewind button until the back cover opens up.

Step 2

Open the camera back. (Keep an open camera away from direct sunlight.)

Step 3

Insert a roll of 35mm film into the chamber.

Step 4

Grasp the end of the film or leader and carefully pull toward the opposite end of the camera interior.

Step 5

Insert the leader into any slot of the take-up spool.

Step 6

Pull the advance film lever once. Make sure the film perforations are in the teeth of the transport sprocket and take-up spool.

Step 7

Make sure the film is lying flat. If it is looping out, it will not move forward properly in the camera. It must be taut. Slowly turn the rewind crank in the direction of the arrow until it stops. Close the cover. Take several blank shots until the number 1 shows up on the frame counter.

Remove film

Step 1

Place the end of the film box into the memo holder pocket, to remind you what kind of film it is and the number of frames or exposures.

Step 2

Understand that, when you are at the end of your film, the advance lever will either not move at all or only move part of the way. It is important that you push the rewind button. Turn the rewind crank in the direction of the arrow. The frame counter will count backward as you do this. It will end at S.

Step 3

Watch for the back to pop open. Remove the film canister and reload the camera.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure you do not touch the interior of the film chamber.
  • Do not turn the rewind crank before pressing the rewind button, or you risk exposing and ruining your film.