How to rewind and unload film from a 35mm manual SLR camera

Image Credit: Kevin Biberbach / 500px/500Px Unreleased Plus/GettyImages

A manual SLR 35 mm camera provides individuals with the ability to take great shots in a portable device that combines authentic photographic tradition with modern technology. Although film cameras are becoming a rarity rather than an industry standard, these cameras are capable of taking images that feature the unique warmth and character that only film can provide. Individuals who are new to the world of film cameras may have some difficulty figuring out how the process of unloading film from the camera body works. Fortunately, loading and unloading film from these devices is relatively straightforward. Before unloading film, however, it is necessary to rewind it, which is also an easy process to complete.

Exploring 35 mm Camera Basics

After completing a roll of film, the chances are good that you are ready to take the film and have it processed. Before doing so, however, you need to extricate the film from the body of the camera. Make sure that you have fully completed the roll and that the lens cap is on before continuing the rewinding process. Once this is done, you can use the film-advance lever to rewind the film in your camera.

You know the rewinding process is complete when the film rewinding lever either stops winding entirely or moves only slightly without resistance. If you have noticed that the film won't rewind, this may be due to a mechanical problem with the camera itself. Attempting to force the camera to rewind could damage the internal mechanisms.

Taking Film Out of Your Camera

Once the film has been rewound, the next step is to remove it from the body of the camera. To do this, find the film-release button on the camera and press it. Usually, it is located at the bottom of the camera body. At this point, the film rewind knob can be used to direct the film back into the original canister. Do so by slowly turning the knob clockwise for a number of seconds.

After you feel a click, you should be able to pull up on the knob slowly to remove the film canister from the body of the camera. If you still have the original film canister tube available, place the completed roll inside of it. If you do not, you need to place the film in any holder that completely blocks the light. At this point, you can successfully transport the film to any darkroom you see fit.

references