How to load film in camera

How To Load A Film In Analog Camera

While cameras with films are not something that a new generation is very familiar with, most photographers will tell you they are still the best choice when it comes to taking professional photos. They provide a kind of unique edge and class to the photographers, which digital cameras are found to be lacking.

The color variations, the effects, the special features that these professional devices can offer through your photographs even until today is quite remarkable. Some of the professional cameras that many good photographers view for are SR2 and SR3 models.

Also, you’ll find some of the older cameras (35 mm types) in your family still working well and you may want to examine them before putting them in the recycling bin. Most of them will be operated with a film and you will most likely need to learn how to work with them.

Fortunately, loading a film into a camera will not need too much technical training. Even if you are not a professional photographer, you should be able to load the camera without any issue. It will need to be done with basic knowledge and precision in order to ensure an excellent product.

Nowadays, the new cameras are equipped with automatic loading feature which has made using a camera a lot easier. So here’s how you should load a film in your camera, in a few simple steps.

Open the switch at the back/side of the camera

As the first step to loading the camera film, you need to start by opening the back of the camera. The sliding switch at the back or side of the camera, which looks like a latch usually shows the open direction with an arrow.

It is usually easy to manipulate and doesn’t require any special skill or expertise. The only effort you may need to put in is to hold the locking button while simultaneously moving the latch in case of cameras that have a double catch to minimize the chances of accidental opening.

Make sure the film settles into place

Moreover, simply putting the film in after lifting the latch won’t do the trick. You need to ensure that the film is locked in its place, which is the spool hub – a cylindrical protrusion that needs to fit into a tiny recess provided in the film chamber.

The end of the film opposite the spool hub should go over the spindle that extends into the chamber, which may require some manipulation with your fingers. If you are planning to buy a film camera check film cameras under $100.

Align the film with tip mark in opposite chamber

You’ll notice a film tip mark, usually orange or red in color, in the opposite chamber. As the next step, you need to pull the leader of the film canister gently, so that some of the films come out of the cassette. And as you do, make sure you have a finger on the cassette to prevent it from coming out of the chamber. You may need to pull the film out a little more if the alignment is awry.

Close the camera after double-checking

Once the alignment is complete, double-check to ensure that the cassette is firmly in place, and then close the camera (a clicking sound will tell you when it’s properly shut).

Engage the film with the motor of the camera such that the film moves into the first frame and the camera LCD panel or frame counter displays the numeral 1.

In some cameras, the shutter button may need to be pressed several times before the number 1 shows up. This is usually the case with some of the cheaper camera models.

Precautions to be taken

Pulling the film out too much or too little will cause problems in loading. So be careful about how much of the film you stretch out. Fortunately, good cameras will give warning signs on the display if the length of the film pulled out is not proper.

If you’ve pulled out too much, you simply need to turn the spool hub counterclockwise to push some back into the cassette. And if it’s too little, then just pull out some more.

And of course, you need to be cautious about opening and closing the camera for loading or removing the film. If not done properly you could end up with an exposed film, which is a sheer waste of time and money, of course. Though more importantly, you will not want to lose precious moments that would be difficult to capture once again.

Another aspect to take into consideration is the light factor. Of course, it’s a good idea to work in less light or if possible, to be in absolute darkness, while loading the film, but it’s not really imperative.

The part that you need to pull out for loading is made to handle light, so your film won’t get ruined during the loading process. Of course, if you end up pulling out too much of the film, you may have damaged the film already.

But on the flip side, loading in complete darkness may be a difficult proposition and you could end up messing it up, especially if you’re not an expert at it.

Perhaps you could look at going into total darkness for the loading of your camera film once you’ve mastered the intricate techniques of it, and become adept at handling it even with your eyes closed, so to say.


As with any new trick or task, patience is the key to loading a film in a camera. There’s naturally an art behind the process, which requires a certain amount of nimbleness of the fingers.

However, once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll find your fingers manipulating the film easily enough without hassle or complication.

One thing is certain – you won’t regret working with a film camera once you figure it out. In fact, you might even switch from fancy digital cameras to old school film cameras after a few times.

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