How To Load & Rewind Film With An SLR

by | Aug 4, 2020 | Camera Chat, Tutorials | 0 comments

(Disclaimer: Clean your camera kiddos, not like our dusty OM-10)

If you, like me, many years ago bought a SLR and had no idea how to use it, this is the basic guide for you. Although we used an Olympus OM-10, the principle remains the same for most SLR’s.

Start by opening the back of the camera and placing your roll of film in the film slot. Pull the film leader out leaving some slack and feed it through the slot in the middle of the take up spool.

Once you have done this, use the advance lever (which you may need to fire before this is allowed. Please don’t force it and break your new camera) At this point, the film should catch and and begin to roll on to the take up spool. To be safe, It’s recommended you fire a few shots to ensure the film has caught on properly and is advancing through the body – it’s much better to lose one frame on your film than the whole lot due to a poorly loaded/jammed film. Once you are you confident the film has caught on correctly, you are ready to close the back of the camera and start shooting!

When you have finished your roll of film, you will need to rewind the entire roll back into the canister before opening the camera to take the roll out. I cannot stress this enough, never open the camera back unless you are certain the film has been rewound or say goodbye to your lovely images. You will be able to tell it’s time to rewind when there is a significant increase in tension when you try and wind on or your film counter hits 24 or 36. We’ll repeat..try not force it. It WILL either break your camera or your film.

To rewind a roll, find your camera’s film release button – generally a prominent button vertically below the advance lever/gear.

Once pressed/activated, this will disengage the lock holding the take up spool in place, allowing the film to be rewound.

On the left hand side of the camera you will have a folding lever with an arrow showing which way it must be cranked, continually crank this until you feel a release of tension (this is when the leader flicks out of the take up spool). Once you have heard the click, there will be little tension, but it’s best to give the crank a few more times…

If during rewinding, it does not feel smooth or there is some tension, it’s best to ensure the button you pressed previously is fully depressed and then continue.

Once you have done this, open the back of the camera, grab your film, go get it developed and patiently wait for that email with your photos!


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