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How to Take Film Out of a 35mm Camera in 3 Simple Steps

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old camera with film

Back in the day, taking the film out of a 35-millimeter (mm) camera was no small feat. Luckily, most 35mm cameras today are easy to work with and only require a few simple steps to remove the film. Once you know how to do it, you probably won’t forget.

Keep reading to learn how to take film out of a 35mm camera.

shutter camera divider

Before You Start

In order to take film out of a 35mm camera, you will need to rewind the film from the take-up spool first. Although this sounds difficult, it is actually pretty easy. Just push the rewind button and rewind the film. After the film is rewound, you’re free to open the back of the camera and take the film out.

What You’ll Need

The good news about taking film out of a 35mm camera is that you don’t need anything to do it. Instead, you only need your hands and the camera itself. No special tools are required for the process!

How to Take Film Out of a 35mm Camera in 3 Simple Steps

1. Locate and Press the Film Up-Take Reel Button

canon camera 35mm on the bed

Image Credit: Elijah weller, Unsplash

Begin by finding and pressing the small button located at the bottom of your camera. This button will release the film take-up reel whenever you push it, which then allows you to rewind the 35mm film.

If you try to rewind the film without pushing this button, there will be a lot of tension. If you rewind the film without pushing the button, you could end up breaking your camera or ripping the film. Needless to say, make sure to press the button.


2. Lift and Turn the Rewind Dial

35mm canon camera with films

Image Credit: iEpix, Pixabay

Next, lift the small lever located on the film’s rewind dial. This step is specifically for single-lens reflex cameras. Turn this lever clockwise. As you begin turning, there should be some tension from the film rewinding. Continue turning this lever until the film is completely rewound.

You will know that it is finished whenever you feel a sudden decrease in tension. In some cameras, you might actually hear a slight clicking noise.


3. Remove the Film

person removing film on the camera

Image Credit: Erik Gonzalez, Shutterstock

Finally, open the back of your film camera. Just pull the film rewind dial-up to get this done. Gently remove the film so that it can be developed.

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How Do You Get Stuck Film Out of a Camera? 

Occasionally, you may find that your film is stuck inside your camera. Film normally becomes stuck whenever you begin rewinding the film without pushing the up-take reel button first. Occasionally, some film gets stuck because parts are jammed inside, or you didn’t load the film properly.

Regardless of why your film is stuck inside your camera, it’s best to place the camera in an airtight bag and take it to a professional. Unfortunately, trying to open and remove the film if it is stuck can damage the film, the camera, or both.

By taking the camera to a professional, it can be looked at to determine the cause of the problem and then, hopefully, fixed. Once the camera is fixed and the film is removed, the professional can provide you with some tips to prevent this from happening in the future.

shutter camera divider 2Final Thoughts

To take the film out of a 35mm camera, all you need to do is press the rewind button, rewind the film, and remove the film. It really is as simple as that. As simple as these steps may be, you can permanently damage your camera if you do not follow the steps appropriately.

Double-check to make sure you press the rewind button and rewind the film in its entirety before you open the camera. If you do these two things, you should be able to remove film from your camera quickly and efficiently. If you are having trouble removing the film, take it to a professional so that the job is done safely and efficiently.


Featured Image Credit: Suriyawut Suriya, Shutterstock

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.

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