There’s nothing worse than coming to the end of a roll of film and realising that you don’t actually know how to rewind it or if it’s actually rewound without you knowing. I’ve managed to avoid most major mishaps by following these simple guidelines.
Most 35mm point-and-shoot cameras rewind automatically and most SLR cameras need to be rewound manually. If your point-and-shoot camera doesn’t automatically rewind then there will usually be a small button next to a film rewind logo, you’ll need to press this using something small and pokey. For SLR cameras, some are electronic and will rewind for you but most are manual, you’ll need to find the button that releases the film so that you can use the metal winder to wind it back.
This might sound a little bit complicated so over the rest of the article, I’ll explain it a little bit more in-depth and outline some variations to help you understand what you might need to do.
Rewinding Film With Your 35mm Point And Shoot Camera
If it automatically rewinds
If you reach the end of your roll of film and your camera makes a loud noise for around 30 seconds then you can assume that it’s rewound the film automatically. In this case, I would wait for another 30 seconds or so and then open the back of the camera, hopefully then all of the camera film has gone back into the canister, if there’s a small amount poking out this is okay but if it is all still out then all of your images will be ruined.
If it doesn’t automatically rewind
If your camera does not automatically rewind then you have to manually rewind it, usually, there is a small button on the bottom of the camera (although it can be elsewhere) and I’ll add an image to show you what that looks like.
Some cameras don’t have the same kind of button to rewind with but they usually all have the same logo. Some cameras have a hole with a piece of metal in that you’ll have to push forwards, some have 2 separate buttons, one that you have to push down while you slide the other. It should become obvious once you find your rewind logo.
If the camera doesn’t respond to the rewind button
If the camera does not respond to the rewind button being pushed then there are a couple of reasons: The camera may have already automatically rewound and you didn’t realise, this is something that you’d have to be sure about though and my advice would be to go into a very dark room (Absolutely completely dark) and open the back of your camera and feel whether the film has gone back into the roll or is still in the camera.
The other reason would be that the camera is faulty, in which case then I would suggest that you do the same thing, go into a dark room, open the backup, if the film is still inside the camera then you could remove it and push the film back into the canister yourself. This could be made difficult depending on what kind of camera you have, some of them will hold onto your film and make it nearly impossible to get your film out. You could try to pull harder against the motor but this could further damage your camera, that’s your decision though because if your camera won’t rewind then it’s damaged enough.
Rewinding Film With Your 35mm SLR Camera
To rewind an electronic SLR
Some SLR cameras rewind electronically but not necessarily automatically, this is the exception and not the norm, but if you have a camera made after the 90’s then this may be the case. Once you reach the end of your roll of film then you might have a button to just press to rewind for you, you can press this button and wait for your camera to rewind then remove your film, easy as anything.
To rewind an SLR Manually
SLR cameras are usually rewound manually, once you’ve finished your roll of film then you’ll have to wind it back yourself. To rewind your film you usually need to find a small button on the bottom to release it, this just makes it so you can actually wind it back, once you’ve pressed that button in then you can use the winder which is usually on the top left of the body to wind your film back into the canister. After you’ve wound it for a little while (possibly 30 seconds to a minute depending on how quickly you wind it) then you’ll feel the tension decrease which usually means you’ve finally got the film fully rewound, I would always continue winding it for a little bit longer in order to be 100% certain.
Once you’re certain your film is rewound then you can open the backup and remove your film. A final note on manually rewinding your film, some cameras like the OM series cameras have a different rewind release which is on the front and has to be twisted 90 degrees, if you’re confused then you can usually find the answer on google or youtube.