Can the order of photos on a film somehow become reversed?

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by rob_s|11, Nov 30, 2018.

  1. This might be a silly question, but then again I don't know much about photography. I hope someone experienced can shed some light on this:
    I have a roll of negatives I was scanning. The photos on the film roll were taken by a standard consumer camera, the kind that prints a little date and time in the corner. After I had scanned the whole roll, I noticed that the dates and times were going the wrong direction. I.e. first picture is dated Nov 30 2000, 14:22, next one is Nov 28 2000, 12:40, then Nov 28 2000 11:52, and so on. It continues this way all to the end. The final picture is from Aug 8 2000, 17:32.
    So basically, the dates and time indicates that the photo order is entirely reversed, with the film roll starting out with the most recently taken photo from late November in the year 2000, and the last photo from August that same year.
    Is this even possible, and how could that have happened? Or are most likely the actual photos in right chronological order, and only the dates / times reversed (and therefore incorrect)? Unfortunately, in the case of this roll, it's not possible for me to tell by just looking at the photos if their order is reversed, I just reacted to the dates being reversed.
    Please let me know what you think has happened, and why.
    Edit: P.S. The photos do not appear upside down on the film roll, only reversed order.
  2. Rob - in some cameras with a motorized film winding mechanism, when you load film, the camera automatically winds the film on to the end. Usually the frame counter on the camera will show that as soon as you load film, the motor will activate and the counter will count up from zero to 24 or 36, and then stop at that number. It then exposes from the end backwards to the beginning of the roll (like a slow rewind, counting down to zero), and when the last frame is exposed, it completes the rewind. I suspect this is the case in your camera.
    Vincent Peri and rob_s|11 like this.
  3. Thank you for the explanation!
  4. The theory is that if you open the back of the camera unexpectedly, all the shots you've taken (other than maybe the last few) will be safe in the light tight cartridge. I don't think it ever caught on though.
  5. Blame the advent of digital for that?
    There were the 35mm "Rapid" cartridges, where the film got spooled from one to another. - An Agfa / East European thing? And also all the cassette stuff in other smaller formats (110, 126, Minox Super 8).
  6. I don't know about P&S cameras, but in SLRs the "wind all the film out then wind it back in as you shoot" thing was done on all models of Canon Rebel and at least a couple of Nikons-the N65 and probably the N55. It wouldn't surprise me if competing models from Minolta and Pentax in the same price bracket also worked that way.

    It's worth nothing that many disposable cameras also work "in reverse." When they are manufactured, a complete roll of 35mm film is unwound on the supply side. As you take a photo and "advance" the film, turning the thumbwheel winds film back into the cartridge. Typically, on these when you reach the end of the roll the wheel can be turned endlessly-this ensures that the film is fully wound into the cartridge. If you took one apart, you'd find a fully rewound roll of 35mm film in a conventional cartridge.
  7. AJG


    A variant on this--some Fuji P/S film cameras not only wound the film forward when it was loaded but had the cartridge on the opposite side from most cameras. This led to problems with some mini labs because the sky was on the bottom of the image rather than the top and the automated exposure systems in some printers didn't work very well with them.
  8. Last year we put 25 out on tables for a class reunion. Five were not used at all, so I wound the film nearly through and used them in my regular camera.
  9. I believe that all disposable cameras work that way. It also means that if you put the film strips in file pages, that the pictures come out upside down, or in right to left order, your choice.

    Last time I was at a wedding with disposable cameras on the table, I made sure all got used up.

    Also, they get 27 exposures on a 24 exposure roll, as they are loaded in the dark. No waste of
    the first few frames from loading.

    By the way, the numbering gets more interesting with film bulk loaded from 50 or 100 foot rolls.
    They number frames from 1 to maybe 44, but you don't know where the start is. Depending on
    how you load them, they might be numbered in either direction, and frame 1 might be somewhere
    in the middle of the roll.
  10. No Pentax I know does that and I know the Nikons we used at the lab did not (we had an N65, I believe).

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