Open the camera back: how many frames do you lose?

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by n m, Oct 15, 2003.

  1. n m

    n m

    I am guessing that if you open an average size 35mm camera back when
    there is a roll in there, you lose the frame behind the lens, the
    next frame due to a third of it being exposed, and the exposed frame
    before the current frame which is partially wound onto the right
    spool. Or, perhaps the total spoiled is four if another on the right
    spool is partially exposed.

    I am most in doubt about how lightfast that exposed film wound on the
    right spool is. Guess what mistake I made.
  2. If enough light got in, you've lost all frames on the film that was sticking out of the film container.
    <p>Some cameras, like the Canon Rebel series, pre-wind the film: when you insert a new film, it unwinds the whole film on to the right spool. When you take photos, it winds the film back into the spool frame by frame. When you accidentally open the back, the frames that you took are saved because they are safely inside the film container.
  3. I lost all of mine, but that probably was because I got P'Oed and ripped the film out of the camera and kicked it across an open field :(
  4. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    The anti-halation coating on the film (what keeps the light from bouncing off the back of the camera and onto the emusion again) is heavy enough so that one or two wrappings around the take up reel should prevent light from passing through to all of the film. The edges will be burnt but if the take up reel is tight you should only lose a few frames on it.
  5. It depends... it happened to me two times. The first time as a school boy on one of my very first roll. IIRC approx. the first half of the roll was still useable. The second time some months ago, when I had finished a film, took the Konica Auto-S out of its hardcase and found the rear door wasn't properly locked - it just sprang up, and I closed it in the same moment. The two last frames were lost.

    Undeveloped (and un-fixed) film is quite opaque so usually the first part of the roll will not be fogged.
  6. I've never lost more than 3 frames. When I do the idiot thing, it's almost always with a p&s. I seem to have my mind engaged better with my SLRs.
  7. last time i did it (before manual rewind was complete, in my haste to reload to catch the last few minutes of setting sunlight), i lost 6 frames. until last saturday, because i forgot i had switched back from auto rewind camera to manual rewind one used above, while i was taking a few snapshots at the Met, having just seen their amazing exhibit The Dawn of Photography: French Daguerreotypes, 1839–1855. i haven't gotten results back from Clark Color Labs.
  8. Not more than 3 or 4.
  9. I've only done this twice. The first time I went to put in a new roll without realizing thay I had yet to rewind and remove the previous one, I lost about 3-4 frames on that one. The other time was not really accidental, but my film ripped out of the cannister and there ws nothing I could do to save it at the time.
  10. My Maxxum 5 locks the film door when a roll is in the camera and it is a handy feature. I've stupidly tried to open the back a few times and been saved by this feature.
  11. I have lost as few as three and as many as eight. But the frames
    not considered "lost" were imperfect.
  12. Canon T-90. The film was rewinding, I stupidly thought it was finished, 3 or 4 lost frames. Not as bad as I expected!
  13. Speaking from actual experience, about 4. Even with high speed film.

    You need to close it right away again, though.
  14. I out there someone who had this accident with a Leica M camera?
  15. Just did this on accident. I'm going to take the roll in today and see the damage. Hopefully the frames that got ruined are the filler ones I took.
  16. Worth reviving a 10 year old thread for?
  17. On one of the first rolls I shot with my first SLR, a Canon A-1, I inadvertently opened the back without rewinding. I was in full sun, and don't recall exactly how much I opened it-if I actually saw the film or if I just popped the back and realized my mistake before looking. Whatever the case, I snapped the back shut right away.

    It was a 24 exposure roll of C-41, and I lost the last 3-4 frames completely, Frames further in had "stripes" somewhere across them, probably only the last ~10 frames on the roll in total had any evidence(and I was really stretching to find issues there).

    If you sit there with the back open al the way, you'll probably kill the whole roll. If it's quick and you minimize it, in my experience you'll lose some but not the entire roll.
  18. Contax/Kiev or Leica/Zorki/FED/early Zenit: cartridge to cartridge loading with automatic self closing cartridges, lose around 3-4 frames when switching films mid roll, no rewinding required.

    Oh, it's also really, really hard to open the back accidentally in those cameras, with either one or two keys that have to be flipped, then turned 180 degrees, you can feel the added resistance when turning if there's film in (and you're using the above cartridges).

    Why did they make it so easy on later cameras? It's one of those things that should have an "are you really sure?" verification and a big lock, not some flimsy little latch that's easy to bump by accident.

    Leica/Zorki cartridge, Contax/Kiev are similar, but not interchangable.
  19. A lot of pull-up-the-crank Nikons have a secondary lock that you have to slide over to pull it up and then open the back. The EL/EL2, FM and FE series, and F3-F5 have this(the F2 uses a key on the bottom, the F has a key in the same place but the whole back and bottom pull off). Funny enough, the F6 also opens via the rewind crank and does NOT have a lock. Canon put a secondary lock-a button that has to be pushed-on the original F-1 and New F-1.
  20. If I were you I simply send the film out for process. Then I would know exactly what happened.

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