I am pretty new to the film camera game and have a Pentax Espio 115. I’m not used to all the terminology yet, so what I say may not be correct term. On my most recent film, my camera has stopped on the 24th slide and then would not continue shooting. I have diagnosed this problem and will take my camera to get fixed. However I have never wound film up manually and I’m struggling to do so. Can anyone help me? I’ve used a fujifilm X-tra 400. I am aware that the film exposed will be lost but would like to retrieve the rest of the film. enter image description here

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Hi Rachel, Welcome to Photography.StackExchange. We hope you enjoy sharing knowledge and experience here. \$\endgroup\$
    – Stan
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 14:03
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ On a sidenote, since you mentioned terminology: you mean frames, not slides. Slides are individual frames from (colour) positive film, also known as reversal, slide, positive, and E6 film. The fuji x-tra you're shooting is a colour negative film \$\endgroup\$
    – timvrhn
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 20:34
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ If you’re sure it is a roll of 36 exposures and all of the film that is out of the canister is ruined by daylight then you can simply just cut it off and then cut a new leader edge to match the old one so that you can install it in your camera for the remaining 10 or 11 shots. There is no need to rewind the ruined film back into the canister. \$\endgroup\$
    – Alaska Man
    Commented Jan 5, 2020 at 22:53

3 Answers 3


I've seen P&S cameras use up a roll in two ways:

  1. The film is inserted, the back closed, and then the camera pulls the whole roll onto the take-up spool. As you shoot, each from is "advanced" back into the cassette. When you hit the end, what you've shot is already in the cassette.
  2. The film is inserted, the back closed, and the camera then advances to the first frame. As you shoot, the film is advanced onto the take-up spool. When you hit the end, the whole roll is then rewound.

The manual for your camera leads me to believe that it uses method 2 above.

The problem here is that, if your camera does use method 2, then every frame you've shot is sitting on the take-up spool and was fogged/burned¹ when you cracked² the back. These frames are lost and there's no point in even attempting to get them developed. The only way you have any frames worth saving is if you got the camera to rewind some frames before you cracked² the back.

If I'm wrong and your camera uses method 1 above, then the frames you've shot are safely stored in the cassette as you shoot them and you can do as Alan says - simply cut off the exposed portion and go get what you have shot developed.

General best practice when shooting film - carry a change bag with you (something like this). They're inexpensive, fold up small, and weigh very little. Easily carryable in your camera bag.

If this ever happens to you in the field, use the change bag to crack² the camera in total dark, yank the film, and rewind manually - so that you can save your shots.

1: The use of the term burned in this context is slang for severely overexposed, to the point that the entire frame appears as one large dark spot. Thus, appearing "burned."

2: The use of the term cracked in this context is slang for opened the camera back.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Also: Some cameras have a button or menu command to rewind the film before the end of the available frames is reached. Some even have a menu choice to tell the camera to rewind the film into the cassette or rewind it so that the leader is left out ( as when it was new ). The word "cracked or crack used in Hueco's answer means OPEN the back of the camera. ( for those who may not know ) I try to avoid cracking my camera ;)- \$\endgroup\$
    – Alaska Man
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 18:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AlaskaMan you mean you're not a fan of the light-leaked style that's all the Lomo-rage these days? :-D \$\endgroup\$
    – OnBreak.
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 19:04

Normally, one must do this in a completely dark room or closet by physically removing the cassette and pull the film from the take-up spool in the camera.

Before you do, take note of the number of photos taken from the camera film counter.

Try to avoid touching the emulsion side of the film. You can use the edges of the film and slightly "cup" the strip of film for a better grip.

Pull the film free of the camera body.

Use the protruding end of the cassette spool to wind the film back into the cassette. Don't wind it all the way into the cassette. Leave the tongue leader outside the cassette if you want to finish shooting the roll of film after the camera issue has been resolved.

After the film is wound into the cassette, you can turn lights on.

When you've diagnosed and fixed the problem, reload the film and with a film cap covering the lens to prevent exposure, dry-shoot and advance the film beyond the last photo taken. Maybe give a frame or two more to ensure enough room between your last shot and the new ones for the rest of the roll.

Good luck.


Wait just a minute! Let's speculate that the film remaining inside the cassette was not fogged to light by this fiasco. It is not necessary to rewind fogged film into the cassette. Using a scissors, cut the film about 3 inches (75mm) from the lip of the cassette. Now you can take this film to a photofinisher. The cassette with 3 inches of protruding film can easily developed, no special attention needed.

Now a word of caution! Film remaining in the cassette might have been fogged, so don't get your hopes up. Think about this! You need one or two rolls of sacrificial roll to practice with and to test your diagnosis. If the remaining frames on this film are of no real value, I suggest that you consider using it as a practice roll.

  • 8
    \$\begingroup\$ But the film remaining inside the cassette is probably blank; all the photos are on the part which is on the spool. There are some cameras which start by getting all the film out of the cassette and then roll the exposed frames back, but I don't think this is one of them. \$\endgroup\$
    – IMil
    Commented Jun 6, 2019 at 0:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.