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I’m very new to film cameras and recently purchased my first point and shoot camera. It worked great until someone opened the film compartment unaware of the fact that they were not supposed to do so, The camera is fully automatic so the film began to further advance after the compartment had been closed. It ended up unwinding the entire roll of film and continues to do so everytime I place a new roll of film inside. The camera fires perfectly without film in it, however, will not work when there’s film loaded. When film is loaded, the camera will not register it properly and read ‘0’ as the exposure count. Everything works fine as long as theres no film loaded, and I hate to waste film knowing it will just unwind it as soon as it has been loaded. Any ideas?

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    What is the camera? – xiota Sep 21 at 5:17
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    If the camera is now behaving differently since the “opening” episode, I would say it has been damaged and needs repair. Keep in mind that some film cameras prewind the entire roll onto the spool when loaded, and then retract back into the cartridge as each photo is taken. Is that possibly what you are experiencing? – Mike Sowsun Sep 21 at 10:00
  • If you have one sacrificial roll, and maybe a film leader retriever, you could play around with it, without having to waste more film/money (by manually "resetting" the roll, and re-loading). If the camera was cheap, consider just replacing it. Don't give a loaded film camera to someone who doesn't understand what they're playing with :-P – osullic Sep 21 at 10:25
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You need to tell us the make and model of the camera.

Some models, upon being loaded and the back shut, advance the film all the way. In other words, the normal action of the camera is to pull out all the film and wind it onto a take-up spool. Thereafter, the camera returns the film, one frame length at a time, as a picture is taken, to the safety of the cassette.

This method has the advantage, that after the roll is completely exposed, the photographer need not worry about rewinding. Additionally, should the camera be accidently opened after partially exposing the roll, most of the exposed frames are safely inside the cassette thus protected from accidental light exposure.

I am suggesting, this action is normal for your camera and you were unaware that this was the methodology. The accidental opening caused you to be conscious of loading / rewinding accidents and you are now misinterpreting what is a normal happening.

  • but... "The camera fires perfectly without film in it, however, will not work when there’s film loaded. When film is loaded, the camera will not register it properly and read ‘0’ as the exposure count." – osullic Sep 24 at 20:23
  • The OP has not responded with make and model. When first loaded, is it normal operation to advance the entire film length onto the take-up spool? Is it normal operation to display 0? My crystal ball is cloudy. – Alan Marcus Sep 24 at 23:53

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