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This is the second roll I took with my Minolta X-700 which I recently started using. The first roll came out completely fine but the second one I finished came out completely blank. I didn't open the camera before I rewound it and the staff at the camera store put the film in for me and everything was fine. I've heard that if the numbering at the edge of the negative doesn't appear there could have been a problem caused during the developing process. I'm trying to figure out if it's a camera problem through my third roll, which I didn't expose fully but rewound mid-roll and have taken to a different developing service. If there is a problem with my film camera I can repair it and fix the problem, but what if it's the store's mistake? I have no idea what to do. Does anyone have similar experience like this?

edit: it felt smooth when I was rewinding the film and the third roll, which I took to a different camera store, was fine as well, because when the staff was rewinding the roll, she said that one is completely fine. The film that came out blank was Kodak 200 colour, and the third roll I used was Kodak Pro Image 100. I purchased the film in early June this year. The film was in the camera for about 3 weeks. I always put the camera in my room and never left my camera in a car.

edit2: I brought the roll (Kodak colour 200) and it was a new roll which I purchased at the same store around June this year. Besides I checked it on the spot that the shutter was working properly (with the cap open to make sure it was winding well) and the boss of the store put in the roll.

Besides, there is no children in my household and no one else have opened my film camera before I rewound it, I can assure that. Also yes the strip is completely black from end-to-end and there is literally nothing I can see on the strip.

photo of problem film strip

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    Is it possible that the camera was opened at the end of the roll and before rewinding? You say that both you and the lab rewound the roll...can you clarify exactly what transpired in a step by step format? – Hueco Dec 17 '19 at 16:56
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    Could it be that the film the camera store put in was junk film that they merely used to show to you how to load it, and then forgot claiming back? – rackandboneman Dec 17 '19 at 18:38
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    @rackandboneman that's a good call. We had training rolls everywhere when I was TAing a darkroom class (could never expect students to remember to put them back in the bucket). Never heard of a lab offering teaching tools but it could happen - and would explain the fog perfectly. Chloe - do you still have the canister by chance? If the date code shows it as pretty old, then we could probably conclude that you got a teaching tool and not fresh stock to shoot with. – Hueco Dec 17 '19 at 19:58
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    BTW, while X700s are a tiny bit more complicated than they need be regarding film loading, they are not among the cameras for which loading is rocket science. And BTW, usually the first thing you do with a used film SLR is fire several dry shots with the back open, to make sure there are no shutter malfunctions, shutter punctures, aperture mech glitches etc. So putting in film straight at the store is odd. – rackandboneman Dec 17 '19 at 22:48
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    This really looks like dummy film to me. I'm having a lot of trouble imagining a way that the film could be so completely and evenly developed from edge to edge without the camera back having been opened – user5359531 Dec 19 '19 at 5:32
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what if it's the store's mistake?

With regard to this specific question, you will almost certainly find in the terms & conditions of the film developing service that in the case of error on their part, they hold themselves only liable to replacement of your film with a new, unexposed roll. What that means is, if they make a mistake in development and you don't get any photos back, they will compensate you by giving you another roll of unexposed film to use. For this to happen, they will have to discover/admit that they made a mistake.

In my personal experience though, users are far too quick to blame the lab. Often the problem comes from elsewhere. With respect, you are a new film user, using a decades-old camera. The lab does this every day of the week. It is more usual that errors are due to old, malfunctioning cameras, user error, or mishandled film, before ever reaching the lab.

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blank (completely black and opaque)

If negative film is completely black, it could be over developed or exposed to light.

  • Either could be the store's mistake. They may also have loaded a training roll with the intent of teaching you how to use the camera, as rackandboneman has commented. All you can hold them accountable for is the cost of the roll and development. Best to learn to operate your camera yourself, including loading and unloading. Some people here even develop their own film to avoid potential problems like this.

  • I doubt a camera problem would cause the film to be entirely exposed to light. That would be a massive light leak that wouldn't have allowed the first roll to survive intact.

With transparency film, if the film was loaded incorrectly, it would not be exposed and would also come out black when developed.


Most people will interpret "blank" to mean that the film is clear.

  • Negative film that wasn't exposed, such as if loaded incorrectly, would also be "blank" (clear).

  • Black and white film developed with C-41 color chemistry would be "blank" (clear) because one of the steps is to wash away the silver, leaving behind color dyes. Since black and white film contains no color dyes, no image is left behind when the silver is washed away.

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This film is completely fogged. That means it has been exposed entirely to light. If you can look down the strip and see if there is anything in it that shows an image you'll have a better idea if it was damaged prior to loading or after.

It's unusual to have fog go all the way to the paper tape at the end of the canister. So look at the very end of the roll. If everything is completely black for the entirety of the roll the odds are the film was pulled out of the cassette and exposed to light. Now that can sometimes happen during processing if the chamber is left open (the film is taped to cards that run through a machine), but it's doubtful. Most are interlocked to prevent it.

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I had a similar experience with an old film camera I tried (Chinon CE-3), and the reason was that the film hadn't been properly loaded.

I had been used to more modern film cameras, where you could just casually throw in the film, and the guide rail would pull the film forward between exposure. But in this camera, you need to insert the edge of the film into a slit in the take up spool, which I wasn't aware of.

When rewinding the film, did it "feel" normal? In my case, I felt no resistance at all when rewinding.

  • Did your film come out "completely black", as described in the title of the question? – xiota Dec 17 '19 at 8:23
  • "blank", not "black" - ahhh, it says "black" in the title, but "blank" in the question body. – Pete Dec 17 '19 at 8:25
  • I read "blank" as "transparant" – Pete Dec 17 '19 at 8:26
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    "Blank" could just mean "no image" to OP. – xiota Dec 17 '19 at 8:26
  • I had similar problems with my Pentax Super Program SLR. If the film did not get sufficiently engaged in the spool, the camera would indicate it advanced, but in fact the film never came further out. I found that I had to carefully watch an indicator, forgot the name, that showed if the edge of the film was really advancing as you wound the first frame or two. – DaveM Dec 17 '19 at 17:43
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Do you have children in the house? Is it possible that a curious child (or, I suppose even a curious young adult who has never heard of film cameras) might have pulled the film out of the cassette to see what it was, and then wound it back in?

Other answers here talk about "mistakes" and "defective old cameras," but I find it hard to imagine how anybody could fail to notice a mistake so bad or a camera so defective that the entire strip would be fully exposed from end-to-end.

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