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I just received my first film camera and I am doing some research about film shooting. I wonder if I can shoot some photos with a roll A, and unload it and replace with another roll (i.e if I want to change to higher speed film) and later load roll A back and continue shooting where I left?

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Can I “resume” a half-used roll of 35mm film, after taking it out? YES, assuming you take it out correctly and your camera will allow you to.

I do this often and successfully. It is not difficult for me and my camera model.

Lets say i have a roll of 100ASA film (Roll A) in the camera that i have been shooting outside in the mid day sun. Later in the low light of the evening i find i need a roll of 400ASA film (Roll B) because there is much less light and Roll A is not going to be a fast enough film for what i want to shoot.

I look at my camera's film counter and see that Roll A is only exposed to frame 18, I push the release button that disengages the film advance lever so i can slowly rewind the film back into the canister. I can feel the moment the end of the film, the leader, comes free from the take up spool and i stop rewinding so that i do not rewind the film all the way back into the camera. (Every camera is different and some have auto rewind that you can tell to leave the leader out and not rewind it into the canister. Some cameras roll out all the film and then as you shoot it goes back into the the canister. You will need to figure it out for your camera).

I now know that i can open the back of the camera, i open the camera and take Roll A out of the camera. I make a note on the canister, or the container it will be stored in, with a marker that says "shot to frame 18" so i know that sometime in the future when i go to load another roll into my camera and i grab Roll A i can see that it is the one i had already partially shot.

I go on and shoot my Roll B, then some time later i find i am back in daylight conditions and i need a roll of ASA100. I locate that old Roll A and load it into my camera like normal, but i know from the note on the canister that it has been shot to frame 18.

I leave the lens cap on and find a place out of direct sunlight ( or wrap my jacket around my camera ) and shoot/advance until i get to frame 20, this gives me a buffer to allow for differences in loading so i do not double expose an important image. Ready to shoot.

Presto magicko, i am shooting the rest of roll A.

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  • Nice thank you. So normally people just leave the roll inside the camera until they finish it? I have an expired roll so I don't want to leave it inside the camera in room temp. – Tống Việt Dũng Jun 9 '20 at 18:05
  • What happens when you send that film to a lab? Normally, there is a frame every 8 sprocket holes. What happens when there's a gap of some odd number of holes between frames? I've changed rolls half-way through, but either it was B&W film that I processed myself, or it was slide film, and I asked the lab to send it back uncut—mounted the slides myself. I never had the courage to just send it it without any note and see what the lab would do with it. – Solomon Slow Jun 9 '20 at 18:10
  • @SolomonSlow It makes no difference to the lab. The film is the same whether or one frame is shot or 36 frames are shot. ( a quality photography lab not a drugstore lab ) They develop it and cut it regardless of whether or not it was exposed or not. The frame numbering does not change, ( in my example above, frame #19 would be blank but the 19 would still be there on the bottom of the negative.) On rolls i have reloaded and shot there is just blank frames, I have never done it with slide film but i do not see how it would be different. – Alaska Man Jun 9 '20 at 20:33
  • @AlaskaMan, I was wondering specifically about the case where a roll was half-shot, removed from the camera, and then replaced in the camera and more shots taken. The odds are high that the number of sprocket holes between the end of the first group of shots and the second group was not a multiple of eight. IF a machine or a human only finds the first frame, and then the machine blindly counts off eight sprocket holes for each next frame, the images in the second group could be cut or printed in the wrong place. – Solomon Slow Jun 9 '20 at 21:25
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Yes, absolutely.

Take “exposures” with the lens cap on to advance the film to where you last shot. I’d suggest then allowing an extra frame to make allowance for any possible mis-registration in the reloading process.

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You can, but it's a pain. It's simpler to get another camera body.

  • You have to take care not to "lose" the leader. Otherwise, you have to fish it out.
  • You have to keep track of the frame number.
  • If not careful, you may double expose frames or shoot overlapping frames.
  • Firing the shutter to advance the roll is time consuming. Depending on the camera, you may induce repetitive strain injury.
  • Light leaks around lens caps may ruin previously exposed film.

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