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I hope this is the right place to write my problem. I’m new in film photography. Yesterday I went for thrifting and found a film camera, that has film roll in it. I bought it hoping, that the film is un-used. Sadly the camera battery is dead and i dont know, if the film roll is used, half used or not used. My question is, is there any way to find out the condition of the film roll without damaging the film, if it is half used or not used. I'm also planning to order a battery for the camera, but I won't be able to do it so soon. I would be very grateful if someone could give me some advice.

If it’s important, then the camera name is Konica Z-up 120 VP.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes it's important. \$\endgroup\$
    – osullic
    Jan 16 at 22:24

3 Answers 3

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The simplest way to check the status of the roll found in the camera is to open the camera in a darkroom, changing bag, or improvised dark place. I'm not familiar with that model, but in most 35mm cameras you can remove the cassette, push the rewind release, and pull the exposed film off the takeup spool, then manually wind the film back into the cassette.

An experienced hand can make a good guess about how any frames were on the exposed side, and subtract that from the exposure count printed on the cassette.

I wouldn't think it's worth trying to use the rest of the roll in any case -- you don't know how long the film has been in the camera or what conditions it was stored under -- but there's a whole sub-hobby around discovering and developing "found film" -- I've done it several times myself, fairly recently (2023) with film that was discontinued in 1955 and left in a century-old Vest Pocket Kodak. I got three decent images on the long-ago exposed frames.

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You can download a user manual for this camera here: Konica Z-up 120

The film in the camera is like very old and will it be difficult to get any useful images if you were to have it processed. There is also good chance that someone has already opened the camera and ruined any of the images that were taken.

EDIT: I just discovered in the user Manual that the film counter will reset to 1 if a dead battery is replaced, so there is no way to know how many photos were taken.

enter image description here

With the battery installed, you can rewind the roll, before it reaches the end, by just pressing the “R” button on the top of the camera.

enter image description here

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I doubt the camera remembers the frame count with a long-dead battery. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jan 21 at 2:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Good point. I looked it up in the manual and edited my answer. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 21 at 3:57
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Just sacrifice the film.
Throw it away.
Wait until you get your new battery & force it to rewind.

If the camera has a digital frame counter, the count is likely lost with the dead battery. You can only know the remaining count by empiricism - keep taking photos til it stops winding on. Whether they would still be viable - how old the film is - you can only know once you rewind it & remove it. If you only manage to take 4 shots before it's used & the film is several years past its use by date, you'll be paying for…

a) a random chance of your shots coming out OK at all &

b) 20-odd shots taken by someone else who cared so little for what's on the film they didn't bother to get it developed.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Maybe they cared very much to get it developed, but died before they finished the roll? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jan 21 at 2:34

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