I have a medium format camera with a multiple exposure switch. This arms the shutter without advancing the film so that multiple shots can be taken on the same physical film section. This is a fairly common feature among any non-entry-level film SLRs. On 35mm cameras you can load a roll of film and mark with a permanent marker the point that the leader enters the takeup spool. You can then shoot a whole roll of 'backgrounds', hit the rewind switch, go somewhere else, re-load the film so that the pen mark is lined up, and shoot the whole roll of film for second exposures. This technique is useful when you e.g. don't have a nice enough day / subject for the final multiple exposure photo but you are in a place that would provide interesting backgrounds.

None of the medium format cameras I've used have the ability to rewind the film. Once the film is moved over to the take-up spool it is inverted - the film at the beginning is now on the inside of the roll. The beginning of the film has a little arrow indicating where you should wind to but this doesn't exist at the tail end because it doesn't make sense.

Is re-loading an exposed medium format roll of film, re-shooting the whole thing with the lens cap on (possibly in a dark room), then re-loading it into the camera a safe thing to do? Is there a better way?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Photoshop. What else? \$\endgroup\$
    – JenSCDC
    Sep 18, 2014 at 16:37
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ If you are using 120 film, are you using the location on the paper as a guide? If you are doing your own prints, is doing the double exposure in the darkroom an option? \$\endgroup\$
    – user13451
    Sep 18, 2014 at 20:10

1 Answer 1


Re-winding film has always been a tricky, risk-prone operation. I know of people who would faint at the mere thought of re-winding a 35mm spool for fear that the film might get damaged or scratched in the process. After all, with 35mm rolls, you put your entire trust into two bits of felt shielding the film emulsion from the hard-plastic container, and from dust particles.

Now rewinding 120/220 film is a completely different story. This procedure can be even more error prone since the film is not firmly attached to the spool. I personally have never tried this but there are people who have. The thing to watch out for apparently is to keep the film as tight as possible, and to be very careful when removing and re-sticking the piece of tape on the film. For more information see here.


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