I have been shooting fine with my Nikon, and the shot counter has been advancing as expected. However upon reaching 36, where the camera will usually beep as a notification, I have been able to continue shooting. I keep taking more shots waiting for it to expire but it wont. Usually when the film is complete it is not possible to take any more photos.

I would think maybe the film was loaded wrong if the counter hadnt been progressing as usual. Should I just disengage the film and rewind? Or will that cause damage without it having been completed?

Apologies if asked before: have searched extensively and found nothing.


Although this issue is more common with manual advance cameras, the solution is the same in either case - when you know the film is done, just rewind it yourself.

Rewinding the film early will have no detrimental effect on the film at all, other than possibly sacrificing a shot or two at the end of the roll.

Something worth taking into consideration is that if the camera does this on every film, its likely a fault which you can work around by rewinding when youknwo the roll is done, however if this is the first film it's happened on, it's possible that the film may have broken and could have problems being rewound.

Some cameras detect that the film is finished when they feel resistance as they try to wind on. If no resistance is felt, it will simply wind on a full frame and enable the shutter release, so if the film has snapped, there will be no reisitance to tell the mechanism to stop winding.

As you know that you have reached the end of the film, rewinding it yourself is the best way to check this without opening the camera.

If the film is indeed fine, it should rewind as normal and you will feel some slight resistance on the crank as you wind the film back into the can. If the crank turns with no resistance (or worse, has some resistance then becomes very free turning), it suggests a broken film, however all is not lost.

My main camera is entirely manual, and I tend to stop shooting when the indicator shows the full number of exposures have been taken, even though there is usually at least one more left on the roll. Having broken two films from overzealous winding, I am now very cautious of screwing up another.

If you do need to take the film out and make it light safe, the answer from Alan Marcus is absolutely right - a lightsafe container in a well darkened room can save your film, and don't be shy to ask for help if you need it.

I can pretty much guarentee that every photographer using a semi or fully manual camera has broken a film at some point!


Assuming that the film transport mechanisms are similar to my F801 (I am pretty sure they are), you are right that the film seems correctly loaded. If the take-up spool had not been able to grab the leading film tongue, the camera would have noticed this and not advanced the frame counter.

The most obvious solution is perhaps, as Alex already suggested, that the film has snapped, either mid-way or that it has fallen off the feeding spool in the film cartridge. I believe though, that the F301 would have noticed this and signalled a film transport error. At the top, left side of the take-up spool, you will in your camera find a small cog-wheel, which engages with the perforation on the film edge and rotates when the film is actually moved. This is also how the camera detects film loading problems. If the camera rotates the take-up spool and the cog-wheel is not rotating, the camera knows that the film is not moving and that the tongue has not been grabbed properly. I haven't been using my F801 regularly for some 15 years and my memory may be failing, but I am at least pretty sure that I had snapped films a few times and that the camera used the same verficiation (cog-wheel must rotate) mid-film as well and signalled a film transport error when this happened. I would expect the F301 to do the same.

If there are no important images on the film, I would have opened the camera without trying to rewind the film to determine in which position the film is located. If the film has indeed snapped, you will see this right away and my assumptions in the last paragraph are obviously wrong.

If there are importing images on the film and you don't have a dark room or do development yourself, I would without trying to rewind the film give the camera with the film inside to a devlopment lab and ask them to check for you. If you develop yourself, you can open the camera in the darkroom (absolute darkness, no safelight allowed) or in a changing bag, see if you can 'feel' what is wrong but then directly load the film into a developer tank.


As you know, when loading film, you stretch the tongue of the film across and thread it into the take-up spool and then work the advance leaver and shoot off a few shots as you watch. Watching the advance and shooting off a few is a safeguard that tells you the film is advancing OK.

Now lots can go wrong. How far you into the roll you go in these beginning steps is a variable. Some waste a lot of film and receive fewer exposures than the film is labeled. Others will not insert the tongue deep and thus squeeze a few more frames than labeled. In other words, the number of exposures procured from a roll is a variable.

If when you reach the end of the roll during normal operation, it is common to apply too much force on the advance leaver. Likely this will rip out the sprocket holes. When this happens, the advance mechanism will falsely continue to advance allowing you to operate the shutter button. However, the film is not advancing. You can likely re-wind but not always, the damaged sprocket holes can halt the rewind.

If you have pressed rewind button and you are not sure if the rewind has actually retracted the film, you must now check the rewind action. We do this in a totally darkened room. We open the camera and feel for film. If film is found, we manually rewind by twisting the stem of the spool of the cassette. Sometimes, if the film is tattered, we can’t manually rewind. To save the film we have a lightproof container handy. Wrapping the film in several folds of aluminum foil will work. You must be careful how you wrap and seal. If there are any doubts you can do this task. Take the camera to a one-hour film shop. They have the expertise to open in a dark environment and save the film. First rule, if you think something is wrong, don’t open the camera in the light. Seek a darkroom to do the inspection.

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    Yes, except the F301 is an auto-loading, auto-advancing camera that doesn't have a film advance lever – osullic Oct 24 '17 at 7:29
  • Thank you for your answer. Yeah there is no advance leaver, it advances automatically. It is also not an automatic rewind, but a manual one. I guess one of my main questions is whether disengaging the film and rewinding manually will cause damage? – Sma Oct 24 '17 at 7:38
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    @ Sma -- Nevertheless, you must rewind. If you have the slightest doubt the rewind was successful, you must check in a darkroom or take the camera to a camera shop or photo lab. They will assist. – Alan Marcus Oct 24 '17 at 16:00

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