Nikon FM2 Mistake
I made a boneheaded mistake yesterday and opened up my FM2 thinking that there was no film in there. Turns out there was a roll of 36 exposures, all finished, waiting to be rewound.
How many exposures did I ruin? Will any survive this mistake?
Sometimes my students pop open the back with film in them, and I tell them to immediately close it, some frames survive on the roll, not many usually tough. Develop it and hopefully you save a handful of images, its always worth it to try.
I've saved a few frames by quickly closing the camera and processing anyway.
Not many though.
Your film is toast, unfortunately. Do as the others say and develop it, hope for the best and expect the worst.
On the manual bodies, it is possible to feel on the rewind lever whether there is a film in the camera. It will turn very freely if the camera is empty, and will feel stiffer even if you are just taking up the slack in the cassette, and will stop when all slack is taken up. You will also hear the film creaking while you do this, if there is any in the camera. I always do this before opening up a manual body. If I am unsure, I open in the dark or in a changing bag. I am so paranoid about this that I specifically wind back until all the slack is taken up inside the spool. Then, when I wind on the film, I can see the rewind lever turning with the spool as it moves inside. That is 100% positive indication that film is loaded.
This is learning from others' mistakes, as well as my own. I had a friend with me while we were photographing wildlife, and had an incredible scene. My camera had film loaded. He thought his had. I have on other occasions either shot an entire roll of virtual film, or opened up a camera with film inside. However, it's a long time since I last did anything like that.
Good luck though.
If you closed the back quickly, and the film was tightly wound, you may have spoiled fewer than you expect (in my experience :( ).
Some films are relatively opaque, and the outer layers may have protected the rest of the film. Don't throw the film out, try processing it.
what railwayman said -- I've done that and only lost two or three frames -- the old 35mm movie cameras used reels of film that were just metal reels with flanges on the side -- I remember seeing a guy load one at a news event and asking him if that didn't spoil the film and he said no, the film is light tight, the first couple layers would be fogged but that's it.
rewind, process, be surprised.
Add my voice to those of railwayman3 and summicron1. My experience too is that you may be very pleasantly surprised.
That's my hope as the film was very tightly wound. I did close it fast, but not as fast as the speed of light! It went to the lab today so I'll know in a few day show it goes and will report back.
Originally Posted by railwayman3
A shame, my first roll of color film with my "new" FM2.
You can do this trick to know if you have film loaded: I put the end box flap on the back of my cameras. If there isn't a film, I remove it.
We all have done that before. I remember when my father allowed me to use his Petri FT 30 years ago and I did just that to check if there was a film in there. Guess what: there was a new film already in there!
And congratulations on your "new" FM2! I bought a "user" FM last week. Very nice cameras. Unfortunately, mine needs a CLA as the shutter is tapering at the 2 highest speeds.
Easiest solution is to get a back from an FM3a. Has the little window on it that allows you to view whatever's inside the camera. Keep the regular back, just in case you find some old stock of infrared film.