Q: What is more difficult than trying to get a stand of flamingos to pose for a photograph?
A: Loading film into an early rangefinder.
I tried loading some film into my Canon IV-S last night. I used to think loading my Nikomat FTN was tough, but I have been humbled by this recent experience.
If you recall I tried repairing some holes in the Canon’s cloth shutter a month back. I still need to take some pictures with it and see if I sealed the light leaks or not.
This camera has a very old-school design with a solid back and removable base plate. In order to load the film you actually have to pull it slightly out of the 35mm cartridge, slip it under a clip on the camera’s removable take-up spool, and then slot both of them with film strung in between into the upside-down body.
(Don’t forget to pat your head and rub your belly at the same time too!)
The real trick is that it has to have some slack to pass over the sprocket mechanism, but then once it is in place you tighten it up over the sprockets to make for a solid film advance. I thought I was doing this right after reading some tips, but multiple attempts later I still could not get the film advance knob to actually move the film.
Ugh… I mauled the start of a nice fresh roll of Ilford B&W film in the process. I think for my next attempt I will work with an old roll of some junk film so that I can play around without fear.