Loading film on a Leica M. Have you tried it? Was it frustrating? Missed a whole roll when you finally noticed that you’ve been taking photos for a two weeks and still it advances? You are not alone! I have had my Leica M4 for more than two years now. And I have always found the loading process a pain.
You remove the base plate, open the back flap, put the film in, pull the leader over to the prongs and then you spend 5 minutes trying to advance the film while it slips and the prongs don’t catch it and you close the back and you advance and it then slips and why did I ever buy that piece of utter f&$*ing $h!t….
You know what I mean. Well, you are an idiot. And so am I. Because we didn’t read the manual. But why would I read the manual? For starters, mine came in a mouldy box with a water damaged manual which I promptly put in the bin. Yours most likely never came with a manual (unless you bought it new, if you did just…just…just leave). Besides, I have been loading film on cameras for twenty years now, I don’t need anyone to tell me how to do it, right?
Ok, let’s get to it. Here’s how you really do it.
- Open the bottom and back.
- See that little diagram on the bottom? That’s all you have to do. Literally. So…pull the leader out a bit, slot the film in while positioning the film leader just like the diagram shows. In the middle of the prongs. Or maybe a bit more. But at least to the middle of the prongs.
- Good, done. That’s it. Do not touch the winder, do not fiddle with the film, do not try to advance the film. Forget everything you knew about loading film in other cameras. Close the back, put the bottom back on again and advance the film. Done. Seriously. That is all. It is done. You do not need to do anything else.
You don’t believe me do you? Try it. Or, go and watch this guy, fast forward to 2.34, watch and cry.
That’s it. Finished. Goodbye.