Quickie Tipster: Cheat the System (and Get More for Your Money)


Do you like to stick it to The Man? Are you just super cheap? If you’re one, the other, or both, you may want to get extra shots our of your roll of 35mm film.

Hey there photo rebel, are you ready for me to lay something on you? The Man tells you that rolls of 35mm have 24 exposures or 36 exposures, but what he doesn’t want you to know is that you can totally get some extra shots out of it!

What you need:
• A roll of 35mm film
• A camera you want to load it in
• Uh… Your hands and fingers, I guess?

First, without pulling any of the film tag out, put your film canister in the film room of your camera and lock in the rewind knob. Then, depending on the manner in which you must load your camera, pull out the minimum amount of film to put it in the slot in the film spool/make the teeth grab it; then, simply advance just a couple of clicks, to make sure the film is going to stay in place and close the back. Ignore the directions that say to “shoot a frame or two with the lens cap on”, just have at it, start shooting the second you can get the shutter to fire! You will likely get a “film burned” shot at the beginning of your roll, but I think it’s tasteful (I’ve included some examples), and if you do it right, I’ve found you can get 26 or 27 exposures out of a 24 exposure roll, and 40 or 41 out of a 36 exposure roll. And hey, who doesn’t love extra frames? Just keep in mind your first shot will probably have some kind of burned left edge, and go nuts! The Man can’t stop you now!

written by nation_of_pomation on 2011-01-08 #gear #tutorials #tipster #quickie-tipster #film-burn #save-money #burnt-edges #35mm-film-extra-tipster #top-tipster-techniques


  1. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    Some cameras have ingenious loading systems and use a minimum of space between each shot: for example, the legendary Canon Canonet QL 17 GIII (QL is for Quick Loading) uses a great loading system that wastes a minimum of film and I usually can have 40 pictures out of a 36 exp film...
    But you're right, don't waste film while you insert it!! :))

  2. nation_of_pomation
    nation_of_pomation ·

    The only bad thing about that camera was the first Canon rangefinder not compatible with Leica-mount lenses, I'm pretty sure, but yeah, that is a pretty awesome feature. This is just something you can get a toy to do, too, but with just a little effort.

  3. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    Yes, of course, with some loading practice you can really save some more shots on any camera! :))

  4. eastmoe
    eastmoe ·

    try load the film in the darkroom..i have try load 24 exposures film and i get 28-29 frame..in the darkroom need some skill to put the film in the slot to make the teeth grab it..hehe

  5. 0live
    0live ·

    whatever I love wasting film... its freeing for me

  6. nation_of_pomation
    nation_of_pomation ·

    That would definitely work, @eastmoe. My darkroom on campus isn't that close to my room, but there's always locking myself in the closet with the lights off.
    And saving money is freeing for my wallet, so then I can get more film.

  7. simon-hedge
    simon-hedge ·

    With some of the REALLY plastic cameras, the film is stronger than the camera. You end up breaking the mechanism trying to get one more frame. I've done this to TWO cameras! D'Oh!

  8. rav_bunneh
    rav_bunneh ·

    On my lomo lc-a+ I can normally get 38 - 40 photos in a roll. Though normally one is that lovely cut-off first frame of the roll. I love those.

  9. nation_of_pomation
    nation_of_pomation ·

    I do too, I normally shoot my first shot with that in mind because it happens pretty consistently for me.

  10. chaoticsense
    chaoticsense ·

    Awesome tip! Thanks!

  11. superlighter
    superlighter ·

    I usually stick the lead of the film to the wind roll of my LCA with a small piece of tape, this allow me to take 39, 40 photos out of a 36exp film.

  12. odjur
    odjur ·

    Oh I've always done this, accidentally in the first place but when I found out it worked okay, I kept doing it. Great tipster, I lóve the first photo effect

  13. fivedayforecast
    fivedayforecast ·

    Wait are you serious? Cameras tell you to do that? That's just sort of an obvious for me I guess...

  14. nation_of_pomation
    nation_of_pomation ·

    It was for me too, and I do realize this is pretty common sense, but a lot of camera manuals have a generic line in there somewhere that basically make you waste the first two shots. That's why most cameras have an S on the dial, then normally one or two lines before you ever actually get to 1.

  15. stickyvinny
    stickyvinny ·


  16. kearz10
    kearz10 ·

    i do this all the time. lol. at first i didnt realize i was doing it, and i got confused as to how many exposure i actualy had. i teach this to all my lomo friends now. lol. :)

  17. kiteflyin
    kiteflyin ·

    I love the film burn effect. I've only done this once though... accidentally.

  18. pangmark
    pangmark ·

    Nice to see so many slaves thriving to be the master!!

  19. madmou
    madmou ·

    Thanks for the tip. I got 42 exposures on a 36 film! I hope it happens again.

More Interesting Articles