View Full Version : I am still having the hardest time loading film into my M4-P
I'm on my 6th or 7th roll and have become comfortable using my Leica M4-P. Everything is a pleasant experience.. except when it comes time to load film.
It seems to take about 5 or 6 advances before the rewind knob begins to move. The problem with this is the frame counter now shows it's on frame 4, or 5 when I'm actually in frame zero.
Sometimes the rewind knob doesn't move at all. I reopen the back and fix it, slide it through the right sprocket, close it again. Repeat. Light leaks on the first three frames.
What's the best way to load the film? I've been pulling some film out (enough to cover the back and go partially into the sprocket) and sliding it through. I've experimented with bending the end so that it catches the sprocket, and I've experimented with not doing it.
What do you guys suggest? I'd like usable 1, 2 and 3 frames.. and a correct frame counter :)
- Open the back
- Put the film in the tulip, on the sprocket, etc. Be generous across the tulip.
- wind once
- tighten the rewind knob with an open back until you see the film tighten. Check if its on the rails properly and that it remains on the sprocket.
- when you advance now, the rewind knob will move. You need to advance twice to be ready. I usually advance three times and waste a shot.
Makes sense ?
I've never had an issue with loading my M4-P at all. My only recommendation would be to pull the film leader out more than you are? Mine catches first time, every time.
Joop van Heijgen
Nice video, that's how it's done. I can do it while driving but wouldn't recommend it. It will get easier with time.
Hey, don't forget to put the bottom in your mouth; you'll look very concerned, important and very professional that way ;d
It take some times... My first films in Leica was so tight loaded that it shred the film when the time to rewind came...
Now, I'm loading as fast if not faster than my "regular" 35mm....
Thanks for the many replies. When pulling the film into the "tulip" do you let the film enter and then exit straight through, or do you curl it around the tulip? If you let it exit straight through, how much slack hangs out? 2cm worth?
Fold the tip of the leader towards you and pass it inside the tulip. When you wind on, the fold will stop the film from slipping out.
The film should not exit straight through. Follow the loading prociedure in the video. Just bend the film leader and put it into the tulip, then wind with the back open to check that the tulip catches the film properly and the film is engaged in the sprockets. You should tighten the rewind film as Ferider suggested to tension up the film properly. Close up everything. Trip the shutter. Advance film, you should see the rewind knob turn, trip shutter. Advance film (once again, you should see the knob turn), you are ready to shoot.
Note the trick of folding the very end of the leader. Just a bit. And don't try to push the leader through the tulip. Just place it IN the tulip.
i hear you get used to it, but the M film loading has kept me from ever bonding.
I had similar trouble when first loading an M with the quick load system. I found and followed this http://nemeng.com/leica/000b.shtml . The trick for me was to make the first wind or two snappy. I was being too cautious winding on.
just make sure it catches in the so-called tulip and the thing advances before replacing the bottom. Even with years of experience I ensure its winding before replacing the bottom.
I used to have a lot of trouble loading my M4 until I quit trying to get the film engaged and advancing with the back open and base plate off.
Once I started simply inserting the end of the leader (no more than 1cm) into the tulip, then closing everything up before attempting to wind, I have had very few misfeeds.
It was hard to learn to trust the quick load mechanism, but it works well!
The trick is to stick the folded part of the leader in to the center of the "tulip". Than ensures that the film is pulled through. Put your thumb on the sprocket wheel to check that the perforations of the film is "matched" to the teeth of the sprocket. I usually advance once, just to pull enough film over the sprocket wheel that both the top and bottom perforations have "teeth" sticking through them.
The M4 and later M's have a good loading system. It sounds more complex than it is. Once you get the hang of it - you can load in 15-20 sec.
Again always check that the rewind knob or lever knob is turning. Tighten the film by turning the rewind until it is tight - then click once and advance - and check that the rewind is turning.
One hint, if you are shooting a lot in low light where it is difficult to see if the rewind is turning - put a piece of white tape on the top of the M4/M6 rewind crank - or if you can stand it, a dab of white paint on the screw of a M2/M3/MP. The two dots in the screw are usually red - just use some typewriter correction fluid and turn them white. This makes them easier to see. You can also use the same stuff and paint the top of the folding lever on the M4/M6 white.
You don't need to watch the rewind knob turn. Just make sure that when the tulip turns, the film advances.
1. Pull film leader until the tip is inside the cavity of the tulip
2. Visually ensure that the film sprockets are 'locked' into the rails with the back door open.
3. Close back door tight.
4. Look from under the baseplate
5. Advance the film using the lever
6. Film should more around the tulip when doing 5
7. Shut bottom baseplate
8. Advance till 0, and you are ready to go. I usually advance till 1.
The tulip does NOT pull the film. Keep this in mind. The tulip only helps and collects exposed film.
IMPORTANT: The sprocket wheel actually pushes the film into the tulip, which, in turn, adds to the joint effort. Don't mind the tulip that much. Make sure the film holes caught in the sprocket. That does the trick.
One final word of advice: grab a roll of film and practice with it in case you're one of those who learn physically. I sacrificed one roll... and after that, I have never had misloads.
Well... once, but because I was careless and didn't check the sprockets engage the film.
Have fun and take care! :)
Better yet, get an M2. ;)
Ah, you know what it was?
I didn't realize the advance wheel had sprockets on the bottom AND the very top. I've only been aligning the bottom and not pushing the film all the way toward the top. Amazing any rolls have turned out yet.. :)
The guy in this video is slower, Tom A. is too fast for me :)
Well... once you discover the sprocket wheel, you've found the answer and you will be a successful loader from now on. Welcome to the secret club! :)
Now, seriously, I'm glad you took a closer look. I owned my Leicas for about a year before figuring out that the sprocket wheel kind of pushes the film leader into the tulip (which in turn, does its own to pull). Now... take a dummy roll and practice loading. Once you've done it about a dozen times, there will be no more misloads.
Have fun! :)
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