View Full Version : advancing film in between shoots or not?

02-02-2009, 12:50
After taking a photo I advance and recock the shutter, however if I don't use the camera for a couple of days would I be better leaving the shutter uncocked or does it not matter?


02-02-2009, 12:54
The difference between the tension on a wound and unwound shutter is not large, so it is generally accepted that there is no harm either way. Basically, the shutter drums don't rotate to a relaxed position, but only go between 'wound several turns' and 'wound a turn or so less' - I am sure someone else knows the exact number of turns on the springs !

Steve Bellayr
02-02-2009, 12:58
A camera should be stored with the shutter uncocked. If you know that it is the last shot for the day and the camera is going in the bag & home...you could leave it uncocked. But, it doesn't always work out that way. I would not make that a serious concern in photography.

02-02-2009, 13:00
If you're shooting 35mm in a Leica, or similar camera, it makes little difference, as MartinP wrote. See the discussion on Andrew Nemeth's Leica FAQs here (2nd item):


If you're shooting medium format, & shoot only intermittently w/significant time lag between frames, you can run into film flatness issues on many cameras, i.e., the film buckles & bends a little over time, so best to not advance the film until you're ready to shoot (when the film is still taut) or remember to use a small aperture when shooting the 1st frame &/or 2nd frame after a long delay (to compensate for the bend w/larger DoF). I say "&/or 2nd frame" because I'm guessing that on some cameras (e.g., Rolleiflex), you actually might have more of a flatness problem on the 2nd frame after a long delay because the film goes through a 90 degree bend before going in front of the film gate.

After taking a photo I advance and recock the shutter, however if I don't use the camera for a couple of days would I be better leaving the shutter uncocked or does it not matter?


02-02-2009, 13:00
I recently had to change my habits after 40 years of shooting, then winding. It's Tom A's fault. If I wind after shooting, then put the camera in the bag, the softie gets bumped and I get a blank frame. Now I wind, then shoot. Can't live without my soft releases!

02-02-2009, 13:09
thanks, so it seems it makes virtually no difference to the mechanics of the camera but maybe a little to the film, Doesn't seem like something I will dwell on as I very rarely go a day without taking some photos.
thanks for the replies

02-02-2009, 13:13
If I don't cock the shutter after each shot, I miss shots that come up quickly. Nothing worse to get the camera out just in time, push the button and ... nothing.

I suppose I could cock first then shoot, but I'm an old dog.

02-02-2009, 13:34
I always wind on as a matter of habit. Otherwise I have the same problem Chris mentioned. I'll inevitably whip out my camera, click the shutter, and...nothing, except me saying naughty words. (I've missed Bigfoot twice that way!)

02-02-2009, 14:11
How about the light meter?
If you unwound, then battery won't be drained, true or not?

I know there is off position at B for the light meter, but sometimes I forget to leave in B afters shooting. Then if shutter is cocked, and pressed by accident, it will meter. But if uncocked, will it still meter?


02-02-2009, 14:16
I think this just comes down to a matter of user preference and habit. I automatically press the advance lever when I put a camera to my eye, so it's irrelevant to me if I've cocked it or not. That said, it usually is cocked because I never know when I've made my last shot, unless the camera is empty. I always try to store empty cameras with their shutter uncocked.


Tom A
02-02-2009, 14:32
There is another reason for leaving the camera uncocked between shoots (not shots). The film sitting in the filmgate is pushed by the pressureplate and can, with time. start a inward curl. When you trigger the camera, the film can be a bit "off plane". Not by much, but even a 1/100mm will show if you are shooting at f1.4 or faster.
My rule is simple: any camera going into the camera bag is uncocked - any camera in my hand or around my neck is cocked and ready to roll! I tend to work with 2 bodies anyway. One in the bag and one in hand.

02-02-2009, 14:47
Dante Stella has some information on this on his site - I think you need to read through the Hexar piece where he considers the 'Leica incompatibility issue'


John Lawrence
02-03-2009, 04:37
Way back in the 1950's & 60's this was one of the topics that cropped up frequently in some of the Leica magazines. The answer (from Leica) at the time was that it doesn't make a difference whether cocked or uncocked.