Loading A Leica (video)

I have had several emails asking me about loading film in a Leica M6 or Leica M7. Instead of writing about it I figured “why not show it”??? Here is a short but sweet video showing how quick and easy it is. Enjoy!

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  1. Well, that dreaded feeling came over me when I loaded the M6 wrong. I noticed the numbers going up, but the knob wasn’t turning. I noticed it after I shot 36 shots. Dummy me. Oh well. I’m going to try this again. I could have sworn the film was advancing and that I took up the slack. Live and learn, I guess.

    Kind of bummed me out because I had some cool shots of Ozzy at the dog park playing with another dog.

    This never happened to me with a SLR, by the way.

  2. hi steve, i’ve been reading your site quite often recently, Always been shooting nikons, then recently was lended an M8, fall in love with the simplicity (i usually shoot a d90 D2X). I had been thinking about getting back to film for “things that matters” (see this link http://motion.kodak.com/US/en/motion/Products/Customer_Testimonials/The_Power_of_Film/index.htm , ) so i just bought a second hand leica set with m6 ttl + 2 lenses, so your vid comes just a the right time !

    thanks for sharing your thoughts

  3. When are you going to review the 24 elmar? It looks like a sweet light lens. I’m using a 21 right now but sometimes I find it just a mite too wide. Looking forward to reading it whenever it comes out.

    Loading the newer quick rapid loader spools looks soooo much faster than the old M2/M3 style.


  4. I saw a video like this on YouTube. I’m happy you did it here. I think many people, including myself, would like to see it before doing it on my own. My camera won’t come with instructions, (I don’t think), and I did a search on the M6 instruction booklet. So, following the theme above, I’d like to give you guys the url for that:

    Instructions for Leica M6

    I can’t wait for my camera! Very excited. I can’t wait to shoot a roll. I have some really old 2005 Koda 200 film. I’m going to practice with that. I may gets cool results. Then it’s right to B&W and Portra for me.

  5. Very useful, Steve. I had a lot of problems with this when I first got my M6, partly because I didn’t really have faith that it would work. I was used to regular back-loading cameras with sprockets, and I didn’t think the take-up “fork” would really wind the film unless it was wound around the fork. I would leave the baseplate off to make sure it was taking up, but it won’t take up properly without the baseplate attached.

    In short: do it the way Steve says, and it will work. It’s an ingenious and mysterious mechanism. It seems like it shouldn’t work, but it does.

    Also, though it seems stupid: the rewind switch has to be flipped in order to rewind the film. I lost a roll of film by not flipping the switch first. I also lost a roll of film by opening the baseplate before rewinding. Stupid, I know, but I was used to cameras that rewound the film automatically at the end of the roll.

    It’s simple when you get the hang of it, but for those who are used to other 35mm film cameras it can be confusing at first.

    Or you can just buy a Zeiss Ikon!

  6. Hey Stephen, I just do whatever works. Years ago I would be all careful with it, spending time to line up the holes, etc. Now I just do as I show in the vid and never have an issue. As long as you make sure the rewind knob is moving when you advance those first two frames you are good. I have yet to have any problems. Its quick and easy. With that said, everyone will have their own way of loading 🙂

  7. Steve, the way I do it is when I pull the film out and put it through the the winder fork (my word for it) on the other side I make sure that the ‘teeth’ go into the holes so it grabs it. I then cock it once so I see the film winding on the the teeth and that this is visible. I then close the back and put the base plate back on. I do this because sometimes if you put it through the fork but don’t get the teeth into the holes, it can keep cocking and it the numbers keep turning but the film is not actually winding on. As you say, if you look at the rewind dial, it will tell you if this has happened in that it will not be turning but for people doing this for the first time, they may not notice this and then have the dreaded feeling that happens when you get to the ‘end’ of the roll and it keeps winding! i.e. the film never wound on to start with! Happened to me the first time. Grrr! So my advice is for those of you trying to load for the first time. Get those teeth stuck in to the holes and then do as Steve says and double check by looking at the rewind dial to make sure it is turning.

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