How to Load Film into the Nikon N4004 (F-401)

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: March 30, 2021
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Nikon N4004 Load Film

This guide will show you how to load film into your Nikon N4004. Before loading film, it is important to make sure the camera is functioning properly so a roll of film does not get wasted. If this is your first time using your Nikon N4004, make sure to read through the before you load film section.

Before You Load Film

Check the Batteries

Nikon N4004 AA Batteries

The Nikon N4004 requires batteries to operate as it is fully electronically controlled. The Nikon N4004 uses four AA batteries.

Make Sure the Nikon N4004 Functions Correctly

With fresh batteries in the Nikon N4004 and no film, press the shutter button. You should hear the mirror slap and shutter sound.

Make sure the lens you have is set to the smallest aperture (highest f-stop number). This will be marked orange on the aperture ring. This is done so that the camera will control the lens aperture.

Make Sure There is No Film Loaded in the Camera

If there is any film left in the camera, it will be ruined if it is exposed to light. The Nikon N4004 has a film window on the back of the camera to see if there is a 35mm canister in the camera.

If you purchased the camera second hand from a thrift store, flea market, garage sale, etc, it is safe to assume that any film in the camera has been exposed and has been ruined.

To remove a film canister from the N4004, follow these steps on how to rewind and remove film from the Nikon N4004.

Do Not Load Film in Sunlight

You can ruin your film by loading it in direct sunlight or bright light.

Bright light increases the risk of light piping. When this happens light is able to penetrate through the light seal on the 35mm film canister.

The film is not guaranteed to be completely ruined. You could end up with varying degrees of fogging.

Fogging can produce a range of undesirable outcomes such as a loss of contrast, blown-out streaks, or a completely exposed frame. If this problem occurs it should subside with progressive frames.

For Best Results, Use Fresh Film

You need to use film with a DX code on the canister so that the N4004 can automatically set the film ISO. All new film sold will have these codes on the canister. This would only be an issue if you are bulk loading film or using film that expired decades ago.

Film degrades in quality over time. It should also not be exposed to hot temperatures like those in a car on a sunny day or attic during summer.

Expired film can be used, but you are not guaranteed predictable performance.

For the best results, use a fresh pack of film that is not expired. For a complete list of all types of film, check out the Best Nikon N4004 Film, but for the most commonly available films, my recommendations are:

Step-by-Step How to Load Film

Time needed: 1 minute.

How to load film into the Nikon N4004. For demonstration purposes, I am using a "bad" roll of film that was exposed.

  1. Open the film door.

    To open the film door on the Nikon N4004, slide the button down on the side of the camera. This will cause the film door to pop open.
    Nikon N4004 Open Film Door

  2. Load the 35mm film canister.

    Load the film canister into the camera. Take note of the orientation of the film leader which should be towards the bottom of the camera. The film leader is the half-width cutout at the start of the film roll.
    Tilt the canister towards the top of the camera when loading it.
    Nikon N4004 Load Film Canister

  3. Pull the film leader over to the film take-up spool.

    With your left hand hold the film canister in place. With your right hand gently pull the film leader over to the take-up spool. The film leader needs to be pulled to the red mark.
    Make sure the perforations in the film leader are held in place by the sprockets on the bottom of the take-up spool.
    Nikon N4004 Pull Film Leader

  4. Close the film door.

    Carefully close the film door. You will be able to see the film canister through the window in the film door.
    Nikon N4004 Close Film Door

  5. Press the shutter release until the film counter reaches 1.

    You will need to press the shutter to advance the film to the first frame. Doing this will pass all of the film that was exposed during the loading process.
    Nikon N4004 Press Shutter Release

  6. You're ready to take photographs.

    Congratulations! Your camera is now ready to shoot.
    Once you've shot the roll of film the camera will beep to let you know that you need to rewind the film. Check out this guide on how to rewind and unload film from the Nikon N4004.

Where to develop film? You can do it at home, or send it off to a lab to be developed and scanned.

Nikon N4004 Resources

One comment on “How to Load Film into the Nikon N4004 (F-401)”

  1. Thankyou so so much! I got this camera as a gift from someone today and I have been absolutely scouring the internet trying to figure out how to use it! This is my first film camera and my second overall camera and I cannot begin to thank you enough!

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