How to Load Film into the Minolta SRT-101
This guide will show you how to load film into your Minolta SRT-101 and how to make sure the camera is functioning properly. If this is your first time using your Minolta SRT-101, make sure to read through the before you load film section.
Before You Load Film
Check the Battery
The Minolta SRT-101 has a mechanical shutter so it will work without a battery. However, if you want to use the built-in light meter, you will need a battery.
The Minolta SRT-101 was originally designed to use a PX625 mercury battery, which are no longer available. You can find PX625 equivalent batteries online.
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. Unlike some cameras, the Minolta SRT-101 does not have a window to see if film is currently loaded in the camera.
To check if there is film in the camera, follow the same steps on how to rewind and remove film from the Minolta SRT-101. This is the same process you’ll follow once you’ve shot all the exposures on the film you’re loading.
Make Sure the Minolta SRT-101 Functions Correctly
If your Minolta SRT-101 has not been used in a long time or if it is your first time using the camera, check to make sure the camera is functioning correctly before loading 35mm film.
Make sure you are able to cock the shutter with the film advance lever and the shutter fires when you press the shutter release.
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. The problem should subside with progressive frames.
For Best Results, Use Fresh Film
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. My recommendations are:
Black & White
Step-by-Step How to Load Film
Time needed: 1 minute.
How to load film into the Minolta SRT-101. For demonstration purposes I am using a roll of film that has been exposed.
Open the film door.
To open the film door on the Minolta SRT-101, pull up on the film rewind knob. Leave the knob in the up position so you can load a film canister.
Load the roll of film.
The film roll gets loaded into the left side with the film leader on the bottom. The film leader is the rounded half-width section at the start of every roll of film.
To make the process easier, tilt the 35mm film canister towards the top of the camera when loading.
Push the film rewind knob back down.
The rewind knob has prongs that will lock into the film canister that can be seen in the photo below. This will keep the film canister in place, as well as allowing you to rewind the film.
You may need to turn the film rewind knob a small amount to get the prongs to align correctly with the film canister.
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.
Thread the film leader into the take-up spool.
The take-up spool has slots and notches designed to hold the film in place. Carefully insert the film leader and make sure enough of the film leader is inserted to be firmly held in place.
Advance the film and fire the shutter.
With your left hand, hold the film canister in place. With your right hand, use the film advance lever to cock the camera.
Look to make sure the film leader does not come out of the slot in the film take-up spool.
Advance the film again. (Optional)
If you are not confident the film is going to stay on the take-up spool, you can repeat step 6.
Close the film door.
Carefully close the film door. Make sure the film rewind knob is down and the film door has securely latched closed.
Advance and fire the shutter until the frame counter is at 1.
The film needs to be advanced past what was exposed during the loading process. To do this you will need to cock and fire the shutter several times until the film counter is at 1.
Set the ISO (ASA) on the camera.
Set the ISO (ASA) of the camera by pulling up on the outside of the shutter speed dial. You can then rotate the dial to select the ISO for the film you are using.
You’re ready to take photographs.
Congratulations! Your camera is now loaded with film and ready to shoot.
Once you’ve shot the roll of film, check out this guide that will show you how to unload film from the Minolta SRT-101.
Where to develop film? You can do it at home, or send it off to a lab to be developed and scanned.
How to Know When a Roll of Film is Done?
The film roll is used up when you are no longer able to easily crank the film advance lever. This usually aligns with the number of exposures the roll contains that can be seen on the film counter. Most rolls of film will have either 24 or 36 exposures.
You should then rewind the film back into the 35mm canister. To do this, flip out the film rewind knob lever and press the film spool lock button on the bottom of the camera. You’ll then be able to rewind the film back into the canister.