If you just received a film starter kit, congrats on your new camera! 🎉 This is the start of a novel, analog journey, get excited.
If you are curious about the process of using a 35mm camera but don’t yet have a kit, welcome to you as well 👋
This guide will show you how to set up the camera, give you some tips on shooting best practices and how to get your film developed to receive as digital photos, physical prints or both.
Here's a view of the entire process you are about to embark on!
- What's inside?
- Flash and film set up
- Shooting tips and tricks
- Removing the film
- Developing the film
Now that you've received your camera kit. Let's double check you've got everything you need.
After removing all the package contents you should have:
- x1 Voyager 35mm point and shoot camera
- x1 Microfiber camera case
- x1 35mm film roll inside a film canister (27 exp 400 ISO, we'll talk about what that means in the next section)
- x1 AAA battery
- x1 black bubbler for mailing film to development site (make sure to hang onto this for later!)
If you are missing anything that is mentioned above please reach out to us at:
Step1: Flash and film set up
First open up the battery compartment on the bottom of the camera and insert the battery.
Please insert the battery minus side first! You may damage the battery chamber if you insert the plus side first.
Next, open the back of the camera by pulling the latch on the side of the camera.
Now, take the film out of its container.
To insert the film, first you'll need to pull the film rewind crank up. This will make room for the roll to fit in the compartment.
Use a fingernail or a small tool like a flathead screwdriver to flip up the crank handle.
Pull up on the handle while rotating in either direction to get the entire crank pulled out of the compartment.
You can also use some force from the bottom of the crank to get it pulled up.
Now, insert the roll into the compartment with the notch on the canister facing down.
Now push the crank back into it's space.
Take the film protruding from the roll and pull it across the back of the camera. it's ok! This part of the film is ok to touch and expose to light. The rest of the roll is extremely sensitive to light which we'll get to next.
Once the roll reaches the first notches on the bottom and top, advance the camera wheel on the top right until the notches catch the film.
Once the film is nice and taught, you can close the back.
You are now ready to take your first shot! When you do, just advance the wheel forward until it stops, then snap the shot. Go out and experiment with the light!
Step 2: Shooting tips and tricks
Once the film loaded up, the camera works the same as a disposable camera. Wind the wheel until it stops, and click the shot! Rinse and repeat until you get to the end of the roll.
Here are a couple of ideas to keep in mind.
Usually you'll want to have any sunlight to your back when taking a portrait photo of a face.
Stand at least 3 feet away from your subject. (Photos may be blurry otherwise)
When to use flash?
Generally you'll always use the flash if indoors. Your subject will be illuminated properly in the developed photos if within roughly 3 - 12 feet from camera.
If in broad daylight, flash is not necessary.
If it's dark out, use flash.
Here's a handy list of places and where and when to use flash:
⚡️When in doubt, USE FLASH.⚡️
What is ISO?
The Voyager kit comes with ISO 400 film which is considered a "medium" range ISO speed.
|ISO Level||Comparative output brightness|
As a visual reference: ISO 400 would be somewhere in the middle of the ISO 200 and 800 in the below picture.
(image source: wikimedia commons)
The rule of thirds
"The rule of thirds is a "rule of thumb" or guideline which applies to the process of composing visual images such as designs, films, paintings, and photographs. The guideline proposes that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections. Proponents of the technique claim that aligning a subject with these points creates more tension, energy and interest in the composition than simply centering the subject."
Of course you don't have to follow this, you can break the rules and do what ever you'd like. Sometimes it's good to know the rules before breaking them :)
You are capturing light, so get creative!
🚨 ! Photographer beware ! 🚨
NEVER open the latch of the back of the camera before finishing the roll. This can expose the film strip to light and ruin the photos, they will come out like looking blank.
If you are experienced or you want to experiment you're welcome to break this rule and maybe capture some cool "light leaks", however there is no guarantee this will work!
Step 3: Removing the film
Once you are not able to turn the wheel any longer, you have reached the end of the reel!
It's now time to carefully remove the film from the camera so you can send it in for development and see all your lovely light experiments.
WARNING: PLEASE FOLLOW THESE STEPS IN ORDER OR RISK PERMANENTLY DAMAGING YOUR FILM. Once again, DO NOT open the latch before unwinding the film.
First, flip up the rewind crank.
Next, flip the camera over and look for a little button with rewind arrows next to it. This latch allows us to rewind the film so we can take it out safely from the camera.
Press and hold down the button with one hand.
With the other, begin to rotate the spindle clock wise following the arrows on the camera.
If you feel any difficult resistance, double check you are pressing the bottom notch down fully.
Continue holding the notch and rotating the spindle until you feel virtually zero resistance and the spindle seems to spin effortlessly. You are now done!
You may now open the latch and take out the film.
First open the latch.
Next, lift up on the spindle to pull it up and out, now take out the film.
You can push the spindle back into place and close the latch.
Time to develop the film!
Step 4: Developing the film
Now it's time to send in the film to get developed so you can see all your lovely light experiments.
There are a couple ways to go about doing this.
You can get digital copies of the film (our recommended way)
You can get physical copies of the film (coming soon)
Or you can do both.
Digital copies method
We've partnered up with a website called indisposable.app which makes it super easy to send in your film to get digitized.
Since you already have a bubbler, all you have to do is order a development from Indisposable through their site, print out the prepaid shipping label, attach it to the bubbler and drop it off at the post office.
To order a development head to the Indisposable website at shop.indisposable.app
Click “Develop Film”
Select “35mm film development”
Select if you’d like your negatives back.
Then select “No” for black and white film (unless you have black and white film)
Then head to check out. When you finish the purchase, you will be emailed the postage label.
Place the film in the canister it came in.
Put that in the bubbler, and seal it up.
Download the label, print it and attach it with tape to your bubbler.
If you don't have a printer you can ask the post office to print it out for you before you drop it off.
Drop it off at the post office.
You can track the package through Indisposable. They give you a tracking number when you order the film.
Physical copies method
If you’d like physical prints of your photos, follow the below instructions.
We recommend a service called Darkroom.
First, select the film type: 35mm
Next, select "Standard Scans"
Then choose "Color Prints"
Select the size of prints you would like
You can get prints sized 4"x 6" or 5" x 7"
Add to cart and check out. Follow the same directions for the above digital copies method to send out your film. You’ll receive your photos 3 - 6 days after The Dark Room receives your film.
Both digital and physical?
If you’d like both digital and physical copies of your photos, follow the steps for the Physical copies method above. The Dark Room will send you both digital abd physical copies of your photos.
Now wait impatiently for about a week!
If you have any issues at any time reach out to us: