When I got the Hasselblad 500C/M, the previous owner showed me how to use the camera. One of the pieces of advice was to not be too aggressive spinning the film loading crank. Last week I decided to ignore that advice.

Overcranking that lever meant that inside the camera, the backing paper tore. To make it worse, it did so in secret, and I only realized the problem after I thought I had finished the roll. Twelve amazing, world-changing photos were lost forever when I opened the film cartridge to discover this:

This is what greeted me when I finished shooting the roll

Don't do what I did! Crank that lever only slowly and steadily. And if, for some reason, the lever suddenly gets easier to turn, well then you've got a problem. Learn from my mistakes.

In any case

So now I've got a totally destroyed roll of 120. Let's take a closer look at how this roll is constructed, something I've somehow managed to avoid doing all these years.

Of Film and Backing Paper

The backing paper is attached to the film at one and only one spot: just before the first frame. It is attached with a strip of adhesive, and looks like this.

The other end of the backing extends down past the end of the strip of film and becomes the tab you fold over at the end of the roll, but nowhere else on the roll are the backing paper and film attached.

The back of the backing paper is covered in dots and numbers, each for a different negative size: 6x4.5cm, 6x6cm, 6x9cm. If you're shooting anything other sizes, you just guess, I guess.

That's all

Thank you for joining me on this mini-post.