Getting Film out of my Grandma’s 90s Point-and-Shoot Camera

Alex Cook's photo

By Alex Cook

My grandma left me a few cameras before she passed away, asking me to get them developed. I thought they were all disposables but it turns out they were just old 35mm cameras.

One of the cameras had 22 exposures left and assuming it’s a 25-35 exposure roll, there might be a few vintage photos on it.

Unfortunately the battery connections in the camera were severely corroded with blue battery acid covering the terminals. I got to work using a chopstick to pry out most of the gunk. Then I read online that one can use lemon juice to clean away battery acid. Using a tiny little bottle cleaning brush in my kitchen I started wiping away the battery acid to reveal the metal terminals.

The terminals after cleaning. Not perfect, but works!

At first nothing, but after removing the batteries and vigorously cleaning again, a tiny red light started glowing! I tried snapping a photo, thinking I’d take the remaining 22 photos before mailing them in to be developed. Nothing.

I reached out to The Dark Room, asking if I can mail the entire camera in. Maybe they can open the camera in their dark room and get the few photos off it. Unfortunately this morning I heard back and they only accept film rolls.

Back to the drawing board, I turned the camera back on only to find it was dead. Probably because I left the lens cover open. Studying the camera closer I found a tiny little button on the bottom near the “OPEN” slider to get the film out.

The tiny rewind button: >>o

I loaded the batteries, the red light came on, and I pushed the tiny button in with a screw. SUCCESS! The camera started making a winding noise. Sure enough, the indicator now reads “1.” I popped open the film door and a roll of Kodak film popped out.

Off to The Dark Room it goes!