A couple of days ago, I was in NYC shooting the streets. Now, this trip was marked by far fewer shots than previous ones (only 2.5 rolls for a 2.5 day trip, or 1 roll/day). So imagine my horror when I accidentally opened up a loaded (but fully-shot) M2 at the end of the second day! This has happened to me one other time, when I was new to film – I opened up my Pentax Spotmatic in a dimmed room and lost 11 frames. This time, the M2 was opened right by the window, at around 3.30pm, before the sun set, so I was prepared for the worst. However I also harbored a tinge of hope, for the following reason.
Recall that in my recent Leica M2 review post, I mentioned the clumsy film-loading used in all Leica cameras, especially those older than the M4. You know, the one where the bottom plate is removed, and a take-up spool is fed with the film leader? Well, I noticed how the whole shot spool sat inside the camera body, and only the last couple of frames were actually sitting out in the light. So I thought that perhaps the spool , tightly-wound as it was, was able to sit in near complete darkness since light must strike at a very oblique angle to affect the film that is already sitting in the spool. This is unlike the Pentax Spotmatic, wherein the whole rear of the camera swings open, subjecting a large swathe of exposed film to the ambient light.
So how did it turned out? Well, while it wasn’t as good as I had hoped, I lost only 6 frames, which is significantly less than in the Spotmatic. Of course, this is merely anecdotal evidence, but perhaps the clumsy Leica system has a leg to stand on after all. 😀