Rewind Problems in the Nikon F401

Written by mark spowart
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Rewind Problems in the Nikon F401
The Nikon F401 is 35mm film camera. (roll of 35mm film image by PeteG from

The Nikon F401 is a 35mm autofocus camera that was released by Nikon in 1987. The camera could be operated in fully automatic, aperture or shutter priority, or in full manual mode. Like all other Nikon camera bodies of that time and until today, most Nikon and Nikkor lenses fit the Nikon F401. However, installing a manual lens on this autofocus body did not turn the lens into an autofocus lens; this step had to be done manually. The camera features a built-in film motor drive that advances the film, and then rewinds the film when done.

Film Breaks

It doesn't happen often but it can happen. Film may break or snap if it has become too cold and the torque on the rewind motor pulls too much. Another cause is that the film became jammed in some manner and again the torque of the drive snaps the film. Should this occur, place the Nikon f401 into a changing bag (a light tight bag designed to load film into processing tanks) open the back of the camera, remove the film spool and place it into the small plastic canister the film is packaged in. Remove the broken film off from the take up spool and place into a separate canister.

Stripped Film

The motor drive system in the Nikon F401 relies on the take spool advancing the film, and small guide wheels with teeth to keep the film advancing on the right plane. If these small wheels seize or do not reverse their direction during the rewind process, the top and bottom of the film with the can become stripped.

Drive fails

Another potential problem with any automatic rewind function is that drive motor fails. The Nikon F401 did not have a manual rewind knob, relying solely on the motor drive to advance and rewind the film. Should this happen you have to remove the film as described in the first example.

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