Tom Gally's Reading Japanese with a Smile has a nice story in which the author says:


I like the connotation of the rotation here because the film has to be unfurled. However, would something like "フィルムを現像する” work just fine as well?

  • When I hear 'develop' and 'film' together I think of the way old fashioned cameras and photographs worked. I assume this is not what you mean.
    – Angelos
    Feb 24, 2020 at 3:36
  • That is what I mean :)
    – wireman
    Feb 24, 2020 at 3:38
  • A native speaker must confirm this, but I think that for such a camera, you might consider using the word 写真機 instead of カメラ。Both mean "camera", but 写真機 self-describes itself as only being the non-digital kind (however they work?).
    – user312440
    Feb 24, 2020 at 20:24
  • Native speaker here. My gut feeling is that 写真機 is, while understandable, quite obsolete and sounds old-fashioned. The usual word for non-digital camera is フィルムカメラ, that is, "film camera", as opposed to デジタルカメラ, or デジカメ. Feb 24, 2020 at 23:53

1 Answer 1


"回す" here has another meaning from "to rotate".



Normally you can't develop a photographic film by your own, so you give it to a photo shop so they do the job. "回す" has this connotation.

  • "Normally you can't develop a photographic film by your own" -- how come I can't?
    – macraf
    Feb 24, 2020 at 18:55
  • 2
    @macraf because most people don't have the necessary facilities or expertise to do it themselves...?
    – Foogod
    Feb 24, 2020 at 22:34
  • This is the "facility" you need to develop a film amazon.co.jp/… with cheaper and more expensive ones available.
    – macraf
    Feb 25, 2020 at 8:21
  • 1
    @macraf: that, and the chemicals (developer, stop, fixer), and a water source, and a thermometer, and a temperature controller for the water source, and a timer, and the darkroom (or at least darkbag) to get the film out of the original canister and into the developer canister. Then there's the knowing of what to do with all the above. :) Feb 29, 2020 at 0:35
  • @EiríkrÚtlendi Yes. Not that different from making bread. Yet you don't claim "normally you can't make bread". The correct statement is that people don't develop films on their own. That they can't is incorrect.
    – macraf
    Feb 29, 2020 at 8:30

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