Issues with Lomography 120 Film – Fat Roll Syndrome

So last month an original era Diana arrived (a Samtoy branded one). Whilst I hope to have a review on this shortly it raised a problem with lomography 120 film and it seems I’m not alone.

I had noticed a tendency for recent films through my Diana F+ and Holga to be a bit loose and prone to leaks but had put that down to me loading. It wasn’t a consistent error. I did notice the lomography 400CN was really prone to unravelling when loading.

Things really changed with the Samtoy. I loaded a Lomography 400CN. When I opened it up at the end I was met with the fattest roll I’d ever seen and not one where the end had just gone loose. I couldn’t pull the film in tight as you sometimes can and basically the entire roll would have been flashed so I binned it and just assumed I hadn’t been carefully enough. I loaded a second roll assuming it was just me and took great care in making sure the spool was on tight. Same happened again !

Kodak to the rescue

At this point I’m thinking the camera’s at fault (it is old and cheaply made). For some reason I stuck a roll of expired Kodak Tri-X. The roll came out as you’d expect perfectly tight.

Lo-flying Dog

Whoa ! was it just the 400CN the camera didn’t like. I shoved in a roll of Lomography Earl Grey.

Guess what – fat roll again !

The Samtoy was then loaded with some Fujifilm Reala I had and the film came out as expected

So was it just me ?

Turns out no. I posted a thread on I shoot film on Flickr. A Fair few have had issues. Turns out that it’s mainly cheap cameras that run the risk. I suspect it may be something to do with the backing papers which is weirdly plasticised.

Have any of you had issues ?


5 thoughts on “Issues with Lomography 120 Film – Fat Roll Syndrome”

  1. I have not had fat rolls, but issue with the printing on the paper. For the most part I find it impossible to read the numbers through the red filter. I eventually stopped using Lomography films all together. Combined that with the micro holes in the 110mm film backing, I feel it is just shoddy.

  2. I have just taken a 20 year old reel of Fuji Colour out of my Diana and I noticed that it too was loose so I shut the lid and opened it in the changing bag. It turned out to be just the end bit and I was able to pull it tight.
    I think it is an issue with the cameras rather than the film. Probably best to make sure that when taking a film out of a Diana make sure that it is in a dark place in case of a problem.

    1. Not so sure David. Granted these cameras are prone to getting a loose roll but the fat roll are quiet different and fair enough on one roll but numerous unlikely especially given the effort I made to make sure didn’t happen and the 2 non Lomo rolls came out fine

  3. Yes, I’ve also had (have) issues. As you said, I think it’s down to the backing paper… very thick and stiff. I’ve heard some people glue a small wedge of foam into their camera’s take up spool area, to help increase the tension on the roll.

  4. I’ve literally just shoot my first roll of Lomography film (800 speed) in my TLR and from even the loading stage it proved to be problematic; by the time I was done and winding it onto the spool after the last frame, I felt so much resistance that I thought I broke my camera, when I finally managed to complete the step, I had a roll that was fat like a sausage. This is the first time this has ever happened to me since I got this camera – never happened with Ilford, Kodak or the Fuji films I’ve shot. I assume it’s due to the thicker backing paper on Lomography’s film(?)

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