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 ?



4 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.

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