Lost my mojo


I have owned a Diana for quite a while and last year decided to upgrade to the super sleek Black Jack model. I hadn’t used 120 film for a while so before I relied on it on a holiday to New York I shot a practice roll round Bradford just to make sure I still knew how to use it.

Credits: kneehigh85

So while the photos didn’t blow me away (not many of my rolls usually do in their entirety) I was happy enough with the results and knew that I would be ok using the camera in America. Plus I had a number of accessories to try out such as the Wide angle lens. Whilst in New York I only took the Diana out 2 days of the 7 but the shots I got on it on those days are some of the favourite ones I took out there.

Credits: kneehigh85

I also picked up the telephoto lens while I was there in a store sale. I couldn’t get over how well the shots had come out and I fell in love with my Diana all over again. When the Meg edition was on sale I decided to get it with my piggies as I wanted the ringflash anyway and I love the peppermint filter. Plus I figured it couldn’t hurt to have 2 of these babies since I was so in love with it. And here was when I first ran into trouble.

Credits: kneehigh85

I understand that many of these shots are underexposed as the light wasn’t bright enough but that second one there, where it looks all red was taken in glorious sunshine in the middle of the day – you can even see there is not a cloud in the sky! So why the hell is it underexposed?? This was the start of the end for me and Di and I don’t know how to make it better. Since London in October 2011 I have shot 4 rolls over both the Diana Black Jack and the Diana Meg ed. and some rolls have not come out. At. All. In Manchester last month I used an 800 iso film, set it to cloudy and there was a bit of light and reflection off the snow and not a single shot has survived. How the hell can this have happened??? So I got no shots at all of the Manchester meet up and barely any of my holiday in Barcelona and I have no idea what to put this down to. I have checked both cameras with no film and the shutter and aperture seem ok. I am really gutted about this and it has led me to feel disillusioned and unmotivated with the entire of Lomography (daft I know but I can’t help how I feel).

This is the only shot I got from Barcelona and I like it, but why did none of the others come out – that is 400 iso film and it is so bloody sunny!

I am now on a self-imposed camera ban until I can get this situation under control – that means only shooting 120 with these 2 bad boys until I sort this problem out. I would love it if anyone in the community can give me any hints or tips for this as it is honestly making me miserable!!!!

written by kneehigh85 on 2012-03-12


  1. kneehigh85
    kneehigh85 ·

    @noe_artega Well the thing is, I can tell from the negs that there is no photo there. I didn't even bother paying to have them scanned as I was going to do it myself. I thought maybe it was me, but why has it just started happening now?

  2. noe_arteaga
    noe_arteaga ·

    It could be your lab. I always look at my negatives to determine if a shot was underexposed or overexposed. You can manipulate a print in any which way, but a negative never lies. From a negative, you can tell if your camera has a light leak, where it's coming from, how well it's exposed, etc etc. Sorry about all your missing pictures. The Diana is so wonderfull, but if you never get any photos out of her, it's a complete bummer.

  3. fivedayforecast
    fivedayforecast ·

    Uhmmm.... I've had rolls where I've accidentally left things on the pinhole setting. Check to make sure the aperture "ring" is moving. If it comes down to that get the spring inside of it tested. Do some tests and stuff.

  4. carlota_nonnumquam
    carlota_nonnumquam ·

    I get your frustration but you haven't lost your mojo! Looking at your Lomo Home you have really amazing photos, it's not your fault, your camera must be faulty, that's all! Take it to a Lomography store and ask them to take a look at it, it must still be under warranty, right?

  5. maxwellmaxen
    maxwellmaxen ·

    i don't really like the diana f+. for me the holga has so much more to give, but this is just me.
    i guess you should do it differently, do not use them. shoot with other cams and then, someday just pick one of them again and try.
    i actually have problems with unmetered cameras too right now. i like control and the almost security of getting an image.

  6. mephisto19
    mephisto19 ·

    it is winter.... just wait for better weather and start again in spring - no problem at all. i had the same

  7. volker-jp
    volker-jp ·

    there will be better times. Mephisto is right, just wait till its sunny out there!!!

  8. littlemisslove
    littlemisslove ·

    Hey Claire, i agree with Mephisto - you know the Diana is my absolute fave, but i haven't shot it since september, our light is just so crummy! However, it does also seem like something is wrong. On your barcelona shot the shutter doesn't seem to have fully opened (unless you have a mask or something on it?) so that does seem to be sticking.
    The red photo actually looks super over exposed, as though light has flooded the whole frame - perhaps the roll wasn't wound tightly when you took it out, or perhaps something happened at the lab? it looks to me like one big light leak.
    Sooo.... take them in to the Manchester store, along with all your gippy negatives, @davidpowell will be able to give them a good once over, and help diagnose the problem.
    Don't give up on us yet, we loooove yooooouuuu! x

  9. nicolas_noir
    nicolas_noir ·

    No need to go as far as Manchester, I'll have a look. In all honesty though @mephisto19 and @littlemisslove are right - I've been saving film over winter and saving myself from the disappointment of under exposed dull negatives. I'm getting quite good with my Diana now, learning when and when not to use it and mostly get back full strips of negatives. It's tricky without automatic exposure - come sunnier weather, I'll show you the ropes if you like.

  10. freyfrey
    freyfrey ·

    I had a few problems with mine where the aperture got stuck on pinhole as somebody else said and also where it would sit halfway between settings sometimes. It was fixable but i wrecked quite a few shots before I realised. Now I look down the lens face on before I start shooting just to check.

  11. bloomchen
    bloomchen ·

    i got me a diana from ebay and shot one roll (400iso) immediately and only one pic came out. all rest was crap. i thought that the camera doesn´t work. i asked some of the community but it seemed to be OK. so 2nd roll (400iso) in and next try. result: nothing! i put the diana on the shelf and there it remains since then. last week it was the first time i thought i should give it a try again. but then it got cloudy and i said i´ll wait until the next really sunny day.

  12. dermanu
    dermanu ·

    You definitely didn't lose your mojo. I had similar problems with my Holga once, but if you load in films with low sensitivity (100 ASA or even 200 ASA) you can't expect good results.
    I heard the Diana is even more hungry for light than the Holga.
    Just keep on making fotos.

  13. oldtimer-rfh
    oldtimer-rfh ·

    Your just at a bit of a roadblock,remember that the quality of light equals the quality of the photo. So many photos on lomography have this problem. It is always important to understand the limits of your camera,then you choose the right film or films to take your shots. Some have suggested a change of camera,good advise,I would suggest the La sardina or Holga. Don't give up,take a brake and just try something new! :-)

  14. kneehigh85
    kneehigh85 ·

    @bloomchen - Oh that is sad. Maybe if I have some success with mine then it will spur you on to try it again. Although you will probably see sun before I do so maybe it will be vice versa!
    @dermanu - I will try to keep going, even if I do feel like giving up, thanks!
    @oldtimer-rfh - Yeah I think I probably need to give this a rest for a while as I am driving myself crazy over it. I love my La Sardina and I just got a Trip 35 so it might be those for while.

  15. kneehigh85
    kneehigh85 ·

    Oh wow I am blown away with all the responses to this blog - thanks chaps! I will try to answer them all here:-
    @fivedayforecast - I have tested both the Dianas without film and everything seems to be ok. I thought initially I had probably left it on pinhole but I was super careful in Manchester to have it on cloudy instead so I am still unsure why they didn't work.
    @carlota_nonnumquam - when I am next in Manchester I think I will pop in and ask them for some further advice but the fact both cameras are doing the same mad stuff, I think it might be me rather than them!!
    @maxwellmaxen A few people have said this to me, that maybe it is the pressure and stress meaning I just keep messing it up so I think I will have a break and use something with more control for the time being.
    @mephisto19 and @volker-jp - Thanks it has been pretty dull here recently, I guess once the sun comes out I will try again.
    @littlemisslove - in fairness the Barcelona one is a bad example as I was pretty drunk when shooting that!!! I also think it can't be the camera as it is both of them, all of a sudden. I will take them to Manc next time I go if @davidpowell is happy to try and help me but I think it will be quite some time before I get there again. I know what you mean about the light and that seems to be a bit of recurring advice so I might shelf it til we get blue skies now HOWEVER the NYC photos were shot on a super cloudy day in Manhatten with a 400 speed film and I then used more 400 film on sunny days in Barcelona where only a few shots worked! Go figure!
    @nicolas_noir - am I seeing you on Saturday? If so I will bring them with me and you can impart a bit of expert knowledge!
    @freyfrey - I will get the film out of it that is in at the moment and have a look to make sure this is not happenening with mine - thanks.

  16. maxwellmaxen
    maxwellmaxen ·

    by the way: i had a funny experience in the states last summer:
    when i loaded my sardina in perfect conditions with low asa film, 100, 200 max, i got some burnt and over exposed frames, bw400cn on the other hand had some underexposed shots in the very same condition.