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Stubborn Diana Mini Won't Wind? Don't Fight It!

The most common complaint when it comes to the Diana Mini is that it won't wind all the way to the next frame. Don't rage against this machine, go with the grain. Film grain, that is.

I take my Diana Mini with me everywhere. It’s tiny, compact, and good for drive-by shootings because you don’t have to look at the counter—it’ll just stop winding until you get to the next frame. After developing a few rolls, you’ll probably notice some shots overlapped together. My first Mini stopped winding fully and I had it replaced. It would stop winding after just 2-6 clicks. Or not at all.

You should never force your Mini to wind. This will cause the film sprockets to tear or you will break the winding mechanism in the camera itself. I got my broken-Mini roll developed and was actually amused by the results.

I was visiting relatives in the South and found myself bored with nothing but forests and a bag full of cheap drugstore film. My newer Diana Mini winds properly now, but I decided to recreate the “happy accidents” of its predecessor. The steps are pretty arbitrary and are really in no particular order:

1. Shoot
2. Wind only 3-6 clicks
3. Or don’t
4. Shoot the ground
5. Don’t worry if the next shot isn’t relevant
6. Wind only 3-6 clicks
7. Turn your body 90 degrees and shoot
8. Wind completely to the next frame.

If you have a film scanner, even better! While I was shooting I thought if I didn’t like the final product I’ll just crop and chop, but I found that I couldn’t live with myself if I separate these “frames.” I’m certainly not made out of money, and I have a Holga and Diana F+ to feed, but 35mm film is cheap enough that I can play with it using the “Stubborn Diana Mini” method and not feel guilty at all for “wasting” film.

written by ceduxi0n

16 comments

  1. sarahboat

    sarahboat

    I've had the same problem. I have never forced it to go, but sometimes find if I take a snap with the lens cap on that it will end up winding fine. I'm only on my third roll of film ever with the Mini and only had problems with the winding on my second roll. I should know soon what turned out on that roll. I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one who's noticed this! Thanks for the article : )

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  2. lomoblood

    lomoblood

    shots 3 and 10 are amaazing :]

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  3. elletra

    elletra

    I had the same sort of problems with my Smena 8m, the frame counter is broken (it goes way too fast), so once I made a full revolution with the frame counter (which was in reality only about 3 frames) it wouldn't wind anymore, so I would just take another shot with my hand over the lens and the counter would start over.

    Because I wasn't sure how the photos would turn out, with the frame counter broken, I took my film to the one hour counter at Walgreens, and when the hour was up they said that their machine wouldn't take the film because of the double/multi exposures (I went along with their surprised dismay) and I got my film processed for FREE! **HINT HINT** The negatives are very clear, I can't wait to get them up on my home :D

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  4. mcrstar

    mcrstar

    really good photos

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  5. ceduxi0n

    ceduxi0n

    i didn't think this article would ever be published, but since the Diana Mini started getting more special LSI attention I had a feeling... ;)

    thanks for the comments. i'm a big believer in happy accidents :D i actually have a Stubborn-Mini roll I need to get processed and this just reminded me to do it.

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  6. disdis

    disdis

    Lovely gallery! I love the Diana Mini too! No matter what you shoot the results have always something special!

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  7. stouf

    stouf

    Nice shots !

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  8. nural

    nural

    ahah she does that always, last weekend, she ate 2 of my rolls, after the 4th shot, she's stop winding and I actually tear not only the sprockets but the film itself as well :((

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  9. satomi

    satomi

    I love those creepy pictures of you, my dear. the creepier the better!;))

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  10. pickled_photos

    you can still win a Diana Mini too :) http://www.pickledphotos.com/campaign.action
    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  11. moochie_lomo

    moochie_lomo

    I was going to make the same comment as saraboat so I'm glad someone did! I think that technique is the best for not wasting too much film.

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  12. ucha07

    ucha07

    nice tipster :D

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  13. eika

    eika

    I have the same problem: sometimes the wheel would stop after just a few clicks. Is it an issue that I can get my Diana exchanged for? I've had it for a week only...

    about 4 years ago · report as spam
  14. hidings

    hidings

    Fantastic results!

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  15. gristlemonkey

    Don't force it to go that's not the "lomo" way. Sorry I'll just use my vintage leica which works properly, will probably out live me and cost less than an LCA. (which I also own and breaks all the time)
    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  16. pudding-and-pie

    Hi I'm having a problem at the moment that sounds similar but it's possibly not, it'd be great it you could help, hate not being able to use my Diana Mini! Basically it won't wind on at all. First it wasn't winding on much and now not at all so I can't take any photos =( do you or anyone else know what I can do?? I have contacted Lomography customer service but had no reply as yet. I tried to take the film out under a thick blanket but it wouldn't pull out and I don't really know what I'm doing so didn't want to force anything. Thanks so much. I enjoyed the article by the way :)
    over 2 years ago · report as spam

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Deutsch.