Modifying a Diana F+.

I’m not a massive ‘Lomography’ fan: the original ЛОМО́ glass company cameras are much better, both in construction and optics. Peer pressure is the only reason behind me owning this camera.20130717-165332.jpg

On the couple of occasions that I have used the camera I have been left with a slack wound roll on the take up spool, usually ruining the majority of exposures on the roll. But sometimes, and only sometimes, it added intriguing areas of heavy fogging whilst still leaving usable/scannable negatives. Since I last used this camera I have pretty much lost all interest in the “perks” it has to offer, so I have decided to modify it so the take up spool can cope with the tension and thus save me money on developing only underexposed rolls.

I started trying to improve the camera by bending the base plate the spools sit on, but that still doesn’t hold the spool in place. After giving the spool a bit of a prod, trying to simulate the average tension applied by the paper backing, it still slips so more modifications are required.20130717-165349.jpg

After measuring the width of the hole in the centre of the base plate with a dial calliper I routed through some old stuff in an attempt to find a piece of plastic wide enough, but nothing seated perfectly. After an arduous think I remembered I cannibalised an old Paterson contact frame weeks previous and saw that the hinge pins were quite wide. I had another look and measured the hinge pins.20130717-165404.jpgTurns out they fit perfectly.

Once I finished patting myself on the back for remembering such a peculiar thing I cut small pins out of bamboo skewer to gauge the size so the spool can be removed without excess fuss. But in a mock up I tried to close the camera and saw that the length of skewer wouldn’t allow the lock to be secured. Upon looking at the baseplate I saw small protrusions that are what I intend to improve on, so I changed my idea from having the pins inserted into the bent base plate of the camera to where the small nubs of plastic are situated. To make sure I didn’t leave any lumps of plastic behind I used a small chisel to remove the tiny stubs to make room for the hinge pins.20130717-165505.jpg

After ensuring the stubs were no more and the surface was flush, to make sure everything sat correctly, I roughed up the area with a rasping tool to give the glue something to hang onto. In order to align the pins correctly I positioned the pin inside the spool, whilst it was in place I put a blob of heated glue onto the coarse surface of the pin, closed the back of the camera and locked it in place whilst the glue dried, 10 minutes later the result is a perfectly aligned pin.20130717-165513.jpg

To test the mod I shot a quick roll of T-Max I retrieved from my dedicated bag for storing loose rolls of film. After shooting the result is a nicely wound roll on the take up spool, SUCCESS. 20130717-165517.jpg

The intended use of the roll was just to see if the mod worked, but since I no longer have ready access to a darkroom I thought I might try Caffenol. The images on the roll are just banal shots of my back garden on a roll that’s been sitting around for over a year so if the recipe doesn’t work it won’t be a disaster, so let the experiment into staining developers begin.