The Curious Debonair Super Lens Camera

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The Debonair Super Lens is a curious camera. It's a very usable cross between a Diana and a Holga that has some unique features and a nice signature.

Debonair seems to be a popular name for cameras.

There’s the Imperial Debonair:

There’s the Debonair Diana Clone:

And, there’s the Debonair 127 camera:

This article is about the Debonair 120 camera with the 1:8/60mm Super Lens. It looks like a cross between a Diana and a Holga. Mine doesn’t have any additional markings, but I’ve seen it labeled as the Plastic Filmtastic 120 Debonair camera as well.

Looking at the front, you see the 1:8/60mm Super Lens.

The plastic lens is the same focal length, size, and aperture as a standard Holga 120. Holga slip-on lenses fit the Debonair perfectly. I haven’t measured it, but I suspect that the Debonair actually has an aperture of f/8. A standard Holga is marked as having a maximum aperture of f/8, but it’s actually f/10 unless you do a mod to make it f/8. The Diana has a focal length of 75mm and has a different diameter. So, the Debonair gets its lens from the Holga.

The shutter release works and feels like the shutter release on a Holga, but it’s positioned differently.

Looking at the top of Debonair, you can see that the lens uses Holga-style zone focusing. The Sunny/Cloudy switch is located in the same place as the Sunny/Cloudy switch on the Holga, but it changes the shutter speed instead of the aperture. I haven’t been able to measure the shutter speed, but I suspect the “Cloudy” shutter speed is probably 1/60" and the “Sunny” shutter speed is probably 1/100". The shutter speed mechanism is very interesting. The shutter works by bouncing off of a tab to return to the closed position. To make the shutter speed faster, they move a plate into position that makes the shutter bounce back faster. Additionally, the flash will only fire in the “Cloudy” position.

The Debonair has a standard hot-shoe flash.

[Asset:1793910]

When you look at the Debonair from the back it looks more like a Diana than a Holga. The back comes off like a Diana, not a Holga. The viewfinder is similar to a Diana. The standard format is 6×4.5cm like an original Diana and it would be difficult to convert to 6×6cm like a Holga.

The Debonair does not have a “B” mode. The Debonair does not have shutter release or tripod threads. I’ve seen a fairly simple modification to add tripod threads.

Even though we’re stuck with a 6×4.5cm frame size, the Debonair vignettes very pleasantly. The Debonair is light, but the fit and finish is very good. The Debonair has a solid feel and is a joy to shoot with.

Here are some results using Lomography Lady Gray 400 film:

Here are some results using expired cross-processed Ektachrome 64:

Here are some results using Ilford Delta Pro 400:

written by gvelasco on 2013-01-03 in #reviews #120 #debonair #diana #review #debonairsuperlens #camerareview #holga #mediumformat

3 Comments

  1. neanderthalis
    neanderthalis ·

    I wouldn't mind finding one of these, a guy in my area converted a broken one into a pinhole, good stuff.

  2. gvelasco
    gvelasco ·

    I've seen a few interesting mods for this camera. My main interest would be a "B" mod for it. I might try to figure one out myself.

  3. wuxiong
    wuxiong ·

    Very nice camera, I have two and havn't tried for quite some time...^..^

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