The Debonair: The Different Diana Clone


I have quite a lot of sixties Dianas and its clones. They all look similar and yet they are all a bit different. I like all those plastic vintage cameras, not only because they look good, but also because they all have their own little quirks and features. However, one stands out, and it is the Debonair. I am really crazy about this one. Let me explain you why.

Credits: gauthierdumonde

The Diana and its clones

There are a lot of Diana clones made in the sixties, too many to name them all, and I have quite a few of them. There is Anny, and Rand, and Samtoy, etc. They all look alike, and they are all a bit different. Some have rather flat plastic lenses, other have convex lenses, some have a real slow shutter speed, like my Anny, some give real low-fi pictures, like my Rand. That’s why I like them so much, but beware, it is not because my Anny has a slow shutterspeed, that your Anny is the same. It is commonly known that those speeds show great variation, even within the same model.

A pic by Anny
Rand my lo-fi master

Debonair the one that you want

One of those clones however is really different, at least mine is. It is called the Debonair. First I have to warn you, there is more than one camera out there called Debonair and I am talking about the sixties Chinese Diana clone. So what’s different? Well, mine has a really wide aperture. The actual size of the widest aperture is about 1 cm, where the other clones only have apertures between 4mm and 6mm. I will spare you the math but the Debonair shoots at F/6 where the other Diana clones only shoot at f/11 to f/13. This changes a lot. The pictures become softer, it’s more difficult to focus, and you can use it under not so bright conditions. Which is great when you live in a northern country.

Credits: gauthierdumonde
Credits: gauthierdumonde

I love fat rolls and my Debonair does too

My Debonair loves fat rolls, every single roll shot with this camera is loose on the spool. So when you take it out, light will leak in through the sides creating real nice light leaks.

Credits: gauthierdumonde

When I checked the pictures other community members take with this camera, I noticed they had light leaks too. So it appears to be a typical feature of the debonair. All toy cameras produce from time to time a fat roll, but this camera always gives fat rolls and that is quite exceptional.

Credits: adi_totp, opon21 & mattystevo

If you don’t want the light leaks, just unload the film in total darkness and tighten it on the spool. But to be honest, I like the light leaks and their unpredictability. Not ever frame is affected and you’ll never know in advance how the leak is going to look like. If I don’t want leaks I just take another camera.

So my camera loving lomography friends, I have only one advice for you left, if you like these soft light leaked pictures, put the Debonair on your wishlist! And keep spreading the LomoLove !

written by gauthierdumonde on 2013-03-29 in #reviews #vintage-camera #chinese #sixties #different #diana #clone #debonair


  1. gauthierdumonde
    gauthierdumonde ·

    In the meantime I have a second Debonair, and yes it has also a wide aperture.

  2. ohlordy
    ohlordy ·

    @gauthierdumonde i just measured my deboanairs large aperture and alas it's only about 5mm! but love her still i do.

  3. wuxiong
    wuxiong ·

    Cool camera...^..^ Mine is a little different from yours. It is also named Debornair, the biggest different lies in the shutter press, the same with Holga's, and it takes 16 frmaes instead of 12.....^..^

  4. gauthierdumonde
    gauthierdumonde ·

    @ohlordy Strange, I have two of them and both have that wide aperture. Is your exactly sthe same? I have seen models with different lens numbers (not that it matters :) ). Mine are Super Lens No. 809

  5. ohlordy
    ohlordy ·

    Exactly the same! Love it, so many clones... But none alike!

  6. segata
    segata ·

    I'd love to get my hands on a Diana clone but they currently seem to go for quite a bit on ebay :(

  7. gauthierdumonde
    gauthierdumonde ·

    @ohlordy meet the family
    ------ @segata My most expensive was the Diana F, I paid 30 euros, al the others were cheaper, between 7 and 25 euros.

  8. segata
    segata ·

    Last one I tried for was one with Future scientist on the lens and it ended at something like 41 pounds, Im not sure how much that is in euros but it I thought it was way too much.
    What clones would you say are the cheapest to find?

  9. syhash
    syhash ·

    It looks great! Do you have any idea where I could find one?

  10. kylethefrench
    kylethefrench ·

    cool stuff

  11. gauthierdumonde
    gauthierdumonde ·

    @segata @ syhash samtoy, dories, rand, anny, sinoflex etc. you should find them for 15 bucks. They pop up on ebay in waves. Sometimes you can't find a single one, sometimes ten at a time. 41 pounds is too much :(. You have to search on those crappy names and add 'camera' to it. They have been made under numerous names. I know at least 15 names and I have a "Linda" which I never saw in a list.

  12. segata
    segata ·

    Thanks, I will keep an eye on ebay and stick to that limit :)

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