One Way to Know Your Camera


You meet a good old friend and proudly present him your new camera - but when you get the picture a few days later it turns out to be headless! Just one more headless picture for your collection... but before you get angry to your beloved camera just take the time and try out what you REALLY get on the picture!

This was one of the hardest fights I had with Lady D. – whoever I passed by and wanted to take a picture turned out to be headless. I have to submit that it’s the first time in my life I use a camera where the viewfinder is not combined with the lense. So I had to try a little trick once and since then I never had a headless picture again! (even though I started to like my crazy collection… )

I asked my flatmate to take a picture of our bathroom with his highly acclaimed digital cam, and two minutes later I had a big, printed picture of our tiled shower wall. I marked a cross in the middle, and then placed Diana 1m away from the cross, so that I could see it in the middle of the viewfinder. I marked on the printed sheet the part that I could see through my viewfinder, and then took the pictures with both objectives I have. After I got the negatives from the lab, I compared the result with the marked sheet and so could figure out the cutout that came on the picture. Then I took some non-transparent tape for fixing the part that always gets on the photo – it’s just a really, really small part, perhaps less then 50%, and now I always get the heads of my friends ;)

This is perhaps a stupid tip for versed analog lovers, but for me it was really necessary and so I would like to share it with you. It is more important for those who use a 35mm film in a 120 camera than for the others, but with a separated viewfinder and lense and a short distance you always get this difference. Please note that the difference becomes fewer, the farer you get away from your motives – but the golden rules tell us always to get as near as possible ;)

written by shoujoai on 2010-05-07 in #gear #tipster #viewfinder #diana #diana-f #cutout #tipster #medium-format-cameras #difference #headless


  1. wuxiong
    wuxiong ·

    hahaha nice and useful tip...But I think the faceless portraits are amazing....

  2. stouf
    stouf ·

    Ahaha that's funny !

  3. kernow_and_cambria
    kernow_and_cambria ·

    #11 is amazing!

  4. shahsengal
    shahsengal ·

    hi shoujoai! haha I love how you troubleshooted the viewfinder/lens ratio! just shows how much passion you have in this!

    I'm a newbie myself, and my first 2 rolls on the 35mm Back were almost disastrous thanks to the crop factor of the lens (which I didn't even thought of at first). Most of my shots were on the 75mm lens and yep, most of them were headless. But I must say, my headless shots look nothing like yours; your collection is simply amazing! I like the 'mystery' of it all, and in my humble amateur opinion, these actually give more 'character' to your subjects! I love em!

    Just a personal tip I'd like to share (from my experience, own troubleshooting with the Diana F+ and countless forums): Just use the Fisheye lens when using the 35mm Back and you should get a fairly accurate representation of what you see in the Diana viewfinder. Also, shoot sprockets. Not only does it add that extra uniqueness to your photos, it makes them look 'fuller'. Also, just aim a bit high before shooting.

    But I must say, your photos are a good example of beautiful 'mistakes'...and that's what lomography is all about right?

    Happy Lomo-ing! :D

  5. shoujoai
    shoujoai ·

    Haha, thanks to you all! Must be several month that I uploaded this Tipster and I just forgot it... now I use mostly 120 films to use the full possibilities of Diana <3
    @Scanner: for my first pictures I used a HP Scanner from my flat mate, now I use the Canon 8800f. I also wrote something about the scanners, but until now, it appeared only on the german page:…

    but some pictures are not showed in the text, why did this happen? It's the line: [Assets: 147114, 147115]

  6. miaumiau-wildekatze
    miaumiau-wildekatze ·

    ahahaha, wonderful!
    i usually only cut their chins off ;)

  7. shahsengal
    shahsengal ·

    shoujoai: I did exactly the same too! I tried the 120 format on my second try with Diana and I instantly LOVED it. :)

  8. shoujoai
    shoujoai ·

    yes @shahsengal, at the beginning I thought "why should I use 120mm films if they're so much more expensive and I could always use 35 mm?" - but they are so beautiful! I like the vignette and the light leaks and the bigger format and everything... since I ordered a bunch of 120 films I did not use the 35mm back any more. Perhaps I will do it again when I start missing the sprockets, but atm I'm a medium format junky :D

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