I'm a sucker for pinhole cameras so when the Diana Multi Pinhole Operator showed up at the Lomography store awhile back, I knew I had to have one.
The Diana Multi Pinhole Operator was even more I had hoped for—it has the familiar Diana body with a yellow top plate, a truncated lens barrel without a lens, and, instead of the familiar aperture switch, it had a switch for selecting between single pinhole, double pinhole, or even triple pinhole lenses. How cool is that?
The camera arrived in a beautiful and well-designed package such as LSI has become noted for with cool graphics and color scheme. Be forewarned however, that in your haste to get at the prize inside, you don’t discard the packaging because a very important element of the camera is hiding in the lid disguised as part of the graphics. There are six tiny, multicolored filters: three with two colors and three with three colors and it is those filters that turn what is a great camera into an extraordinary one.
A simple twist of the front element of the lens barrel (similar to removing the lens from a regular Diana camera) removes it and reveals slots in the front element that correspond to tabs on the filter, align the tabs to the slots and reattach the front element and, just that easy, the filter is installed. Using the filters each pinhole is shooting through a different colored filter. The previous photos were shot using the warmer magenta and orange filters and I really like the effect.
Another interesting combination is the red, green, and blue filter which, as you probably know, are the additive color primaries (shoot a multiple exposure through each of these filters will result in an image in the normal color spectrum). So, in theory, using this filter in the Multi Pinhole would result in natural colors where the three images registered correctly. The following photos were taken with that filter and the spectrum tends to fall within the “normal” range compared to the previous photos.
Another advantage of the Multi Pinhole Operator is that it takes many of the Diana F+ accessories including the 35mm back, the Polaroid back and the Diana flash. Unlike most pinholes where you have to guess at the composition and coverage of your image, this camera has a usable viewfinder with good coverage. Other desirable features are the tripod socket and shutter release. Push the shutter lever down to open the shutter and up to close it. There is no cable release socket and the Diana cable release adapter won’t work on this camera, however the shutter release is fairly smooth and, with the very nature of multiple lens imagery, camera shake wasn’t an issue.
In my heart of hearts, pinhole photography is at its best in black and white. Obviously colored filters will have a more limited effect in black and white so I tried a test roll. The following photos are of my favorite tree, which many of you will recognize, using all three lens combination.
The single pinhole is a little soft, but okay, the others are actually pretty interesting—simultaneous multiple exposures. The following are shots from the rest of the roll.
In general, I like the results of the black and whites and think the next step will be a roll of black and white using the RGB filter.
In summary, this is a really fun camera that offers a variety of options and, yet, is capable of serious “fine art” pinhole photography (whatever that means).