So here I am with the Diana Mini in front of me. And no, I haven't taken any pictures yet. So I went to a friend (and co-worker), Kira, and asked her what's the best way to operate this newly borrowed camera. Here's what she has to say.
Kira is a photographer intern at Lomography. She’s always running around setting up stuff and taking pictures. So I thought, hey, I can ask her for advice!
While she was studying photography at the LCC in London, she told me, “Everything was about perfect sharpness, perfect lighting, and perfect retouching. So for my final project, I wanted to do something completely different and bought a Diana F+ after some research. It was so much fun that I stuck to it.”
And this was her first advice to me:
Don’t choose the Diana Mini :-). Well, that’s not entirely true. With this weather (It’s sunny summer right now) it should be fine. The difficulty with the Diana Mini is that it has only two settings. Sunny and Cloudy. Hence it is quite difficult to get your film exposed properly. Today it’s sunny, so you’d use the sunny-setting and get good results. But what about a sunset. Or indoors. Or a hazy afternoon. Then it becomes really difficult and you waste a lot of film.
But if you wanna go for the unknown, blurry and unsharp pictures with lots and lots of vignetting the Diana is the best. Most other lomo cameras are too ‘perfect’ for that.
What should I make sure to do (or not to do) when putting film in?
Make sure that the film sticks tightly to the second role. otherwise it will come loose without you noticing it and if there’s no counter, you think you are taking pictures, but you actually aren’t because the film doesn’t get transported.
What should I check first before actually snapping a picture? The switches they have on the front, I can never memorize which is for what
It’s best to make a list in your mind and stick to its order every time you take a picture. In the beginning I even had it written down on a note which I stuck to the back of my camera. With analogue photography everything seems to be simple, but it’s very annoying and expensive if you forget even just one thing.
In my case this was my list:
- Lens cap off (don’t laugh, I actually forgot it several times)
- Shutter speed
- Search for right crop
- Don’t forget that lens view and viewfinder view are slightly different!
Haha, the one with the “Lens cap off” was funny. Well thanks for the advice Kira. I shall now take my Diana Mini and discover the world through its view finder!
If you want to know more about my friend Kira, you can check out her photo galleries on her website. She takes beautiful photos!
The Diana Mini is the ultra-compact, petite version of the Diana F+. This camera takes soft-focused, lo-fi images in 35mm and allows you to change between half-format and square shots with a flick of a switch. Get your own Diana Mini now!