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I'm a sucker for toy camera deals. I go weak in the knees when I find a decent camera selection in an antique market. But I'm a certifiable lunatic for affordable working vintage toy cameras, and it's discoveries like this Original Diana that motivate me to keep searching and collecting.

I was browsing Kijiji.com (a Canadian buy and sell site, like Craigslist) as I usually do; checking in on the “Cameras” section on the hour every hour, when one listing in particular arrested my attention.

“Original Diana. 1965. Working condition.”

What made me gasp audibly was the next line.

“$15”

I got on the nearest phone immediately. It was in my pocket. I dialed and waited for the voice.

“hullo?”

Hi, do you still have a Diana camera available?

“yes.”

$15?

“yep.”

It works?

“u-huh.”

I’m only a few blocks from you, can I walk over tonight sometime to pick it up?

“Sure, but Coronation Street is on from 6:30 until 7:00. Don’t call or stop by then.”

Uh…ok.

…3 hours later…

I tried to conceal my excitement until that precise point in time where the five dollar bills were fully in his hand and this new treasure was in my grasp alone. It was in pristine condition, and I ran home to strip a fresh roll of Kodak E100VS of its foil.

I already own a Diana+, so the first things that jumped out at me were the obvious differences.
The distance settings are labeled in feet, not metres; the film advance window is round and lower on the back; and the best difference – the pieces of plastic that hold the film rolls are hinged.

This original is not for those who want to change lenses, formats (12 or 16 shots), or film sizes. One lens and 16 shots per 120mm roll. That’s it.

The switch for toggling between “I” and “B” shutter modes is just as sharp and potentially hazardous (if only for a klutz like me) as the Diana+.

I took her for my maiden voyage on a fairly sunny day, not wanting to take any risks. I shot the roll over the course of a weekend, and mistakenly wound the roll after only 12 exposures; I forgot that 16 was the original format. I was quite pleased to find that only one frame was fatally overexposed, perhaps due to a slightly sticky shutter, perhaps due to an absent-minded photographer.

If you’re lucky enough to find one of these in good shape, snap it up, you’ll be glad you did.

Now it’s loaded with film that expired before half of us were born, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

written by dirklancer

21 comments

  1. leendabob

    leendabob

    HA! lucky you~

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  2. herbert-4

    herbert-4

    Great find, nice gallery

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  3. nural

    nural

    lucky you!!!!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  4. nicolas_noir

    nicolas_noir

    This reminds me to use my vintage Diana more! Lovely shots!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  5. beni

    beni

    great!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  6. panelomo

    panelomo

    i'm jealous!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  7. slivinskaja_

    slivinskaja_

    wow)

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  8. cyan-shine

    cyan-shine

    Original Dianas r0ck!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  9. sharktopus

    sharktopus

    ha ha Coronation Street!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  10. kylethefrench

    kylethefrench

    couldn't agree with you more, got a 1960s clone at a tag sale for 50 cents and I love it way better than my new diana + even without all the bells and whistles, great gallery

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  11. dogma

    dogma

    Nice! lucky you!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  12. copefan

    copefan

    cool......

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  13. warshock

    warshock

    lucky you!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  14. vicuna

    vicuna

    great!!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  15. mikahsupageek

    mikahsupageek

    lucky =)

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  16. pushkar

    pushkar

    luck favors more than others :D

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  17. toradatanglagi

    toradatanglagi

    :O :O :O wonder if i manage to find one here :(

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  18. realmustache

    realmustache

    awesome gallery. i'm always looking at original dianas and clones on ebay. a lot of my older photo buddies recommend i buy a banner camera

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  19. stouf

    stouf

    Sweet !

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  20. sammy_a

    sammy_a

    maybe my original lubitel 166B will turn out to be as nice as your diana ! plus came wiv some expired rolls 1

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  21. dminilover

    dminilover

    That's amazing! Hope I can find one

    about 3 years ago · report as spam

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Português.