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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 !