Good Camera in the Wrong Place – My Thoughts about the Diana Mini

2013-01-29 3

Lomo brings us an almost pocket sized 135-film camera with square picture format. Sounds like a perfect little camera for me, but is everything as perfect as it seems? Read my opinion about this cutie.

It’s tiny and it’s very light. When I hold it, it feels like a toy. It’s so light that I wouldn’t mind it hanging around my neck whole day. Now I don’t have any excuses not to bring it everywhere I go. It’s a perfect travel companion, I just have to remember to treat it with care, coz it feels a little fragile.

The looks are maybe the best part of this camera. It comes in very neat package with Diana Mini book. Just to receive that package was great experience! Innovative package is like a cameras own little showroom, only spotlights are missing. When you open the package and get your hand on the camera, you won’t regret buying it. Simple design of this camera ensures that you will hear lots of “awws” and “oohs” when you use it in public. If I was old enough, this retro design would take me back to the good old times. Unfortunately my memories can only reach back to the late 80’s and early 90’s, when there was nothing good going on. Ok, back to present day. I dressed my cyan/black Mini with black Diana Flash and that oversize retro flash really makes my Mini real eye candy.

Using the camera is easy. I stick to square format and besides that I only have few things to choose from. Whether to use cloudy or sunny setting for my aperture, decide is the 1/60s shutter enough or do I need tripod and bulb mode (or flash). Then I just shoot, advance the film or do a double exposure. Focusing is kind of useless, I just let it sit on 2-4 m setting.

All good so far, but here comes the problem; the camera need lots of light; and living in the north doesn’t really help the situation. Finnish winter days are short and dark. I actually haven’t seen the sun for days; it seems that someone glued clouds to the sky. I mostly use ISO400 film, which gives just enough light on overcast day. Using DIY redscale though, is impossible without a tripod, even at noon. I have some ISO100 and ISO200 films, but I can’t even dream about using those. But when I think about it, is it the cameras fault? No, it’s not the Diana’s fault that I live in this dark place, where winters last forever. And I really can’t blame Diana for my bad film choices either.

And there are more problems. Few days ago I was taking some long exposure shots with a cable release. When I pushed the button on top of the release, I didn’t hear the shutter clicking. I thought that nothing is wrong, but those appeared to be blank. I have to examine the problem more closely. The cable seems to be fine. Other problem is that two first films got stuck somewhere near frame 24. Don’t know why that happened, but after I started using this guide by renenob, I’ve been shooting full rolls without jams.

However, I have to say that I really like the Diana Mini! It produces nice looking photos when there’s enough light available, but it’s not the right camera for Finnish winter. I guess I have to buy a different camera for wintertime, something with winter aperture setting. Now I put a scarf to my Diana Mini and let it hibernate until the sun comes out again.

Credits: jutei

written by jutei on 2013-01-29 #gear #review #square-format #flash #half-format #135-film #diana-mini


  1. sassa_b
    sassa_b ·

    Great article! And unfortunately so true ... :(

  2. jutei
    jutei ·

    Yep, sad but true..thanks for the comment :)

  3. yuan625
    yuan625 ·

    I love square photos :)

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