Few cameras can be called a pop culture phenomenon, fewer still a pop culture icon. The Diana takes the crown as one of the most popular film cameras of all time. Many generations of photographers have used this humble camera to produce lovely lo-fi images on 120 film.
The Analogue Revolution
Back in the 60s, the Diana was a quirky camera produced by a small manufactory based in Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong. One of its most compelling features was its simple construction. The Diana was a box camera with a variety of components made with easy-to-source lightweight materials.
Despite its simple construction, people fell in love with its wily charm. The meniscus lens was able to produce lo-fi images that can be compared to Impressionist paintings. Focus was soft, and photos appeared to be moody and dreamy. People started noticing this unique quality of Diana cameras and soon, they were buying these simple box cameras left and right.
From Toy Camera to Photographic Tool
Many artists and photographers used the Diana as a photographic tool to explore different techniques. It was a way to nurture creativity without being totally dependent on a camera’s features. They embraced the imperfections of the Diana and made a photographic style out of its unique aesthetic.
The Improved Diana
The Diana had many faces. Variations came in different names, stickers, accessories, packaging, and even colors. One of the biggest and most celebrated Diana collections belonged to Allan Detrich, a photographer based in the United States. Nearly 200 Dianas are said to have been in the Detrich Collection.
Lomography saw what the Diana was and what it could be. Knowing that it can be improved and manufactured with better quality and materials, the humble box camera was redesigned and was given a new name — Diana+.
The Diana+ pays tribute to the original with new styles and colors with each new edition. From the funky to the minimalist, these new designs spoke to different people who are unique in their own, beautiful way.
It still had the flair and style of the original 120 shooter, but now with modern sensibilities. Lomography upgraded not only the look of the original Diana but also its feel and functionality. Photographers can enjoy dreamy shots on different film formats like 35 mm with the Diana Mini, 110 with the Diana Baby, and Fujifilm Instax Mini Film with the Diana Instant Back.
Lomography also invented a bunch of amazing accessories to take the Diana+ experience to new heights. Extras like the Splitzer, Diana Flash, Fisheye Lens, Diana+ Premium Glass Lens, 110 mm Soft Telephoto Lens, and Super-Wide-Angle Lens made sure that there was no shortage of fun when it came to shooting with the Diana+. Photographers can make images to their hearts’ desire and have the right accessory for the job.
Still, Lomography knew that there are more ways to improve the Diana+ experience. Creativity knows no bounds — especially in the analogue world. That’s why Lomography is taking the iconic Diana aesthetic to square film instant photography with the new Diana Instant Square.
The new Diana Instant Square drenches your frame in all the punchy colors, soft vignetting and gorgeous analogue effects of the original Diana camera. It’s is fully manual to give you complete creative freedom — playing around with different focus and aperture settings to get artistic results is not only possible but is totally encouraged! Pair that with a retro housing that pays homage to the iconic blue and black Diana design and you’ve got yourself an instant keeper.
From humble beginnings to chasing after new milestones, the history of the Diana is just so fun to follow. So don’t knock on the simple box camera. Have a go at it and its new and improved versions to find out for yourself what the fuss is all about.