My Original Diana


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 (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.


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


Hi, do you still have a Diana camera available?




It works?


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.”


…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 on 2010-11-28 #gear #review #vintage #second-hand #120mm #dirklancer #diana #1960-s #user-review


  1. leendabob
    leendabob ·

    HA! lucky you~

  2. herbert-4
    herbert-4 ·

    Great find, nice gallery

  3. nural
    nural ·

    lucky you!!!!

  4. nicolas_noir
    nicolas_noir ·

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

  5. beni
    beni ·


  6. panelomo
    panelomo ·

    i'm jealous!

  7. slivinskaja_
    slivinskaja_ ·


  8. cyan-shine
    cyan-shine ·

    Original Dianas r0ck!

  9. sharktopus
    sharktopus ·

    ha ha Coronation Street!

  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

  11. dogma
    dogma ·

    Nice! lucky you!

  12. copefan
    copefan ·


  13. warshock
    warshock ·

    lucky you!

  14. vicuna
    vicuna ·


  15. mikahsupageek
    mikahsupageek ·

    lucky =)

  16. pushkar
    pushkar ·

    luck favors more than others :D

  17. toradatanglagi
    toradatanglagi ·

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

  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

  19. stouf
    stouf ·

    Sweet !

  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

  21. dminilover
    dminilover ·

    That's amazing! Hope I can find one

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