The Minilab - Lovable Imperfections with the Diana F+

The Minilab is a small, independent processing lab in the heart of Northampton, UK, that serves the ever-growing analogue photography communities in the local area. We recently sent them a Diana F+ camera to test out and talked to them about their local community and the joys of shooting with this unique medium format camera.

© The Minilab

Hi and welcome to Lomography Magazine, please tell us a bit about what you do.

We’re The Minilab - the home of film developing and photo printing at Skears Photographic. We’re Northampton’s only independent camera shop and photo lab, carrying out everything from film developing and scanning, to camera repairs and anything in between. As labs began to disappear and the film photography business grew, we launched The Minilab website to help make it super easy to send in your film in from afar.

It’s been great to see the analogue community continuing to grow, especially with the emergence of so many talented young photographers in our local area. It’s fantastic to see the work created, whether that being their first film shot on a disposable camera at a party, our local college and university students learning the trade, or the regular pro's utilizing our services.

© The Minilab

How was your overall experience shooting with the Diana F+? How did it compare to the experience of shooting other more conventional medium format cameras?

We love how quirky the Diana is! It’s super flexible with the options of being able to shoot ‘normal’ images, multiple exposures and pinhole images all in one lightweight and compact camera. Medium format cameras have a tendency to be big and bulky (don’t get us wrong it’s hard to beat them for quality), but sometimes you just don’t want to lug around everything. The Diana F+ has those lovable imperfections, from the fringing created by the plastic lens to the occasional light leak. You can’t beat it for the characteristics it creates in an image!

© The Minilab

What did you decide to shoot with this roll and why?

We decided it would be good to try and experiment with the different features available with the Diana F+. For one roll we wanted to go out and shoot some street scenes of Northampton, focusing on the architecture of the ever changing town centre. We thought it would be interesting to shoot some multiple exposures to create some abstract images, as well highlighting some details found in scenes that would usually be overlooked.

For the second roll, we wanted to document the day-to-day life of running a shop and film lab. It can be very busy at times, so we thought using the pinhole setting to convey the movement would be a good idea.

© The Minilab

What tips would you give others wanting to try the Diana F+?

Take the lens cap off! (nothing more to say here…) Embrace the imperfections of shooting with a plastic camera and plastic lens. You also need to think a little bit creatively, knowing the image isn’t going to be ‘perfect’ like you would strive for shooting on a RB67 etc. You can use the fringing of the plastic lens to your advantage, by highlighting the centre of the image and letting the edges naturally blur out. After trying out the Diana F+, we think this would be great to go out and shoot some 'moody’ portraits, or some dark dramatic landscapes, using the quirks of the lens to our advantage.

© The Minilab

What do you like about 120 film format in general when compared to 35 mm?

The whole process is very different. It slows you down a little more, as everything takes that bit longer. Loading the film takes slightly longer and having fewer images on the roll probably makes you focus a little more on the shots, rather than becoming trigger happy on 35 mm. The larger negatives give more post shooting flexibility, such as being able to print much larger with less visible grain than 35 mm, whilst still retaining that ‘film’ look. The detail on the images can be retained more, especially when shot on high end camera/ lens combinations, but even on something like the Diana, you gain those added benefits.

Thank you to The Minilab for sharing their photos and insights with us! To find out more about The Miniab visit their website.

2024-04-23 #gear #news #partners #medium-format #120 #uk #diana-f #northampton #processing-lab

Mentioned Product

Lomography Diana F+

Lomography Diana F+

Take timeless and dramatic photos on 120 film with the Diana F+. Create stunning soft-focused images and customize it with sweet lenses or even an instant back for additional effects and flexibility.

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