The best camera is the one you have with you: why taking an analogue camera – and especially the Diana Mini – along is so much fun!
When I first saw the Valentines Special Edition of the Diana Mini, I knew I had to have her. I had only gotten my first Diana F+ two months prior and had only processed three rolls of film from it but the analogue bug had already gotten me and in my obsession, I had to have the Diana Mini, too.
I justified the purchase to myself with the number of Piggies I had collected and the fact that the smaller size and different film format (it uses 35mm instead of the 120 the Diana F+ uses) distinguished the cameras enough to warrant owning both. I couldn’t wait for it to arrive and to take it out shooting with me.
The first thing I noticed was how much smaller the Diana Mini is and how different it feels in your hand. It feels a lot sturdier and heavier than the Diana F+, which seems to weigh almost nothing with no film inserted. Another difference is the slider to decide on the aperture, while the Diana F+ has 4 settings (sunny, partially cloudy, cloudy and indoor), the Diana Mini only has two: sunny and cloudy. To make up for that, it has four different settings for the focal distance: 0.6m, 1-2m, 2-4m and 4 to infinity and of course two different shutter speeds (N and Bulb).
Additionally, you can set the framing for your photos to two different settings: a smaller square format, like the Diana F+ uses, and a long-ish half-frame format that allows you to capture up to 72 images on a single roll of film, which feels endless (especially if you are impatient like me).
Of course I had to take her out with me and discovered the absolute specialty of the Diana Mini: put her in your purse and be able to take photos wherever you are! I never was much into street photography or taking snapshots while simply out and about, but the Diana Mini has changed this for me – it’s always in my purse with a backup roll of film so that I can capture anything that captures my attention, which is great.
The only problem I still have with my little precious is the half-frame format. I haven’t gotten the hang of advancing the film yet, I always get too much space between photos (so that I only get 40 images on the roll) or too little space (so that the images overlap). But I am sure, I will be able to solve this mystery in the future to take photos that show two frames in one photo so that I can capture some contrasting scenes.
Overall, the Diana Mini is a great little camera that is ideal to take with you on a day to day basis, even if you are not planning on taking any photos that day. Because if an opportunity pops up, you will be ready to capture it at a moments notice – and isn’t that what photography is all about?