Diana: The True Classic

2008-12-30 5

In a world dominated by digital photography, the Diana+ is a true standout that shows us all the analog is still alive and well!

How many times have you been shooting with one of your “out there” cameras and a random bystander has had the nerve to come up to you and ask “what is that?” If you know exactly what I’m talking about and think its the coolest thing ever (or think it would be super fun if that happened to you) then the Diana+ is the camera for you! And after you are done shooting and answering questions about how awesome toy cameras are and saying, “yes, it actually takes pictures,” be prepared to answer a few “how the hell did you do that?” and “WOW! Where can I get a camera like that?!?!” questions.

Even though Lomography is all about going away from digital technology, I find that most self-proclaimed lomographers are still stuck shooting a Holga, or even worse, a 35mm Holga. One thing that I really like about the Diana is that its basically a Holga, but with some added twists. It feels a little more special and intimate to me. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Holgas, but there’s just something…more about a Diana. And hey, there’s more you can do with it!

The Diana+ is an awesome twist on the classic Diana, an all plastic camera from the 60s that has recently witnessed an enormous cult following. But the Diana+ adds a whole host of new features to the classic Diana, with an additional mask for classic 4.5×4.5 Diana shots, or the standard 6×6 shots. They have also added an endless panorama feature and a removable lens that exposes a pinhole function. Recently, Lomography has also introduced a 35mm back and a whole host of additional lenses for this modern classic.

I own 2 Dianas, and I’ve found that both have little differences. One has a loose aperture selector, while the other has a loose shutter speed selector and a tight aperture selector, so if possible, try before you buy and make sure yours is in ship shape. When you first get your Diana+, it can be a bit daunting. Even though it’s one of the simplest cameras around, it really takes more than a basic knowledge of photography to use it, so do a little research before you shoot an entire roll of (expensive) 120 film and realize that it was a total waste of time. Shooting with the Diana takes me back to a time before I was even born. And the results confirm it.

When shooting with the Diana, I always try to look for the absurd, the out of the ordinary. This camera is very good at making these things look even crazier! I’ve also found that primary colors look awesome!! The brighter, the better! Don’t be afraid to try new things. Try cross processing your slide film, try breathing on the lens! Do whatever you feel like!! You’re not going for a pretty picture here. You’re going for something more out there. You’re going for the next artistic masterpiece!

Words of Wisdom

  1. Figure out how everything works before you try to use it. It seems simple, but know which mask is for which format and which number of shots you’re getting before you go out to shoot.
  2. INVEST IN TAPE! Although light leaks can usually be our friend, I have had entire rolls completely ruined by Diana light leaks. They’re excessive on this camera. Make sure you tape most or all of the places where light could leak in with some good opaque tape (I like gaffers, but electrical tape and in a pinch, duct tape, work just fine).
  3. Unless you like wasting film, be careful about who you let hold your Diana. Of course, in an ideal world, everyone would have one, but I cannot tell you how many times I have given my camera to a stranger to look at it and they have advanced the film or repeatedly hit the shutter without knowing what they are doing, destroying my precious film. Be careful!
  4. Have fun and obey the rules of Lomography. At first glance I thought the 10 golden rules of Lomography were a sham, just another marketing ploy to sell you a $50 piece of plastic. But after getting out there and shooting with my shiny new Diana, I realized that they are totally true! Shoot from the hip, take your camera everywhere, and have fun! Anything can look cool shot with a Lomo! Don’t be afraid to experiment!

In Conclusion
Let me start by saying that I have over $15,000 invested in photography and my $50 Diana+ remains my favorite camera. Even my Hasselblad gets less film run through it than my Dianas and Holgas. And don’t get me started about digital!

If the Diana+ is your first Lomo or an addition to your collection, you can’t go wrong. I only have one question for you: Why didn’t you buy this camera years ago?

Check out the Diana+ microsite here

written by georgelikesmusic on 2008-12-30 #gear #120 #35mm #diana #holga #medium-format #lomography #review #lomo


  1. mephisto19
    mephisto19 ·

    cool gallery
    like shot 7 very much

  2. thedottedline
    thedottedline ·

    i really love using Vibrant Color film with my Diana +. It makes all my pictures even more eerie. Just ordered the 35 mm back for christmas and I'm so stoked. Although I love 120 i think the spoke holes in the 35 is sick.

  3. haviz
    haviz ·

    diana it's plastic fantastic cam..
    i love it..
    i had upgrade my diana+ with flash external..
    and you can see my pic
    please came to my Lomography Beta home

  4. mikikimi
    mikikimi ·

    i love the GLOW one... so catchy..!

  5. sideralis
    sideralis ·

    This is the quirkiest and most unbelievably true review I've read so far. :)

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