Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Dirty Diana

Last holiday season I purchased a reproduction Diana F+ plastic-bodied toy camera.

The history of the Diana dates back over fourty years. They were first produced in Hong Kong in the early 1960's. According to one website:

With the development of inexpensive, higher quality consumer cameras such as the Kodak Instamatic, demand for the Diana, even as a novelty gift, gradually disappeared. Production of the Diana, its clones (have 151 marked on the door latch like the original Diana), close copies and variants is believed to have stopped sometime during the 1970s, though similar 35mm box cameras were produced for many years thereafter by various companies in Hong Kong and Taiwan as promotional items.

Having never taken a photo lesson I appreciated the simple camera operation and the ease in which the flash plugged into the main body. The camera only accepts 120mm film, unless modified otherwise, which is very difficult to find. I have only come across one local retailer that sells both color and black & white. The film is fairly inexpensive but the reproduction can be quite costly. I have discovered that it is more cost effective to have the film put on CD, modify at home, and then have printed on regular paper at my local big box store. Loading the 120mm film into the camera was challenging at first until I visited several message boards.

Diana cameras are predisposed to light leaks, and they produce images with pronounced vingnetting that are often blurred and out of focus. Modern digital photography is great for taking that first perfect shot when timing is critical or you are in a rush. You will not get that with a Diana. But, that is what I love about them. Vaguely familiar images filled with dreamlike landscapes and hazy people.

No comments:

Post a Comment