Gift Lab #7: the Tara & the Diana
1) Product Name: Diana F+ Camera by Lomography
2) Background Research: I’m an avid camera collector. Medium format and 35mm are my favorite films to shoot. After acquiring a Holga (also by Lomography) 2 years ago, I soon after became interested in the Diana F+. My Holga has never failed to capture beautiful, soft, surreal images. Once you become familiar with the camera, depending on your artistic style, it can become a very expressive and fun toy. The Diana F+ is very similar in that it’s very lightweight, purely plastic, and uses medium format film.
3) Hypothesis: From images I’ve seen, I expect the Diana F+ will produce some super saturated images – hyper bright colors. With experience with my Holga, I also think there may be some light leakage around the frames. As far as shutter speed and aperture are concerned, the Diana F+ appears much more complex and unpredictable, so I’m pretty sure quite a bit of my first roll will be blurry, over-exposed, and/or under-exposed.
4) Experiment: One of the beauties of this camera is it’s easy to take with you everywhere, so I kept it either in my purse or strung from my neck for the entire month May.
5) Results: I was very concerned with brightness, fearing my images would be over-saturated when shooting outdoors in very bright light, but I was proven wrong. Many photos were much darker than I expected. There was light leakage in some images, but not enough to distract. The worst light leakage was from from my first roll – I didn’t take very good care of it before having it processed (I know, shame on me). The best example of this leakage is actually an image of Larry Murr, Uncommon Goods’ Inbound Auditor! There’s a nice big KODAK right over his head!
Most of my second roll was shot in Coney Island – these images were brighter, and the colors richer. They were also very dreamy and soft – objects and people look as if they’re floating in the images. Although they were a bit blurry as well, I thought it was a nice effect.
An issue I had with my images was overlapping exposures, so I should have installed at least one of the additional frames that comes with the camera. The Diana F+ is also very delicate. I recommend acquiring a protective case of some sort. The shutter release is very sensitive and the film spool advances more freely than one would like it to. The lens cap wasn’t too secure either – mine disappeared after a week.
5) Conclusion: My second roll came out better than the first, so using the Diana F+ well involves a great deal of practice and becoming familiar. If you prefer super sharp images, a tripod is necessary, sometimes even when using the fastest shutter speed. I will definitely continue to use the Diana, as it appears there’s still a lot to learn about the camera. It’s a fun, lightweight, and I love the dream-like quality of its images.
About the researcher: Tara is Accounting Liaison to Operations and Return to Vendor Coordinator at UncommonGoods. She’s an aesthete and enjoys photography, inventorying, urban exploration and technology.