Diana - need advice from other users

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Mark Wangerin, Jul 5, 2004.

  1. Mark Wangerin

    Mark Wangerin Member

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    I am finally taking one of the Dianas out of the locker to test. I realize that whenever you try something out for the first time, testing helps establish the "character" of the piece.

    I would like to minimize the amount of film I waste by getting at least a starting reference. I want to assume that since this is a tourist camera from the 50s that the manufacturer set it to operate according to the sunny 16 rule (ISO 100, f16 at a 60th).

    Has anyone here used this model and could you give me some insight on it's exposure characteristics?

    Thanks for the help

    Mark
     
  2. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    Would suggest using a ISO 400 film, and you may want to tape up the sides as they tend to leak.
    We have been testing some holga's and so far the only real "leaking" issue is with the film counter. So i would suggest taping that on your Diana. '
    Check Jonathan Bailey's site, he does a lot (99%) of Diana work and it is lovely.
     
  3. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

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    Yup, ISO 400 is the norm for Dianas and Holgas. Shutter speeds in unaltered Holgas are roughly 1/100. Shutter speeds in Dianas can go anywhere from 1/60 to 1/200, depending on the camera. They're unpredictable at best, which of course, is part of the charm.

    Lots of Diana and Holga info and images at www.digitalsucks.com. :wink: (Hey, don't look at me -- I didn't pick the name!)
     
  4. ThomHarrop

    ThomHarrop Member

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    Don't forget the color negative film either. My students and I shoot a lot of color in Holgas and I have shot it in the past using a Diana. The lenses produce great edge and distortion effects and since they are not corrected for chromatic aberration they also do wonderful things to the colors. One of my students recently shot a project in WalMart using ISO 3200 film shot from the hip. He got some great stuff.
     
  5. Leon

    Leon Member

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  6. kaishowing

    kaishowing Member

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    I recently bought a Holga 120s for my girlfriend, and she's running her 1st film through it now (35mm), so we're yet to see if it's any good. Before she even started I made sure the film counter window was taped over.A good site for Holga tips is here :Holga Tips
    I've never used a Diana, but I understand that Hogla's and Diana's share many of the same quirks.
     
  7. Mark Wangerin

    Mark Wangerin Member

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    Thank you everyone. It sounds like using a Diana is a bit like shooting infra red.
    I'm wanting to do primarily BW. I'm wondering if there would be a benefit to developing by inspection. 'Almost sounds necessary.
    Thanks again.
    Mark
     
  8. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    Yes, you may find a need to adjust the development times as that is all the control you have.
    I made my holga into a 35mm camera so the image bleeds into the rebate of the film.
    So far i have not had to need to adjust the development times. However, one of my students has increased his development times and makes the dicision based on the light at the time of the shot.

    It is great fun and in many ways very freeing IMHO. The work can be wonderful or boring as it is really going to depend on the person behind the camera (As , what else is new!):tongue:
     
  9. donna-marie

    donna-marie Member

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    I second the dev times adjustment. I will meter a scene and push/pull accordingly as needed. I personally feel that the holga/diana provide enough quirks without adding exposure errors.
     

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  10. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    wonderful shot. Film and processing details, plz. Is that a neg or print scan?
     
  11. Leon

    Leon Member

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    you meter when using a toy camera? that goes against the whole reason for using a toy camera. the unpredictability is key for me - thats not to say that you are wrong of course ... :wink:

    www.leontaylor-photo.co.uk/toycamgallery.htm
     
  12. Mark Wangerin

    Mark Wangerin Member

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    I imagine the meter only helps decide WHEN to pull the trigger. There are only three settings on a Diana: full sun, partly cloudy and overcast. What those translate to in f-stops I don't know. The shutter speed is fixed. I believe I heard around 1/100?
     
  13. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

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    Mark, the Holga is typically around 1/100. The Diana -- well, just depends on what yours happens to want to do. :wink: No way around testing that to get the answer.
     
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  15. Leon

    Leon Member

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    mark - the problems with the Diana is that the Great Wall plastics company had such a poor quality control check, that nearly every Diana (and the 50 odd diana clones they produced) has a unique action and quirkyness - what turns out to be 1/100 on one Diana will turn out to be 1/74 on the next Anny --- an f11 value for one Traveller will be f8 on the next DianaF and so-on. Holgas arent much better ... this is why talking about exposure in such precise values is meaningless in toy camera photography. the best thing, IMO, is to pick a film - 400 iso's seem to be best for natural light - pick a developer (the more compensation the better) and find a time that works for you. Toycamera photography is an approach as much as anything - save the precise control for the hasselblads and rollies etc - toycameras=imprecision from exposure to print. much more freeing that way!

    cheers!
     
  16. donna-marie

    donna-marie Member

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    "400 iso's seem to be best for natural light - pick a developer (the more compensation the better) and find a time that works for you. "

    isn't that what I said? :wink: except to add " . . . and the scene"
     
  17. Leon

    Leon Member

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    whoops - am I repeating? sorry. And sorry for repeating too.

    :0) !

    ps - if I ever repeat anything ... let me know
     
  18. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    Buy Arista 400 film from Freestyle. Repacked Ilford HP5 but less expensive I believe. No use running more expensive film. Also There is no difference in the shutter settings on a Holga, I don't know about a Diana.

    As already pointed out, you best control is through processing of the negatives. I usually play around with HC110 in various dilutions to get desired results. You will get the most consistant results shooting on sunny or light overcast days.

    Another option which I do with Holgas is to have two or three cameras. You can drill out the aperture on one, test focus range and use that camera on more over cast days. This does tend to soften the image slightly more but still maintains the sharp middle area that holgas are known for.
     
  19. donna-marie

    donna-marie Member

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    leon . . . just responding to this "you meter when using a toy camera? that goes against the whole reason for using a toy camera. the unpredictability is key for me" then next post you repeat me . . . silly pants. :wink:

    (just keeping the peace)
     
  20. Leon

    Leon Member

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    where's that arricept prescription when you need it, eh?

    (Google it if you dont know)
     
  21. Mark Wangerin

    Mark Wangerin Member

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    Jim,
    So the weather icons are for adjusting shutter speed? My guess would have been those settings were for the iris.
     
  22. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    Mark,

    Sorry, i meant the iris or aperture. If you take the holga apart there is a plate that moves in front of the regular aperture with another hole.
    The second hole is usually the same or larger then the first, so it does you no good. That may not be the case with all Holgas but it is the case with the 3 that I have. As I said, the easiest way to change the aperture is to literally have 2 or 3 cameras. I have one with a broken shutter that I simply use at night or for longer exposures with a nuetral density filter held in front of the lens.
     
  23. kaishowing

    kaishowing Member

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    It was my understanding that with a Holga, the shutter speed is as quick or slow as your finger! I'm not sure about the Diana, but with a Holga, as long as the shutter is depressed, the film will be exposed.
     
  24. Leon

    Leon Member

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    the holga shutter is as quick as the spring that controls it - its not a bulb type shutter (unless you modify it that is)
     
  25. Mark Wangerin

    Mark Wangerin Member

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    It's good to know that this is an exact science. I wouldn't know what to do with reliable results. I think this is why I love shooting 8x10 with Imagon and Verito lenses.
    All in all though, it should be worth it as I really want to integrate this look into my vintage Hollywood fashion look.
    Thanks for everyone's insight and help on this.
    Mark
     
  26. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    The average for the Holga is 1/100th. The time for every individual camera is pretty consistant. The spring will break from fatigue before it weakens significantly.