Holga/Diana

Discussion in 'Lo-Fi Cameras' started by 2bits, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. 2bits

    2bits Member

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    Can anyone explain to me the real differences between a Holga and a Diana? Which do you prefer and why?
    I've never seen or handled either, other than a couple pics somewhere. They look like fun! Reading in this forum has been great...
    Thanks,
    2bits
     
  2. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Steichen said the photographer hasn't been born yet who has exhausted the possibilities of the cheapest camera. These cameras were invented to prove that saying.
     
  3. bwfans

    bwfans Member

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    Diana camera was initially produced in 1960s and was not being perceived as a cool or fashionable camera at that time. 1960s' favorable cameras are probably Japanese SLRs.
    Holga was produced in 1980s and continuously being produced up to now. I believe that the toy camera movement is really started with Holga 120 in about mid 1990s.

    Current Diana is a copy of old Diana 40 or 50 years ago. Unless you find an original Diana which is very desirable also as a collectible, otherwise I would get a Holga, if given a choice.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 29, 2012
  4. 2bits

    2bits Member

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    Is one a pinhole and the other a plastic lens?
    Thx
     
  5. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    Neither is a pinhole in the standard version, though there might be one made (there are now several versions of the Holga, including funky colors). Some Holgas even have glass lenses, I think.
     
  6. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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  7. xxloverxx

    xxloverxx Member

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    There are 120 and 35mm Holgas with glass, pinhole and plastic lenses. Not sure about zone plate. I have a pretty good 120 pinhole.
     
  8. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    I recall photo teachers getting cartons of Diana's I think we are talking late 70's early 80's...
     
  9. MDR

    MDR Member

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    For some photos i prefer the Diana both the original and the new one and for some the Holga. All three are made of Plastic and all three are toy camers and that's were the similarities end. The Holga produces in my opinion a completely different look to the diana. The Diana both models have a strong lens coma the Holga has a more or less sharp center then gets a lot softer. The 4x4 insert in the Holga removes the vignetting and sometimes the light leaks a shame if you ask me, so I don't use the insert. The Diana (original) is a native 4x4 camera that often vignettes and has strong off center coma. The new Diana has a strong of center coma and I believe is a little sharper than the original (I prefer the original), the new diana also offers the pinhole option and interchangeable lenses. I use the new diana mainly for pinhole work. Both the Original Diana and the Holga are cameras that produce dream or more psychological, personal (I don't know what other word to use) images. Day to Day diary cameras. It's also harder to create good pictures with Toycameras than with normal cameras. The thougthless picture taking process that lomography propagates is very anti toycamera.

    Dominik
     
  10. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

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    MDR has some good explanations. I agree with most.

    The original Diana is rather unique in the way it renders an image.
    The Diana F+ is nothing like it - but the shutter is more reliable... (I sometimes think the new Diana is a Holga in disguise..)

    An old add for Holga stated:

    HOLGA:
    son of Diana...


    there you go.
     
  11. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    diana- no light leaks, plastic lens, sharper than holga, pinhole setting in addition to regular apertures,
    holga- light leaks you can't explain, no pinhole on standard model, plastic lens,

    i prefer the diana, we're talking the recent version, not from the 70's.
     
  12. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

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    but who wants sharper?
    :whistling:
     
  13. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    me, I guess. I just never got an image that I considered usable from my holgas (when they were $15, not $30). There was always some nasty light leak or flare that I couldn't get rid of. Others seem to do some nice work with them.
     
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  15. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    One thing my Holga taught me was that shooting for effect, by choosing a certain lens or anything else in the system, is just fine.

    The motivation for me to use a Holga for it's effect is no different than me choosing to break out one of my Nikons or my RB with the 150SF, or my Toyo 4x5 for their effects.

    These differing tools allow me to define different artistic results at the camera.

    Ansel Adams' would be no stranger to this thought. Part of his motivation for the zone system was to make his printing easier. Similarly large format cameras provided an effect that he wanted, everything sharp in the print; the expected result dictated the process.

    On the flip side of sharp was the whole soft focus movement, this was an interesting read for me, http://research-repository.st-andrews.ac.uk/handle/10023/505

    Style is a choice, sharp edge to edge is simply one of the possible choices.
     
  16. 2bits

    2bits Member

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    Well everyone, thank you for all the great responses! I got the complete history of Holga and Diana.
    I have a Holga on the way! And a Diana is next in line. At least these "fine" instruments don't break the bank. Should be some fun!
     
  17. MDR

    MDR Member

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    Good Luck with your new tool, wish you tons of fun,

    Dominik
     
  18. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    current diana is a remake with different frame sizes from the original, also an interchangable lens that includes three f-stops and a pinhole option (or 4th f-stop if you leave the lens on). The plastic lens on it has been designed to try to mimic the really crapy lens on the original and does to a bit too well -- it's as a bit of astigmatism along with being a tad soft-focus like.

    the holga is just a plastic crapola camera with a plastic lens -- its images are sharp in the center and soften a bit towards the ends and has a bit of vignetting .. i think its images are a bit more pleasing than the new diana.

    the new diana also has a telephoto option ...holgas claim to have light leaks as a feature, but i think most of them are internal reflections that I have cured using carefully applied flat black flocking/paint.
     
  19. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I agree on the reflection idea.

    I pulled the masks out, used aquarium tubing to protect the film where the mask used to, then used black bookmakers tape to blackout the inside. I used the bookmakers tape to make a flap to protect/shade the red window outside. I also added some weather strip foam in the roll compartments to keep the film snug.

    These mods seem to have solved the stray light issues.

    The other thing I did was to tape the bulb switch in the normal position, it sucks to run around shooting oblivious to the fact that you are in bulb.
     
  20. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    it is also worth noting that while the holga has a switch that seems to indicate it changes the aperature from sunny to cloudy, it doesn't do squat. If you are a tad handy you can take the camera apart and install a smaller lens opening on it so it actually does something.
     
  21. smieglitz

    smieglitz Subscriber

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    "Is that a real poncho . . . I mean is that a Mexican poncho or is that a Sears poncho?" - Frank Zappa
     
  22. bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    That was true of the older versions, but the ones in production now have a working aperture switch.

    Regarding sharpness, I recently bought a set of close-up lenses for the Holga. The 500mm lens attachment not only enables focusing on subjects at arm's length, it also produces a sharper image than anything I've done with the bare lens. Great for fill-the-frame portraits...
     
  23. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    I have about 6-8 of each. I probably use the Dianas more, because they give me more of the effect I'm after when shooting them (vignetting, softness). All of my Dianas are the older ones, so I can't speak to the results with new ones. Both Dianas and Holgas will leak light. I use black tape on the bodies (and parts of the interiors) to minimize them. They're a lot of fun to use.
     
  24. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    So a Holga is just a shittier version of the Diana?
     
  25. xxloverxx

    xxloverxx Member

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    Seems to be. My friend has a Diana with no light leaks at all and a pretty decent lens. My Holga pinhole only has no light leaks because I go mental with tape. Can't comment on the lens.
     
  26. Silverhead

    Silverhead Member

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    I've shot for several years with both the Holga (actually, MANY types of Holga!) and the new Diana. Each camera has its strong points, and each has its faults. I think a summing up of each camera's specs and quirks is a good way for people to judge for themselves.

    DIANA
    Has three aperture stops, one shutter speed plus bulb mode, plus a pinhole option. Going with the widest aperture makes for quite a narrow DOF and the in-focus "sweet spot" gets quite small at times. Viewfinder placement is directly above the lens, which needs to be compensated for slightly when shooting a close-up subject. Shutter is fairly sensitive and requires little effort to operate. Focus ring is on the front of the lens, not visible from photographer's viewpoint at the rear of the camera...which can lead to forgetting to reset focus when changing subjects (a case of "out of sight, out of mind"). Flimsy plastic construction--it feels like it would break easily if you dropped it onto a hard surface. It can be a bitch to load, especially if you're trying to do it quickly in the field. 4x4 image comes with a few light leaks and some vignetting. A fair array of accessory lenses and flash, of varying quality. Camera back has a sturdy slot-fed twist lock at the bottom. The camera takes it's own accessory flash only, unless you get an available hot-shoe adapter so that you can mount a standard hot-shoe flash.

    HOLGA
    Two aperture stops and one shutter speed plus bulb mode. More solid construction than the Diana, though I still wouldn't drop a Holga down the stairs. Viewfinder is in classic rangefinder position, which needs to be compensated for considerably when shooting a close-up subject. Simple shutter operation, but the shutter needs to be forced firmly to go off. Viewfinder is slightly deceptive: it actually covers only about 85-90% of the frame, which needs to be compensated for--this can be done by taking a full forward step before shooting. When the internal frame mask is removed, the Holga can produce sometimes spectacular light leaks and vignetting, which really show up in B&W. Easier to load than the Diana, though still not a cakewalk if you're in a hurry. Numerous accessory lenses and flashes--some good, some very good, some so-so. Lens is traditional focus, with easy to read symbols clearly visible from photog's POV. Lens is slightly wider-angle than the Diana's...a clear but not enormous difference. 6x6 image can go all the way to the edge of the film, sometimes through the film numbers. "Sweet spot" can be quite small, depending on the lens quality--another Holga quirk: uneven Chinese quality control, which many consider to be part of the camera's charm. Camera back can come off under duress, but this is easily remedied with a little tape. Comes with a standard hot-shoe, so any Holga or other "regular" flash can be put on the camera.

    I personally prefer the Holga, as it is a somewhat more versatile camera due to it's numerous accessories, plus the fact that it's easier & quicker to load in the field than the Diana. I also prefer the sturdier feel of the Holga--I've literally climbed up and down cliffs with one around my shoulder and never felt the urge to worry about the camera. I would not feel the same way about the Diana. While I do like the Diana's 3 aperture stops, for me it's not quite enough to make it my #1 plastic camera...the Holga's vignetting and light leaks are what sells it for me. Hope this is helpful.