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Thread: diana mini

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    diana mini

    i don't know anyone who uses any sort of film, which is why i joined this forum. and i was just wondering about the diana mini (or just the diana in general) and what peoples experiences have been with it.

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    Mark Fisher's Avatar
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    I've played with a Diana and Holga. I would not recommend then as a starting point for learning photography though. These cameras have nearly zero control over the image. This means that you have to be diligent about selecting film and darkroom work. Those negatives can be tough to print since they are chronically under/over exposed. It is definitely a fun camera and you can get great images out of it if you already know what you are doing.....which isn't the case for someone who is inexperienced. I'd start with an older 35mm with a meter, controllable aperture and a 50mm lens and a whole bunch of film. I think you'd learn a lot faster this way.

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    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Fisher View Post
    I've played with a Diana and Holga. I would not recommend then as a starting point for learning photography though. These cameras have nearly zero control over the image. This means that you have to be diligent about selecting film and darkroom work. Those negatives can be tough to print since they are chronically under/over exposed. It is definitely a fun camera and you can get great images out of it if you already know what you are doing.....which isn't the case for someone who is inexperienced. I'd start with an older 35mm with a meter, controllable aperture and a 50mm lens and a whole bunch of film. I think you'd learn a lot faster this way.
    Not only would you learn faster with a 35mm that has manual aperture and shutter speed adjustments, you would also learn more.
    Mark's advice is good. Holga and Diana cameras give you negatives that take some experience in printing, due to the user not being able to control shutter speed and aperture. Even focusing is 'by the seat of your pants' without any sort of control.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

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    Nicholas Lindan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Fisher View Post
    I would not recommend [simple 'box' cameras like the Holga and Diana] as a starting point ... start with an older 35mm with a meter, controllable aperture and a 50mm lens and a whole bunch of film. I think you'd learn a lot faster this way.
    Funny how the world changes. A simple no-controls camera like a Brownie or Instamatic or two-breakfast-cereal-boxtops-and-50-cents Diana ("Mommy, this camera is junk. Can I get my 50 cents back?") used to be the starting point. Now they are considered 'advanced' as one has to work to get around the lack of control.

    Not that I disagree with the advice to get a decent 35mm camera - especially as it will be half the price of a Diana.
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    that makes sense. i have a view 35 mm cameras, but they are both from the seventies. haha. what's a good one to start with? (not that i have a problem with them being from the seventies. i actually like the look of older film better than newer.)

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    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by strangemaggie View Post
    i have a view 35 mm cameras, but they are both from the seventies. haha. what's a good one to start with?
    There are lots of good cameras from the seventies. What have you got? You might already have one or two good ones.


    Steve.
    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.

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    The Diana Mini is a clever little camera & is a lot of fun, but I would agree that it's not really the ideal instrument for learning photography. It's great to play around with, and the fact that you can shoot in both portrait and square mode makes it surprisingly versatile, but since it has no metering or TTL focusing, a 35mm job really would be a better type of camera to learn the basics on.

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    i have an olympus xa2 with the a11 flash attached.

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    Go to your local thrift shop. There will probably be a plastic 35mm film camera there for $1-$2. It will be better than a Diana
    - Bill Lynch

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    Sweettea's Avatar
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    Well, Strangemaggie, I'm kinda in a similar situation -- years ago I used to do quite a bit of film photography, got away from it, now do projection art, which is neither here nor there -- but I picked up a Diana at a flea market and thought why not? This has prompted me to get back into film photograph, with a SLR though. I've procured some film for the Diana and the results have been fun and interesting, especially so as a fresh creative addition to the projection art. However, as far as photography specifically, I see the SLR I just bought as more beneficial.

    That said, I've seen some really fun, interesting stuff come from, actually a Holga, but it's the work of a fella who is a very good photographer. He perfected his skill set on a SLR, I feel that his previous SLR experiences have really enhanced his Toy Camera work.

    Back to the Diana project... I set about it with a specific project in mind and specifically have sought out the subject, with a fairly clear idea of what I want out of the Toy Camera (I'm keeping a journal with the pictures, notes, etc.) So for me, this approach is working very nicely, and I'm most satisfied with the results.

    By the way, you can set the Diana or Holga up to use 35mm film, if such film is easier for you to obtain. (There may be instructions here, I've not searched...) And the results are fun too!

    So release the inner-kid-in-ya!

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