At last!

May 27, 2009 at 2:00 am 2 comments

Regular ThinkingShift readers would know that I’m an amateur photographer and use a Nikon D40 camera. But recently, a Gen Y colleague at work told me all about the Diana F+ camera. The Diana was first introduced during the 1960s and was manufactured in Hong Kong. It never really took off as a serious camera largely because the lens never went through much quality control – so you ended up with light leaking through the lens and unpredictable photos. So many Dianas were given away as novelties by companies who slapped their logo onto the Diana. It was disparagingly referred to as a toy camera but was perfectly capable of taking great shots. Manufacturing of the Diana petered out in the late 60s, early 70s but it became a cult camera.

The Diana F+ is a new twist on this cult classic. A very faithful reproduction of the original quirky Diana, complete with light leaks and plastic body. It uses 120 film and looks like something straight out of the 1960s.

So I bought the Diana F+ in Hong Kong recently (the teal and black beauty plus the gleaming white Edelweiss edition) and for the last few weeks have had to learn a completely different style of photography. No messing around with aperture priority or white balance. No fussing over macro lenses. Because with the Diana, it’s all about the moment. You don’t have controls to choose from really and the golden rules of this style of photography (known as lomography) are: don’t think about it and take the photo fast; try taking the photo from the hip; forget about any rules!

I’ve had to learn how to load and unload film and then find a camera shop that processes B&W 120 film, then get my photos scanned onto CD to upload to Flickr and onto the blog. But finally, here are my first shots – taken with 120 B&W and Kodak 120 colour film. I’m still experimenting with colour film to find the right one that gives the amazing, popping, electric, weird colours the Diana can can give you. I’m now totally obsessed!

I saw this little Chinese girl coming towards me over a bridge in Hong Kong. A quick snap and then I went for a double exposure. Her father picked her up and she posed for me. And viola!

A streetscape in Hong Kong – I wanted to get the depth and variety of all the signs.


Streetscape in Hong Kong – I love the way the Diana F+ can give you that 1950s kind of look.


Caught this girl posing against a window full of mannequins.

And finally, two colour shots of a beach in Newcastle, Australia and a dog on the trot.

What say you Marc? Do you like photos with the Diana F+?


Entry filed under: Photography. Tags: , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Marc  |  May 29, 2009 at 5:37 am

    Holy cow, these are drop-dead gorgeous! They’re like scenes from great old movies. The black and whites are beautiful, and look at the incredible colour in those colour pics! You’re giving the camera too much credit though… it’s you, not the camera, who did this. Anyone who’s seen your digital work would recognise your light touch and eye for beauty in these.

  • 2. thinkingshift  |  May 29, 2009 at 8:23 am

    oh!! thank you Marc, that’s really lovely feedback. I’m still getting used to the Diana but I’m starting to gain a real liking for film and the anticipation of getting it processed and seeing what comes out.


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