I have been using the diana extensively for the past two years, it was actually the camera that got my into film photography (something that I am so grateful for!). So I have compiled a list of diana tips for y’all…
Just a few of the images I have shot on my diana…
- Diana has fixed shutter speeds regardless of film speed… as it’s a toy camera this means you need HIGH iso film (400-800) and LOTS of light people.
- The diana is an incredibly experimental camera, when I get a diana roll back I often look and a reasonable amount of photos and go “what the hell is that?!”…. just a little something to bear in mind. But when your photos do come out – so often you have struck gold.
- Side note: if you are worried about wasting film/whatnot I would really recommend getting a diana slr adaptor (roughly £20), this means you still get the majority of the diana effects but with the reliability of digital.
An image shot digitally with the diana lens, you would never really be able to tell
- If you have problems with the exposure dot telling you that you can take your photo is getting stuck I often find winding the film back in a little and then winding it to the exposure you were previously on sorts it out nicely.
- I would recommend using the frame mask (33×34mm I believe) that allows your photos to shoot right up to the edge of your film which when scanned gives a really cool effect. Bear in mind if you get your film scanned/printed in a lab they will probably crop your photos before the sprockets.
- Even if it is a sunny day I would recommend keeping it on the cloudy aperture setting, this is the widest one (f 8 I believe).
- When shooting always check all your switches are on the right setting, I personally find when my camera is in my bag they often get moved. Particularly watch the N-B one, if your camera is on bulb by accident when you shoot a photo, chances are it will massively over expose.
- The lens I keep on my diana 90% of the time is my 38mm super wide, it is a little bulkier though. The standard one that comes with the diana is a 50mm I believe which is a great lens (don’t get me wrong my 50mm is ALWAYS glued to my film camera), but the diana viewfinder is set at about 20mm (roughly) so it makes composing photographs really difficult with a more zoomed in lens.
- If you are planning on just soley shooting on 35mm film (which I would recommend to the moon and back as it’s such an experimental camera). I would recommend getting the diana mini (there is also a 35mm back you can get for the normal diana too) not only is it smaller but it has a half frame setting too (meaning you get 72 exposures per roll!). However, there is only one lens available for the diana mini which is 24mm I believe? Which is roughly the same view you get from the human eye (a little too zoomed out for my liking).
- I personally don’t like using flash ever, so I never use my diana flash. If you think you are in the same boat then it may be worth buying a diana without flash to save yourself a few bucks.
Overall I completely ADORE this camera (my 2nd all time favourite camera), despite so many photos not coming out how I wanted it’s experimentation! Which in my opinion is everything film is about. It’s a fantastic little camera, super light too. The photos have a very soft, dream like quality to them which I am completely enamoured by. If you are looking for an even more experimental approach try using some colour slide film in your diana and get it cross processed (something I have been doing in my bathroom recently!)
P.S. I did a little youtube tutorial on taking a photo with the diana here!