Mar 8, 2017

30-30-30 : Day 12 : Diana 151

Setup for Day 12 (Feb 26th, 2017):

Camera: Diana 151 (original vintage model for maximum hipster points)
Lens: Plastic, 3-zone focus
Film: Kodak TMY 400

Mini-review of the setup:

Camera: All plastic, well, there are a couple of pieces of metal like the springs that hold the film in place and the screw for the winding knob and maybe a spring for the shutter but mostly plastic.

At it's heart, it's a cheap give away camera that you (well, likely your grandparents or parents being that's 2017) might have won at a carnival ring toss game or similar. It's also a classic art school tool to get people to stop worrying about the technical side of things and go figure out what they want to point their camera at when sharp details won't make it through the process.

Very simple, a knob for winding film with the red window, a shutter release, focusing grip for the lens and an aperture. Oh, and there's a switch to go from Instant (roughly 1/60-1/100th) to Bulb (long exposure, shutter is open as long as you hold it down).

Each of these cameras will have different issues like light leaks and general squeaks and basic construction issues. If you are OCD, don't waste your time, but if you want something different, want something that will force you to learn the basics of making a photograph (because that's all it will let you access), then this is a great option. I prefer this to the Holga but each has their own general look. I do wish this shot 6x6 rather than 4x4 but I suppose that is part of the charm as well.

It's been stated so many times that the above seems like a cliche. "Hey man, don't worry about your gear...just simplify and worry about the images" or "Be free, don't think" or "Shoot from the heart/hip, it's all good" and those are all true. This camera *does* force you to think differently than when you get your hands wrapped around something serious like a Hasselblad/Rollei or one of the serious "pro" 35mm cameras, much less the entirely methodical and thoughtful process that is shooting large format. It's a cliche but it works. Whether you like the shots that you make with this is up to you, and just because you use this tool doesn't mean you're going to make art but it is another tool to keep in your tool box, something to use as appropriate. Not every image is a nail, so don't try to use a hammer for every image.

Lens: Plastic fantastic. Simple, lots of "issues" but lots of character. I've shot with another Diana before and this one seems to be sharper in the middle of the frame but not as sharp in the corners. Not that it's ever really that sharp but the wacky blur seems to be more prevalent here. Maybe I shot at a different aperture with the other one. Anyway, it makes pictures.

Film: A friend gave me some expired film to experiment with, this was one of them. I knew it was at least a decade old based on the fact that it was labeled Kodak TMY not TMY-2, which happened in 2007. No idea on storage, but looking at the results this may have sat in a hot car interior for a while. Super grainy, lots of fog so this is about as bad as it can get.

After seeing scans: Holy light leak! I'll have to seal it up or get out the gaffer tape and try it again with a bit newer film and more light although this film/lens combo does intrigue me. I want to shoot this again.

It does give a nice creepy feel to the images. A house doesn't look like a house, it looks like your weird friend's parent's scary house where you aren't sure how the night is going to end up and you immediately regret acquiescing to their invite as soon as you get to the front door.

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