Product Type: Lomo cameras
Newest Review: ... quality photos rather the plastic lens gives photos a warm retro feel, and produces interesting pictures. There are lots of features to pl... more
Lomo Diana Mini Camera
Member Name: prekrassnyi
Lomo Diana Mini Camera
Advantages: Retro style, achieves unique photo effects.
Disadvantages: Expensive considering the quality of the item.
The Diana+ Mini Camera is the logical step for Lomography, producers of hit toy cameras that reinvent old time low-fi, bottom end market cameras into symbols of hipster chic. This particular model, a sort of little sister to their best-selling Holga, is a reimagining of the novelty gift Diana camera produced by the Great Wall Plastic Factory in Hong Kong in the 1960's. As high-ended cameras became more accessible, novelties like the Diana died out setting the scene for the Lomography craze.
This particular model is the miniature version of their Diana+, which means it takes standard 35mm, has a few little bells and whistles unique to it's particular model. There's a setting to help with long exposures and it is compatible with the flash produced for the Diana+ camera. It can take pictures in a square frame format or be altered to take Half-Frame shots allowing you to get a little more bang for your film buck.
However, this shiny new features are probably the least important aspects to a Lomofan. The strength of the Diana+ is exactly in what makes it a flawed camera - the light leaks, the blur, the dreamy fuzz, the odd shadows that appear from nowhere - the same as any other product in the Lomography range. This isn't about expert photography, more a lifestyle/artist statement as reflected in the Lomography slogan - 'Shoot From the Hip' - if you're looking for predictability and control, look elsewhere or get a lomo filter for Photoshop.
In slavish attention to detail, apart from adding the aforementioned bells and whistles, the camera itself literally could have (and probably has...) just rolled off a mass-production belt in Hong Kong. The body is made from plastic and is slightly disconcertingly light-weight though this is a problem I have with all lomo cameras, considering the price, you'd think they'd make them from something a little more hard-wearing although the plastic casing has grown on me as a sign of it's 'authenticity'.
However, the plastic insides make me a little nervous - loading the film can be fiddly and I'm always worried about breaking something so I'd advise extreme caution and a light touch when handling the camera. Taking pictures couldn't be easier once you've set up and it's a joy to use for experiemental shots. Again, wouldn't advise toting it around in a bag or pocket (though there is a rather fetching strap...). You can buy a variety of 35mm film and the whole concept of Lomography is to encourage experiementing, creativity and a devil-may-care attitude. Probably best not to take your only wedding photos with it but it definitely has a place with off-the-cuff social gatherings, especially in sunny weather where the light effects can be spectacular.
The Diana+ Mini comes in a little packaging including instructions (though I've found online tutorials and advice to be much more helpful) and a book about devotees to the Diana and their work.
It's difficult to enthuse about this camera to someone who has no experience with them - I own three cameras from Lomography and think they are over-priced (my top tip is to scour Ebay, you might even get lucky and find an original Diana for a good price) - so in essence, you do have to connect with the 'aura' of the product, please excuse my kooky phrasing. It's a crying shame that they didn't attach a flash to this camera which makes increasing it's usefulness very expensive. However, if you're interested in art and photography, you probably won't regret this purchase even if it's not a great overall camera, it's still an item with it's own unique charm and abilities.
Summary: Think long and hard about getting one but don't regret it if you do!
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