Thursday, May 24, 2007

Diana, the camera.

Diana, probably the second most 'famous' of the toy cameras after the Holga (and maybe the Lomo LC-A, but I don't really consider that a crappy camera...well, I do, but for different reasons). There is quite a bit of information about Diana and her clones on the web, but I've never really talked about it specifically. My Snappy, which is a Diana clone, is my favorite camera by far. I love my Fujipets and I loves me some Holga, but my Snappy is my buddy, my pal, my camera compadre. This is my current family:

Two 'true' Dianas, two Banners (one in pieces) and a Snappy. The Snappy was my first, shipped from Australia for 35 bucks. I think I had only used my Holga a couple times previously, so I was still new to the toycam thing. It isn't my favorite because it was the just produces the best results. Every Diana behaves differently. They are CHEAP, so the various imperfections produce various results. Hell, if the Snappy wasn't so great, I'd stop using it, because it is a pain in the ass.

As you can see, the spool "feet" don't stay in, so I have to hold them in while I wind the film and stick the back on. I've done it enough that it's second nature, but when I'm in the desert and it's 115 F, I've come close to flipping out a few times. And actually flipped out a few times. This is the camera I've mentioned in earlier posts with the crack, so I had to take apart the front and tape it all up to lose the massive leak I was getting. A lot of work? Maybe, but it is fun to use, and I love the end product.

One of the chief complaints about toy cameras is that people rely on the effects to make the shot. While the effects certainly are a big part of the shot, I think EVERYTHING we do in photography is an effect to produce a pleasing shot. Toning? A trick. Macro? A trick. Hell, composing your shot is just a trick. Even not composing your shot is a trick. But a good photograph is a good photograph, and a bad photograph is a bad photograph. BUT!!! Sometimes my good photograph is your bad photograph, and blah blah blah! I see stuff that everyone loves, and oftentimes I yawn. I've taken plenty of bad shots with my toy cameras, at least what I think are bad shots (I usually scan maybe 4 out of 16 shots on a roll). And some people think my good shots are bad shots. This could go on forever. I just do what I like.
This is a shot I took with the Snappy that I don't like. It just screams ugly and uninteresting to me. I have tons of photos like this.

It doesn't matter how much blur there is, or how leaky it is, it's just kinda blech (though I bet someone likes it). But, I love this shot.

It's balanced, and the blur adds a kind of vintage, lonely feeling to it. Would it have been a decent shot without the Diana blur? Maybe, maybe not, but I work with the blur and use it. I don't rely on the blur to make the shot, but I control the blur to make the shot!
Anyway, I started ranting there. Time to eat. In the next few posts, I'll cover the Banner, which I've talked about before. A truly cheap camera. If they sold cameras for 50 cents next to the gumballs and Homies, it would be the Banner. And I'll also compare my two Dianas. One has a respectable blur, the other actually takes pretty straightforward shots, comparatively. Hasta whenever.

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