For a while I was looking for an old “Diana” camera at Ebay and was astonished about the end price of the few auctions I followed. Not possible to get them as a bargain, and that is the interesting thing behind it. The original price for this plastic toy camera, produced in the 60s in Hong Kong has been 99 cent. As I look at the toys, they offer at the Lomography Shop in Vienna (lomography.com), on a regular basis, I noticed, that they have now a Diana replica in the sale, called Diana+. Although not really cheap (40 Euros!!!), I was convinced of the new features they offer with the replica, the most interesting is the “pin-hole” aperture option and the tripod mount, important for that option. To shorten up the story, I ordered one as a christmas present for myself.
Although lomography.com avoids a comparison of the Holga and the Diana probably because of marketing reasons, these both ladies are comparable in many ways: Their bodies are made of plastic, with a not very consistently manufactured plastic lens. Other properties like shutter speed are not very well defined either. No electronics, all mechanical. They both employ 120 film type and are sensitive to light leaks. And they are both bitchy in that way, that besides their implicite uncertainties they provoke operator errors.
Now for some differences:
- The Diana has a narrower body but the lens section has a longer extension (see pictures).
- For the Diana+ there are four aperture settings (3, displayed as weather symbols and the pin-hole option)
- The Diana plus comes with 2 additional masks allowing to use the original Diana format 4×4 mm (16 captures on a 120 film roll) and an endless panorama frame of a somewhat larger size than that.
As a first judgement let me say, the Diana+ is as bitchy as the Holga is, but it rewards you with great pictures if she is willing and you have a lucky trigger finger. At first I had some problems in getting the exposure right, especially in combination with employing pushed crossprocessed slide film.