Few cameras can be called a true pop culture icon, but if any deserve the accolade then the Diana surely takes the crown. As one of the most popular film cameras of all time, many generations of photographers have used this humble camera to produce lovely lo-fi images on 120 film.
The Analogue Revolution
Back in the 60s, the Diana was a quirky camera produced by a small manufactory based in Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong. One of its most compelling features was its simple construction. The Diana was a box camera with a variety of components made with easy-to-source lightweight materials.
Despite its simple construction, people fell in love with its wily charm. The meniscus lens was able to produce lo-fi images that can be compared to impressionist paintings. Focus was soft, and photos appeared to be moody and dream-like. People started noticing this unique quality of Diana cameras and soon the simple box cameras were being bought up everywhere.
From Toy Camera to Photographic Tool
Many artists and photographers used the Diana as a photographic tool to explore different techniques. It was a way to nurture creativity without being totally dependent on a camera’s features. They embraced the imperfections of the Diana and made a photographic style out of its unique aesthetic.
The Improved Diana
The Diana had many faces. Variations came with different names, stickers, accessories, packaging, and even colors. One of the biggest and most celebrated Diana collections belonged to Allan Detrich, a photographer based in the United States. Nearly 200 Dianas are said to have been in the Detrich Collection.
Lomography saw what the Diana was and also recognised what it could be. Knowing that it could be improved and manufactured with better quality and materials, the humble box camera was redesigned and was given a new name — Diana F+.
The Diana F+ paid tribute to the original with new styles and colors with each new edition. From the funky to the minimalist, these new designs spoke to a new diverse customer base who were using the camera in different ways.
It still had the flair and style of the original 120 shooter, but now with modern sensibilities. Lomography upgraded not only the look of the original Diana but also its feel and functionality. Photographers can enjoy dreamy shots on different film formats like 35 mm with the Diana Mini and 110 with the Diana Baby. In 2018 we even brought the iconic Diana aesthetic to instant photography with the Diana Instant Square.
Lomography also invented a bunch of amazing accessories to take the Diana F+ experience to new heights. Extras like the Splitzer, Diana Flash, Fisheye Lens, Diana F+ Premium Glass Lens, 110 mm Soft Telephoto Lens, and Super-Wide-Angle Lens made sure that there was no shortage of fun when it came to shooting with the Diana F+. Photographers can make images to their hearts’ desire and have the right accessory for the job.
From humble beginnings to chasing after new milestones, the history of the Diana is just so fun to follow. So don’t knock the simple box camera. Give it a go in every incredible iteration you can get your hands on, and find out for yourself what all the fuss is about.