After several months of shooting with 35mm cameras I decided I was ready to try out a different format of film.
I was intrigued by the 120mm format cameras and the square style of photo they produce.
I originally looked at purchasing a vintage 120mm camera but to me, they seemed so much more expensive than the majority of vintage 35mm cameras. I also didn’t really like the style of many of these cameras.
The only vintage medium format camera I did really like is the Pentax 6×7 but they seem to sell for over £300 right up to £1,000 for a mint condition one.
Since I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy shooting in medium format it made much more sense to buy a Lomography Medium Format camera which is a fraction of the price of the Pentax.
I know there are the Diana F+ and Holga plastic camera’s that Lomography produce.
After much research and watching various youtube videos comparing them, I decided that overall I preferred the picture style of the Diana F+.
This camera’s come up regularly for sale on eBay, which a majority of them have either been hardly used or never used.
I found one for sale on eBay which had only been used once and came with it’s original box and booklets and I won it for £10 in a bid auction.
Once I received the camera, I wasn’t disappointed as it was in immaculate condition and I could tell it had hardly been used.
I purchased some Lomography 120mm Color 400 film from my local camera shop and loaded the camera up to test it worked correctly since I hadn’t bought it brand new from Lomography.
There are three x different picture formats that can be taken with this camera:
- 12 Large Square Shots: (5.2×5.2cm) / no frame mask / 12-shot setting
- 16 Small Square Shots: (4.2×4.2cm) / small frame mask / 16-shot setting
- Endless Panorama: (4.6×4.6cm) / small frame mask / 16-shot setting.
I knew that I wanted to use this camera with the 12 Large Square Shots format.
Loading a camera with 120mm film was completely new to me and I had to watch a youtube video to make sure I loaded it correctly as I was initially confused by the spool placement as it was on the left hand side of the camera and should have been on the right hand side. I then realised that 120mm film is different to 35mm film in the fact that it isn’t wound back into the film canister after all photos have been taken. It remains on the other side completely wound and you just remove the whole thing, including the spool, leaving a spool on the left hand side which would have been originally on the film just used. Since this camera had been used once before, it then made sense why the spool was on the left hand side. All I had to do was move the spool from the left hand side to the right hand side of the camera (carefully as the plastic is quite flimsy so could easily be snapped).
The lenses are interchangeable on the camera and I currently have the standard 75mm focal length lens which can be adjusted to 1-2 meters, 2-4 meters and 4 meters to infinity.
There is normal and bulb mode. The aperture is measured as per weather conditions (sun, partial clouds, full clouds) and there is also a Pinhole shot option where you would move the lens completely to take these style of photos.
I found the camera very easy to use but had to do my constant checks of making sure I had the right aperture, had moved film on to the next number and that it was in N mode since I was taking photos in the daytime.
I also quite liked the fact I could use up 12 shots quite quickly as sometimes my other camera’s with more shots available can be left up to a week or two before I use it again to finish off the roll of film whereas the Diana I could literally use a whole film up within an hour or less if wandering about taking photos.
Here are some of the pictures I took on my first roll of 120mm film:
The Diana is well known for it’s ‘dream like’ photos and heavy vignetting which is what I liked about the camera.
The last shot was taken indoors and it shows that I definitely would require a flash if I wanted to take more indoor photos as the exposure wasn’t correct and it ended up too dark.
I’ll definitely be using this camera a lot as I like the square format photos and its really light and transportable. I also love how I can use up the film quite quickly.