Monday, March 21, 2011

Diana Mini: A history in film.

When I first purchased my Diana Mini I hadn't used a film camera since I visited China in my final year of high school in 1997 (you do the math!). So when I started back in the analogue world I wasn't sure of the importance of what film to use and almost unaware of the different ISO varieties. 

Now, I'm sure that there are other Diana Mini users who have used more of a variety of film, but I thought it my be helpful for me to share my film experiences with Diana Mini.

Lomography 800 ISO

This was the first film I ever used in my Diana Mini, and it is still a favorite. It's wonderful on dim lit days, winter especially and it carries good colour saturation with a a bit of grain. I have used this in full sunshine and in complete shade and still had excellent results.

Lomography 400 ISO

Possibly my favorite Lomography colour negative film. It captures colour so very well & has a beautiful smooth grain. Wonderful to use on sunny or cloudy days, with or without flash. It's the little black dress of colour negative films.

Lomography 100 ISO

This film is a great basic film to use if you don't know what you want to shoot or when. Good for use in sunny weather, good lighting or with flash. I always keep a roll handy, my spare roll is usually this film.

Lomography Redscale 100 ISO

Oh such a great redscale! It's the only redscale film I have tried in my Diana Mini thus far, and I loved the results. The one downside is that out of all the film I've used, this one is most easily sprocket torn for me. Regardless, redscale is one of my favorite lomo shooting styles.

Lomography X-pro Slide 200 ISO

This is a relatively new addition to my film collection and the first xpro slide film I have used in my Diana Mini (I shoot almost exclusively xpro in my LC-A). I was so impressed by this film in my Diana Mini, I may have over exposed it a little, but the colours are amazing. I will definitely be stocking up on this film again.   

Fuji Superia 200 ISO

A favorite stable amongst photographers, this film will never disappoint. I've used it in both my Diana Mini and my LC-A. Bright true colours and a lovely smooth grain, it is probably the best basic spare roll film outside the lomo film range. 

Kodak Portra 400 VC

Another new addition to my film collection. So far I love the bold colours and good grain. Best not shot in strong sunshine I've found. I look forward to seeing how this film fairs in a Melbourne winter.

Kodak Portra 800 ISO

I fell in love with this film last winter here in Melbourne, since it captured beautiful colours and light even on dark cloudy Melbourne days. I must say I've not used it much over the summer, but when I have it fairs very well in moderate sunlight. The main drawback of this film is the price.

Kodak T400CN B&W (expired 2002)

This film is discontinued, and has been replaced by the Kodak BW400CN. It is wonderful for many reasons, firstly it is a black and white film that is developed in C-41 colour negative chemicals, so can be developed without expense. It is a great quality film, I've never had it sprocket tear in my Diana Mini, it gives a medium to large grain and great image quality. 

I hope this helps out some of you who are new to the Diana Mini or analogue photography in general. I hope I have covered the films well enough, if you have any questions, then please leave a comment or drop me an email. 

❤ Mel

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Online store review: PhotoMoti.

This week PhotoMoti soft-launched their new online photo store which sets out to offer universally fresh, fun, creative, innovative, funky and sometimes down-right wacky photo products from all corners of the world.

PhotoMoti is based in Sydney, Australia, which will come as a relief to those of us who gush over the range of products available on overseas websites and then get disheartened once we discover the cost of postage.

PhotoMoti also publish a periodical newsletter which is filled with creative photo tips, exciting do-it-yourself photo projects and a bunch more photo fun.

PhotoMoti will remain in soft-launch mode for about three weeks and several additional products are scheduled to hit the store within this period.

In early April 2011 PhotoMoti plans to celebrate their official launch by giving away some of their cool products. These give-aways will be announced on the PhotoMoti website as well as on their Facebook page and through their Twitter account.

I look forward to doing more online store reviews in the future.

❣ Mel

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Diana Mini Workshop with Ian Tatton - Part 1.

This past Saturday I was lucky enough to be involved in a Diana Mini Workshop held by Lomography Australia/NZ in Melbourne as part of the Diana World Tour.

A group of 20 or so Diana Mini owners gathered in the No Vacancy Gallery space, clutching our little plastic cameras ready to absorb & reflect on the advice of fellow Diana camera fanatic & photographer, Ian Tatton.

Ian has been gracious enough to let me share some of his Diana Mini advice, tips & tricks. In this post I will cover the Diana Mini Basics & the 'Think SAFE' steps, with more to follow in later posts.
Diana Mini Workshop

The Diana Mini

"No. 1 rule - remember to remove the lens cap! If you don’t, all your pictures will come out black... same thing will happen if you open the 'back door’ mid roll as you’ll be exposing the film to light.

All films have different film characteristics. Generally speaking the higher the film speed (ie. faster film - 100, 200, 400, 800), the more light sensitive it is. With the Diana Mini, I tend to lean toward 100ASA film unless shooting in low light conditions, you can go with 100ASA film unless shooting in low-light conditions, you can go with 400ASA. Besides colour and B&W film don’t forget there’s the eye-popping colour explosion of cross-processed slide films when processed in negative chemicals and the warm reddish hues of Redscale film!

To take a photo, you must manually set all the camera settings.

Lighting is key to all types of photography. Light can be measured and controlled by its brightness using ‘Aperture and F-stops’. Put simply, on the Diana Mini - Cloudy (f/8) or Sunny (f/11) and by its duration - ‘N’ setting (1/60) or ‘B’ setting (timed Shutter Speed used for long exposures).


S - Shutter. Set the camera to N for normal photos (B for long exposures - on the B setting, the shutter will stay open for as long as you hold the shutter down).

A - Aperture. Evaluate the lighting conditions. If it is bright, under sunny skies, use Sunny settling. For overcast skies, use the Cloudy setting.

F - Focus. Decide how far you are from the subject, and set the focus ring accordingly.

E - Expose your film. Trip the shutter, advance your film (if you wish) and repeat!

If in doubt, shoot 2 frames or more of the same subject. If I was using the sunny setting, switch the aperture to Cloudy, to get a second negative with slightly more exposure.
(Text credit to Ian Tatton) 
To further help you with film selection, my next post will be examples that I myself have shot with my Diana Mini over the past year & a half with a spectrum of different 35mm film, followed by more of Ian's excellent Diana Mini tips & tricks.

❥ Mel

Monday, March 7, 2011

A little bit of Redscale.

Oh I love a little bit of Redscale. I love it a tiny bit more when I use it with my LC-A. I especially love the relatively new Lomography Redscale XR 50-200. I didn't have much luck pushing it to the 50 end of the spectrum, but I'd love to give it more of a push next time. I also look forward to giving it a try in my Diana Mini.

Speaking of Diana Mini, I went to the Diana World Tour Diana Mini workshop here in Melbourne on Saturday. I will share more about it in a post later in the week, including some tips for using the Diana Mini from photographer & Diana Mini fanatic Ian Tatton.

Until then, I hope you all have a lovely week. ❖

Friday, March 4, 2011

By Road or Air

If one particular activity in life lends itself to photography, it would be travel. Like a visual haiku, travel photographs capture a moment, that exists to jog the memory forever.

Travel photography not only extends to tourist memorabilia, but also to classic road trip photography (imagine Jack Kerouac's 'On the Road') or perhaps even dreamy photographs taken from a window seat on a aeroplane, sun & clouds bursting from the sky.

I love how photographs like these bring back the pure joy, exhilaration and memory of travel. I really wish I had brought my Diana Mini camera when I was travelling Europe in the spring & summer of 2009. I even came close to buying one when I was in Vienna, but I talked myself out of it. It wasn't until I was back in London preparing to come back to Australia that the Lomography bug finally bit me & I brought my first little Diana Mini.

I would love to make my way back to Europe with my analogue cameras, especially Paris. But for now I will have to be content with photographing lovely Melbourne until my next overseas trip in July, New York here I come!

These photos were taken with my Diana Mini on Lomography X-Pro Slide 200 film cross-processed.

♥ Mel

P.S. I can't wait to go to the Diana Mini workshop tomorrow at the Diana World Tour Melbourne exhibition, if you're in Melbourne & interested in going see my previous blog post for details.
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