Lomo’s lo-fi Diana camera has gone 35mm. But can it capture your digital heart?
The Diana Mini is a scaled-down edition of Lomo’s cult favourite, the Diana F+. Almost small enough to fit in your jeans pocket, the Diana Mini uses regular 35mm film rather than the regular Diana’s 120mm film, and can shoot in two different modes: half frame and square.
Half frames and squares
Choose to shoot half frame and it does just that, cramming two exposures onto each frame. That means you can fit 72 shots on a roll of film. Slide the frame mask over to square and you only get the regular 36 exposures, but they’re, well, square, which is pretty unusual.
You can switch between styles on a single roll of film, but Lomo advises you to stick the lens cap on and snap a blank frame between different styles, otherwise you’ll get an overlap.
Of course, this being a Lomo camera, multiple exposures, overlaps and so on are part of the fun. The fact that you have to manually focus and set your own exposures (although there are just two aperture and two shutter speed settings) means you’ll probably end up with plenty of duds on each roll of film, but probably a few unusual gems, too.
Some people will love this unpredictable nature of the Diana Mini, but in the age of unlimited digital snapping it might make you miss a moment you’d otherwise capture on your regular point-and-shoot.
Not so flash
The Diana Mini doesn’t deal particularly well with low-light situations, but there is a plug for the Diana Flash. There’s also a cable release attachment (although the cable release itself is sold separately).
One issue we do have with the camera is its plasticky build, which seems a little flimsy given the price tag. The lens is plastic, the viewfinder is tiny and the winding mechanism a little rough and ready – it actually tore some of the eyes of the film we used when we wound the entire thing back.
The Diana Mini doesn’t quite have the character of some of Lomo’s other models, but it’s an undeniably quirky change from digital and bags of lo-fi fun.