After using the Agfa Isoly-Mat I realised I did have another 4×4 format camera. The toy camera Diana F+, it has a 4×4 mask. So one not so sunny day I tried it.
I do like the 4×4 format, you get extra shots for your money. The glass of the Agfa is definitely sharper that the plastic lens of the Diana. The latter has its own charm and can do multiple exposures. It also seems more like a pinhole with the massive drop off at the edges. I think it works well with the ruggedness of historical Yorkshire.
After this film I started drying my films in the bathroom as my own room seems to have all the dust in the world floating about. The bathroom isn’t perfect, but definitely less time is spent getting rid of dust spots after scanning. To remove dust and other stuff I always use inpaint. It is easy to use and can be used to remove much larger items.
Having tried the Lomography Diana F+ with 120 film and loved it, I decided to visit the shop in Tokyo and see what was there. It was a small shop inside a gallery. There were a few exhibits on display so I stayed a while and wandered around. Most of the exhibits were free, but I paid for one – The Museum of Broken Relationships as it was the last day it was on. Oh, it was sad, the feels came hard and strong. I had to leave as I am prone to crying at the drop of a hat.
To make myself feel better I decided on some consumer therapy. I bought a couple of books from the museum shop, Tokyo Totem, and the Lomography Book on Seoul as I used to live there. I would recommend both books. The Tokyo book has things you sometimes overlook, like street furniture and convenience stores. The Seoul book gives a different view or way of looking at a well-known place. Why isn’t there a Tokyo book? I will help 🙂
Anyway, the Lomography shop also had the Instax back for the Diana F+. As I already had the camera, I just needed the back…oh and a flash, seeing as I am here. BUT, the very honest cashier said it would be cheaper to buy the kit. So I did and sent my other Diana and a 38mm lens to a friend.
The back was already attached to the camera so I put in a cassette and got to testing it.
You can see the back overhangs the bottom of the camera, there are two “feet” to keep it steady if you want to do a blub shot. There was also a couple of adapters to attach the flash to a regular hot shoe or to attach a regular flash to the Diana. I am not sure why you would do that as it is a very basic flash, no TTL. But it does have a few coloured gels that you can slide into the front, so that might be fun.
Using the back is easy. You turn it on and press the blue button to eject the film cover. Then you take photos and when you are done press the blue button to eject the picture. The back does not have to be turned on to take a photo, only to eject it. That means you can do multiple exposures before you eject it.
The kit had the 55mm lens, I already had the 75mm. So the first thing I did was tried all the lenses to see the difference.
After that, I took the same photo with the same cartridge with the Diana F+ and the Fuji Instax 8 camera. I used a light-tight bag to transfer it between the cameras.
Diana F+ and Instax back with flash. The aperture was set to partial cloud.
Fuji Instax 8 Camera
You can see the Diana’s flash is more powerful, plus a little wider. There is an obstruction on the left side, that appeared on a few photos.
Then I tried the camera in various conditions.
If you like playing with cameras this is a fun set-up to try. I prefer the regular Fuji Instax camera for picture quality. The price of the Diana F+ kit is more expensive than a regular Instax camera, but not as expensive as the more advanced versions. It is also cheaper than the Lomography Instant cameras. So it is a good option…if you really want one. If you don’t want to do multi-exposures then I think the Instax 8, or whatever is the cheapest version you can get, is the best option.
This camera was in a shop in a ziplock bag with an extra lens. As I had recently tried another Lomography camera and liked it, I decided to give this one a go.
You can also get another lens, a fisheye, that was not in the bag. Neither was a mask which lets you take 6×4.5 photos. So I was stuck with the 6×6 on 120 film. I was fine with that. There are quite a few reviews of this camera online already including this one with lots of technical data and this one with details of the Instax back. I also didn’t get the flash, but I really do not mind about that as I will probably only use it outside.
The settings are found on the barrel of the lens, before the part that the lens parts attach to. There are a few settings for lighting conditions, plus a P for pinhole. The actual lens has the distance selector which is incredibly hard to see. It is a tiny little arrow which can only be seen if you catch a reflection at the right angle.
Once I had figure out how the camera worked and found a spare spool, I loaded some Shanghai GP3. Unfortunately, this film has a black paper backing and it was almost impossible to see the numbers through the window. Unless I was in really bright light, I had to guess how much to advance by the number of rotations. If I use this camera again I will use a film with white backing paper.
I took the camera to a street corner in Akihabara and tried out the various settings. Of course, I could try multi-exposure pinhole, super-wide 38mm (how is that superwide?), and 75mm. I tried them all 🙂
Here is my test roll.
Low and behold, for a toy camera these aren’t bad at all. I really like using it. I am not so keen on the pinhole ones of the crossing, but I love the multi-exposure and the blurred edges of the super-wide lens. I am really tempted to get the Instax back for this setup and try to find the 6×4.5 mask.
Even though I like this camera and the functions, I am absolutely sure I would not pay the full price for another if it broke. And it is plastic, it is all plastic. One drop on hard ground and it is done for.
Keep or sell: I did buy some of the items such as the instax back and the fisheye lens, so have kept the whole system for fun 🙂