Diana

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The Diana camera is a so-called "toy camera" that originated in the 1960s, produced by the Great Wall Plastic Co. in Hong Kong[1]. Production continued through the 1970s but ceased sometime thereafter.

The camera was produced under many names for different markets; some photographers may use the term "Diana" generically to mean any of the related Hong Kong models. Some were sold as premiums or promotional items (there is a Readers Digest version, for example). Most Dianas use 120 film but some versions of the camera take 620 film.

The lens is a simple plastic meniscus, giving noticeable corner blur, vignetting, and pincushion distortion in the resulting photographs. Light leaks are a possibility due to the flimsy back latch design; many users put black tape over the seams to make the cameras light-tight. Most Diana types expose a 4cm x 4cm image (less than the full height of the film), so a 120 roll will give you 16 frames. Focusing is done by twisting the lens to 3 zones, 4-6ft, 6-12ft, or 12ft to infinity. There are several variations in top-plate and lens-barrel style; some have fake light-meter windows and a few have flash sync.


The classic Diana type shows " NO. 151 MADE IN HONG KONG" on the lever releasing the back. A variant using different plastic molds has an "hourglass" shaped panel behind the lens, and this version typically has a slightly wider lens coverage.

Along with the Holga (whose lens covers a wider view), the dreamlike optical qualities of the Diana became sought after by self-proclaimed "Lo-Fi" photographers. But Diana & clone cameras had rather brittle and flimsy construction; and their supply was finite. Thus eBay auctions for original models would sometimes reach improbable prices. Finally in 2007, Lomography issued a nostalgic replica of the Diana, called the Diana Plus. This was followed by a replica of the flash-capable Diana F, called the Diana F+.

Alphabetical List of Diana Types (Clones)

  • Acme
  • Acme Flash
  • Altic
  • Anny
  • Arrow (No. W20A)
  • Arrow Flash
  • Asiana
  • Avis
  • Banier
  • Banner
  • Barri-Shelli
  • Bergère- de France
  • Binaflex
  • Black Bird
  • Candy
  • Chase
  • Clicker
  • Codeg
  • Colorflash Deluxe
  • Debonair
  • Debro
  • Debutante
  • Diana
  • Diana+ / Diana Plus
  • Diana De Luxe
  • Diana F (No. 162A)
  • Diana F+
  • Diana Mini
  • Dionne F2
  • Dories
  • Edco
  • Eikow
  • Flocon (RF 222)
  • Future Scientist Flash
  • Globe
  • Gray Line
  • Harrow
  • Harrow Deluxe (No. 809)
  • Hi-Flash
  • Hong Meow
  • Jojaflex
  • Justen
  • Knips
  • Lina
  • Lina F
  • Lina S
  • Mark L
  • MegoMatic
  • Merit
  • Mirage
  • Northamerican
  • Panax
  • Photon 120
  • Pioneer
  • Pokey
  • Quelle
  • Raleigh
  • Rand (No. 111)
  • Reader's Digest
  • Reliance (Model 711)
  • Rosko (No. 202)
  • Rover
  • Samtoy
  • Sarco-flex (No. 9605)
  • See
  • Shakey's
  • Sinomax
  • Snappy
  • Stellar
  • Stellar Flash
  • Tina
  • Traceflex (No. 707)
  • Tru-View
  • Valiant
  • Windsor
  • Windsor-F
  • Zip
  • Zodiac

Notes

  1. At least one Diana-type camera has been observed with the name "Artlite Industrial Company" on its packaging.
    Image by Christopher Benson on Flickr.

Links


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Stellar
by Jeff Rawdon (Image rights)
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Windsor
by Kenneth Dwain Harrelson (Image rights)
1304459489_5e63ec5ddd_m.jpg
Harrow
by Dave Dunne (Image rights)
2281675052_f5e5274c7e_m.jpg
Reader's Digest
By Hartacnut (Image rights)
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Arrow
by Jeff Rawdon (Image rights)
5426152882_750f105122_m.jpg
Mark L
by Boxy Brown's Bling (Image rights)
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Zip Instant Load
by Boxy Brown's Bling (Image rights)
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Lomography Diana+
by Dave Dunne (Image rights)
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