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edmund j. kowalski | profile | all galleries >> Galleries >> Modified Diana Camera in Forest Park tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Modified Diana Camera in Forest Park

The Diana Camera is one of the worst made cameras of all times.
I believe this to be the first variation, from some half century ago.
It would later appear in several variations, and under dozens of different names.

The body is flimsy, the lens a crappy single piece of plastic. The shutter is primitive.
They have a reputation for aweful optical qualities and occasional light leaks.
They are so bad that they have a cult following, and some of the users consider the results to somehow be "art."
Normal format is about 40mm x 40mm square images on 120 sized rollfilm.

I paid next to nothing for this example, because the winder and winding shaft were missing.
So I decided to repair it as a modification, with parts gleaned from cheap 35mm cameras and other sources,
to be usable with regular 35mm film.
The takeup spool is 35mm type. I made the film plane mask and film pressure plate from milk carton material.
Foam rubber pads and metal and nylon washers hold the supply side film cartridge snugly in place.

I can load the camera in the light, but with no rewind assembly, I must remove and rewind the film by hand
in a dark film changing bag.
My moduifications allow for negative frames of 28mm x 42mm (I 1/8 inch x 1 5/8 inches),
and include the film sprocket hole areas.
Due to the diameter of the takeup spool,
one turn of the winder will advance far enough to avoid any overlap of frames.

In the heat of midday with temps in the mid 90s, I took the camera to Forest Park, St. Louis,
loaded with a roll of ASA 200 print film.
My minilab developed the negative strip.
I then scanned the strip, section by section, with the transparency setting of my Epson acanner.
The Diana largely lived up to its reputation, though not nearly as bad as anticipated.
I forgot to focus properly with the water lily shot.

Is it Art?

Please click on thumbnails to see enlarged.
All images are 2011 E.J.Kowalski.
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