North American Champion

Up until a few weeks, back, I had never used a Diana, a Diana+, or any of the clones.  So I figured it was time to give one a try and see  if I could get any results.  Here’s the new addition to the family:
NORTH AMERICANIf there’s one thing that this camera has going for it, its really cute.  I mean, how can you not love the feel of this in your hands?  But as for the photos, I was a little disappointed.

Now, I’m not the kind of person that expects immediate results from a new (old) camera.  In fact, I expect there to be a bit of a learning curve when it comes to discovering all the quirks (and leaks) of some new plastic equipment.  But even with that, I have issues with this little guy.  Its not that the camera is bad, its just that it takes a different sort of image from those I’m used to shooting with the Holga.

I put 2 rolls of film through.  First an Ilford B&W roll, second a Fuji 160C color.  The B&W roll had few issues, although there were definitely some light leaks.  The color roll, on the other hand, spooled very loosely on the take-up spool.  Not only did this increase the light leaks, but it may have lead to poor focus.  Its hard to say, but pretty much all of my photos have ZERO “sweet spot.”  Black & White shots are a bit more forgiving when it comes to this– the color shots look largely muddy bordering on blurry.  Here’s an example:
For me, this shot would have been more successful with better resolution, sharper focus, or at least an area akin to the Holga “sweet spot.”  Since I’m always photographing interesting buildings and signs, this Diana clone might not be the best match for my usual applications.


I did find that the black & white shots were a little more impressive, especially when I chose more abstract subject matter.  I took a trip to the Franconia Sculpture Park (which, by the way, is a photographers DREAM for trying out a new camera), and managed to get some interesting things on film.  Like this:
and this:
FranconiaSo I think I’ve come to the conclusion that while my initial feelings about the Diana were mixed, it really does open up a door to a new genre of photography for me.  I’m hoping that by keeping this one around, I’ll find a way to explore some more unusual and abstract subjects.


About letitunwind

Wanderer, photographer, art historian, librarian, collector, friend. I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
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