A Diana Mini Review

Diana Mini Me

In the name of toy camera fans everywhere I’ve put all my Diana+ doubts aside and gave the Diana Mini, its teeny tiny little sister, a spin for toycamera.com. Head right over and read the review.

In other news, the Vogue Blog (usually not something I read, I swear) had a little feature on the Polaroid Notes the other day. All awesome apart from the last sentence “Shake it like a Polaroid picture…” But what can you do, still seems to be a common misconception. It’s true for peel-apart photos because that way they dry quicker, but people, you don’t shake integral film pictures.

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Mamiya C33

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Self with Mamiya C33

My Yashica Mat 124G has been broken since the day I got it. I admit not having read the ebay description correctly, but it still worked to a certain degree. The lighting meter has failed me over the last six months quite a lot, and some of the camera’s pieces would need some repair beyond my skills. So I looked for an alternative.

Sure, there’s Rolleiflex cameras, and they’re awesome and really good-looking and all that, but they can be (read: they are) quite expensive, and the cost didn’t really justify the means. The cheapest one I could find in a shop started at 300 EUR. Out of the question for me since I like to keep my camera collection on the cheap.

The other alternative seemed to be Mamiya’s range of TLR cameras. Jen Sophik shoots with a Mamiya C3, and that was good enough to convince me to look for either a C3, a C33 or a C330. They only have minor differences. Obviously the C330 is the king of the crop, as it seems to be able to use 220 film, and it’s a whopping 340 grams lighter then the C33. Did I mention they’re the only TLR cameras with interchangeable lenses? I know, right? What it doesn’t have is a built-in lighting meter, but I can live with that. Its awesomeness definitely outweighs the loss.

Still, on Germany’s election night I scored a C33 in excellent condition for a great price. It’s a real beast, and with two kilos quite a heavy one, but I can live with that. It uses bellows instead of just pushing the lenses out from the body like other TLRs do, so you can get up close, really close.

I stuffed a roll of Efke 100 black and white film in it to give it a go. While that’s arguably not a great film for shooting indoors, it gave me an idea how the camera works. Turns out, it works like a charm.

In other news, The Impossible Project just announced that Polaroid decided to start making cameras again, reviving some of their classic models. Awesome news to wake up to, no doubt.

Olympus XA Adventures

I’ve been on the search for the perfect companion camera over the past months. Something that fits into my bag and, when necessary, in my pocket. I’ve tried the Canonet QL17, but even though it’s a nice camera, it’s not exactly what I’m looking for. It’s supposed to be more like a point and shoot, but with the usual distinctiveness of a cute little film camera. Obviously that also meant warming up with 35mm again, because let’s face it, there’s no such thing as a compact medium format camera. Though I gotta say, the Plaubel Makina 67 is as close as it gets.

Holocaust Memorial

Anyway, enough of that blabber, you know what I mean. What I found was, among other things, the Olympus XA. It’s a very neat little camera, and if you consider the original XA (there’s also XA1-4) it has a true rangefinder and has aperture priority. It also has the best lens in the XA series. Awesome! Ebay to the rescue, not too long after I started lusting after one I actually held it in my hands. What’s unexpected compared to the other cameras I have that it uses batteries that are still available.

Yeah, another one
You never expect these things to happen
Chair envy
Not a family car

As with the Canonet I still have to get used to focusing and composing with a rangefinder, but either way, it’s pretty fun shooting with it. I’ve stuffed some Kodak Ektachrome 100GX (sweet slide film) in it and a roll of Lucky 200 color negative film, courtesy of Mr. J.R. Ball from Texas. Both came out pretty nice, but I still need to practice with it. But yeah, it’s a neat little camera. If you’re looking for something similar, the XA or the XA2 might just be for you. It’s no SLR and it definitely lacks real sharpness, but it just adds to the fun.

Leaky

Unfortunately the light seals don’t work as they should anymore, but that’s a problem that can easily be fixed. Of course not too long after I got the XA I also found a Lomo LCA, so I guess these two will be my pocket companions from now on, each getting some photo action in turn.