Say you’ve been doing digital photography for years and have an itch to get back to film since the biggest digital advance in the last seven years was hopping on to a cellphone. You once heard of something called Lomography but know nothing about it. Good news! Lomography hasn’t sky rocketed in popularity, but it’s stood the test of time and they’re waiting to sell you just what you’ve been hoping for – a plastic, soft-focus, unpredictable medium format camera based on a cult classic from Russia, now called, the Diana F+
Digital has spoiled us like milk in the sun. Uncovered. You know what’s not normal in photography? ISO speeds exceeding 1200; you know what else isn’t normal? Shutter speeds beyond a four-THOUSANDTH of a second. Digital cameras accomplish these feats through optic and data cheats that require electricity. Electricity is fun – I use it everyday. Analog photography, however, is organic right down to the photo-sensitivity of chemical reactions used to capture images. Holding an analog image in your hand is no less unique than holding a painting. The Diana F+, based on a 1960’s camera, will remind you what the science of an f-stop used to be for the average consumer: A picture of the Sun, or of a cloudy day… Digital: F-32? Really? That’s absurd.
I ordered the Diana F+ “wonder kit” or something so I could get the extras. I still had to add the Instant Back which replaces the sprockets and backing of the medium format hardware so that I could load Fujifilm Instax mini. It’s like Polaroid film, requires two CR-2 batteries and is the closest that hand held analog ever got to instant gratification. I love it. There’s so much more feeling and tangible relation with images that cannot happen exactly the same way ever again.
Photography is art, it’s science, you can shoot from the hip and care nothing for the consequences or you can make a day or preparing for one, elegantly formal and highly thought-out shot. Instax mini at my local Penn Camera is about $15 bucks for two 10 packs. So I’m at around seventy-five cents an image. My friends try to grab this plastic, fantastic lover, the Diana F+, from me to shoot an impromptu kissy-face for their profile pictures – “No.” Your kissy-face, gang-sign profile shot is not worth seventy-five cents – or 45 minutes on the parking meter if you need to quantify it another way (24 minutes in the District).
My first week with the Diana F+ has hardly been enough time to play with all the lenses that Lomography’s Diana F+ “Uber box” or something provides. Look at them all! All photography lenses made of high-grade plastic producing rich, over saturated colors with no clear predictable focus…. It’s no Hipstamatic iPhone camera app for a dollar ninety-nine. This is what inspired me: A two-buck digital application on a four HUNDRED dollar camera phone imitating the color aberrations of a $10 dollar camera. I so much rather get the real thing and for good reason: wide-angle lenses and fish eye lenses cannot be faked.
To help aim your Diana F+ camera should you go bold and use the Super-wide lens (included in the “rich-boy kit” or something) Lomography has generously added view finder adapters like the one pictured through a shot on my two THOUSAND dollar Canon 50D. No, I will not now through it away in light of recent analog events. That fish eye lens for the Diana F+ is about $30 or so. For the Canon, about $500 for a nice, auto-focus lens that stabilizes images. And take heed: 15 megapixels is still not even close to the resolution and quality (fidelity) of a 35mm negative.
The Diana F+ is built for lo-fi (low fidelity) 120mm medium format film. So if said photographer mentioned up above with the itch gets it in their head to shoot like a well-manicured, artsy lady’s man AND get results they can scan and enlarge to the size of a building, what do you think? $300 for the Diana F+ kit or (being serious now) about $29,999 for a digital Hasselblad 39 MegaPixel camera?
digital interest: 35mm film = ? MegaPixels
The short answer is that a modern 24-megapixel digital SLR offers around the same level of resolution as a good film scanned in a modern minilab. Ken Rockwell has tested the Nikon D3X to this effect.
Now for the long answer.
It’s quite easy to work out the maximum theoretical resolution of film; manufacturers document this for their films. It’s measured in lines per millimeter (L/mm); each one of these is roughly equivalent to two pixels in one direction. So all we need to do is multiply the width of the film (in millimeters) by the L/mm figure, multiply that by two. Do the same for the height, and there you’ll have the maximum resolution at which a film, shot in perfect conditions, can be scanned, without interpolation (made-up pixels — something we’ll come back to later).
((lpm * 36 * 2) * (lpm * 24 * 2)) / 1000000
Source of the above.
This link is a really boring discussion about it. I mean, terribly boring; so boring I actually died. My neighbor had to do mouth-to-mouth CPR.
I’ll never talk to him again.