Jesus is Lord Savior

Over the last couple of days I shot my first few rolls with my newly acquired Diana F+. I haven’t shot film in over ten years. I’m using expired 120 film that I’ve had in storage since the early to mid 2000’s. Results are so-so, thus far, both in terms of the photos as I shot them, and in terms of the development of the film. I’m pretty much already out of 400 speed film in 120 format (only had 3 rolls), but I’ve got a few dozen rolls of Tmax 100, and about a dozen of Iflord Delta 3200, so I’ll be shooting with those next. I’ll certainly have to push the 100 a couple of stops, and possibly pull the 3200, depending of course on what I wind up shooting with it. I also don’t know if the 3200 will be fogged after all of these years, and I suspect the grain will be ridiculous. Guess I’ll find out soon enough.

I haven’t been sure how to develop these to get the best results — I read somewhere online a suggestion to develop old expired black and white film at colder than usual temps, so that’s how I developed my first two rolls: 16 degrees and I extended the development time. I’m developing in Ilford Ilofosol 3 because that’s pretty much the only developer I can get my hands on for a reasonable price. Hopefully I’ll quickly find a temperature/time combo that works well enough with the TMY 100 and 3200. I’m not looking to get high quality results or high acutance — I’m shooting with a toy camera, after all. Just stuff that is consistently sufficiently exposed, and not excessively contrasty (or excessively lacking in contrast, either).

I’d forgotten just how much light is needed to shoot indoors handheld, even with 400 speed film. I shot a few random portraits in quite bright indoor light and the shots were unusable. And the Diana F+ doesn’t give much help in terms of shutter speeds and apertures — I found this online :

Diana F+ aperture settings:
“Cloud” setting: f/11
“Partial Sun” setting: f/16
“Sun” setting: f/22

And the one and only shutter speed is apparently around 1/60th (one can either shoot at this shutter speed, which is simply called “N”, for Normal, or in bulb mode). You need quite a bit of light to get a usable exposure at 400 ISO, f/11, 1/60 sec.

Anyway, it’s fun to play around with this toy camera. The lack of any real aperture or shutter speed control means you just pretty much point and shoot, which really makes me approach photographing differently, and there’s probably some useful lessons to be gained from using this camera more often.

  1. Interesting, Paul. Was the Diana a camera you already had, or just recently picked up? Curious as to why you’ve decided to shoot old film rolls you’ve had lying around, and to do so with a “toy” camera.

    Ooh, and just noticed that you had tagged it as ‘square’… is the Diana a native 1:1 format camera? If so, don’t really need to explain then, as I would do it just to shoot in the square format… I always had a secret wish to have an old Hasselblad with it’s sexy square format… and have thought, if I eve designed a camera, it would be a square format.

    • Hi Jeff,
      I picked up the Diana partly because of the square format (there’s a setting on the camera to shoot square or rectangular), for sure. But also because I am attracted to the low-fi results. It’s freeing, and makes me look at things differently when I know I’m shooting in black and white, and sharpness is not really an option, or the point. I also like film grain quite a bit 🙂

      Also, it’s a bit easier to carry around the Diana than my regular camera, so I hope to always have it with me.

      I guess the short answer is I just want to experiment with it and see if anything comes of it 🙂

  2. That’s cool, Paul.

    I once got an Olympus Epic Stylus (or some name like that) point and shoot film camera (back when I also shot film fulltime), to just have a carry-with-me-all-the-time camera, instead of carrying around my big ass SLR… ended up really liking the little Olympus, and some of it’s images can still be found on my site. But, it stopped functioning, and then I went fully digital, and my now carry-with-me-all-the-time camera is my phone, like everybody else and their dog.

    That is totally cool though, and can fully appreciate and understand your doing it for the creative and fun aspect of it… happy shooting!

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