I have a soft spot for 35mm film. It’s where my interest in photography started when I was a teenager, and while I’m easily seduced by Polaroid and medium format these days, I always come back to the 35mm format for its versatility and convenience.
That is not to say I don’t quarrel with my 35mm cameras. A few months ago I had a discount in the Lomography webshop since I backed their film scanner Kickstarter, and ended up buying the Diana Mini. This is a compact, 35mm half-frame version of my beloved Diana+ which I have long wanted to try – it’s so tiny and cute, and I’ve become interested in the half-frame format.
Here it is next to my phone, so you can really see how itty-bitty it is:
Now, since the Diana Mini is so small, I’ve been shooting with it using only one hand, like I do with my phone. It turns out that this is a recipe for blurry shots; the shutter just isn’t smooth enough that I can keep the camera still enough and shoot with one hand even in (what I thought was) good light. And just like my other Lomography toy camera, the Fisheye, the Diana Mini requires a lot of light. These are the best shots from the first roll, and as you can see, several of them are blurry and/or too dark:
The half-frame format presents challenges of its own, not unlike with the Instax Mini: What kind of subjects best suit such a small frame? I suspect it will take me a while to be able to give a good answer to this question.
The other 35mm camera accompanying me lately has been a Minolta. This is a camera I trust – she is solid, with a metal body, and dependable. And she didn’t disappoint me this time either.
I recently had developed two rolls shot with the Minolta. On these rolls I found memories of walking to and from work in the snow and in the dark – and I’m thrilled by these images now that spring is here and I no longer agonise over how badly I want winter to end and the sun to shine just a little bit longer:
I also found more recent memories, from my wonderfully self-indulgent weekend in London a few weeks ago, when I walked along the streets of London taking photos, visited the Man Ray portraits exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, had my afternoon tea while people-watching in Covent Garden and had dinner with fellow Muse Debra.
What film formats have you been shooting with lately? Let us know in the comments! And if you have ever used a Diana Mini, I would love to see your results, since I need reasons to persevere with that camera. Also, don’t forget to share your results in the Film Friday pool.
– All the best from Jenny.
Love the images from London, they remind me of my recent self-indulgent weekend there 🙂 I shoot with two trusty Minoltas, but I’m yet to try out my Holga and my Hasselblad…probably just needing a bit of a push.
Isn’t London great for self-indulgence 🙂
And ooo – a Holga and a Hasselblad sounds awesome! I don’t have either, but would love to try both 🙂 With those two you can really make some interesting comparisons of how two very different cameras interact with medium format film! But whatever you decide to do, do share your results with us 🙂
Some really wonderful photos here! Beautiful, Jenny. I especially love the red and black one and the snow one.
I’ve been shooting medium format, slowly, but I haven’t had any developed in too long (I’ve been busy and broke!).
I don’t have the Diana Mini, but I have an Olympus Pen, which is also half frame. I put one roll through it and my feeling is that it is made for in-camera diptychs. I tried shooting subjects that went together. The only one I put up on Flickr is this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/superdewa/8491406364/. I should do another roll, although I think it needs a good cleaning.
Medium format is indeed far too expensive to develop these days, and I even struggle to find a lab that does it anymore, sadly.
I had the same thought as you about in-camera diptychs with the half-format – and apparently some of the same lab troubles…
Unless I want to pay about USD 7 per scan (!), the lab will digitalise my negatives using a standard machine in which two half-format shots don’t *quite* fit one scan, plus the machine will mess up the exposure if the two shots scanned together are differently exposed. Clearly scanning the negatives ourself is the way to go here!
$7 per scan! Wpw! Yes, we have to start doing this on our own — developing, too!
Oh, I would *love* to do the developing as well myself…! That’s part of a dream package I have involving a lot of money and a big house, as opposed to our current cramped apartment 🙂
LOVE the winter path with the snowy trees and people. These shots are gorgeous!!
Thanks, Meghan! xo
these are amazing. Those shots from the Minolta are all frame worthy. And while the Diana might be presenting some blur, I still like the funky perfection of those as well.
I am trying hard to learn how to load and shoot with my yashica tlr. it’s a humbling experience, but when I get a good frame, it’s all worth it!
Ooo, yes – I’m fascinated with TLRs these days, as my Dad recently lent me a Rolleiflex. I find it to be a very peaceful, almost meditative way of shooting.
that half frame thing is too cool.
glad you found some treasures in your film!
Yup, Rolleiflex! I’m a little scared to handle it to be honest 🙂
many beautiful images here jenny! i love that you got a little winter surprise when you developed that film. the beauty of winter without feeling COLD!
Hehe, I think I need to display a couple of these somewhere to remind me that there is more to winter than just the cold and the dark 🙂
Jenny, these shots are stunning! WOW! I love those night and winter shots especially. I have a handfull of 35mm that i’ve shot with my sister’s old camera that still needs processed. And i need to start testing out my mom’s old Minolta as well…and then finally develop all that film!!! I’m digging those half-frame shots too!
Oh yes, do! I’ve been wondering how your 35mm adventure has been coming along 🙂
Jenny, I love the soft, dreamy charm of the half-frames that you captured! Looks like some great mini-dip possibilities:)
My favorite images in this post are the tree/house/tree/lane shots that form a wintery diptych. They speak of the hush and stillness of winter. Perfect!
Aw, thank you so much, Anna!
It’s actually really encouraging to get all this love for my half-frame images – makes it easier to make another try 🙂
An in-camera diptych machine! And so many wonderful examples to inspire too, Jenny. Sign me up! x
I love the results you had with the mini Diana the blur lends a sense of poetry to the images.
I just bought a canon film camera and I plan on trying my luck at some film. It is funny how I think of it as daunting even though I leArned photography on film cameras.
It’s true that shooting film is a little intimidating! And I’ve had some disappointments – when that *perfect* shot I can’t wait to see turns out either wrongly exposed beyond digital saving or completely ruined from getting light on the film. But that makes it all the more rewarding when you succeed.
And thanks for the lovely words on the Diana shots – makes taking the leap and putting my imperfections out here totally worth it.
that winter shot with the trees in the street!!! wow, feels like a scene from a movie and I just love the mood!
the ones from London – also gorgeous!!!
I would want all of these in frame!
I don’t shoot film, but just love what all you wonderful peeps come up with 🙂
I would love to see what you could do with film, though!! Ever considered giving it a try? 🙂
What stunning images.
I’ve been shooting Polaroid film lately, or rather Impossible. I think I shall get my Canon A-1 out again and shot a little 35 mm. One of my very early 35 mm cameras was a Minolta, I loved it, I was so upset when the casing gave way.
Shutter death like that is dreadful! I would be very upset if my Minolta broke even though I have a spare casing – I just end up with this irrational attachment to my cameras 🙂
And certainly this is the time of year to experiment with film – good luck with it, and as usual I look forward to seeing your results (plus, for an anglophile like myself, Britain on film is never wrong!).
I usually just use film for personal projects but last weekend, I brought my Minolta to an engagement session to see if the client would be interested in playing with film. They absolutely loved it! I can’t wait to get them back from the lab…
That’s awesome! I always love to hear about shared love of film 🙂