A review of the Diana Instant Camera and the Lomo Square Camera
Lomo introduced the Square through Kickstarter. They subsequently did the same with an instant version of the Diana using the same Fuji Square Film Packs.
I have had the original Lomo Square for some time, but only very recently acquired the Diana version. It seemed a good time to look at both and review them together.
Basically they do the same thing. Take photographs using Fujifilm Instax Square Instant Film. This film comes in cartridges of 10. An image 62mm x62mm (2 7/16" x 2 7/16") which is virtually the same size as a traditional 120 square negative. The actual picture is 86mm x 72mm with a white border although a black border version has just become available.
The system works that as soon as the picture is taken the film is ejected from the camera. The ejection process activates the chemicals within the film and development commences. It takes a few mintes for the image to appear fully and seems to be quicker in warmer weather.
The two cameras being looked at in this revies are:
The Diana Instant shown with the Diana Flash Unit
The Lomo Instant Square which has a built in Flash unit
The Diana Instant is based on the Diana 120 F+ and shares the same basic features. A single speed shutter and four f stops, one of which is a pinhole. The default lens is 75mm with three zone focusing. F stops are f11, f13, f32 and f150.
The lens can be removed. This enables the pinhole to be used without a lens. It also allows interchangeable lens. Currently these are a fish eye very wide, a 55mm wide angle and a 110 telephoto.
Due to the film pack being bigger than roll film and the need for an ejection motor and batteries the body is larger than the 120 version. there is also an on off switch and an LED to indicate the state. the viewfinder is not built into the body but is a seperate unit. This makes use of alternative lens easier. There is no film counter,
Batteries a 4 x AAA. An adaptor is provided for the Diana Flash unit as default wide spaced pin connectors obviously will not fit on this body.
A folding design has been used for the original square. this makes it quite compact and pocketable. Lens is 95mm f10. Focusing is through three zones although the action is continuous. A remote control unit is provided which at the time of writing I have yet to try.
Opening the camera also opens the lens over and switches the camera on.
On the back are control options for the flash, repeating shots on one film, increasing or reducing the EV value, two modes and a self timer. Film counting is by lights on the side indicating the number left to take.
Unless overidden the flash operates when there is insufficient light. The viewfinder is a bit small and to one side is slightly opaque. This is to allow a narower fuji Instax film to be used with and adaptor, not supplied as standard. It is a bit disconcerting at first for square film users.
Two type 123 batteries are used, which are quite expensive, although from experience in 35mm cameras they tend to have a good life span
For the comparison I tried to take the same view with both cameras from the same spot at the same time, although not simultaneously. All photographs are hand held. While the Lomo Square is automatic the Diana is manual and with this type of camera a bit of personalisation is required.
Film is nominally 800asa and obviously does not have the same wide exposure latitude common especially with colour negative films.
Exposure obviously based on building which has come out well.
Set a f32 with bright sun. Obviously more exposed than the Instant square. Note the typical Diana Vignetting
A greater light range for both cameras. Again the Instant Square has gone for the lighter part of the image, but it does show the lack of latitude in the Fuji Instax Film.
Same scene, and time of day as the square. Set at f32 which is fine for the mill and sky but means the foreground is a bit darker. Obviously instant film subjects really need a more evenly light subject than normal negative material.