Posted by: David Vernon | May 10, 2010

Meet Diana

Meeting Diana

If you look closely at this picture today, I think you’ll definitely come away with the impression that it’s soft. Far from sharp. A little outta focus.

And you’d be correct.

It wasn’t a lousy job of focusing. It wasn’t a dip in clarity in Adobe Camera Raw. This image was made in camera with a unique lens – the 38mm Diana Super Wide. If you aren’t familiar with the Diana camera – head over to Wikipedia for a quick summary. Toy cameras like the Diana still remain popular – in a large part for their simplicity and the wonder of their lenses – which are mostly plastic. Now if you know the Diana though – you know they’re a film camera. What if there was a way to stick a funky Diana lens on a Nikon or Canon digital camera? Wouldn’t that be cool?

Well of course there is. The folks behind the Diana introduced mount adapters for Nikon and Canon last year that let you take the bevy of interesting Diana lenses and put them right on your DSLR. Of course there is no metering and it’s all manual, but on my Nikon D300, I was able to put it in Aperture Priority mode and get varying shutter speeds to pull today’s shot off. You can dial in a little exposure compensation too and really control it – so I’m not complaining. Focus falls into one of three options: 1-2 meters, 2-4 meters, or 4 meters to infinity. And let me just say it’s not crystal clear whether you’re in focus or not – getting close seems to be good enough.

But getting photo impressionism outta the camera for just a few bucks – well that’s on the road to priceless.

Here’s another interesting product I came across. The SteadePod is a true poor man’s tripod. Hook it onto you camera’s tripod mount and – well I’ll let them explain it:

“Attach a SteadePod to your camera and take shots you never thought you could without a tripod or monopod. Simply attach to your camera, extend and anchor the foot pad, pull to place a small amount of tension in the cable and you have a steady picture! Easy to use, the small amount of cable tension keeps your camera steady for low light, long exposure or high zoom situations. Even places where you can’t take tripods or monopods. Perfect for travel, sporting events, hiking, museums…”

Now I actually believe this little tool could work for you and improve shots where a tripod is needed. However – it is no substitute for a tripod so caveat emptor on your $29. But it could work. Wanna DIY? Check out the string tripod over on Instructables. Probably gonna cost you a few pennies and a few minutes – but not much more then that.

And finally – although it isn’t so much a product as a product evaluator of sorts – check out the article on finding out how many shutter actuations you’ve fired off in this article over at Digital Photography School. It covers a wide range of manufacturers and will answer that obscure geeky photo question: “How many times have I really pressed that shutter release?”

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