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Hands On: Diana 38mm and 20mm on the Canon 5D Mk II

by Chris Gampat on 01/04/2011

Experimenting with new formats and styles is something that helps to keep the minds of all photographers fresh and creative. While attending an event at the Lomography store a couple of weeks back, the Lomography Diana F+ Adaptor for Canon EOS mountcried out to me like a slab of bread with Nutella smeared on it. Since my 5D Mark IIwas on me, I decided to have some digital toy camera fun.

Ergonomics

Both lenses (Lomography Diana F+ 38mm Super Wide Angle Lensand Lomography Diana + 20mm Fisheye Lens) are small and very light. They will easily fit onto a coat pocket or you can even stuff them into the larger pockets of carpenter pants.

These don’t feel like any other lenses most readers of this site have probably felt. There is no smooth focusing mechanism on these babies, no metal, no sense of balance when you mount them onto the mount and then the camera, etc.

In fact, most users may even be put off by the fact that the lenses don’t screw onto the mount perfectly and securely. They tend to be a bit loose—which would set off an alarm for most photographers shooting seriously. To be fair, if you were to mount these on a DSLR meant for fun-shooting then you would be more at ease.

Keep in mind that when you put these onto a Canon EF camera body that there is no aperture control: so exposing will be a guessing game unless you have knowledge of the zone-metering system and how light gets transmitted onto the sensor.

Build Quality

They’re plastic: not super-hard resin plastic but more like baseball bat plastic. Granted, I do feel that they can endure a bit of a beating, but they will most likely be out of commission after a couple months of hard use if a photographer chooses to. These lenses feel like toys that were stuck into a microscope kit that you may have received as a gift when you were a kid.

Because they are plastic though and there are no mechanical parts, you can shoot with less fear of having to repair said mechanical parts at a repair shop.

Focusing

These things focus so weirdly. Looking through the viewfinder seems a bit useless when trying to focus. In fact, I found it best to just use the LCD screen vs the distance scale on these lenses.

And when I turned the focusing dial, I needed to hold the lens in place on the mount to ensure that the two didn’t separate.

Image Quality

Diana 38mm

Diana 38mm

Diana 20mm fisheye

Would I buy them?: No

Were they fun?: Yes

Do they need improvement?: God yes, but they weren’t designed to be used on an EF body.

I’d actually suggest that there be lenses made specifically for Canon EF mount cameras. Rebel users may really love them, but this may violate the whole analogue culture (yes, it is spelled that way.) They are very cool though: I’d probably use them for a creative effect in videos.

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