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Field Review: Lomography DianaF+ 38mm & 20mm Fisheye Lenses with Nikon F Mount

by G Servo on 08/16/2011

Ever since I learned about them, and Chris Gampat got his hands on them, I wanted to test the Diana F+ lenses out. There was something interesting about going lo-fi with things—the idea of mixing up the everyday rotation and doing something a little different is attractive. These lenses are meant for The Diana F+ Camera, but Lomography came out with a nifty F Mount so that you could use them on your Nikon cameras.

Gear Used

20mm Fisheye Lenses with Nikon F Mount on my Nikon D90

 

Nikon D90 With Grip

Lomography DianaF+ 38mm  & 20mm Fisheye Lenses with Nikon F Mount

Tripod

Remote

Tamrac Evolution 8

Specs and Construction Quality

Theses lenses are compatible with all Lomography Diana F+ cameras. The lenses can be added to Canon and Nikon camera with Diana F+ SLR Adapters. Everything is made from plastic and is unnervingly lite. The Lomography DianaF+ 38mm Super Wide Lens on a 35 mm is equivalent to a 72mm standard lens. Used on an APS-C sensor DSLR it has the effect of a 115mm telephoto lens. Lomography DianaF+ 20mm Fisheye Lens used on 35mm cameras has the effect of a 38mm Wide Angle Lens. On an APS-C sensor, its equivalent to a 60mm lens.

Camera Settings, Controls & ISO

When shooting with the Diana lenses, and not in sunlight, I am shooting at ISO 500 and higher. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like you can control the aperture settings. For low light photography, a tripod is needed. The lenses works best in bright light. Because the lenses are not recognized by DSLRs like my Nikon D90, I only had shutter speed and ISO to control, and I had to adjust the settings until the image looked just right. The lens can focus close to infinity by rotating it. There is no metering with the lenses. I find the focus point works best if kept in the center.

On Using the Lenses

…example for crop effect of a Lomography Diana F+ 20mm Fisheye Lens on different Film formats from lomography.com

Shooting with the lenses was thought provoking. The quality of the images was nice, even though I was not getting the full effect of the DianaF+ 38mm  & 20mm Fisheye Lenses because I used a cropped sensor. What makes this amusing is the fact that it feels sort of insane using these lenses on a camera body like my Nikon D90. I mean, the D90 is a tough camera and then you put these plastic lenses on there.

Landscape Photography

The Diana F+ 38mm is very interesting for landscapes. The softness of the image it creates has this ethereal quality to it. It would be interesting for creating fantasy or sci/fi images. Due to the softness though, many landscape photographers may be put off by it unless they feel experimental and want a dreamy type of look to their images. Plus, carrying these lenses around while shooting landscapes should be done with caution as they are more delicate than other lenses.

Video

Creating a quick video with the Diana F+ 38mm was interesting. I set the focus to the infinity setting and got a nicely weird effect. This would be interesting if used to shoot a sci/fi scene some where.

Food Photography

When doing food photography, the Lomography DianaF+ 38mm  & 20mm Fisheye Lenses with Nikon F Mount and a crop sensor do not mix. Using a Diana Camera will give you far better results. Consider mixing strobes into this for more professional but interesting photos with extra creativity.

Portraits

The DianaF+ 38mm is interesting for portraits. This lens adds an interesting effect to the overall aesthetic of the image. Again there an artistic soft look to the image which gives the background almost and interesting glow. This is one use of the photos shot with the DianaF+ 38mm the I really like.

Final Thoughts

The lens is a great idea that is just not right for my camera. It helps to create interesting images, but on my sensor, it is lacking. This has left me wanting to get a Diana Camera and shooting a roll of film. This lens is for the artistic photographers and portrait artist. If you have a Diana camera, theses lenses are brilliant from the samples I have seen. If you are only using a crop sensor, you are not taking full advantage of this leness. The Lomography DianaF+ 38mm  & 20mm Fisheye Lenses with Nikon F Mount requires a little patience and a decent eye for focusing. With this lens, the more creative you are the better.

More Sample images

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