For The Love of Sam
1 Dec 2009
It was about 10 years ago that I first saw Sam. He was sitting at a table with a bunch of high end SLR cameras. He didn't fit into the regular crowd. He looked old, but still strong. Like he had a lot of life still in him. That day, I took him home from that swap meet, and we have been best friends ever since.
I had heard about the "Diana". A vintage plastic camera from the 60's, but never seen one. It was not like today, with the re-branded Lomo Diana+ on almost every photo store shelf. Don't get me wrong the Diana+ is great, with even more options like extra lenses and a pinhole. Heck, I even have one.... (She even has a spot next to Sam in the camera bag). For me.... I always reach for Sam first.
Now Sam is getting old, and unfortunately he has been dropped a few times, but he is still going strong. When I got Sam he was missing the chrome ring around the lens barrel, but that was it. Now however he is missing his name plate on top and a small chuck of plastic around the viewfinder, and then sadly a bit of a crack on the top housing. However all of that is cosmetic and do not affect picture quality. I am not talking about crisp clean images from corner to corner.
Sam may be getting old and at time may look like he may fall apart at any moment, but he is not. The back of Sam locks up tight enough, so not to leak any light, unless I leave him in the bright light for too long. Then I get a little light leak from the frame counter window. All of Sam' apertures work well, and his shutter is snappy. When focused 12 ft - infinity the edges become really soft and the corner vignetting is just right. This all comes from a cheaply made plastic lens, that produces just the right amount of saturation and contrast.
Now, through the years I have been tempted to get another vintage Diana clone. Just in case Sam stops working, but I have never done it. So, as much as Sam is getting old, I will not give up on him. He will always be my first choice of cameras. As long as Sam keeps going, I keep running film through him.....