I recently just bought the Diana mini and i'm in love with it. My first 3 rolls, needless to say, were absolutely terrible. Except for maybe 10 photos. I've been asked, "Vee, why are you going back in time? There's digital, its so convenient!" and all that jazz. To be honest, I've always been fascinated by old vintage things. I did some research and tried weighing out the pros and cons of old polaroids, LTRs and other instant kodaks. From thrift store hopping in the west village over my summer in NYC to online window shopping at Etsy, I've done as much looking as I could until I stumbled upon the wonders of Lomography. Now i'm not saying it substitutes the greatness of the Rolleiflex or the Seagull (which are also two cameras I considered buying), but its cute, just as convenient and its analog!
My diana mini takes 35 mm film and has the cutest flash and I absolutely love it. Since its not as handy as the Iphone or even a small digital camera, I make it a point to take it out with me atleast 2 times a week on any of my solo photowalks.
I happened to go on one more of my secret trips recently! I went absolutely crazy using my analog and although i may have misjudged the height of all the things I've taken pictures of, I still absolutely adore these photos. Because, in my opinion, its so important to embrace all that you experience in the process of learning something new, that includes bad pictures.
Now to answer, "Why are you going back in time and using film?!". This is because I love the idea of having to think before you take a picture. The beauty of not being able to instantly see what you have photographed and take multiple ones and pick your best, is probably what I enjoy most about it. Analog for me, has made me a better observer. I have begun looking out for what exactly I want to take a picture of, and how I want to take it. As an amateur, its not exactly the easiest thing, - to get your angles right, understand the exposure, the ISO etc. but its still a learning process that I have thoroughly enjoyed.
I'd have to say my favorite feature about the Diana is the double exposure. Its just so beautiful. The myriad of colors and images that play with the viewer's eyes, forcing one to imagine what each of the elements in the photo would look like individually, is quite wonderful. Apart from that, I love the grainy effect it produces and the square size of the pictures.
I've never really been a fan of DSLRs although I do love the clarity in the photos that come from them. But it's definitely not for me. I find it extremely bulky and I don't find the rawness of the things being photographed. My french teacher gave up digital and has been using analog for a few years now and I can see why she loves them.
So, I hope you pick up an analog some day! :)