One way I can expand on the camera a bit without having to upgrade is to play with new lenses. 2 years ago I got a Diana Mini.
It's a fun little camera, with two big cons. One, it's not a typical Diana, so the lens cannot be removed or switched. Second, while some people are avid film lovers, I am not one of them. I like to see my picture right away, especially with tricky cameras like the Diana. 99% of my first roll of film was either solid black or solid white, since I didn't understand the lighting yet.
I learned a few things right away. One was my camera limitation- my camera needs AF-S lenses to focus as the body does not have a focus motor. Therefore, I can only shoot with this lens in Manual mode. The next thing I learned was to use the dial under the trigger to adjust the light coming in. That made a big difference when I was getting solid white overexposed photos from too much light, or dark photos from taking pictures inside. I just open and close this meter as needed, but obviously you have to do it by trial and error, so moving subjects aren't the best choice to shoot with this lens. The third thing I learned was the 3 distance stops on the lens itself- 1-2m, 2-4m, and 4m+- were there for a reason, and I zoomed accordingly which made a big difference in the focus!
I like this lens a lot, but I have a feeling if I got my hands on a Lensbaby I may not touch my Diana again. However, the Diana was $33 and the Lensbaby is almost 10 times as much, so keep that in mind if that's a factor.
Meanwhile, here's a photo from 2 hours ago. I love what the Diana does to colors and focus. It's so dreamy when it comes out correctly.
Keep in mind as you look at these that the Diana lens does NOT set my flash off, as it shouldn't.
|taken outdoors, mid afternoon, bright Southwestern sun in front of me|
Here's one from last year, in a much lower light situation.
|taken inside, no lights, window blinds closed, window facing my subject|
Also from last year, one last lighting situation.
|Inside, afternoon, no lights, window blind open, window in front of me behind my subject|
If anyone reading this happens to have the Diana lens and mount for their DSLR, I'd love to see how your photos turn out!