Holga 135

Who has not heard of this camera series? They seem to be everywhere is some shape or form. I have long seen them in museum shops for outlandish prices considering they are plastic, toy cameras. Of course I wanted one, but knowing the construction I couldn’t justify the price. You can get a great “proper” camera for the same or less on eBay.

But here was one in the junk bin for $10 and still in the box. What the heck, might as well end my curiosity.

On opening the box at home, it looked brand new. Everything was in the box and plastic tape was still waiting to be removed from the decals. When you have the camera in your hands it feels like a toy, plastic, light and quite frankly awful. Even the shutter sound was naff. There is a lot of information about this camera on the net, one of my favourite sites is this one.

Though I have read many great reviews of the Holga, holding one didn’t impress me. It felt like it couldn’t possibly work. Never the less I loaded a film and went for a walk around my village, rushing around to finish the film before it got too dark. Basically I didn’t want to spend too much time on a camera I didn’t think would work.

I was impressed by one nice feature, the shutter is not connected to the film advance so you can take as many shot on one frame as you like before advancing the film. It works by zone focusing and there are two aperture settings, sun or cloud – f11 or f8.

So did it actually work? Surprise, surprise yes it did and quite well.

The photos do have a certain quality to them and the focusing is really interesting. They all came out, even with fading light. Some of the double exposures were on purpose, some were due to me forgetting to advance the film. I have also read that this camera is prone to light leaks and is one of the ‘cool’ features. For me this means a camera is not working as it should as there should not be light leaks. In the end I didn’t notice any with mine, but that could be I used the film quickly and I didn’t give it the chance to develop any.

So should I sell or keep? I am unsure. It is a popular and well know camera. It seems like something I should have in my collection. But I much prefer proper cameras, not toy ones.