Holga 120 CFN

I came back to Japan and found a few cameras on my shelf ready to check and test, plenty to keep me busy. While in England for the summer I decided not to buy any more cameras. I reneged on that two days after I got back. There are just so many cameras here and so cheap. I went to a shrine to test one of the cameras I had left and on the way back passed a second hand shop, right there on my route, with open parking spaces. Well, I might as well have a look. Five cameras later and a lovely chat with an old man about how Yashicas are the best, I left. This was one of the cameras I bought that day. If I hadn’t already tried a Holga I might not have bought this. I was pleasantly surprised by that one, so despite the plastic lens and body, I had high-ish hopes for this one.

You can see by the tag that I got this for a little over $10 which is far less than the £75 charge by Amazon UK or $80 by the Lomography shop. I am not going to link to them because it is a ridiculous price for what is essentially a plastic toy camera. I would say these cameras are great, but don’t buy a new one, buy a lovely vintage camera (Russian) on eBay instead. Anyway, slight rant over, let’s talk about the camera.

The name lets you know more about it. The CF means colour flash and the N means, no idea. You have the choice of a red, blue, yellow, or white flash. The flash needs batteries to work and I tested it before I put the film in, worked perfectly, without the flash no batteries are needed. The camera was in the box with everything I need except for an empty spool. Luckily I had just developed a film so I had a spare one. As you can see by the photos you can choose to take 12 or 16 exposures per film. You have to decide this before loading the film as you have to insert a mask. I chose 16 as film is expensive. I didn’t have any colour 120 film handy so I put in a Fuji Acros, black and white one. Slide the selector into the right position for your choice and the red window will display the number of the frame. The backing paper on 120 films have a variety of numbers in different positions, each camera has a window in the correct position to display these numbers depending on the frame size it takes. Handy that.

This camera is very simple to work. There are two apertures to choose from which is displayed as either a sunny day f11 or a cloudy day f8. There are two speed, B for bulb and N for normal 1/100th. The focus is zoned, you can see the choices on the top of the lens barrel.

Here is my test film.

As the camera is manual, including the shutter, you can take multiple shots before winding on the film. I like this feature, but struggle to use it. I think to use it successfully you have to plan ahead.

While using the camera I noticed a feature I absolutely hated. Take a look back at the photos of the camera and look where the strap lugs are. They are attached to the lock on film door, so basically if you wear it around your neck the slight weight and poor construction of the camera risks you accidentally opening the door and fogging the film.

Apart from that I actually liked it. I offered it to a friend for free, but he declined saying he wanted something sturdier. Fair enough, me too.

Keep or sell: Update…I did sell this camera, but eventually I bought another example. I just love Holgas