Holga Pinhole

After recently getting a new to me example of the Holga 120CFN again, I had a look to see if there were any Holga cameras I had not tried. There were two versions of pinhole cameras and I looked on Facebook Marketplace to see if there were any available. Yes, this one. Someone was selling it for £14 and was willing to post it.

Here it is on a mini tripod, trying it out for the first time. As you can see mine did not come with a shutter stopper. I don’t think any of them do, which is odd as pinhole exposures can be quite long. I read about the shutter stopper clothes peg hack on this site.

The back of the camera has an exposure guide, but it was very vague really and it didn’t address the reciprocity values of different films. As I have never had much success with pinhole photography I decided to test the camera before taking it anywhere. To go along with that I also wanted to try an app called, well, reciprocity. The app works out the exposure times for many different films when you input the metered exposure. The reviews of the app were mixed and the resulting exposures seemed very long. For instance a metered exposure of 20 seconds for Fomapan100 turned into 3 minutes 24 seconds. The app I used for metering didn’t accept the aperture of f192 of the Holga, I had to use f181 which was the closest. Then I took two exposures of various locations around my house. The first exposure was at the metered time, the second was with the app’s adjusted time. For both, I pressed the shutter while the cap was still on, when I was settled or the peg was in, I took off the cap. Unless the exposure time was too short for that faffing.

I found for the longer shots, the clothes peg was not ideal. You can see on one shot it didn’t open the shutter fully and it was always on the verge of falling out. There are adapters available…

…if you can find them and are willing to pay. I was not. So taking the idea from the above photo I decided to epoxy an old cable to the body of the camera.

I knew it would not be convenient for putting the whole thing in a bag, but it would be secure and much easier to use. I also put a spirit level on the hotshoe as I was never going to attach a flash. To avoid me forgetting to remove the lens cap, I put a piece of tape over the viewfinder. I removed it when I removed the cap.

It worked a treat and had a lock too. Perfect for long exposures. Looking at the photos of the experiment, I thought, as long as I go over the metered exposure time then I should be ok. Outside with Fomapan around 14 seconds on a dull day seemed to work. Pretty much after that, there didn’t seem to be much difference in exposure results.

With that knowledge I took the camera to Whitby on a cloud day to complete a self guided Dracula tour. Why not, I had nothing to do?

I still took the little tripod as I couldn’t be bothered to carry a regular sized one.

I really wanted that last shot so took three shots in slightly different locations, using street furniture for a tripod extension as the grass was high.

Just before this trip I received a message from someone in Argentina asking if I would submit six photos to be featured on their site. The website has lots of example of photos from various Holga users. Perfect, I could send 6 of these and I did 🙂

Holga Argentina

After that, I decided to have some fun with the photos and added a colour background by the double exposure feature on Snapseed. I figured, this is Holga, it is supposed to be fun.

My final outing with the camera for now, was to Wentworth Castle Gardens. In the package I received was another size mask, for 6×4, I wanted to try that format. I also tried a couple of ghost shots. On two of these photos I am a ghost figure, can you find me?

I really enjoyed using the Holga Pinhole and liked the results. I have tried much more expensive pinhole cameras, but this cheap, toy one was more fun and produced better results. I think having something close to the camera also produces more pleasing photos, such as the railings in the last group. Also, the cheapness of the camera seemed to lower my expectations. With the more expensive cameras, like the Ondu, I was always disappointed.

Now I am all set for World Pinhole Day next year.

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