Tag Archives: holga

Graffiti and the Holga 135

I have already tried this camera, but I gave that away ages ago and found this one for $3. There is a BC version which means black corners indicating more vignette. As you can see from my example photos the original camera already has quite a lot of vignetting.

I was quite excited to try this camera again as every 120mm Holga I have tried has had pleasing results. I didn’t really give this one a chance when I first tried it as, but my opinion of fantastic plastics has chanced since then.

As I was going to London for the 100 heroines exhibition, I decided to take some time to try this camera in an area I have not visited before. I did a search for places to see if you have already seen the top tourist spots and Shoreditch came up as a choice. For fun I thought I would try to capture the graffiti around the area with a black and white film. I loaded a Fomapan 100 with the intention of push processing it to 400. I thought it would have a different look to it and show off the vignetting.

I absolutely loved my day in Shoreditch, an area I had not even thought to visit before. Everywhere I looked there was something else to see. Using the Holga was easy and the resulting photos are by far favourite series of photos that I have completed recently. I have already put another film in the camera, a colour one this time. Where shall I take it?

Holga K202

Though I am now in the UK, I still have a few cameras I tested in Japan to publish. This is a very Japanese style camera and Sugar Honey Ice Tea it is a fun one. It is a cat camera! I was going to make a video, but I don’t have a handy cat like this video.

It has a fixed aperture of f8 and one speed of 1/100th so very limited. And as you can see from the video, it has flashing lights and a super loud speaker. It was made to attract cats to look directly at it. It seems to have been released around 2010 as it is listed on Amazon.com with that date.

I saw it in a camera shop in Akihabara. When I asked to buy it the store guy said, “really?” and laughed. But could it actually attract cats? Luckily I was visiting a friend who had just got a gorgeous kitten, though it was very very tiny. I also tried it on a dog, a few people and a pokemon at the Pokemon Center Nihon Bashi. Here are the results.

Well yes, it does attract cats, dogs, people, but not pokemon. The real animals and people were attracted for a short time until they wanted to smash the camera to get it to shut up. You can also see the flash really wasn’t very powerful. I did use some expired 400 asa film, but I would still expect better. Also, the minimum distance is about 1.5m which is a bit long for pet pictures.

Keep or sell: I know I will probably never see another one, but once listed on eBay it sold immediately. It was a little loud for me.

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: Eventually sell, but keep for now.

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.