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Get back to basics and be creative with the wonderfully unpredictable Holga. The 120N takes 120 roll film, and comes with a 60mm/f8 plastic lens. Originally designed as an ultra-cheap camera for the Chinese market, it takes 120 roll film because that was the most common format there at the time. The benefits now of using a format 4x bigger than 35mm are less grain and better picture quality. You also have the option of choosing 12 6x6cm pictures, or swapping out the insert for a 16 shot 6x4.5 format.
Hundreds of thousands of artists, students and photographers looking to create images which are somewhat different to those produced by today’s hi-tech digital cameras have embraced the wacky delights of the Holga camera.
Forget micro-millimetre perfect factory quality control. Each Holga is different to the next. You may get light leakage, certainly some vignetting, and random colour effects (especially with the plastic lens). There’s one shutter speed (plus Bulb setting for long exposures), two apertures and most exciting of all – the opportunity to make multiple exposures on the same frame, accidentally or otherwise, thanks to an uncoupled film advance and shutter release.
The 60mm lens is approximately equal to a semi-wide angle 38mm on 35mm format and produces square or rectangular format pics. There are two 'cloudy/sunny' settings on the lens which equate to f8 and f11 which with the fixed shutter speed of 1/100th sec are fine for ISO100 films in good light or ISO400 on a dull day. For more challenging lighting conditions, attach the camera to a tripod or other support using the standard ¼” socket in the base.
Chunky toy camera looks enable you to put your subjects at ease, and the all-plastic construction means it takes scratches and knocks in its stride. Many people like to customise their Holga, whether it’s taping up a light leak, painting the inside dead matt black, converting the lens to a pinhole or sticking filters on it. You needn’t be at all precious about it.
Sample shots of our locality on ISO100 film show typical vignetting and a surprising amount of central sharpness.