Holga – Start of a New Love (Photography)

Inspired by the photographs of Ashy_Sheela I bought myself a Holga camera.

It’s a bit of a cult – or like Ashy_Sheela said to me a geeky club. A Holga is a cheap plastic camera originating from China which traditionally has a plastic lens. 

The cheap build of the plastic camera gives rise to all manner of light leaks and distortions which are what makes the Holga so appealing to enthusiasts.  Each Holga is unique in it’s distortions and “faults”.

You shoot on 120 film which is medium format and with the aid of masks you can either take 12 shots of 6×6 or 16 shots of 6×4.  The 6×6 square format seems most popular with enthusiasts and gives more opportunity for vignetting to occur.

I can go on and on about the Holga but you can find out loads more at www.squarefrog.co.uk which tells you pretty much everything you need to know.

(I bought a Holga off ebay.  I bought a ‘FN’ If I did over again I’d go for a Holga 120N and not have the built in flash.  I like thw lightweight nature of the camera without batteries but as batteries are put behind the film you can only change them between rolls.  So on reflection I’d rather have had a ‘N’ and bought a hot shoe flash later.)

I am using 120 Fuji Superior 400 which is colour print film (from 7dayshop) and Spectrum Imaging via post for processing and developing.

So here’s the results from my first roll of film in my new love, my Holga:

Kingsbury October 2007

[IMAGE] Kingsbury October 2007.  Holga FN – 120 Fuji Superior 400.

The Inquisitive Canadian

[IMAGE] The Inquisitive Canadian.  Holga FN – 120 Fuji Superior 400.

And for interest here are two Holga photos with the digital shots I took of the same scene at the same time:

Kingsbury Calm

[IMAGE] Kingsbury Calm.  Holga FN – 120 Fuji Superior 400.


[IMAGE] Kingsbury. Digital Canon Ixus-I Zoom.

Kingsbury Melt

[IMAGE] Kingsbury Melt.  Holga FN – 120 Fuji Superior 400.


[IMAGE] Threatening Sky. Digital Canon Ixus-I Zoom.

Can you see why the Holga has such appeal?

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Posted in Art, Artist, Discovery, Experiment, Holga, Landscape, Photograph, Photography
9 comments on “Holga – Start of a New Love (Photography)
  1. minamitane says:

    Great Holga photos!

  2. jehuatutd says:

    Nice photos. I recenty switched from film to digital, and it’s not quite the same. I’ve wanted to get a medium format camera for a while though, but i’ve never looked into holga cameras. I’ve wanted a mamiya, but those are too expensive for me 😦

  3. Nina says:

    Wow, Rachel – I never heard of a Holga. Your pictures are absolutely breathtaking. I’m going to follow your link and learn about this, altho I’m not as good a photographer as you are:-)

    What a treat to see the comparisons! Thanks for introducing us to this:-)

  4. Hey Jehuatd – You can get a Holga for around $25 http://www.freestylephoto.biz/sc_prod.php?cat_id=&pid=1000000526
    or if you follow the ebay link I got mine (posted to UK) for about £20.

    It’s not SLR but you can adjust the focus to fixed points. You can attach a standard lens in place of the Holga lens. Apparently some colleges use these as a teaching aid as you can take it apart and modify it as you like. Read a bit and see what you think 😉

    Minamitane – thank you! 🙂

    Nina – thanks! The great thing is a Holga is plastic so very light for use CFS/ME types. It is a little bulky but light to hold. Glad it’s captured your interest 🙂

  5. Rachel M says:

    I’m wondering the reason for the colour difference for Kingsbury Melt is camera or weather… Using films scares me. But I enjoy others taking excellent photos with Holga. They are great photos, Rachel.

  6. Thanks Rachel. It’s definately not the weather as they were taken very close together. I was interested to see the difference. I think it’s a combination of the film and the camera. Hopefully I will learn more as I go along.

  7. jher says:

    Try to have your color slides cross processed. It will have a different effect. 🙂

  8. Jason Jackson says:

    Holga – Love!

  9. […] by rachelcreative on June 6, 2008 Last year my friend Ashy introduced me to the Holga.  So my Holga passion is all her fault […]

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Rachel Groves, Artist
Lichfield, Staffordshire, UK



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