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Holga Camera Photography

Updated on September 9, 2014

Having Fun With Cheap Plastic Cameras

The Holga is a cheap plastic camera that takes great pictures. If you're interested in lomography photography and don't want to spend a small fortune getting started, you can buy a Holga 120N for less than $30 delivered to your door. The Holga comes in many versions for both 35mm and 120 medium format film. Some of the most interesting are the Holga Pinhole, the Holga 120 3D Stereo Camera, and the Holga Instant Back. No matter what your taste, there is probably a Holga model to fit your fancy, so give at least one a try. I'm sure you'll enjoy shooting with a Holga as much as I do. Here's to having fun with photography...

(Photo is my own)

The Holga 120 Camera

A cheap plastic camera that takes great pics...

The most basic Holga camera (and also the best Holga camera IMO) is the Holga 120. The base model is the 120N and you really can't get any more basic than this. The Holga 120N has a fixed aperture plastic lens (f10, 60mm), 1 shutter speed (1/100 second claimed), 4 focus zones, hot shoe flash mount, standard tripod mount (1/4 x 20), 6 x 4.5 and 6 x 6 plastic film masks (12 or 16 exposures per roll), a bulb exposure selector for extra long exposures - and that's it! It's hard to believe that such a simple camera can be such a wonderful tool, but the Holga is capable of taking some truly awesome photos. Check the Holga photo links scattered around this page and see for yourself. Other Holga 120 versions are the Holga 120FN with built-in flash and the Holga 120CFN with built-in color flash.

Check Out These Great Prices on the Holga 120 - Usually qualifies for free shipping...

Holga 120 Sample Photos - Who says you can't take great pictures with a toy camera?

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Clouds over my house. I held a medium red filter in front of the lens for this shot to give the sky more contrast.My son, goofing off for the camera.Our 3 station wagons.Nice bike at work. I should have gotten a little closer.My 62 Buick in the parking lot at work. I love the vintage look of this picture.
Clouds over my house. I held a medium red filter in front of the lens for this shot to give the sky more contrast.
Clouds over my house. I held a medium red filter in front of the lens for this shot to give the sky more contrast.
My son, goofing off for the camera.
My son, goofing off for the camera.
Our 3 station wagons.
Our 3 station wagons.
Nice bike at work. I should have gotten a little closer.
Nice bike at work. I should have gotten a little closer.
My 62 Buick in the parking lot at work. I love the vintage look of this picture.
My 62 Buick in the parking lot at work. I love the vintage look of this picture.

Holga cameras have a fairly small aperture and a fixed shutter speed of 1/100 second, so you'll need a fairly fast film unless you're shooting in really bright light. I like black and white, and Kodak 400 TMAX Professional works great in the Holga 120. For color film I like Fujicolor Pro 400H Color Negative Film. Fuji's Provia 400X Color Slide Film should work well for slides or even better cross processed - something I hope to try soon. Velvia 100 Color Slide Film should produce great results in bright sun, but I haven't tried my Holga with any ISO 100 film yet...

If you love the idea of a Holga but don't want to mess around with 120 film then you'd need a 35mm Holga camera - don't waste your money on the Holga 135 though. You'll just be disappointed with the results, for a few reasons. First, while the 60mm lens gives wide angle pictures with 120 film, it gives "normal view" pictures with the smaller 35mm film. Second, the smaller film eliminates the vignetting that is one of the charms of the Holga 120 (they've corrected this with the 135BC which adds an internal mask to emulate the vignetting). Finally, the smaller negative size means you don't get as much distortion across the image as you would with the lager 120 negatives. If you really want a 35mm Holga, get the 120 and a 35mm film adapter.

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The Holga Pinhole camera is the easiest way to get started with pinhole photography. You don't have to build your own pinhole camera first or convert and existing camera - just load your film and start taking pinhole photos. Holga makes pinhole cameras for both 35mm and 120 film. The 35mm version is limited to standard pictures, but the 120 pinhole camera is available in versions that take standard pictures, panoramas, and even 3-D Stereo pictures (the last requires a special viewer to look at the pictures in 3D).

Great Prices on Holga Pinhole Cameras - Even better with Free Shipping...

Holga Lenses

Add-on lenses for your Holga 120N, 120 FN, or 120 CFN...

If you get bored shooting pictures through the built-in plastic lens, Holga offers a wide range of add-on lenses for their 120 cameras that really expand your creative opportunities. My favorite is the Holga fisheye lens and they have other interesting lenses as well, including close up, macro, and telephoto lenses. One of the most interesting is the Holga Split Image Filter Lens Set that includes 3 filters - a 4 facet lens with center focus, 3 facet vertical lens, and 3 facet pyramid lens. The best part is you can but all the Holga lenses for less than the cost of a single lens for your DSLR camera. So grab a few and have some fun...

Holga Accessories

Accessories for your Holga 120N, 120 FN, or 120CFN...

Besides lenses, there are many accessories you can get for your Holga. I like shooting in low light and double exposures, so the first thing I got was a cable release. With a cable release and tripod, it's easy to get long exposures and multiple exposures without the camera moving and ruining the shot. Several different filters are available (if you're shooting black and white try a deep red filter) and a color flash. You can also get a 35mm film adapter if you have trouble finding a shop that processes 120 film. The nice thing is they all cost way less than accessories for a DSLR...

The Holga Instant Back

Having fun with a Holgaroid...

You can double your retro-photography fun with a Holga Instant Back that converts your Holga 120 to use Polaroid instant film. With the instant Back, you can take old school lomographic film pictures and have instant gratification. What more could you want? Well, maybe a lower price - the Holga Instant back is a little on the (ahem) high end of the cost scale. If you can afford it, though, it sure looks like a lot of fun...

Holga 120 Instant Back For Sale - Convert your 120 into a Holgaroid...

Other Toy Cameras

An embarrasment of riches...

When it comes to toy cameras, the Holga 120 is just the tip of the iceberg. Holga makes several lomography cameras besides the 120, including a very cool dual-lens camera that takes "stereo photos." If you want something besides a Holga, you can get a Diana F+ (it's going to be my next camera), an LC-A, or pick from many other toy cameras that are available today.

More About Toy Cameras - There's more to Lomography Photography than the Holga 120...

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love Holga effects, it's so cool!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love the effects that you get with the Holga. Thanks for posting

    • TTMall profile image

      TTMall 5 years ago

      great lens!

    • jadehorseshoe profile image

      jadehorseshoe 5 years ago

      The Holga Encyclopedia!

    • OzGirl LM profile image

      OzGirl LM 5 years ago

      Interesting - as an amateur photographer who loves her Nikon, I had heard of the Holga cameras and using that effect in post-processing, but had never learned more about the cameras themselves.

    • profile image

      CatJGB 5 years ago

      Interesting stuff, I've never heard of Holga cameras before. Learn something new every day :)

    • profile image

      GenesisLabs 5 years ago

      Really interesting lens. Always loved photography...despite my lack of talent. Glad I stopped by.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love Lomo Cameras!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Interesting...the pictures really look great.

    • adamfrench profile image

      adamfrench 5 years ago

      Thumbs up, great lens

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 5 years ago

      Interesting camera! Blessing this lens!

    • profile image

      LasgalenArts 5 years ago

      @glenbrook: Cool. If you think of it let me know what you think of that Sprocket Rocket. I'd love your thoughts about it.

    • glenbrook profile image
      Author

      glenbrook 5 years ago

      @LasgalenArts: I'm glad you like it:) I know about Lomography.com in fact I just bought their Sprocket Rocket. Can't wait to try it out.

    • profile image

      LasgalenArts 5 years ago

      I'm a huge Holga freak. I also own a 120N but will be purchasing other lenses for it soon. I've always loved film cameras so this is a natural fit for me. This is a great site if you haven't already found it. http://www.lomography.com/

    • FrankSchwegler LM profile image

      FrankSchwegler LM 6 years ago

      Great lense.

      Any "film" camera must be a museum peace by now.