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81 of 88 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2011
A couple weeks ago, I randomly came across these lenses (they have them for both Canon and Nikon mount).. I knew of the Holga film cameras making some what of a come back, and they sounded fun, but no chance was I going to buy a low quality film camera and film.. Even if I did buy that stuff, I won't lie, I'm a child of this here digital era, and I'm just WAY too lazy to go get pictures developed - just not going to happen! Are you kidding me?? You need to be seriously dedicated to go THAT far out of your way to get some really poor quality pictures..

But right! Then I discovered this Holga lens for your DSLR! And it is CHEAP (in price)! So I said what the heck, and I bought one! Seriously, as anyone with a DSLR knows, even a cheap lens is pretty danged expensive! But this little guy? Not expensive!! And after playing around with it, it's worth it just to have as something fun-and-different to spice up your DSLR bag/kit! Really, if you can't think of anything, just toss this lens on your camera, try reeaally hard to see through your view finder, and it's kind of amazing how that really boring normal ol' tree in the back yard all of a sudden looks cool and completely different through this piece of sh-glass (plastic, really..)! : D I'm telling you this little guy is a whole lot of fun!

And I'm also telling you, your pictures are going to look pretty danged bad! This is NOT a regular lens! It's made to take POOR pictures. And it excels at it!! : D So don't go complaining when you buy it that your pictures look less-than-stellar.. And don't forget it's MANUAL FOCUS, so your camera won't focus for you! (Here's my quick and dirty guess for focusing: the closest subject is 5 feet away, the mountain is for something 25 feet away or more...)

However, let me get a little technical real quick about a couple things...

Focal Length: When I was reading about this lens, I kept seeing 60mm "equivalent"! So I figured they were implying it would be a 60mm lens on a Canon Digital Rebel series (which has a smaller image-capturing-area than full frame digital or 35mm film cameras). NOT SO! This is labeled just like any other lens.. It's a 60mm focal length for 35mm film.. So if you put this on a Canon 5D (or 1Ds, if you're really awesome enough to own both that camera and this lens), then you'll have a straight up 60mm focal length.

But on your trusty Canon Digital Rebel or xxD series (or 7D), this 60mm must be multiplied by 1.6 to get the "actual" focal length.. which is 96mm. Putting it another way, if you have the standard Canon kit zoom, 18-55mm, the field of view is going to be pretty similar to when you have that zoom zoomed all the way in to 55mm. Go try that, and you'll get the idea of what it'll be like.

I was a little disappointed by this at first, since I'm more of a slightly-wider-field-of-view-kind-of-guy (translation, give me a 35mm lens for my crop sensor digital rebel, rather than a 60mm lens, and I'll be much happier), but after playing around with it and its limitations, I kind of like the tighter field of view. I'm forced to step back, and also stick with 1 subject(ish), and there's so much vignetting (blackness / light-fall-off around the edges), it's pointless to really construct a full on shot.. You lose a lot of your composition to the vignetting. IE stop trying to compose like normal! Think old-school point and shoot!! Find a subject, shove it into the middle(ish) of the frame, and take the picture! Forget what you've been taught about photography! (Welcome to lomo-style photography! Lomography, as it were..) Okay, moving on...

Aperture / F-stop: This guy is advertised as an f/8 lens. That is NOT correct... It's more like an f/32 lens! The day I got this, I didn't get a chance to use it til night time, so I (tried) to snap a couple pictures in the house.. HAH! This lens is absolutely not f/8! Measuring the outdoor light requirements, it's pretty much an f/32 lens, which is 4 stops slower than f/8.. Which means a few things..

a) You need a LOT of light (more on that later..) AND high ISO. Seriously you need both. OKAY, or you need a tripod.. but that sort of defeats the purpose of this lens..
b) Pretty big depth of field.. The "focus" ring is a joke and shows 1 body, 3 bodies, a group of bodies, a mountain.. choose your depth based on what fits in the frame, haha! : D Pretty much no matter where the focus ring is set, you'll still get a moderately-acceptable image..
c) Focus will always be a little bit soft (forget sharp detail when you zoom all the way in!) due to the nature of digital imaging sensors and high f-stops.. This will NOT be a problem, I'm just letting you know.. And a lot of post-processing programs can sharpen up edge detail very nicely... You may never even notice! I'm just saying.. Don't get frustrated when you never seem to land that perfect focus.. You can't. It's just not possible with f/32. But there's a huge difference between soft-focus and out of focus / blurry! : D You won't get the absolute detail, but edge detail will be just fine! Embrace the softness and love it!
d) Looking through your view finder, it might be pretty dim! The view finder shows what's coming through the actual lens, and f/32 is nottt a lot of light, so it might be a bit hard to see.. You will probably be able to see the center of the frame OK, but the edges may look pretty dark.. Another reason for not bothering to compose too much! : D

Back to how f/32 affects your ability to take pictures...

Indoor photography.. Long story short, indoor photography will be extremely limited with this lens.. If you have a camera that can do 3200+ ISO, perhaps you can get a few shots with a flash, otherwise they will be long-exposure images. Well, I'm talking about candids.. If you toss your camera on a tripod, and are taking pictures of indoor still life, go to town! No problem..

Outdoor photography, you're looking at ISO 800 in FULL SUN LIGHT. If you ask me, that's not really a problem, since it'll just add some grainy-ness to your already "stylized" picture.. And modern DSLRs handle auto-ISO well over ISO 1600, so you should be fine shooting in Auto mode. Just to overdo the explanation, though, let me give you a break down... A normal sun-light photo is about 1/250th of a second at f/8 at ISO 100. Since you're dealing with 4 stops slower (f/32), you need to go to ISO 1600 to do 1/250th of a second.. Or you can stay at ISO 100, and drop down to 1/15 of a second.. Which will most likely be blurry no matter what, due to camera shake, if you're hand holding.. ISO 800 and 1/125th is just dandy. HOWEVER, that's full on sun light! Got some clouds? You're maybe looking at 1/125th (if you're lucky..) at f/8 at ISO 100.. 1/60th of a second at ISO 800 is about the limit of hand-holdability, unless you have a very steady hand. Sure the extra blurriness might add to the already-bad-image, but I'm not a fan of camera shake blur.. It isn't really the same as a soft-focus f/32. Moving on (I'm sorry you're still reading this..)!

Minimum focus distance: I really didn't try very hard to find out. I'd say 5 feet-ish? Anything closer than that was obviously out of focus.. And again, don't expect miracles.. At f/32, you have a pretty big depth of field, but nothing is going to be mind blowingly sharp.. Let's say your subject is about 8 feet away, then stuff from 5 feet to about 13 feet away will be in focus.. (Let's assume that's the 1-person setting..). The mountain setting is probably good for something about 25 feet away or more.. Because focusing on a subject at 20 feet will give you focus from 10 feet to infinity... So guestimate off those numbers.. 20 feet, 25 feet, with the huge depth of field and slight softness this thing gives you, you'll never even notice if you didn't focus right...)

That covers the lens technicals..

Here are the physical attributes of the actual lens:

a) it's plastic
b) it's about 1.25 inches tall, and about 2.75 inches wide (only because that's the width of the Canon mount area, haha.. the barrel is only about 2 inches wide..
c) it weighs like 2 ounces? I have no idea, haha.. It might as well weight NOTHING. Seriously. Did I mention it's plastic?
d) it fits kind of loosely onto the camera.. But then again, I'm used to machined metal mounts, etc.. It's not going to fall off or anything, but it's probably not going to keep out the fog from the movie The Fog either (not that that even matters, since if the Fog gets you, you're done for well before your camera will be...)
e) the focus "ring" is beautiful, in a Bride of Chucky sort of way (which I've sort of already covered.. how it just goes from 1 person, to 3 people to a big group, to a mountain....).
f) the hole on the back side has tiny holes all around it, which I guess gives you the ultra vignetted image. It might also "help" limit the light getting to the sensor, which gets you more like an f/32..? I'm not really sure... The actual aperture (you can see it through the front) is larger than the hole on the back..
g) there's a white mark that matches the Canon white-square (for canon EF-S lenses) to indicate where it mounts to the camera.. it's like the white-square on the Canon 18-55mm kit lens. It's not exact, but it's pretty close.. : D
h) the lens caps are just pop on/pop off caps over the front element and the back aperture.. Large fingers may find it difficult to remove the rear lens cap.. You can alternately just get a generic rear canon lens cover and use that, which is what I'm doing, but it adds an extra 1/2 inch of length to the stored lens.

Alright. I've run out of stuff to talk about.. Check out my pretty pictures that go along with this for a lovely visual hop and skip down Holga lens lane.

Pretty much, this lens is a lot of fun, but you need to realize it needs a lot of light (just go outside and you'll be fine!) and high ISO, and you need to get a grasp on the poorly described focusing distances.. Once you understand those two things, you'll have a lot of fun! Without those two things, you might get a bit frustrated. Probably more because of the light requirements..

But right. Buy it for yourself. Buy it for your friends! It's totally worth it! : D Just tell your friends to go outside in the daylight, toooO!
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2012
UPDATE: There is a diffusing disk made of soft flexible black plastic on the back of the lens that is not glued in with strong glue. Using a penknife blade, it is possible to remove it without damaging it. I assume the disk is there to give a more "Holga" look, but it results in a tiny aperture and really slow shutter speeds.

I popped mine out (carefully saving it) and it produces a whole different kind of photo. Still not terribly sharp and more like you would expect from a simple single element lens...but surprisingly sharper that you might expect. I have not tried it on a full-frame camera, but I find it more useful than when using the diffuser disk.

You may like the change or you may not. But it does open the possibility of trying some home-made disks in the back if you want to experiment.


I am the author of the book, "How To Use The Digital Camera You Just Bought" and I love attaching all kinds of lenses to my Canon DSLR via adapters, T-mounts, etc.

So I jumped at the idea of taking digital Diana/Holga type shots with with this lens. It does work, and some of the shots are interesting, but there is a big limitation.

The lens is designed to cover a larger roll film negative. When used on a 35mm camera (or that size sensor), most of the area where the cool drop-off, etc. occurs is not captured, as it is outside the frame.

When placed on a consumer DLSR with an even smaller sensor, even less of the lens coverage is used. This results in what appears to be a more narrow telephoto effect, roughly 90mm equivalent, and even less of the Diana/Holga effect.

Also, the plastic used for the lens is not the same as the original Diana's clear, brittle styrene that flowed and flawed uniquely for each lens. Think the kind of cheap plastic magnifying glass that once came in Cracker Jack boxes (before people worried about kids swallowing them!). The original was both contrasty and blurred!

Still, a fun optic, almost impossible to see through in the finder at f/8, but what the heck!

If you find this kind of thing fun, consider also ordering an adapter that lets you use old "Pentax type" thread mount lenses and also a "T-Mount" adapter that will allow you (with some duct tape) to attach all kinds of things, including cardboard pin-holes, etc.)
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 10, 2012
... but I guess that's what you're going for if you want a Holga! ;^)
My hipster-ish daughter bought this lens and is having a lot of fun with it, and likes it. Her "photographer" Dad doesn't quite get it, but compared to the price of film and developing for a real Holga, this is definitely the way to go. Construction is kind of cheap (like a Holga) but it fits the Canon well, and does the job... like a Holga.

Have fun!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2013

...but there is a hack linked above that i myself have tried. It makes it a true f/8 but you lose a bit of sharpness. Think of it as a soft-focus lens at this point.

I kept the two pieces I removed in case I want to put them back in later..

If you're shooting outside or in with some strobes, have at it! Great for landscapes too...but the minimal focusing distance is NOT a joke as other's have stated but it is very limited.

I've shot with pros for years as a controact photographer and have started shooting again for myself and building my own clientele. It is a tool...perhaps not an everyday one but a VERY cool tool nontheless..

I'll try to post a few pics later to show how it looks before and after modding.

Yes, I've shot with L Series glass plenty of times, and owned L series lenses.

Canon's 200mm f/1.8 (now f/2) is a GREAT photographic is this Holga lens. Use it accordingly.

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on November 2, 2014
This lens is a lot of fun. It takes me back to my photography days about 40+ years ago. Plastic cameras to take on vacation. Now I'm back into photography with a vengeance, so I had to add this to my collection. I even have a Holga Filter Wheel coming from Hong Kong. I have enough lenses to shoot the norm, but I like being able to be more creative. That's why I'm into Lensbaby's also. This lens has a 60mm focal length, but with my crop sensor camera with a multiplier of 1.6x, I now have a 96mm focal length.

So on to picture taking. Surprisingly it takes good pictures. The pictures are slightly soft, but it IS a plastic lens. At f/8 this lens is better used outdoors or in good light. Remember, this lens is manual. There is no pressing the preview button to view the shot. Also, the aperture ring is stiff to turn. Set it to infinity and forget it ;-).

I have taken around 100 shots of desert landscapes, sunsets and sunsets reflecting on the mountains before posting this review. What I have learned is that I need to look at my histogram more. ;-). Lots of my shots are overexposed, but what I have learned is that because it is a plastic lens, you can capture sun bursts. Chromatic aberrations; neat effect. My proud picture is of a sunset reflecting on the mountains. With the slightly soft effect and the vignetting, this picture wasn't even considered for post-processing.

For this kind of money, how could you go wrong. 5 stars for fun.
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on December 22, 2014
Love this lens! It's so much fun! Yes, if you have PhotoShop you can create the same effect but if you don't this is always a nice alternative! I saw a couple reviews of people complaining about the quality of photos and the overall fact that the lens was plastic but PEOPLE, you must not be very familiar with Holga's, Diana's or any other such toy cameras because those cheap quality cameras are known for their plastic lens effects. We photo lovers loved its flaws from the very beginning!

Now, I am a photographer, I love trying out new photography equipment-I do have Photoshop but I wanted to use this lens just for fun because some days-I just like to snap a quick picture and hope for a happy accident. This does the trick with my cannon camera. I wish you could record with this lens but you can't because your DSLR will not recognize this as a lens -obviously because this lens has no way of communicating electronically with your camera because of its plastic body.

Overall, I loved this lens, its very fun-but only fun if you actually know how to use a DSLR and fix the settings to work with your holga lens. If you know nothing about cameras/ use the auto mode all the time, or are very impatient when taking photographs, I would not recommend this product for you. If your considering it, but are still not sure-I would do some research and find some holga photo inspiration. :)
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 12, 2013
Okay, let's be honest here. From most carriers an iPhone 4 is free with contract, and Instagram is a free download. For your $25, you are giving a fairly expensive camera the ability to take ridiculously bad pictures that a cell phone cam, even on its worst day, can't lowball. But that's why you're considering a Holga lens to begin with, right?

This obviously isn't an everyday shooting lens. The fixed aperture is very small, small enough to render the viewfinder almost but not quite useless. The focus mechanism is rudimentary and feels like panning on a cheap tripod. The build quality is... Chinese. And I don't mean "built-to-someone-else's-spec-with-dubious-labor-practices" Chinese; I mean "the stuff you find in the toy aisle at the dollar store" Chinese. "Crap" is the term we are going with here. Even disposables take better pictures than this. It's not so much a prime lens as a "grade D but edible" lens.

But again, that's the point. The whole Lomography mentality, slickly marketed as it is, is to make the most out of intentionally substandard equipment. It's a constrained art form, very close to found art and musique concrete in its conception, and if all you want to do is play with it, this is the perfect way to get started. The pictures are obviously a bit fuzzy; the vignetting on an APS-C sensor is pretty soft (although I hear it's actually a little excessive on a full-frame sensor), and the focus capability just isn't that precise. As a video lens, it gives the impression of a dream sequence or a piece of slightly-deteriorated film dubbed onto a cheap VHS cassette. Because of the small aperture, it doesn't do low light well at all; you'll definitely want to use an external flash for any indoor shots. And the markings could be better -- the focus marker and mount guide mark are easily confused.

So... after all is said and done, if you know what you're ordering, this lens delivers exactly what you expect from a Holga product. It's not out of the realm of possibility that you might prefer to do this kind of thing in post, which is a reasonably sensible approach, but I find with my personal work that if I don't set up the effects I want to use beforehand, I won't usually get to them later. So if you want to play with the toy camera aesthetic, this is as good a way as any to get into it.
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on June 12, 2014
This lens is not bad if you know what you're buying. As many have stated before, it's a plastic lens that yields a toy-like quality of image. While it might seem to be a waste of technology to use a lens like this on a modern DSLR, read on - this lens has a place in my camera bag for a few reasons.

First off, I'll say that the advertised aperture of f/8 is dubious, mainly because I believe this aperture is calculated by measuring the diameter of the array of holes that produce the vignette, not just the center hole. Looking at the back of the lens reveals a daisy-shaped array of holes with a slightly larger one in the center. This is made to generate the dark corners in your photos, and it does a fairly good job on cropped-sensor cameras. However, this lens exposes much closer to f/28 than it does f/8, so a flash or really good lighting is required for all shots.

The photos I've taken with this lens have come out with that characteristic Holga soft focus with only the very center of your photo showing any sharpness. This aesthetic is cool and useful under the right circumstances. Still photos turn out nicely, but the main reason I purchased this lens is to use it in video mode. If you have enough light - and that's a big "if", as this lens requires a lot of it - you can get a really neat, dreamy looking video quality out of this lens. Sure, the lens isn't much more than a toy, but the truth is it takes a toy to get this kind of video quality, so it does its job just fine.

As an added bonus, if you own a Canon 35mm SLR (like my EOS Rebel T2), you can really nail the Holga look while exerting a higher level of control over your image. So much of the Holga/Lomography aesthetic comes from the film itself, so if you can manually expose your shots through this lens, you get some really cool results.

My only gripe with the lens is that it's a little stiff on focusing, but that's pretty much it.
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on May 15, 2014
This lens is super fun. You've got to (and I really can't stress this enough) have TONS of light. If you're taking photos with this lens at dusk, your photos will most likely be way too dark.
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on April 22, 2014
I used to have a Holga a few years back, but one day my dog chewed it beyond repair. Now, using the Holga lens for DSLR, I can get those nice vignettes and color fringes. I usually edit the photos afterwards in lightroom. I'm loving what this lens does.
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