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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Some observations about this lens
on May 24, 2012
I recently received my Holg HL-N and put it on a Nikon D90 to try out. You can see what photos with this lens and its Canon-mount peer look like on the big photo-sharing sites. I thought I'd provide potential buyers with a few observations they might find useful.
First, my copy doesn't fit well on the camera body. It's loose and wobbles. This does not affect pictures, assuming you don't wobble the lens while actually shooting, but I am concerned that it will let dust into the body. I'm certainly not going to leave this on the camera when I'm not using it. I know it is a deliberately and self-consciously cheap affair, but if a $2 body cap can fit snuggly, I don't know why the HL-N could not as well. A toy lense is not worth mucking up a beloved camera.
Second, there is no way this thing is really F8. Shooting outdoors on an overcast day, with the ISO cranked to 1600 and at 1/60, the photos were easily 3 stops too dark. The classic 126-size Instamatic was f/11 and it took fine pictures outdoors with 100 speed film. The HL-N "is what it is" but since it has to be shot manually, I'd like to KNOW what it is. Especially because I was bought this with the intent of using it for black & white on my film body.
Third, as others noted, the viewfinder is very dark with the HL-N mounted. BUT in "Live View" mode (for non-Nikonians, that's composing on the LCD like a point-and-shoot rather than through the viewfinder, you have to choose one or the other) you can see quite adequately and it's also reasonably easy to focus. So this is a fine workaround for that issue.
Fourth, The focus ring on my copy is hard to move, you almost have to put some muscle into it. When the lens extends, it reveals some kind of wet lubricant. I don't like this a bit.
The plastic lens look is unique, if a bit of an overused crutch in some quarters these days. I have never been able to do a satisfying fake of the look in PS. So if, like me, you don't want to start playing around with overpriced additional little cameras or think that unpredictability and unreliablility in a camera are bad things, the idea of this lens is great. So great that I may buy another to see if it's more usable than the one I got. Of course I have no expectation of a quality lens, but it still needs to mount properly and have a reasonably usable focus ring, if only for the good of the camera body.