131 of 137 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five star
It comes with a plastic lense, it takes 120 film, there's no flash, no light metering, no focusing. If you're not familiar with 120 film (not every pharmacy develops 120 film), then you should do a little research before you buy this camera ([...]). Most folks buy this as secondary camera, or just as a fun camera. The picture quality is different from camera to camera,...
Published on December 6, 2005 by D Co
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars fun little camera
If you approach this camera with the right attitude, you won't be disappointed. Its fun going back to a simple, non-digital camera and not knowing how each shot will turn out, if at all. I took this camera to Coachella (oh the irony) and it ended up producing a bunch of great shots. If you're willing to lay down the bucks to get the film processed. I brought it to my...
Published on September 4, 2011 by Lindsay E. Clark
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131 of 137 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five star,
69 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Faithful to the Original,
91 of 97 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Toy Cameras Bring Me Joy.,
36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A non-hipster photo student's impressions,
I bought this because it's the prototypical "crappy toy camera" and I wanted to see what I could do with it's limited capabilities. It's part of an optional assignment and I'm playing with film right now, so why not.
The first thing that everyone should know is that this is not really a toy or an inexpensive alternative camera, but rather a modern "remake" of a primitive camera intended to allow those who understand, or are learning to understand, the photographic process in detail to reproduce certain "vintage" photographic styles and push the limits of what can be done with primitive technology.
The Holga 120N has the following features for "advanced" photographers:
- They use medium format 120 roll film. This is film that is a little more than 6cm wide... it is NOT 35mm. Normally this film is used in expensive Hasselblad or Mamiya cameras and is thus not usually sold at drug stores and gas stations. Not every photo lab will process it.
- There IS a "bulb" exposure mode, which means that you can keep the shutter open as long as you keep holding down the shutter button. You have to know what you're doing with this or all you'll do is waste a shot of film.
- Whether "bulb" mode is turned on or off, there's nothing stopping you from exposing the film multiple times without advancing the roll. There's also nothing stopping you from advancing the film too far, too little, or never advancing it at all. Other than the little window on the back, and perhaps counting the clicks of the film winder, there's nothing to tell you how far to turn the thing to get to the next unexposed frame. There's absolutely nothing to tell you if the current frame has already been exposed.
These are all things that can be exploited by advanced photographers to create interesting effects, but for anyone else they're just annoying hazards.
Limitations of the camera that can only be overcome by a somewhat knowledgeable photographer in most situations:
- There are only two aperture settings. To make things worse, the f-numbers that these supposedly correspond to (supposedly f/8 for "sunny" and f/11 for "cloudy" or whatever that icon is supposed to be) are reportedly bogus. They may not be accurate from camera to camera, depending on when it was made. Reportedly all you ever get is f/13, though supposedly on some newer ones the switch actually does do something or the other.
- There's only one shutter speed not counting "bulb" mode: 1/100s
- There's no way to focus visually with the viewfinder and with apertures like f/8 or f/11 the focus ring has to be set somewhat intelligently to have any chance of getting a subject within the in-focus depth of field.
- Aside from using bulb mode or multiple exposures in some situations, you have practically no control of the exposure aside from film ISO and push/pull processing.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, but do want to learn then great! If you don't know and don't care then you probably don't want to buy this camera.
The charming lo-fi features of the camera:
- It has a simplistic high-dispersion plastic lens that softens focus the way transparent plastic does and does little or nothing to correct for the various optical distortions caused by simple spherical single-element lenses. If you're not trying to intentionally take photos with these properties then for the same money you can get a camera with a more modern design that at least has a lens made of glass.
- There's little or nothing in the design to prevent light from reflecting off of slick surfaces inside the camera, contaminating the film with random reflections.
- The gaps between parts (like the back and the rest of the camera) aren't sealed particularly well, so light leaks through and reflects off of surfaces, contaminating the film with stray light.
Some tips for those using these for the first time:
- Tape down the sliding things that lock the back on after loading the camera. The back will come open way too easily if you don't. Light leaks may be hipster cool but having the back come off just results in totally ruined film.
- Light will leak through the little frame number view window (red plastic) in the back and contaminate regular panchromatic film (which responds to red light). How bad this is depends on how bright the ambient light is, and whether or not you're using one of the included (6x6 or 6x4.5) film masks. You can either ignore than and get the hipster light leaks, or you can cover the red window with tape. If you cover it then you can either open it up briefly under subdued light to see when you've advanced the film one frame, or you can figure out how many "clicks" of the winder need to go by before one frame has advanced and count those when winding.
- You may want to write "1/100s" and "f/8 - f/11" on the camera to remind you of what the aperture settings and shutter speed are if you actually believe what the manual says they are.
- You may want to write the approximate focus distances corresponding to each of the icons on the focus ring. I wrote my own focusing scale on the thing using a silver paint marker.
- Use the light meter in a manual mode camera to give you an idea of what sort of lighting conditions are going to work with f/8 and 1/100s with the ISO of film you have in the thing. There's probably no point in walking around metering for every shot, but you should at least get some idea if your film is going to require direct sunlight, shade on a sunny day, work ok with overcast sky, or work inside in rooms with lots of of windows on sunny days. Even at ISO 3200, bright artificial office lighting probably won't be enough for indoor conditions.
- If possible, try to shoot a whole roll of film in approximately the same lighting conditions so you can push/pull process the film to compensate for over/underexposure. For example, if you know that bright office lighting won't quite be enough but you want to try it anyway, shoot the whole roll under that lighting so you can push process the film (to get a higher effective ISO out of it).
Overall I'd say, not bad for $30 if you want to be able to do some of the things that the lack of "idiot proofing" features allow and you want to recreate some lo-fi effects, but don't waste your money on the camera, film, and processing if you don't know what you're getting into. These things are also great for making your own modifications since the worst you can do is destroy the thing, losing $30.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Such a fun camera,
This review is from: Holga 120N Casablanco Holgawood Collection Plastic Camera (White) (Electronics)This is actually my second Holga. I bought this one so that I can have two different types of film loaded at any given time. It's just as good as my first one, but like all Holgas it has its own personality different from my first Holga. They're light enough that I don't feel too weighed down having two on me, and with two I get to have one loaded with 35mm without having to find a darkroom if I want to keep shooting, I just load the second one with the regular 120mm.
The different colored bodies are fun too. I take them to fairs and other events and I get a lot of questions and comments on the camera, if not just a funny look or two hehehe. I think most of the time people expect water to shoot out of the lens or something.
All of this and I get some striking and unique images you could never get from a digital without some serious photoshopping, and at only $40 why not?
One word of advice though to first time Holga purchasers. This camera craves sunlight, so even if you are in a well lit indoor area, use a flash or a tripod on the long exposure B setting, otherwise you will end up with a roll of underexposed duds.
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Photographers delight!,
A must for all photographers to play with. A wonderful buy and worth the money.
**Use caution when buying from Calumet! Banned from e-bay they are not the best of places to buy anything! Poor product quality and overpriced shipping are only two of the major problems. Please use caution.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The post-modern camera,
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For Those that still think of Photography as an art form!,
There is another side to this coin however as there are those out there that do not like digital or what it has done to the entire field of photography over the last 5-10 years. I am one of those people. I absolutely love photography. Its not only my single favorite hobby, its also how I make my living. Its the entire process that I fell in love with, not just the end result. The loading of the film, the limited number of pictures per roll of film, the printing in a darkroom and most importantly the seemingly limitless creative aspects of film itself. There are so many things that you can do to alter the look of the film or print and I am sorry but running your picture through a filter in photoshop doesn't even begin to compare. The end result may appear similar but the process that got you there couldn't possibly be more different. I love the processes just as much as I do the end result and digital just doesn't even begin to compare.
Anyways this is where camera's like the Holga and Diana come in. These are camera's for people who are in love with film and the different looks that film can give you. These are sometimes referred to as toy cameras however that does not take anything away from these cameras or their ability to take pictures. I have been using a Holga for over 10 years and I can tell you first hand that if you take the time to master these cameras, you can take absolutely stunning pictures. You don't need 20 MegaPixels and a Carl Zeiss lens to shoot amazing pictures. In fact you dont even need a lens if your shooting with a pinhole camera.
Its nice to see that there are still people out there shooting with these kinds of cameras. There are even some that have given up shooting digital and come back to film. My hats off to those people because film is still where its at with photography. As for myself, I still shoot film 99% of the time and My Holga and Diana go pretty much everywhere I go. At around 40.00, you don't have much to lose in regards to trying them out.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Go Lomo!,
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome camera (just make sure you are outdoors),
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