Monday, April 23, 2012

Holga lens for digital cameras.

The Holga is a cheap plastic film camera that has been made in China since the early 1980's.  The Holga is valued for the dreamy, and somewhat unpredictable images it makes. I have a film Holga and do enjoy using it.  So when I saw that there was an inexpensive Holga lens availiable for Canon digital I had to try it out.

The Holga HL-C is a Holga lens with an adapter for mounting it on your Canon digital camera.                                           
                                                     
The lens is the same as the film Holga with the exception of the aperture. The aperture on Holga HL-C is made of one center hole surrounded by a ring as smaller holes.

Not the best image, however this is what the aperture looks like.












The ring of holes is there to produce vignetting. The vignetting effect is supposed to work best with a fullframe sensor.  With the APS-C sensor that I use vignetting is inconsistent.  Still even with the APS sensor the Holga HL-C does produce increased softness to the edges and gives images an often lovely diffused glow.

I think the main issue with the Holga HL-C is that due to the small aperture it is difficult to see much through the viewfinder.  I do believe that the effective aperture for this lens is much smaller than f8.  I usually need to use an ISO of 800 even in fairly bright light to get an effective hand-held shutter speed.  Still with practice it is possible to get some nice images with this lens.  One time when I very much like to use this lens is when there is harsh sunlight of the type that we get here in Illinois at mid-day.  The Holga HL-C is effective in diffusing the harsh sunlight and giving a soft glow to bright light.

In actual practice I use the Holga HL-C most often with a fish-eye attachment that I had for use with the film Holga.  Due to the smaller sensor size there is no fish-eye effect, however there is a slight curvature that I like.  Also the wider angle increases vignetting. 

The main thing that I miss with the Holga HL-C when compared to the film Holga is the square format of the film Holga.  However I tend to think that it might be most useful to not compare the two and to learn to use the Holga HL-C as a thing of its own and not as a digital subsitute for a Holga. The Holga HL-C for Canon is usually sold for between $25 and $30. I believe I got mine from HolgaDirect. There also are versions of the Holga lens for Nikon, Pentax and Sony.

Most of the images in the first gallery were taken with the fish-eye attachment.

Holga HL-C Image Gallery

My Flickr set for this lens.
Holga HL-C Set