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Question for Photography Junkies... (Toy Cameras)

Discussion in 'Channel Zero' started by post., Oct 8, 2002.

  1. post.

    post. Guest

    I recently bought a modified Holga 120s because I've always been facinated by the photographs that these and (other toy cameras) take. I originally wanted a Diana camera, but I couldn't find one that was in my price range. I just finished sealing the light leaks with electrical tape and am ready to experiment with my first roll. Now I don't have any experience in a photo lab, but I heard that it's easier to send off my color 120mm film to get developed, anyway, and save b&w for the lab (although I don't have the desire to shoot too much b&w) I'm really kinda excited by the complete lack of guarantee that this meduim offers...

    Do any of you have experience with these type of cameras? Advice on shooting and developing? Or samples of your work even?
  2. Dirty_habiT

    Dirty_habiT Administrator

    Joined: Mar 8, 2001 Messages: 18,136 Likes Received: 82
    no idea.............. sixth!!!
  3. vinyl junkie

    vinyl junkie Elite Member

    Joined: Jan 17, 2002 Messages: 4,725 Likes Received: 0
    i tried to get my hands on a holga while back... lowsy lack of money...

    anyway, black and white is a good deal easier to develop, and takes way less time... but you can do both if you wanna... go to yer local community college and take a photo class... that should get you access to a darkroom for free (or damn cheap at least)... most photo classes start out only teaching you black and white, but once yer in there you could get someone else to show you how to do color...
    there's a lot more steps and equipment required with color developing, but you can have way more fun tweaking the devoloping and printing process in color than you can in black and white...
  4. T.T Boy

    T.T Boy Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: May 18, 2001 Messages: 21,803 Likes Received: 41
    i dunno but i cant wait to get my hands on my girlfriends dark room
  5. vinyl junkie

    vinyl junkie Elite Member

    Joined: Jan 17, 2002 Messages: 4,725 Likes Received: 0
  6. Dirty_habiT

    Dirty_habiT Administrator

    Joined: Mar 8, 2001 Messages: 18,136 Likes Received: 82
  7. podrido

    podrido Veteran Member

    Joined: Apr 14, 2001 Messages: 9,182 Likes Received: 28
  8. I Luv Roo

    I Luv Roo Member

    Joined: Aug 20, 2001 Messages: 733 Likes Received: 0
    Since when is a Holga a toy camera? Aren't they bank money?
  9. post.

    post. Guest

    I Luv Roo- From what I know, the Holga that I have is a really cheap Chinese camera that's entirely made out of plastic (including the lens) ... I haven't seen one for over $25 unless they have been modified. I guess I could be wrong... what camera are you talking about?

    Where is Drain Bamage when I need her??

    Oh and thanks vinyl junkie, I appreciate your advice. I'm seriously clueless about this kind of stuff...
  10. I Luv Roo

    I Luv Roo Member

    Joined: Aug 20, 2001 Messages: 733 Likes Received: 0
    oh shit, the money ones that I was thinking of were the Hasselblaads. Sorry, you're right. I have a Lubitel medium format camera with the viewfinder on top -- I've taken pictures with it, but I still have to get the film developed to see if it works... I got it for free, so you never know.

    Cameras are so fun!
  11. T.T Boy

    T.T Boy Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: May 18, 2001 Messages: 21,803 Likes Received: 41
    why dont you guys start up a photo graphy thread? i need some inspiraton.
  12. Pilau Hands

    Pilau Hands Guest



    That looks like it could be a lot of fun.

    This may be more information than you really want...but I was interested. The drawback section is a bit of a bummer, but whatever. Nothing's perfect. Especially fun.

    haha it says "fortnight"

    The Holga 120S is made in China. It comes in a blue box with 'Made in China' written on the back. That's all I know about the background of the camera, and after looking on the internet it appears that I am as knowledgeable as the next man.

    The camera itself is extremely cheap (about $20 from eBay) and basic. It has three controls - a film advance knob, a shutter, and a manual focus control which ranges from three feet to infinity. There's a fourth control that supposedly switches the camera from f8 to f11, but it doesn't actually work.

    The camera is mass-produced and made out of plastic. It's quite rugged, like a child's toy, but not particularly precise. It allows stray light onto the film, the frame advance mechanism is quite loose (something which causes the film to 'buckle' slightly, pushing parts of the image out of focus), and, most striking of all, the lens is made of plastic, and is very inaccurate around the edges.

    What makes it interesting? Firstly, it uses medium-format film. Medium-format (or '120') film is physically larger than common 35mm film and captures more detail. Black and white 120 film is relatively easy to develop at home, and it has a much higher 'gadget factor' than 35mm - instead of lurking within a plastic container, it comes wrapped around a spool.

    Secondly, the poor build quality and dodgy lens can be positive attributes, provided you aren't looking for definitive image quality. The blurred, ill-formed edges and streaks of leaking light give the Holga's images an otherworldly, timeless quality - with black and white film, the images usually look like the opening titles of Bagpuss (you know, the bits with Emily). Lens flare manifests itself as an apocalyptic white splodge, whilst the manual winding control allows you to create ghostly double-exposures.
    Unless you are obsessed, it's not possible to create pin-sharp, perfectly-focussed, perfectly-exposed images with your Holga. This is extremely liberating. Instead of worrying about the technicalities of photography, you are forced to concentrate on the image itself.

    Thirdly, the Holga is easy to modify. In fact, it almost forces you to tinker with it - out of the box, it is set up to take 16 relatively conventional 6x4 images, but can easily be altered to take 12 6x6 images (with the Holga's trademark blurry edges). Further modifications involve taping the body up in order to keep light out, all the way to fitting a bulb release and adjustable aperture settings. Pre-modified examples can be bought from eBay, but as they are hand-made they are quite expensive.

    Which leads to the fourth and most important point in the Holga's favour - it's cheap. Professional medium-format cameras cost anything from £300 to a hefty four-figure sum. To buy a Holga from eBay and import it to Britain costs a twentieth of that figure.


    The Holga has some drawbacks, however. Unless you have the equipment and time to do it yourself, 120 film is fiddlier to develop than 35mm film. High-street shops usually have to send the film off to a bigger lab, where it is developed by hand before being sent back. Jessops, for example, charge £7 per roll, and they take at least a fortnight to create a set of prints. Professional studios will develop the film in a day, but it will cost twice as much, and unless you are fairly certain of how to specify your requirements, the results might not be as attractive (they tend to reproduce your negative with as little processing as possible, whereas a mainstream store will automatically compensate for bad exposure). Compare this with an average of £5 for next-day delivery of 35mm film at your local Snappy Snaps, and don't forget that, if you use the Holga's 6x6 format, you will only have 12 images per roll (against 24 or 36 for 35mm film). If you mess up, it'll cost you.

    If nothing else, this stifles experimentation. With 35mm film most people can afford to take lots of pictures and weed out the boring ones. To produce the same amount of images as a typical roll of 35mm, your Holga will cost at least three times as much.

    The other drawback is that, unless you tinker with it, the Holga is seriously limited, if only because the shutter is fixed (at roughly 1/250th of a second). You are restricted to taking photographs in bright sunlight, outdoors. You can build up exposure time by simply taking several shots of the same image on a single frame (see the following example), but it's an inexact science. That said, Jessops worked wonders with the photograph above, which was taken on a rainy day.

  13. Pilau Hands

    Pilau Hands Guest

  14. -Rage-

    -Rage- 12oz Loyalist

    Joined: Apr 12, 2001 Messages: 11,276 Likes Received: 71
    I used a Holga 120s a few years back. They are dope, but take a while to learn how to develop. ALSO, the one I was using only ranged from $20 to 40 bucks... WTF?

    Sample of my work:
    p.s.: I don't write Rage anymore. :p
  15. vinyl junkie

    vinyl junkie Elite Member

    Joined: Jan 17, 2002 Messages: 4,725 Likes Received: 0
    this is what i have:

    my new-ish camera... most reliable... pentax zx-m

    my other 35 mm... first year nikomat... the first camera to have an internal light meter... at the moment the light meter doesn't werk...:eek:

    my big bad tlr... yashica... actually a fairly cheap one as far as tlr cameras go, but yeah...

    my fancy fucker... mockba-5... nuff said...