Experimenting with the Holga Toy Camera

4 months 2 weeks ago #724165 by Brachenland
I wanted to create a new topic area devoted just for what I''ve bene doing and what I'm going to be doing with the new (to me) Holga 120N toy camera. I've placed the Goodman camera body on hold as I'm wanting to experiment with something else. early this morning I purchase a Holga kids plastic camera with two Kodak Tri-X 400 and one Ilford ISO-50 for the camera. I was introduced to the camera by a small group of fellows on reddit and I'm likening how the Tri-X film looks unedited. 





The camera body should arrive early next week as the film should arrive a few days afterward. This is all going to be just in time for our annual trip to anywhere USA. I'm very excited about this toy camera because it will make the first time I've ever used a medium format.

One thing I've been made aware of is that the camera is not perfect and can have light leaks, I'm going to be prepared for this with foam strips and tape to minimize any chances of leaks. Along with this as I stated above, this will be the first time I'll be using a film with an ISO of less than 100. if one has any experience with these toy cameras, I'd like to hear it. Look for images soon or within 1 month.

Moments ag, I located a 3D printer who's willing to print the cable release mount for this camera as I was searching for one online without and positive results. This items should be printed within 1 week and shipped to me. Along with this I order a 70cm cable to use with this setup. I'm mainly interested in using the Holga for long black & white exposers. With all this (hopefully) coming together before our annual vacation to anywhere USA.


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4 months 1 week ago #724301 by Brachenland
Today, I get an email saying my Tri-X, Ilford and the cable release have arrived at separate locations. Also, I finally made contact with something willing to 3D print the cable release mount for the camera, which is on it's way to my drop box.

The hardest part about gathering all this up, was finding someone to 3D print the mount. All total, I've spent $77.75 on all the items I need to start shooting the camera. But I'm not done yet. I've noticed that the plastic inside the camera has a sheen or gloss appearance, I'll need to tone this down a bit by either painting it flat black or using a thin black foam. We're just a few weeks out till we hit the road and I can't wait to try this toy camera. But I'm viewing this as an experiment in analog photography which I have touched since the late 80's.The most critical part about this. is the cable release adapter as the camera would be mounted to my heavy Velbon tripod. I'll be approaching this as if the camera was an old school pinhole with a shutter release.


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4 months 3 days ago - 4 months 3 days ago #724784 by Brachenland
Here's the latest.


The 3D printed cable release mount arrived a few days ago and I set out to get this thing attached to the camera. using a tripod mount adapter to hold this cable release mount in place everything looked and fit fine.
Then when I screwed in the cable I purchased from Amazon, the cable was too flimsy and not stiff enough to force the shutter leaver down. I ended up having to send this cable back and purchase another one. The second cable looked stiffer and was made of braided metal strands. This had to work. and it did for about 3 mins. Something inside this cable release was binding up and wouldn't allow the plunger to pop back up. Yes even after adjusting the side leave on the cable for free movement.

After weeks of searching for a cable on Amazon, I gave up and did something I thought I'd never do. I've always hated B&H photo because they haven't helped me in the past and I fear they piss me off again. But they should be thankful that I ordered my third cable. But this one is going to cost me an arm and a leg. The new German made cable release cost more than the camera & 7 roll of film.. With that new cable on it's way, one thing positive about this whole experience is that I was able to locate a lens ring that worked on the front of this camera lens so I can use my experimental filter.




All thats left is foam a few areas inside the camera, had to install a handle on the back of the camera cover as it would not fall off when accessing the film. Now we're just waiting on the new German made cable. I hope this one works or my experiment with trying to use this camera strictly for long exposures may come crashing to an end.

Oh btw, the 7 rolls of film arrived a few days ago too.

Make: Canon
Model: Canon EOS M6
Lens: EF50mm f/1.8 STM
ISO: 800
Aperture: f/2.8
Shutter speed: 1/80 sec
Captured: Fri, 17 Sep 2021 23:06pm


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3 months 4 weeks ago - 3 months 4 weeks ago #725025 by Brachenland
Welp the cable finally arrived and fits like it was meant for the Holga camera. Only thing left to do, is seal the interior of the camera with thin black foam I've acquired from work.



then it's off to our trip to anywhere USA.
Total spent so far: $198.83 the cable alone was near $90.00

All for the love of art.


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2 months 2 weeks ago #727127 by Bobby Mitchell
Wow! This is really awesome! 


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2 months 1 week ago #727477 by Aaron Rogers
Nice vintage-looking camera. Well done. 


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2 months 1 week ago - 2 months 1 week ago #727655 by Brachenland
Here's the latest..

Returning from our yearly vacation to anywhere USA, I've used a total of 7 rolls of film and I've been waiting to have these developed. In the meantime, I've ordered 3 more rolls of film. Two more of the Kodak Tri-X 400 and one roll of the Kodak Portra 160. I've heard negative reviews about the Portra 160, but I've bene hanging Reddit and did a search for the film. The images offer a pastel color appearance and I think I'm going to enjoy the looks of the images from the Holga. But I'm taking a chance at ordering more film when I have no clue as to if any of the 7 rolls shot earlier will even turn out.

Currently I've used half of the Portra 160 in the Holga and we've plan another short trip to anywhere USA this weekend. My objective.. is to capture a few areas we've pasted on our last trip as we've made a note of their location. Most of these spots are local I just hope the weather cooperates. Then after it's all said and done, I'll finally have a chance to send a few rolls to the developer.

Best thing one can do till I get the 120 film developed, is to check my profile as I've just uploaded a couple of shots from our last outing. The camera was a Canon M6, but I attempted to take nearly the same shots with the Holga 120n.


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4 weeks 2 days ago - 4 weeks 2 days ago #729446 by Brachenland
Here's the latest.

So last week I gathered up 4 rolls of 120 film and finally sent them to the Lab. I was asured that the lab would preform a snip test on at least one roll to check my exposure times before charging me for film that was not exposued correctly. I asked the lab to do this because I fear that a 20 sec exposure time while holding the shutter with a release cable would not be long enough. Last Fri, the lab did a snip test on one roll of Tri0X 400 and sent a google pixel image of the nigitive via email. Here's what i got in the email:



This is Fort Taylor, Key West Last Oct during our visit and it looks as if 20 sec was enough time to expose the film. They went ahead and developed the other 3 rolls and mail the entire order out last Fri.. I was suppose to have gotten the negatives via USPS by Monday, but the tracking now says delayed.

So here's the reference numbers for anyone who isn't sure what was used to take the average Fort Taylor image.

• Modified Holga 120N (Cable Release Added)
• Kodak Tri-X 400
• Vintage 1970 Velbon Tripod
• Experimental Polarizing Filter
• 20 sec. Exposure
• View Finder was NOT used (Merely Point & Shoot)
• Lab Snip Test on "Standard" Development
• Zero Push/Pull

I'm happy to report, that using a tripod, modified shutter release cable, with a 20 sec exposure, was enough time needed to expose the 120 tri-x film even with a polarizing filter attached. We're looking forward and very excited about getting a few of these rolls back from the lab. One can expect to see more images from 11 rolls in a few weeks. assuming the USPS hasn't lost my first 4 rolls in the mail..


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4 weeks 2 days ago - 4 weeks 2 days ago #729447 by Brachenland
Oh I forgot to mention, for the 1 year using the affixed slotted filter holder on the front of the camera, it kept falling off. So with a small piece of tin foil I created a small bent shim, bent over the inner edge of the lens ring and force fit the 52mm lens ring back onto the front of the camera lens. Although the lens ring has threads, the plastic lens does not but again it just fits snuggly over the outer edge of the Holga lens. it's a more secure fit this time and hasn't fallen off the camera in 3 weeks.


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3 weeks 3 days ago #729660 by Brachenland
So I got up this morning about ready to throw away the Holga camera and the 11 rolls of film, four of which had been developed when my wife said look at the negatives one more time. Pulled out a discarded small light box and started inspecting each image. Some were too dark while others too light. Until I found this one..

Mingling Trees was an image taken last Oct while on vacation to Key West. using the same settings as posted above, this amazingly crisp image was converted to digital via my Canon M6 while set up on the Velbon tripod.


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1 week 4 days ago - 1 week 4 days ago #730325 by Brachenland
Here's an image that's made a big statement within certain circles. yet I never expected it to be so popular as I consider this image to be a mistake and rushed on a cold Nov morning.



This is the Barn of 12 ridges vineyard just off of the Blue Ridge Parkway. I was allowed access to the barn, but it was cold and windy on that Nov morning. I quickly set up the camera but misjudged the distance as I don't use and didn't use the view finder. I've been shooting totally random haphazard shots without the use of the view finder.


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