Dont want a Holga

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by matchat, Feb 28, 2005.

  1. matchat

    matchat Member

    Messages:
    19
    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2005
    Location:
    Sheffield, E
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Hi there, i'm new to medium format - having just acquired an excellent Rolleicord Va & Weston Master V (guess you could say I prefer the 'batteries not included' approach. Anyhow whilst researching into MF I discovered the 'Holga' and its massive fanbase. Whilst I was in awe of some of the pics produced & would like to attempt that style of photography I am rather daunted by the complete lack of control. My question to you therefore is: can I produce similar pictures whilst having more control over the camera ?
    I have read occasional posts recommending the use of very old folders with poor quality lenses so that shutter speed/ aperture is still controllable - can anyone recommend one such camera (not too expensive) and where one can easily be found.
    Thanks - Mathew
     
  2. Leon

    Leon Member

    Messages:
    2,075
    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2003
    Location:
    Kent, Englan
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    you can try doing it at the printing stage using selective diffusion and heavily burning the edges to vignette, or stack some filters on the end of your camera lens and selectively grease one of them with some vaseline leaving a sweet spot roughly in the middle, but if I were you, I wouldnt worry about the holga inflexibility. You can still control film speed and by using a compensating developer, you can get reasonably reliable results.

    I worte this piece for toycamera.com regarding this matter
     
  3. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,102
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2003
    Location:
    Århus, Denma
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Put a couple of UV-filters in front the lens to make the corners dark and experiement with filter with grease on to make the image blur.
     
  4. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Any old folder will do. They all have lenses which are good from f:11, but the cheaper ones are soft at full opening. I have an old Perkeo I which is wondrously soft at f:5.6, wondrously sharp at f:16...
     
  5. eyecaramba

    eyecaramba Member

    Messages:
    31
    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    Location:
    Richmond, Vi
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Listen to the Lion. I mean, Leon. He is a font of tech meets toy camera wisdom. But I will chime in that the Holga is excellent when put in the right position. I don't break mine out for certain subjects. Generally, I have a couple of plastic cameras on hand and then a rolleiflex, or horizon, or 35mm just to account for various situations. Hoping not to miss something just b/c I like the cheap cameras.
     
  6. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

    Messages:
    3,242
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Location:
    Milwaukee, W
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Good advice

    Use the advice offered by the other APUG members but also be sure to try to use without emulating a Holga. It is easier and you may find that you like the reults it gives you even more.

    Enjoy your new camera.
     
  7. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

    Messages:
    1,845
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2005
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Another option is to get a Lubitel -- the 166B and 166 Universal give images slightly less distorted, fuzzy, and vignetted than a 6x6 converted Holga (very comparable to a Woca, actually), but have focusing and full control of aperture and shutter (within their limits). They also aren't (as) prone to light leaks, but they're still plastic.
     
  8. artdog

    artdog Member

    Messages:
    3
    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    German Folders

    I found a couple of Agfa Isolette folders on ebay quite cheaply [under fifty USD]. Medium format for the back pocket of your jeans. The focus is based on the guess system, but I got the hang of that quickly enough.

    I've also got an Agfa Isola, a fifties model point and shoot MF, considered a toy camera as is the Holga, but far better build quality and no light leaks.

    I've got a Lubitel 166 and like it, but I collect Russian cameras so I'm biased.

    Keep us posted as your adventure in MF unfolds.

    Peace
    Artdog
     
  9. Lee L

    Lee L Member

    Messages:
    3,247
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I was going to suggest an Isolette I as well. I picked up the cheapest model, with an Agnar 85mm f:4.5 (stops down to f:32) and a Vario shutter (speeds of 1/200, 1/25, 1/50, or B) yesterday. Jurgen Kreckel in Pennsylvania works on these, and informs me that this cheapest version still has a good lens and that the Vario shutter stays accurate because it has so few moving parts. I picked mine up yesterday for well under $10. Can't say exactly, as I got it with a very clean 6x7 color enlarger and 75mm enlarging lens for just over $30.

    I don't know how Holga-like the lens is yet. I have negatives nearly dry as I type. Jurgen says to expect it to perform pretty well. Add about 12mm to the height of a Bessa L 35mm body and you have the size of the folded Isolette. It also has a nice set of marks for hyperfocal distance and for 8ft-through-16ft focus for fast pre-focus shooting, and a good DOF scale. Focus scale down to 3 ft. (Mine's a US market version, no metric distance scale.)

    You have to expect pinholes in the Isolette bellows, which you can either patch yourself or have replaced. Mine has a couple of very small ones at a seam. If my negs look good, I'll have the bellows replaced and a CLA, and this camera will fit in a pocket or a corner of the camera bag and go for another 50 years.

    Info on Isolettes at: www.certo6.com

    Fits the "not-a-Holga" and "more control" requirements.

    Lee
     
  10. ian_greant

    ian_greant Member

    Messages:
    405
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2003
    Location:
    Calgary
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    great article Leon. Thanks for writing it and for posting the link again.

    Cheers,
    Ian
     
  11. eric

    eric Member

    Messages:
    1,586
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hello Matthew. Don't know how much Holga's cost over there but here in the states, it costs about < $20.00. Will it kill you to spend that much on one just to see what the hubbub is all about? I think its a pretty good investment to make considering all the other options.

    As far as control, yes, like Leon, I like to be able to control it. I don't like light leaks. A lot of people do but I don't find it that fascinating. Its a dang light leak! You'll find a million resources on the web on how to control that aspect. But with a lot like other stuff, you'll have to try it and get used to your film speed, how you develop it, subject matter, parralax problem, etc, etc. You'll probaly find the same problems if you get something of the 50's, 60's vintage. I too have an Agfa Isola and an Agfa Clack but they are different. For one thing, the shutter is really slow. But still the same problem of parallax, shutter speeds, film, developer, etc.
     
  12. matchat

    matchat Member

    Messages:
    19
    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2005
    Location:
    Sheffield, E
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Hi, thanks for the advice. After seeing the article upon Holga use it has inspired me with more confidence and no doubt I could always try holding a ND filter in front of the lens in bright situations to prevent overexposure. I think then that I probably will try one although I might perhaps get a folder first - those Agfa's seem alright and I notice they are quite easy to find on ebay.
     
  13. FrankB

    FrankB Member

    Messages:
    2,147
    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2003
    Location:
    Northwest UK
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    All this discussion (and, I must admit, seeing Leon's beautiful prints at the Keswick Gathering!) has made me wonder...

    I have an old hand-me-down Lubitel II TLR in the back of a cupboard somewhere. How would images from that compare with those from the Holga and other mentioned here?
     
  14. Leon

    Leon Member

    Messages:
    2,075
    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2003
    Location:
    Kent, Englan
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Frank - i find the lubitel is too good to be bad ... if you catch my drift. It has a multi element coated glass lens which can be pretty good, if you can get it focused ok (always a prob with a lubi) - it has poor quality build though so is quite toyish in that manner. One of my lubis does vignette to some degree, but the other doesnt at all so it;s hit and miss. I reckon if you are interested in the toy look, plastic is the only way to go .. holga or diana I'm afraid IMO
     
  15. FrankB

    FrankB Member

    Messages:
    2,147
    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2003
    Location:
    Northwest UK
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Thanks for the feedback, Leon. I'll give it some thought!
     
  16. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

    Messages:
    1,845
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2005
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Well, of course, if you *want* the Holga "look" (in terms of light fall-off and field curvature, not necessarily the light leaks, film scratches, and so forth), you could save $10 to $15 by prowling thrift stores and finding a box camera or similar. Many of these had the "features" that give Holga images their cachet, and cost anywhere from $1 to $10. Almost all of them take either 120 or 620 film (620 is easily obtained by respooling 120 in a changing bag or darkroom -- and some will take a 120 spool with the flanges trimmed flush with the surface of the backing paper for supply, though even those usually need a 620 spool for takeup; you can also buy "resized" 120 that fits 620 cameras for around $5 to $6 a roll), with a few taking 127 (still available in one emulsion each of B&W, C-41, and E-6, also $5 to $6 per roll).

    I've got a couple of these in 6x9; they have the soft corners and a trace of light fall-off, but they're actually too good to be Holga; if I masked them to 6x6, the images could pass for Lubitel (except there's no trace of light fall-off inside a 6x6 frame).
     
  17. Neal Shields

    Neal Shields Member

    Messages:
    10
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2004
    Location:
    Ft. Worth,Te
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    If you can afford it, go buy a baby speed graphic with a roll film back and you can use everything from magnifying glasses to plastic lenses salvaged out of thrift shop Polaroids.

    Polaroid lenses will usuallly cover up to 4x5. I have one I use on my speed graphic. They are usually about 75mm and f11
     
  18. bjorke

    bjorke Member

    Messages:
    2,032
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2003
    Location:
    SF & Surroun
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Michael Grecco, in his Art of Portraiture book, talks about this. He liked the Holga/Diana look, but he also needed to deliver shots on time and on budget dependably. So he showed example setups on paying clients, where he used his trusty 'blad and still achieved enough of a Holga look to make his art director happy. :smile:
     
  19. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

    Messages:
    3,221
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Location:
    S.E. New Yor
    There is a Holga filter available for Photoshop.
    Just think, for a few thousand dollars in computer equipment and software you can make pictures that are almost as good as a 12 dollar film camera :smile:
     
  20. eyecaramba

    eyecaramba Member

    Messages:
    31
    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    Location:
    Richmond, Vi
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Well put, Mr. Williams.