Holga modifications, anyone?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by gma, Apr 28, 2004.

  1. gma

    gma Member

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    The Holga 6x6 model looks to me like the perfect camera to tinker with. Has anyone modified one of these to use salvaged lenses and shutters? From the posts of Holga prints I have seen the camera seems to be a respectable lightproof container and film transporter. Holding the film flat without scratching is about all you can ask for twenty bucks. Who knows what a clever person could produce using a good salvage lens & shutter assebly from an old folder or a TLR parts camera?
     
  2. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    check the toy camera group. I will have to check the web address and get back to you, but Leon and several others here are very involved with that group. There is someone who does a lot of modifications with Holga's.

    Perhaps Leon will have that information.
     
  3. ann

    ann Subscriber

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  4. Andre R. de Avillez

    Andre R. de Avillez Member

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    Gma,

    from what I've heard and read (i.e. 2nd hand knowledge) the Holgas are very prone to light leaks. If all you want is a box to hold film flat while you put an old folder/TLR lens on it, why not get an old folder/TLR? You could buy one or two for what you'd pay for a holga... I mean, If a mediocre lens is what you want, buy a mediocre camera, right?

    I know, that takes all the fun out :smile:

    Anyway, check out freestyle, in their catalog they sell a wolga (sp?), a Holga with a glass lens. Might be what you want, Although I'd rather have more shutter speeds and f-stops.

    Keeping in mind that I had a mediocre TLR, I'd rather buy another TLR than a Holga
     
  5. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    Perhaps John will jump into this discussion. He has been doing a lot of work with these cameras as have several other students; myself included.

    We are finding very few if any leaks; feeling perhaps it is flare. At least so far. But this is a small sample

    I have modified mine to use with 35 mm film; so the image spills over into the rebate. Because of this use I do have the frame indicator taped over, but that is all. No leak issues.

    With the holga in 120 mode there is a issue with the hot shoe placement which will need taping. Some type of hole that can be a light problem. With using the mask; i.e. 645 frame, that does not come into play.,

    There is a special look to this images and they are great fun as it really frees your mind from everything except the image . Interesting dynamtic.
    Check Leon's work with Holga. Wonderful stuff.

    Diane's do have some serious leak problems as they were the fore runner for toy camera work.

    Check Jonathan Bailey's website for beautiful diane work. He also uses split toning which really places the images on a different level. Lovely, ethereal work.
     
  6. Leon

    Leon Member

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    holga light leaks are easliy remedied - only takes 5 minutes to fit a bit of light proof material around the seals and to tape up several points inside the camera (not all need this though - depends if you get a good one or not). I spray the film chamber with matt black paint too - you get less internal reflections and a purer image that way,

    It is excellent fun to tinker with Holgas - I love 'em. And the soft plastic body makes it really easy to attach things.

    I would definitely recommend one.

    (BTW - thanks for the plug ann!)
     
  7. lee

    lee Member

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    www.holgamods.com if ya don't wanna fool with the mods yourself. or can give you ideas for your own mods.
    lee\c
     
  8. gma

    gma Member

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    For some reason I thought the Holga was 6x6 , but I see now that it is actually 4.5x6.
    It sounds like more trouble than it is worth, even though I am a chronic tinkerer.
    Thanks for the advise and website referrals.
     
  9. Leon

    Leon Member

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    the holga is only 6x4.5 with the6x4.5 insert, but it is 6x6 if you take it out - it is both. If you were to buy one of the new ones on ebay from the hong kong sellers, you can get a 6x6 insert - it's everything and nothing.
     
  10. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    It is not much trouble, probably about 5 minutes of tinkering.
     
  11. pierre

    pierre Member

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    The Holga is 645 format from the factory, but it has the switchable red window for 6x6. All you have to do is to make a 6x6 mask. The lens, however, does not provide enough coverage for 6x6 without causing vignetting in the corners. Using the camera as 6x6 by removing the 645 mask entirely and not replacing it is why many people have light leaks. The mask is part of the whole system which keeps the film flat and tight, and which keeps out light. Also, just making a 6x6 mask by cutting out the extra material in the original 645 mask and using just the rim is not enough. You have to fabricate the inside part of the mask with paper or something to block out light from inside parts of the camera. Another thing that causes apparent light leaks is from (1) people not being used to loading and unloading 120 film and inadvertently letting light get into it, or (2) loose winding of the film, which causes light to leak onto parts of the film when unloading. This can be remedied too, if it happens.

    I've given a lot of thought to how I would graft a different lens on that camera, like from a 6x6 folder. I've thought of taking the lens from an old cheap Polaroid pack camera. But, really, what would be the point? The camera IS the lens. If you already have a 6x6 folder, why not just leave the lens on it and use it instead of a Holga, or if you have an old, cheap Polaroid pack camera, why not just use IT as a toy camera, since pack film is readily available. Of course, the perspective would be different, because the Holga has about a 60mm lens, and 6x6 folders generally have a 75 or 80mm lens. One idea that might have some merit is somehow using the same lens (to keep that Holga look), but grafting on a shutter that allows a range of shutter speeds. Then again, my feeling is why not just use a camera that already has shutter speed settings. Part of the appeal of the Holga is making it work within the severe limitations it imposes.

    On the other hand, with a spare Holga, it might be fun to make modifications like that, even though, it really wouldn't be a Holga anymore... but it could simply be satisfying to make such a customization work. I think it wouldn't be too hard to graft a folder shutter/lens combination on there (probably using the existing lens barrel and some epoxy glue, and then to deternine focus points using a ground glass.

    Personally, I think an old box camera would be a much better platform for such modifications, but then, you wouldn't be able to say it's a Holga photo :smile:
     
  12. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    For a few more dollars you can buy a WOCA which is a Holga with a glass lens. I have a couple of Holgas and find they are great fun. There are two holes to cover with tape, make a little cover for the film counter out of tape that you can hinge up between exposures and you are ready to go. The sites mentioned contain additional mods. Painting the inside flat black is probably a good idea. I have no light leaks with mine and perfer to have the only "flaws" to be a result of the lens. I use one normal and the other one I modified to keep the shutter open for long night exposures. The most ideal film in my mind is the Arista 400, basically HP5.
     
  13. Leon

    Leon Member

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    pierre said

    ... well, thats exactly what i have on my 1st holga and I have no probs at all. The film stays flat, no extra light leaks and i get great negatives. In fact, sometimes i prefer i to my other holga with the factory made 6x6 insert.

    The best thing about holgas is to just try and see - new ones are available at very low prices on Ebay so it's not really that much of a problem if it doesnt work out. If anyone is thinking about getting one, dont wory about anything said here, just get one and try it out for yourself :wink:
     
  14. pierre

    pierre Member

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    But you're quoting me out of context. The partial home-trimmed mask is fine if you have also covered the couple of internal light leaks in the film chamber. A complete 6x6 mask blocks out the light from those completely.

    Pierre
     
  15. gma

    gma Member

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    Thanks for the input. Since the Holga 4.5x6 mask can be cut to expose a full 6x6 negative I might give it a try. My idea is to replace the lens & shutter to achieve better image quality, even if the replacement lens is old and uncoated. I would not destroy a perfectly good folder or TLR just for the lens. I would only use a salvaged lens & shutter.
     
  16. Leon

    Leon Member

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    have fun and let us know how you get on