My Holga 120 GN scratches the film all over with the mask on.

Discussion in 'Lo-Fi Cameras' started by Iridium, Feb 19, 2011.

  1. Iridium

    Iridium Member

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    A few time ago I got a Holga 120 GN for a project. I kept the 6x6 mask on (cause I didn’t want the extra vignetting) and for extra protection against possible scratches I covered the vertical sides (where the film basically comes in contact) with electrical tape. Moreover, for more tension on the film I put a piece of cardboard under the spool.

    At the first HP5+ rolls, I didn’t notice any obvious scratch on them. However, a very disappointing result came out when I put a Fomapan 200 roll in the Holga. I noticed a batch of parallel smooth lines all over the film, like rubbing the film with a harsh material.The effect became quite obvious when I scanned the film. Actually, all of the images are destroyed. You can see the attached picture.

    After that I checked carefully the rest of the films (around 5-6) and I noticed also several continuous scratches on them. The HP5+ looks far more resistant than FP200, but many of the images have also been affected by the scratches.

    The problem is that I scrutinised the frame of the camera and I didn’t find any hump on the plastics. I just smoothed with sandpaper the clips of the mask and covered them with tape. I will try again.

    I checked also some films that have been shot with another camera, but developed with the same reel. Nothing at all.

    I cannot think of any other cause of scratching as the film is covered over by its paper and it doesn’t touch either the sponges under the spools or the back and the inner part of the camera.

    Any idea?
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Be sure to clean the inside of the camera thoroughly. Plastic tape tends to attract dust particles, especially when another plastic is dragged across it creating a small electrical charge.
     
  3. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Holgas scratch films. Sometimes. Especially if you put more tension on the film.

    Don't ask too much of a cheaply built plastic camera. I have the same problem with my Holga, with films like TMax 400, Delta 3200, and Tri-X, which are also hardened.
    I had this result with the camera in original configuration. Since then, in order to try to fix it, I have done:
    1. polished the film mask edges, first with a very fine grit sandpaper, and then with a piece of hardwood, to get it absolutely smooth.
    2. Increase tension on the take-up spool with the loopy side of velcro.
    3. Try to replace the foam where the film spools are, because it came off one day, and actually rolled itself up into the film roll, when it was hot outside (95*F, the glue that held the foam in place melted).

    They are prone to problems. If you have one that gives you a problem, you are better off tossing it and getting a new one. Repeat until you have a good one.

    - Thomas
     
  4. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    I agree with polishing the mask rails. That seems to do the trick.

    Rather than tossing the camera, I would be more inclined to cannibalize it for parts. They are cheap, plastic parts, but if you are shooting a Holga, you are probably the type to experiment. There have been more than a couple of times where I've where I've eyed my Holga with murderous lust just to obtain some mechanism or piece of housing that I otherwise would have to fabricate.
     
  5. MVNelson

    MVNelson Subscriber

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    I have never gotten a scratch on any film with my Holga 120N and I'm guessing that it is because the first thing I did when I got the thing was to throw away that mask thingy. You may get a little bit more vignetting at close-up but I think that's better than scratches. @ $25 each I'd buy 2 more and maybe one will be worth a darn :smile: .... in fact I just ordered my second one reading this thread just for the hellafit ... or in case I drop the one I have again ...
     
  6. paulie

    paulie Member

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    i tried all the above tricks i redisgned the frame mask sanded all the parts, foam to tension the film but none of these fixes worked.

    the reason the holga scratches film is due to the way you hold it when you wind the film

    you probably are holding it with your fingers wrapped around the front - back of the camera ,like a slr.

    dont do this hold the camera between thumb and fore finger,thumb on the bottom and fore fiunger on the top, then wind the film without touching the back

    guaranteed to work as any pressure on the back of the camera will scratch your film every time
     
  7. frontdrive34

    frontdrive34 Member

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    I agree strongly about how you hold the camera when winding film. Any pressure on the back and I can't wind mine on!

    I also added strips of plastic electrical tape on the edges of the mask as I was getting scratches on LUCKY SHD100 chinese film. No scratches since.
     
  8. Iridium

    Iridium Member

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    I will try these tricks before getting a new one and I'll report.
     
  9. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

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    I think 120 format scratching problems were well documented with Fomapan 100? Something about the backing paper?

    Ans chance this is a film problem?
     
  10. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    A remote possibility. I shoot Fomapan 100/120 and its alter ego from Freestyle in two different Mamiyas, a Yashica D, and an Agfa Isolette, no scratches.
     
  11. Iridium

    Iridium Member

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    A couple of weeks ago, I gave Shangai GP3 a try in one of my Holgas. The result was also frustrating like with the Fomapans. The scratches are all over and along the film. I developed it in HC-110 and the negative looks quite nice. Perhaps, I will try another roll of GP3 more carefully, but I see another cheap film useless for 120 Holgas.

    Up to the moment, 400TX, Acros, HP5+ and FP4 are the films that work without scratches in my 2 Holga GNs.
     
  12. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I believe the OP was talking about adding pressure to the sides of the take-up spool in order to prevent the "fat roll" problem.
     
  13. Smudger

    Smudger Member

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    It does not help,I admit, but just today I saw an Unhappy Post on a local auction site from a discontented buyer who was upset by the relative sharpness,and lack of vignetting of their Holga camera, and wondered if they had a faulty copy..
     
  14. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    So it would seem that unless you are very careful or lucky a Holga scratches film! I wonder how long Simon Galley could pay his mortgage if his company sold film that had a similar fault rate?

    Perhaps Ford, General Motors etc could try putting some fun back into motoring by selling vehicles that reminded people of the early days of motoring when breakdowns were part of the fun!!


    I confess to being perplexed about the thrill of Holgas

    pentaxuser
     
  15. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    It can be a more primitive experience, especially for those that are used to exacting exposure/development techniques. For me, it's a nice break from large format... limited controls allow you to work faster, and concentrate on only the image. I do prefer Dianas, though.
     
  16. JessicaDittmer

    JessicaDittmer Member

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    they are just kinda fun...LOL. I love mine, it has just the right effect for me. I hear that many times the masks scratch film and that a fingernail file/emery board is a good idea and a good de-dust of it then after file job to clean it out. It is a fun camera to toss about and not worry about too much. For $24 I've always been happy with mine. I have to push like 2 stops typically but I just keep that in mind. Here are a few old shots from mine:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  17. epp

    epp Member

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    I once had a cheap 120 TLR camera, not a Holga. The first roll of film had scratches going the entire length of the negatives. It was then that I discovered a burr in the metal of the frame mask. I wrapped the two ends of the mask with black electrical tape. Then shot a new roll, no scratches.
     
  18. rjbuzzclick

    rjbuzzclick Member

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    Did the camera get warm at all from the sun? Electrical tape adhesive has a tendency to turn into a sticky mess at slightly warmer temperatures. I'd be hesitant to put it anywhere where something rubs against it. Maybe this is getting on the film.
     
  19. Silverhead

    Silverhead Member

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    I use electrical tape in almost all my Holgas and I have never had a stickiness problem, even out here in Southern California where it gets *HOT* during the summer. I shot some great stuff at the Coachella festival a number of years ago that I ended up cross-processing--no stickiness, even though it was over 100 degrees there that day.
     
  20. traveller

    traveller Member

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    A little bit of sanding with a very fine paper and polishing is all that is needed :smile:
     
  21. epp

    epp Member

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    Sanding might work as well, but I never had a problem using the electrical tape on it.

    The camera was never in direct sunlight.