Why are they so expensive?

Discussion in 'Lo-Fi Cameras' started by brofkand, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    Why are Dianas, holgas, etc so expensive? They honestly look like something you would get for popping a balloon at the fair. They most certainly aren't worth $25 for a Holga, or $50 for a Diana.

    They're just plastic. Am I missing something? Perhaps I should buy a few of the $1 35mm cameras at my dollar store, keep them for 20 years, and sell them as well?
     
  2. Robert Oliver

    Robert Oliver Member

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    They sell for so much because people are paying that much.....
     
  3. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    Yes, that's right. It's because that's what people are prepared to pay. That's what happens when objects achieve cult status. I bought an original Diana recently, and am almost embarrassed to admit what I paid. But the Diana does have a certain "look" and that's what I wanted. I also bought a Casio VL-Tone (as used in the Trio song "Da Da Da") recently, and that now has a cult status, so you have to be prepared to pay what other people are prepared to pay.
     
  4. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    I recently bought a Diana at the local thrift store -- for 75 cents, marked down from a dollar...

    Actually have not used it yet -- shutter fires fine.

    Vaughn
     
  5. Shawn Rahman

    Shawn Rahman Subscriber

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    I have thousands of dollars of Mamiya and Nikon equipment :-(

    2 of my 4 favorite pictures I've ever taken are with a $20 Holga :smile:
     
  6. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Price of equipment bares no effect on the finished results. It's all what you do with it. I love my Holga too, and I consider it my most successful camera. I'm not sure I agree that $20 for a Holga is expensive, especially since it's the only camera that I've broken even with after one print sale... :smile:
    I see all of these conversations about Holga, Diana, old folders, cheap pinhole cameras, etc... Most of the time there's both disappointment that the expensive equipment doesn't yield better results than it does, and amazement of how little a decent tool to make photographs can cost. It's like a golfer that blames his 'sticks' for a poor game. Just set lens contrast handling, resolution, sharpness aside for a while, and focus on what's important - subject matter. The less there is between photographer and a beautiful negative, the better it is imo. That to me is the benefit of the Holga and Diana cameras - it's so simple, there is no BS to distract and confuse me with what's important.
    One other (very important) aspect of using a Holga. It will most definitely make you a better printer, because it's f-ing difficult to print Holga negs sometimes. It's great practice.
    - Thomas
     
  7. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    I would love to find a Diana or a Holga at a local thrift store. All I've found around here are the Time cameras that look like SLRs. Apparently the thrift store clerks think they are SLRs, because they price them at $10-20.

    I have been seriously considering a Holga, but I am not willing to pay $25 for a plastic camera. What does the market say about me? Too bad, so sad, I guess :smile:
     
  8. ChrisC

    ChrisC Member

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    You think that's bad? Camera stores here sell Holgas for well over $100 ($65USD).

    I'm so thankful my brother bought me one from the US.
     
  9. Kevin Kehler

    Kevin Kehler Member

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    I paid the $20 for a Holga on eBay, and I think it is worth what I paid. I don't understand people paying extra for models with camouflage painting ($45) or to have it inspected and re-flocked ($60). I use a $1 roll of electrical tape to hold it together, a folded receipt to keep the reel in tight and carry it almost everywhere. The true joys for me is the ability to carry it anywhere due to the light weight and the ability to show the camera does not make the photographer. I won a contest recently with one of my Holga shots, and the 2nd place winner was furious that my "POS" contraption placed higher than his $4000 digital setup.
     
  10. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Just out of curiosity - why does it matter what the camera is made of if it can yield the results you want? I am grappling with that I have to confess. Please - seriously - why?
    - Thomas

     
  11. Jersey Vic

    Jersey Vic Member

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    I just picked up an unused original 1960's Diana in the original bag and box with the strap and instructions for free.
    Well, free with a $450 Durst enlarger. It's very well designed, quite sleek and functions beautifully. After using it, I would easily have paid $100 for it .

    That being said, a Holga at $25 is pretty rich. I paid $18 for mine and the build quality hardly seems worth that. Unfortunately I don't think anyone else is going to set up a factory to make $12 medium format film cameras that are capable of making excellent pictures anytime soon.
     
  12. Jersey Vic

    Jersey Vic Member

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    Isn't New Zealand closer to China than to U.S.?
    Then again my Italian cousins come to NYC and buy italian shoes..
     
  13. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    What I am saying is the build quality is severely lacking. Everyone says, "tape up your Holga or your images will be fogged." I've never used one, so I can't comment on that. It would seem that for $25 you'd at least get a camera that is properly lightproof.

    I agree the images you get from a Holga are special, so in that regard they are easily worth the $25. In fact, I would say the extra potential a Holga opens up in a Photographer's mind makes it worth more (Lensbabies sells a lens that in essence converts your SLR into a Holga for $100 minimum). My point is this: it's plastic. It probably costs less than $5 to make. Spend an extra $1 or so to build in some foam for lightproofing. Build on a real hinge or something more sturdy than flimsy clips for the back.
     
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  15. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    This just in: Holgas (the 120N, cheapest model) is now $28 at Freestyle.
     
  16. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    They are expensive because of the status factor. They are "cool". It is now cool to say that your pics happened by accident and luck, and have enough weight to be good based on some technical concern such as your use of a plastic camera. Some day soon, the opposite will be back en vogue.

    If I happen to get a great shot with a Holga, Diana, or any other camera, I guess I have the option of proclaiming it, and maybe being cool. People will think I am so badddd ass because I shun technique.....

    WHATEVER - I see it as a usable photographic tool in the art of printmaking. When you want something with a certain mood or look, there is nothing like them. $40 seems relatively cheap for the Diana, especially with the new features and the book that comes with it. The Holga at $35 seems cheap too. As long as you view them as a means to an end, and not simply as a CONSUMER PRODUCT judged on surface value alone, they are well worth the money, IMO.

    The second someone mentions gear in an artist's statement, a red flag goes up for me, whether it be an overly technical obsession with gear, or a heavyhanded statement about the wonders of shooting without technique.

    The only time plastic camera images work, IMO, is when the subject matter somehow relates conceptually to the fact that it is a "cheap toy"; when the camera is used to talk about or create pix making cultural commentary on ways in which a person might have used the camera in all seriousness before it became a cult icon. IMO, very good for a cheap suburban nostalgic mood.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 19, 2008
  17. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I think I've put around 50 rolls of film through this Holga now. It failed me when it was new, but since I spent 30 minutes researching, and 10 minutes fixing the issues, it has worked flawlessly. Do I tape it up? Yes, I use gaffer's tape all over it. Does it have light leaks? Probably, but since the 6x6 film mask is installed, it's not that big of a deal. I have two Holgas like this that works flawlessly. I paid $40 for them. That is about three tenths of the price of a 100 sheet box of Ilford MGWT fiber paper in 8x10 size.

    I printed the image below yesterday to 9" square, and I intended for it to look like this when I triggered the shutter to open. It is a useful tool, and to come by a useful tool, in the world of photography, for that little money is extraordinary. It's a fully functional camera, lens and all, for the same price as 25 sheets of high quality photo paper.

    - Thomas
     

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  18. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Beautiful Thomas! Cameras are tools...they much match the vision of the photographer...and sometimes the tool helps to form the vision of the photographer. No problem with that...it is synergy at its best!

    Vaughn

    I think I will get the Diana out (if I can find it with our last move) and take it to the beach with my boys!
     
  19. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    One minor caveat to the above.

    I think that the correct comment is that "Price of equipment is not determinative of the finished results.

    Generally speaking, the quality of the top priced equipment does have an effect on the finished results - it just might not have as much effect as one hopes when one is paying for it.

    Matt
     
  20. Ross Chambers

    Ross Chambers Member

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    Chris: "You think that's bad? Camera stores here sell Holgas for well over $100 ($65USD). "

    The only place that I have seen them for sale in Sydney is at the Museum of Contemporary Art for similar exorbitant prices. And just to really stretch the mugs' abilities they sell the less than forgiving Rollei film (which does come in a pretty container, for what that's worth).
    Regards - Ross
     
  21. gr82bart

    gr82bart Subscriber

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    Compared to a $3000 Hasselblad, it's a pretty good deal.

    I had a former colleague tell me how she too couldn't understand why anyone would pay for a $70 Holga kit that her daughter wanted. She actually talked her out of buying the camera, how stupid it was, how she should not follow 'fashion' trends, etc.... A potential film photographer shot down in her prime. She got her a P&S digicam instead and everyday, three times a day, she walks to the designated outside area to smoke a pack and to the Starbucks to buy a $4 double, double, soy, soy, whatever, whatever, coffee.

    Regards, Art.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 19, 2008
  22. ChrisC

    ChrisC Member

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    I get the feeling that most people that sell them here probably buy them from US vendors as our market is so small that there's pretty much no point in ordering a bulk order from the factory. Thus we have to pay US prices + shipping in small numbers + NZ mark up.
     
  23. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    I wouldn't say the great Holga/Diana are result of luck or random. To me it seems like Holga/Diana Shooters know very well what the cameras can or cannot do. In some way it is more difficult to use the toys succesfully than normal cameras.
    As far as the "cult" thing I agree. If the Holga was made to better standards It wouldn't be the same. The lightleaks, vignetting, the DIY mods and selfdissasempling nature of it is part of what makes it what it is. Maybe this is why the Luobitell is not as popular, its to well made, to normal.
    Kind regards
     
  24. Kevin Kehler

    Kevin Kehler Member

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    Why not buy direct on eBay? That's what I did for much less than you are talking about.
     
  25. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    "I wouldn't say the great Holga/Diana are result of luck or random."

    My point was that many of those who use them love to proclaim that it is!
     
  26. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Developed my first roll of film from my 75 cent Diana. They look great...though I was surprised that the negs are smaller than 2 1/4. I "wasted" 4 shots...I just rolled the film up after I exposed #12, not even paying attention to the fact that the numbers 13 thru 16 appeared in the little red window. The film was still drying when I left the darkroom -- I'll take a closer look at them tonight. Some light leaks along the edges of the film -- but nothing close to the actual images.

    I have some old Tech Pan I might put thru it -- for some reason "Tech" and "plastic" together sounds like fun! And I agree with Kevin -- the blasted thing is so light that I might take it backpacking in couple of weeks along with the Rolleiflex.

    Vaughn