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  1. #1

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

    A few time ago I got a Holga 120 GN for a project. I kept the 6x6 mask on (cause I didnít 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 didnít 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 didnít 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 doesnít touch either the sponges under the spools or the back and the inner part of the camera.

    Any idea?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Holga scratch.jpg  

  2. #2
    Rick A's Avatar
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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.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

  3. #3
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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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
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  4. #4
    Toffle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    Holgas scratch films. Sometimes. Especially if you put more tension on the film.

    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.

    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
    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.
    Tom, on Point Pelee, Canada

    Ansel Adams had the Zone System... I'm working on the points system. First I points it here, and then I points it there...

    http://tom-overton-images.weebly.com


  5. #5
    MVNelson's Avatar
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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 .... 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 ...
    Miles :
    cherish light

  6. #6
    paulie's Avatar
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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. #7

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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. #8

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

  9. #9

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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. #10
    Rick A's Avatar
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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.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

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