Hit Or Miss Holga

An affair with Miss Holga

windblown cabbage trees

Windblown cabbage trees – Invercargill Estuary Walkway

It was back in August last year that I first posted about the plastic fantastic Holga lens that I had acquired for my Nikon D5100. Because of the unpredictability of outcomes I have come to regard her as hit or miss Holga.

Since that initial post one or two people have asked me why I put a cheap plastic lens on a sophisticated digital camera like the Nikon D5100.

Well – the answer is – it makes for cheap photographic fun. Much of the fun comes from the fact that the Holga lens has quite a range of limitations meaning there is a fair amount of guesswork needed when taking pictures, and you can always be assured of a surprise outcome.

First of all this lens is made of plastic, which in optical terms generally means image results will be not too flash (no pun intended…). It has a 60mm focal length and a fixed f8.0 – or thereabouts – aperture, and Holga uses a primitive form of zone focussing – no auto-focus here. In fact the way the lens couples with the camera is also a form of focussing in its own right as it “floats” very loosely on the D5100 mounting ring.

I call her hit or miss Holga because it is very much a guessing game when taking photographs.

Put the lens on and then adjust shutter speed and or the ISO setting to get a half decent exposure. I often find that I use ISO400 or even push it up to ISO800 because the f8.0 aperture doesn’t let a lot of light through!

The images produced by hit or miss Holga are almost always totally unpredictable. Focussing is soft; colours can be weird; and then their is the vignetting effect and occasional lens flare – you never know exactly what you are going to get.

But having said all that this type of photography is a good way to bring some fun back into your photography – and, for all their faults, images produced by Holga have a certain ….je ne sais quoi about them.




Look for trains


Cabbage trees

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