Types of Holga
So you want in on the Holga action? I don't blame you. Firstly you'll need to pick yourself a nice new Holga. There are several different species of Holga, which one you choose is entirely up to you. The main differences between each camera are its inclusion of a flash and its lens material. The following table is a guide to Holga model numbers (reproduced with permission from Holga Blog).
||Standard, as in the original Holga 120S
||New/Normal, means the new standard, the 120S was replaced with the 120N
||Glass, A glass version of the standard plastic Holga lens
||Flash, this means the Holga has a flash built in
||Wide, for a wide panoramic Holga (6x9 images)
||Colour Flash, these letters will always be together, the colour flash enables you to change the colour on the flash that is built into the Holga.
||Pinhole Camera, any time you see PC, it means the Holga doesn't have a lens, but a pinhole instead, along with a permanent ‘B’ bulb mode.
||Bent/Black Corners, The standard 135 camera lacks a lot of vignetting, so Holga introduced the BC version to ‘bend the corners’ of your photo giving that much loved Holga effect.
||Three Dimensional. Basically, a Holga with 2 lenses side by side.
||Twin Lens Reflex, a Holga with one lens for framing and one for taking the photo.
||Takes 120 Film
||Takes 35mm Film
||Takes 110 Film
Updated 120 Models (2009 onwards)
The Holga 120 has been refined slightly in factory. The results are as follows:
- Working apertures: f/13 cloudy, and f/20 sunny
- Shutter arm has a bulge, so the bottom right hand double-exposure no longer requires a hack
- The tripod mount has moved slightly, so the old cable release accessory no longer fits
- The two holes inside the camera where the battery wiring comes through have been sealed up, stopping the two red leaks seen at the bottom of your pictures.
Which Holga should I choose?
The Holga that I recommend to most people is the Holga 120N (or 120GN). There are a couple of reasons why I think this is a great first Holga; firstly, it is the cheapest, so if you get it and then find you don't like it, you wont lose out much. Secondly, it is the most flexible—it has a hot shoe attachment, so you can use any flash you'd like. Futhermore, if your batteries run out half way through a roll, they can be changed without having to take the film out.
Plastic or glass?
It's really up to you, and your personal preference. Many purists say the only good Holga is a plastic-lensed Holga. Others say that the glass-lensed Holga is able to get sharper images. Andrew at holga blog, did a shoot-out between the plastic and glassed lens. The results are very interesting. It seems the plastic lensed Holga is actually sharper than the glass. It also seems to exhibit more vignetting, which perhaps makes it "more Holga-like" than the glass. The plastic lens is also cheaper, which fits in nicely with the Holga mentality!
Conversely, there is a shoot-out over at Holgarama Blog, which uses colour film, and the results seem to be completely different. There doesn't seem to be any definitive proof that one is better than the other. The varying results could be explained by the fact that each different Holga has a different identity. Some are sharper than another, some feature more vignetting.