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When is a Holga not a Holga? [review + giveaway]



OUR WINNER IS ==> http://juanitalruffner.weebly.com/ Congrats, we’ll be in touch!!


When it’s a Holga lens that mounts on to your dSLR camera, of course! as opposed to a Holga 120 Color Flash Camera that you may have seen about the place.

Rick from Holga Direct dropped us an email via the helpdesk and pretty soon I was wandering about with the little HL-C [Holga Lens for Canon] on the front of my Canon 5DMKII / Grip which actually looked crazy! A $25 lens on the front of a $2500 camera!

Image: Holga Lens HL-C with my Canon 5DmkII and Grip

Holga Lens HL-C with my Canon 5DmkII and Grip

These little guys need a bit of light to work well and at first I thought I was doing something wrong, that’s largely because I was doing something wrong! I’d left the rear lens cap on the HL-C! The Lens comes with front and rear plastic caps, much the same as your regular lenses, though the rear one is tiny and easy to miss – well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! The lenses work pretty much the same as your regular lenses, too, except they don’t focus, the don’t have aperture and if you drop them, you can laugh – not cry. They’re all about Lo-Fi fun and getting some cool and crafty looking shots from something that won’t have the bank asking for your car back…

The Holga for Canon (and Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax and Samsung) lenses are made of plastic, they have little plastic lens elements and a set of little tiny holes in the rear of the unit that shape the light and help create the image that is reminiscent of something you would get out of an actual Holga…

Image: Holga for Canon HL-C

Holga for Canon HL-C

Not sure what an actual ‘Holga’ is? Basically, it’s a cheaply made camera that came out of China around 1980, it’s made from plastic and is pretty susceptible to light leaks, vignetting and some other ‘anomalies’ The images have a certain cool look about them that seems to be ‘coming back’ of late (though mostly via things like iPhone and Android phones with apps and filters) ..with many people using them to shoot little self projects and the like!

The HL-C mounts straight into my Camera, just like any of my other Canon EF mount lenses though don’t expect to be able to adjust aperture, there isn’t any! Adjust your iso and your shutter speed and see what you come up with – it’s fun! Then you can choose from the portrait, small group, larger group or massive mountain setting and see what you come up with. There are some great examples of Holga on Flickr and check out the HolgaDirect blog, too.

Image: Person | Group of people with short person in the middle

Person | Group of people with short person in the middle

The only thing left to do was wander about with the little lens and see what happened. I was a little surprised at how much light the lens needed, and it took a bit to work out what worked and what didn’t – the result? I like the lens… I like it a lot… But wait, what? It doesn’t focus very well, it’s not made very well, it’s cheap and it gives some pretty ordinary results by comparison to my 24-70mm f/2.8L – but it doesn’t always have to be about beautiful, sharp images, does it? Sometimes it can just be about creativity and fun?

When is a Holga not a Holga? [review + giveaway]

When is a Holga not a Holga? [review + giveaway]

When is a Holga not a Holga? [review + giveaway]

I had great fun with the HL-C and as a result, it comes with me everywhere! People often do double takes when they see it on the front of the 5DMKII… It’s all part of the fun!

Holga Direct have kindly offered us a Digital Holga Ultimate Kit to give to one lucky person – simply let us know in the comments below what would be the first thing you would photograph with your new Digital Holga Ultimate Kit? and make sure you visit Holga Direct on Facebook if that’s your thing!

We will draw a winner one week after this post goes live, the competition is global, where allowed by law, though any extra import / duty will need to be paid for by the winner – please make sure you enter your email along with your comment as we won’t have any way of contacting you if you don’t…


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(aka #gtvone) is the customer support manager for dPS, and lead blogger in our Cameras and Gear Blog. He’s a Melbourne based photographer, www.gtvone.com and please feel free to follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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