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  • Writer's pictureMadeleine Muzdakis

Dreamy "Lomo" Holga 120N Shots on Fuji Pro 400h

Holga cameras are amazing fun, especially for their affordable price tag. I had never heard of the classic toy camera before stumbling on one on the B&H website. The perfect price tag, I asked my grandma for a Holga 120n for Christmas along with some rolls of black and white 120 film. On Christmas Day, I was prepared with black electrical tape and ready to try my first medium format photography ever!

Some people love light leaks, but for me the charm of the Holga lies in the blurs and distortions of the plastic lens. I have taped up the internal seems of my Holga and always tape the seems of the back up after loading film. This is—of course—a good move to avoid the back falling off, which can happen. I will post my favorite shots from my experimental adventures with the Holga some other time.

I later acquired a golden Holga 120N from a used store. Its lens element has a little scratch and was loose in the barrel. I took apart the lens to fix it. When compared to my original black Holga, it is fascinating how different the images are! It's truly the "lomography" magic of the cheap toy camera.

Right before Fuji announced they were discontinuing Pro H film, I bought a pack. I have only shot three rolls, one in each Holga and one in my Rolleiflex. The woods and waterfall images are from the golden Holga. They have a soft, painterly quality I really love. The colors are truly lovely in the soft winter light.

By contrast, my brand new Holga has a much sharper lens. The fisheye effect may be more pronounced, but the center renders detail well. The New York City images were shot on this camera. It is so fun to walk around with a Holga. People look at you like you're pretending to take pictures with a children's toy.

These were shot on a sunny day around Washington Square Park. I love how the plastic lens plays with the lines of trees and shadows. The distortion becomes obvious for a sort of "funhouse mirror" effect.

Do you have a Holga? I highly recommend picking one up for about 50 bucks. There are also 35 mm, pinhole, glass lens, pseudo-TLR, and flash versions. However, you can make amazing photos with the original build. Plus, it has the most satisfying shutter click. Show me your Holga photos <3

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