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I have a new love and her name is Holga. Really, we’re in love. Well, she might not love me back because she is, in fact, a camera. A toy camera at that. A beautiful toy camera. 

Let’s go back to last week… I was reading a blog [if I could remember which one and why I was reading it I would credit it here, but I can’t] and I saw a beautiful photograph. I assumed it was a normal, digital picture that had been photoshopped or something but it turns out that this beauty was taken with a good old fashioned, analog camera. HOLGA! So I looked into it and found that this Holga camera was originally mass produced in China in the 60s and that they are still being made today. The beauty is that they are inexpensive [I would never use the “c” word to describe Holga] and made in a way that lets the imperfections through and you get some real nifty pictures. 

An example… [turns out that in looking for an example, i’ve found the website I discovered Holga on!!] 


The inexpensiveness of the camera allows light in which causes all sorts of odd things to happen to the pictures. My favourite feature is the vignetting [link to wiki]. 

Anyway, I ordered my Holga almost straight away, the place I ordered from was out of stock so I ordered again a couple of days later from somewhere else and had to settle for the basic base unit instead of the start pack. But that’s okay. I decided on the 120 CFN which is the colour flash model with the plastic lens. There are a couple of websites that compare the glass and plastic lenses but the outcome is that each Holga is as individual as our fingerprints and some glass ones are better than plastic and vice versa. I went for the colour flash because it just seemed like a cool feature.

I also got what I thought was one black and white film [which, by the way is 120mm film and the pictures are square] and one colour but it turned out that they were both black and white, just different formats. Oh well!

A couple of days later it arrived…


[This photo was taken on my iPhone and filtered using instagram…kind of ironic]

I was surprised at how… inexpensive it felt. It’s really light, but you soon get used to it. There are 4 settings on the lens, one for an individual, one for a group of people, one for something else and one for far away things like mountains. There are also two other settings, one for cloudy days and one for bright days and… nope, I think that’s it. You can change the colour of the flash, obviously, and you have to wind the film on by hand using the giant wheel on the top.

There is a strap included, too, but I can’t seem to get it to go on the little clippy things and I don’t want to be too rough with it whilst there is film inside. The film is easy to load, it just all feels a bit clumsy.

So once the film was loaded I was keen to get snap happy. You have to be careful though, because at approx £4 per film and more to develop it’s quite pricey because you get 12 shots per film. My first shot was fun… I forgot to take the lens cap off. I then made the mistake of thinking I had to then wind on to the next shot. You don’t, for future reference.

I did feel better when I read on another blog that both of those things that I did, are very common things to do *phew*.

I’m two days into ownership and, like I said, I am in love. I’m smitten. I’ve been hunting high and low for two days, in all my usual haunts, trying to find 120 film. I’ve called places, I’ve been to places in person. Not many places stock it so online shopping is the only way to go. We don’t seem to have a local photography shop but apparently you can find expired film [which adds to the charm of the photos] for 25% of their original cost.

This evening I’ve ordered 5 other films, some colour and some extra vibrant. I got another black and white from Jessops today just to have as a back up.

I’ve also started a wish list and I’m trying to limit myself to how much I spend. After payday I will be choosing between the filter set, the fish-eye lens and the macro lens. So much fun.

I also got a camera bag for her today, a nice little home. It might have cost almost as much as the camera, but at least it’s waterproof.

I can see this becoming a little bit of an obsession but at least it’s a harmless hobby. I can’t wait to finish my first film and send it off for processing. I think it takes 2 weeks to get them back but that’s all part of the fun I suppose.

I’ll keep you updated…