Ohh Holga. Out of all the cameras that I have, this is probably the most famous. It was first made in 1981 as a plastic toy camera for the Hong Kong market. Through the 80s and 90s, it kind of just languished, trying to keep up with cheap 35mm cameras. But after digital took over and people started getting nostalgic for film, the Holga was rediscovered and became an icon.
So huge had it become that things like Instagram try to replicate the vignetting and weird focus “perfected” by the Holga.
I have some fairly strong mixed feelings about this camera. It was my first 120, and I shot many, many rolls with it. All the while, I’ve amassed a fairly nice collection of vintage 120 cameras, and have been using it less and less. I’ve discovered that while I like the Holga quite a bit, I get more fun out of midcentury cameras.
The Holga is predictably quirky – so much so that it has, for me, become completely uninteresting. It’s great for getting into film photography, but is probably something that should be left behind after you’ve played around with it a bit.
If you’re looking for good Holga alternatives, may I suggest the Imperial Savoy (620) or the Ansco Color Clipper (120)?
To see photos I’ve taken with this camera, go here.