Holga 120 CFN for Christmas

For Christmas, one of my brothers gave me a Holga 120 CFN. This is a camera that takes 120 film and is entirely made out of plastic. Even the lens element is plastic.

Considering my infatuation with older film cameras, this really was a great gift. I’m always looking at eBay for a new vintage camera and this one is in that spirit. It’s all plastic; I’d never have bought one myself. But trying out 120 film was fun and I enjoyed shooting with it.

The Holga and the whole Lomography shoot-from-the-hip idea always struck me as silly. Switching to film still means you should still compose your shot and think about framing your image. While some out of focus images can be insightful, Lomography seems to me to be based on light leaks and poor photography.

That’s not to say that you can’t get good shots from one of these cameras, and I do admire the gallery. It’s just some of the examples look like the photographer wasn’t really trying.

After shooting a couple of rolls I can say that my opinion has been changed. The Holga is just for fun and intentionally taking soft picture is part of that.

This model comes with a built-in flash with color filters. You rotate the dial and get red, yellow, blue, or plain white. For black and white I used the white flash, for color I liked the yellow filter.

With 120 film there are two mask inserts, one for 6×6 cm and another for 6×4.5 cm. The 6×6 gets you 12 shots and the 6×4.5 gets 16. My first two rolls were shot with the 6×6 and I haven’t developed the 6×4.5 rolls yet.

Once thing I really need to watch out for is double exposures. On my 35mm cameras, the film advance cocks the shutter and you can’t take more than one exposure. On the Holga, the shutter and film advance knob are not mechanically connected. You can expose the same shot multiple times and that ability is part of the appeal.

I ruined a few of my B&W T Max shots because I hadn’t realized that I had already exposed that film. That’ll teach me to pay more attention.

Overall it was fun but I don’t expect this to replace my Olympus Trip 35. When the weather gets warmer I’ll take some outdoor shots with my remaining roll.