My introduction to Lomography was through the Holga 135. I can’t quite remember what made me interested in Holga cameras or why I suddenly became obsessed with them, but I do remember looking them up on-line, visiting all sorts of websites and finding all manner of Holga cameras. Then a trip to Urban Outfitters with a friend allowed me to see the new Holga 135 cameras in person and I fell in love. I was tight on cash that day and decided against purchasing the Holga I had fallen in love with at the store–and regretted that decision for MONTHS after!! Until I found the very same Holga 135 for sale on eBay slightly used. I couldn’t pass it up. September 27, 2011 I won her on eBay.
The Holga 135 camera is mostly comprised of plastic, so it is lightweight and easy to tote around. The functions are fairly straightforward as are the instructions in the little pamphlet that came with my Holga 135. Accessories for the Holga 135 are inexpensive (most can be found for less than $20) and the ability to shoot with 35mm film makes it user friendly even for the laziest lomographer since some drug stores still offer 1 hour photo developing services fairly cheap. I chose to start out with a 35mm camera as I was already familiar with the film.
My biggest challenge was getting used to the view finder being right above the lens and getting used to the fact that I need to pay attention to where the lens is pointed for closer shots rather than making sure I can see the whole image in the viewfinder. Many of my shots were off center due to me trying to be able to see everything through the view finder rather than making sure my subject was centered in the lens. Easy n00b mistake.
I also quickly discovered the limitations of the Holga hot shoe flash and at the same time learned a valuable lesson about ISO. The Holga 135 does best with 400 ISO film. The colors are rich and vibrant and the effects the cameras are known best for (light leaks, dreamy imagery, vignetting, etc.) are more apparent in bright settings (either during daylight outdoors or with use of the flash in close proximity indoors).
Here are a few shots I had taken at dusk with black and white vivitar 200 ISO film in my Holga 135:
Notice how hard it is to see the subjects? The flash is not strong enough to photograph at this distance. I was also using a filter, which is not recommended for night time shots with low ISO film!
This shot was taken the same night, at much closer proximity with use of the flash. The photo is much better.
Above is a photo from my first roll of film with my Holga 135, it was taken with Kodak 200 ISO color film. Notice the vignetting in the corners and the bright saturated colors! (Note: There is also a Holga 135BC which is designed to create Black Corners (hense the BC) on every photo, I wanted the effect to happen naturally in photos so I opted for the regular Holga 135)
Multiple exposures are also possible with the Holga 135, just snap photos one after another without winding the film after each shot and you will have multiple photos on the same frame. I turned the camera at angles to achieve a spiral effect with the above multiple exposure.
Above is an example of a shot taken with the Holga 135 flash indoors using Kodak 200 ISO color film. Notice the vignetting and the grain which give the photo a vintage look and feel.
To compare, this photo was also taken indoors using a flash with the Holga 135 on Kodak 400 ISO color film. There is far less grain to the photo, the subjects are crisp and the colors really pack some punch.
All in all I find the Holga to be a definite conversation starter. People always compliment on my cute quirky Holga and I enjoy adventuring with it and progressing with my photography with the Holga. I would definitely recommend it.