Lovely Holga


This is how to modify the aperture of your Holga and pimp it with a nice and flirty new coating in one session!

My girlfriend asked me if I could customize her Holga. She had some requests about the painting (“pink and striped please”) which was of course granted by me and while doing this, I also decided to make the well-known aperture modification for the Holga.

Most of us know that the Holga doesn’t really come out of her box with two apertures (except the GTLR that I just got)., those were the “Sun” and “cloud” remember? For a mysterious reason, the piece supposed to provide these 2 apertures is incomplete. If anyone of you has the explication, please post it here, I’m curious. But sometimes I think it is because it requires a given precision to build this piece, which would increase the camera’s price… But it’s pure speculation, so… Here are the steps:

1. Remove the lens by unscrewing it from the inside, and dismount it.
2. Remove the little arm that supposed to make the sunny setting and note the sad empty square in it. That’s where you’re going to put a piece with a hole in it, to provide a smaller aperture.
3. This is a personal step that I did and shouldn’t be necessarily done – I removed the little ring supposedly to provide the “cloud” aperture. By removing this ring, your “cloud” aperture is bigger, more light enters the camera, and the depth of field is reduced. This extra aperture is great for portraits and low light conditions.
4. In a CD box (the black side, not the transparent one ;-D), use a sharp and pointy blade to drill a hole to make your “sun” aperture. Cut a square around this hole that will fit in the little arm you removed in step 2. Just make it sure that this piece is in the arm, and the arm is in its position, also that the hole is well centered in the lens by looking through the lens from outside.
5. Tape your piece in the arm, with the tape facing the inside of the camera.
6. Re-screw the lens on the body, and see the miracle happening when you go from ”cloud” to “sun”.

I finally painted it with aquarelle and added three layers of matte varnish to protect it. Afterwards, I was rewarded by an irresistible smile, but sadly I am sure that the paint will not stay in place and It’s already kind of falling apart. I guess I’m going to offer my girlfriend a real pink Holga instead and make her forget that this Lovely Holga is going to look pretty ugly after a few days of use.

Here is a gallery of shots that were taken with other Holgas that have been trough the same aperture modification:

When shooting with a modified aperture, do keep these in mind:

Sun aperture setting

  • Shot something against the sun. You’ll get a super sharp silhouette, and a great vignette.
  • In conditions of high light, you’ll get an insane sharpness, great contrasts, and again a nice vignette.
  • Daylight long exposure is even possible (with a 25 asa film).
  • Long exposures in low light conditions will come up with a shocking sharpness and a reduced vignette
  • Triples aren’t over exposed.
  • The increased depth of field allows sharper macro shots.
  • Underexposure is sometimes wanted for X-pro (asa 100 + green filter).

Cloud aperture setting

  • The focus is really narrow in the center because of the reduced depth of field thus attracting the viewers eye to the center of the photo.
  • Water absorbs light, you’ll need this aperture if you dare to go for underwater shots with a 100 asa.
  • Long exposures can be shorter, 1-2 seconds can be enough.

written by stouf on 2009-07-23 in #gear #tipster #custom #cloud #stripes #diy #aperture-modification #paint #aperture #holga-modification #pink #tipster #customization #love #sun #holga #tips


  1. adi_totp
    adi_totp ·


  2. lomosexual_manboy
    lomosexual_manboy ·

    Stouf rocks the Holga house. Awesome gallery man. When I did this mod I just popped out the ring and glued it to the back of the lever so the apertures are much closer together. Not sure what they are though(maybe 16 and 11 or 11 and 8). I'll have to try your way and get a custom aperture.

  3. d_i_hunter
    d_i_hunter ·

    Really well-explained tip stouf! And a great gallery showing the results. Nice one!

    BTW: what is shot no. 12?

  4. rater
    rater ·

    Great gallery my friend! And nice pink holga!!

  5. breakphreak
    breakphreak ·


  6. migueld
    migueld ·

    my mind is blown

  7. day3hugger
    day3hugger ·

    great gallery!! i loove 7, 13 and 15

  8. stouf
    stouf ·

    Thanks a lot everyone ! Now you know all my secrets ! ; ) ...@d_i_hunter : it is zooplankton, the basis of the carnivorous food web in the ocean.

  9. breakphreak
    breakphreak ·

    just a minute: why a green filter? or, in two questions: why filter? and why green? :) thanks a lot!

  10. ilovemydiana
    ilovemydiana ·

    wow. ok then

  11. ilovemydiana
    ilovemydiana ·

    oh! i get it! i will try but if something goes terribly wrong. do expect a call ;o)

  12. cheriesu
    cheriesu ·

    wow!! what a great tip!
    U can bring Holga into water?!
    I wanna do so tooooo

  13. cinzinc
    cinzinc ·


  14. sugiyamasatomi
    sugiyamasatomi ·

    wow! great stuff! and great images!

  15. azurblue
    azurblue ·

    Great, as usual !

  16. mandi
    mandi ·


  17. stouf
    stouf ·

    Yééé thanks a lot !
    @breakphreak : filters reduce light and green is pretty : )
    @ilovemydiana : I'm sure you'll be fine ! But I'm always ready to help !
    @cheriesu: see the secret @
    Lomolove !

  18. eyecon
    eyecon ·

    The gallery is great and I think your girlfriend owe you one :)
    That´s for sure......have a nice weekend!

  19. ebolatheelectricmonk
    ebolatheelectricmonk ·

    Stouf at his best...again!

  20. panelomo
    panelomo ·

    yep - i'll try this next time. thanks to da' man stouf!

  21. lovesmesumcake
    lovesmesumcake ·

    The explanation for why the original aperture doesn't work is that the Chinese company that originally manufactured Holgas messed up in production (the switch moves a larger aperture in front of the smaller aperture, which does absolutely nothing, instead of vice-versa). To this day that production flaw is maintained, I guess because it's seen as a quirk that makes the Holga what it is.

  22. pauladavies
    pauladavies ·

    dude, this tip will change my life! thanx!

  23. bandung
    bandung ·

    no 12 amazing!!
    is the zooplankton that big or you modified the holga lens?

  24. pangmark
    pangmark ·

    Wow! You're a genius.. and so humble too!

  25. anomalyfaktory
    anomalyfaktory ·

    I'm getting the gtlr soon. so does the gtlr come with 2 real apertures?

  26. stouf
    stouf ·

    @anomalyfaktory Yep : ) As all the recent Holga creations.

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