Last year around this time, I was interning at a local newspaper. The editor asked me one day to go out and take some pictures for them with a little digital point and shoot. The editor was so impressed with my shots, he wondered if I had taken any photography lessons. "No", I said. "You have a great eye for it, though. You should think about taking up photography." So a few short months later my birthday rolled around, and after having a discussion with a friend who was familiar with Lomography, I decided to blow some birthday money on a Holga 135BC. Well...what a joy that has been.
I bought my Holga in January of this year from a seller on Ebay (before the 135BC was being sold here). I wanted it because my friend said it had absolutely no learning curve. “I’m not even sure the aperture switch works on those things, they’re just point and shoots,” he said.
The first thing that struck me about the Holga 135BC was how insanely light it was. I was afraid if I dropped it, it might break. But let me tell you, I don’t know how they make them, but I’ve had mine for 9 months now and having dropped it hundreds of times, this little gem is still going.
The other surprising thing about the camera is the odd coloration from the lens. Colors are bright and contrasty, but not knock-your-socks-off bright. Everything is in a dream like focus and the edge vignetting just adds to that effect. The lens also has odd light leaks and flares to it, which only to highten the lo-fi look.
I was also interested in the double exposure function of the camera. To me, this was like a photopraghy rule breaker. You’re not supposed to have two exposures on one frame, that’s madness. This made me want it even more. The camera’s bulb setting and cable release thread also make it easy to do night shooting and awesome longer exposure effects. My favorite thing to do is switch the shutter to bulb, hold the camera near a light, shake it around a bit, then switch back to normal and take a flash picture of someone or something. That way you get all these cool light streaks around the person or object.
The Holga 135BC is great for someone wanting to dip their feet in the waters of LOMO but not get crazy with 120 film or costs of cameras. The Holga makes a cheap way to learn different techniques and hone a style. Being that it is 35mm film, its also easy to develope. If someone was looking to try this camera out, I would suggest buying a flash too, as the fixed shutter speed makes lower light shooting a bit difficult.
This little guy comes with me wherever I go, whether it be a party, to work, to school or a family function. Everyone always seems to be interested in what this little plastic camera is and when they see the pictures, they are blown away.
Check out the microsite of the Holga family here