Holga 135 BC: The 35mm Camera with 120mm Holga's Vignetting Charm!

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The Holga 135BC, a sweet little gem with a history and Holga charm that gives us those great vignetted photos on easily accessible 35mm film. The following will be a review and look into the Holga 135BC.

This will be a review of the Holga 135 BC, however it’s got a bit of a twist. This 135BC started out life as a the original Holga 135. Just to clarify. This is a review of the camera and not a Tipster on how to modify your own Holga to produce those cool “Bent Corners” or “Black Corners” effect. I will be adding the tutorial to my blog for those interested in doing the mod for themselves.

Now for a little history on the Holga before we get into the grit.

"Hong Kong 1982. The manufacturing and production hub of the world is burning at a full flame. As with their neighbors in Japan and China, photography is an intense national hobby and obsession. The concept is simple — a minimal and inexpensive camera using medium format 120 film. It would contain only the bare necessities for photo mechanisms, and provide a cheap and accessible alternative for students and enthusiasts to dip their toes into the otherwise very expensive world of medium format photography. Reflecting the shining landscape around them, this new camera is named after the term “ho gwong,” meaning “very bright.” After throwing a European spin onto this phrase, the moniker “HOLGA” is minted."

(From Lomography’s Holga Microsite)

With the popularity of 35mm film Holga released the Holga 135 in 2007 to meet the demand of consumers wanting to shoot a film that was more readily available and easier to process than 120mm film. Later, the Holga 135BC was introduced to bring back that original Holga charm of vignetting to the four corners of the photos. To achieve this, a mask was introduced.

The Holga 135BC retains the same 47mm plastic lens of it’s predecessors, the 135 and the 120. This lens has 4 adjustable zones focus settings based on approximate distance, they are portrait 3ft, small group 6ft, large group 9ft and infinity. In addition, it sports an accessory hot shoe and threaded insert for using a release cable for long exposures for those low light situations.

Speaking of light, there a switch on the top of the lens housing used for adjusting the 2 aperture settings. There’s a sunny f/11 and the cloudy f/8, however the actual mechanism that “adjust” this is ineffective, so I just leave it on the f/11 sunny setting. There is also a switch on the bottom of the lens housing to set the shutter to normal or bulb setting for long exposure shots.

So if you want to be able to shoot a roll of film and drop it off at your local 1hr photo lab, for some instant gratification. Then I can’t express how much the Holga 135BC is a great choice to get great photos with the classic Holga lens with the addition of the awesome vignetting that the Holga is known for. I love mine and expect anyone who gets one will feel strongly about it too!

Lomo On!

written by blormore on 2011-09-22 in #reviews

3 Comments

  1. francesco1
    francesco1 ·

    nice!

  2. veato
    veato ·

    Nice article but I've never been convinced by the BC. I much prefer the naturally occurring vignetting you get on some cameras like the Vivitar UWS.

  3. mintandcoke
    mintandcoke ·

    Lovely review. I have a Holga 135BC myself, my first true lomo camera (my other film camera is a Zenit 122) and I really like it. Even though the lab messed up my shots, I actually liked the first results. Some very bright colorful pictures and the delicious vignetting all over. A very nice gear for beginners who don't wnat to deal with the hassle of a 120 film (a PAIN to get developed in Brazil - whay would you buy expensive camera and film to have your cheap lab ruin your work?). Bought my Holga 135BC in red and black - colors of my soccer team, but they come in all sorts of nice colors!

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