It's a semi accidental purchase, but now obviously one of my favourites. I try to drag her along as much as possible. Also, if you have a limited budget but still want to buy a new analog camera, then you should definitely consider this Holga.
Under the motto “pink cameras are the best cameras” I bought a pink Holga 135BC a while ago. To be honest, I had no idea what I actually bought. I shot with my purple Fisheye for a few years, but I wanted to dive into the Lomographic world and I had two ladies in mind: Diana F+ and the Holga. Apparently, these are the queens of the Lomography kingdom, but as I have no understanding of photography it was difficult to choose between the two. They were both affordable, and both were said to produce beautiful dreamy pictures, something I was going for. I so love that nostalgic feeling.
Eventually I think the practical arguments were the deciding factor. First of all, the Holga 135BC works with 35mm film, which is somewhat easier to buy and develop and relatively inexpensive. Secondly, I (if I would choose Diana) secretly want the unaffordable Deluxe Package kit with all the lenses and the Instant Back (a special back for your Diana camera, so you can take Polaroid-like pictures with it). Holga 135BC seemed a bit simpler (and easier, I hoped), so when I found a pink clone with colour flash, I was 100% sure I wanted her.
She was so much more than I expected. Besides the fact that she is very practical (the colour filters for the flash are attached to the flash, for example, unlike the always disappearing gel filters of my Diana Flash) is also simple to use. This allows you to control the shutter speed (e.g. for night shots) by putting the camera in the “B” position (bulb mode), the “N” is for normal. Furthermore, you have four options to set the distance and thus focus: Portrait (close), small group, large group or landscape (infinity). Finally, you set her to ‘sunny’ or ‘cloudy’.
Holga 135BC works well with all types of film and weather, though my favourite for her is still black and white film. Also, although most pictures possess an enchanting softness, like the camera’s plastic lens itself, some pictures are suddenly very sharp, making the whole picture hit you in all its depth. That sounds really dramatic, but I cannot explain it better. Just try a few times to take the same shot with a lot of depth in it while you set Holga 135BC to other distances, maybe then you will understand what I am trying to say.
Short and practical summary: the flash is powerful, easy to use with its hot shoe, and it doesn’t make the annoying squeaking sound like the Diana F+ Flash does (although also, it’s old school). The camera has no protection against accidentally hitting the shutter button, but I’ve never had unintended double exposures or blank images: the lens cover closes tightly and clicks on the lens. An improvement when you consider the rather loose lens caps of the Diana F+ and Diana Mini. Holga 135BC does not really have light leaks, is lightweight, not very small, but compact enough to be stored in a cute bright pink pouch.
The name 135BC stands for ‘black corners’. This version of Holga has a mask behind the lens, which ensures that the focus of each image is clearly in the middle. And I think this is also beneficial for the dreaminess of her shots.
The beauty of Holga 135BC lies in its ease of use, that even my four year old niece can take pictures with her (when I come in she asks if I have brought my pink camera), but every time you find out other things that give your pictures just that extra something special. I have not tried it yet because I’m a scatterbrain and play with five cameras simultaneously, and am always broke, but you can also get a lot of fun accessories. I assume that they are worth their money.